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How to Decompress ZIP Archives With SSH

To save time on big file transfers, you can upload as a ZIP archive and decompress the file using SSH.

It could save you a lot of time.1

Here’s how to do it.

Tools and Setup

Before you begin, make sure you have shell access enabled for your domain. Not all web hosting companies provide this.

Secondly, you will need a SSH client. That’s the software you use to connect. On Windows, we recommend PuTTY, partly because it’s free. (If you using Mac or Unix, check out this info on how to start a SSH session).

Finally, you’ll need an FTP application like FileZilla.

Transfer and Decompress

Here’s how to do the rest. Replace all of the generic words we’ve used with your own details.

  1. FTP the ZIP file to the right directory on your host. It’s easier if you FTP the file to the folder where you want the unzipped files to appear.
  2. Open your SSH client or connect using your preferred application.
  3. Log in using your FTP password.
  4. At the [server]$ prompt, type ls to display a list of your directories.
  5. Type cd to change directory to the location of the zip file upload.
  6. Type ls again. You should see the name of the ZIP file you uploaded.
  7. Type unzip

Depending on how many files are in the zip, it might take a while to finish. But, when it does you will have all your files decompressed, exactly where you wanted them.

How to Decompress ZIP Archives With SSH


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