Archives

Archive formats rar and zip

In many occasions I had this question asked: Which is better RAR or ZIP? This is just like choosing between Coca-Cola and Pepsi or between Mercedes and BMW. Both have the function that you need and it is just a matter of choice most of the time. Here are some basic differences between RAR and ZIP.

Archive is a group of files (and folders) compressed into one single file with the extension of the software that handles it. The most common archive file formats used today are .zip and .rar and they both serve the same purpose – to group data into single compressed file which is easier to transfer across the network. This is also very useful tip for transferring huge amount of data via FTP/SFTP (e.g. when you copy website files between servers). It is much better to transfer all files as one archive and extract them in their destination folder than to manually transfer all the files and risk losing any data due to connection loss or similar possible problems.

ZIP archive is more popular than .rar because it is developed a long time ago and is longer present on the web, so large part of the archives on the Internet are in .zip format. Every OS also handles .zip files with no trouble, so if you are sending archive to a friend via e-mail you should choose .zip because they won’t have trouble opening/extracting it.

RAR archive is somewhat better because it creates smaller file (more dense file compression) and it has multi-volume support, which is excellent for splitting archive into smaller pieces ready for burning onto CDs/DVDs. It also has password protection, reconstruction of broken or damaged archives and more useful features.

Those are main differences between ZIP and RAR archives and the choice is totally up to you.

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