I'm working on moving a site to a new host for someone and I'm having trouble with their media.

They have a directory with thousands and thousands of images and videos. I attempted to zip this directory using the following:

tar -zcvf media.tar.gz path/to/directory

But it gets about 3/4 of the way through and then just stops with a message that just says


How can I compress this directory? Should I just compress it in pieces? This site is hosted on Hostgator.

  • 3
    Have you contacted them? after all, its a service they are obviously paying for and should be able to assist. – Simon Hayter Jan 12 '16 at 19:04

it seems to me, the archiving procedure lets the tarball grow and if the tarball becomes (together with all other data) bigger then the available place in your booked hosting, the server kills the process. You will be forced firstly to download all of your data, and archive them locally.

Could it be true?

  • 2
    As well, some hosts automatically kill processes that appear to be run-away processes for the sake of the shared server. This may even happen on dedicated servers. – closetnoc Jan 12 '16 at 17:01

If the process is killed partway through, then you either ran out of memory or you ran out of disk space. I'm going to assume disk space. When compressing your entire disk data, assume you'll need the same amount of free disk space left as the total number of bytes all of your data is that is to be compressed.

Your best bet if you want compression is to compress in pieces, but if you're transferring from server to server and you have enough bandwidth available (so that you're not billed extra), then do a direct disk copy from server to server so less strain is put on both systems, which means your old running server will not slow down as much.

Compression will slow things down somewhat because the server needs to make calculations on the data as well as manipulate it in order to compress it and thousands of calculations and manipulations take time. The advantage to compression though is less data is being sent on the wire which may mean lower bandwidth costs.


An better solution might be SCP (Server to server Copy)

scp -pr usernameOldServer@servername.com:/home/location/to/document_root/* /home/location/to/place/files

This page provides simple examples to do so.

Or if you want to stick to tar:
The other answers explain why it gets killed, so I'm skipping that

You are running into problems because you either run out of time, memory or space. It seems like you do the images and movies in 1 go. You could split this. This way you don't need the big resource usage. Worst case you need to split it in a few steps.
Create a tar, and add files to it per group:

$ tar rvf archive_name.tar newfile

Combine this with a sleep to calm down the server, and it might just do the trick and not get killed.


you can group some data and gzip it in smaller chunks. divide whole data in 20 or 30 sections and use server side import rather than zipping it. You can prepare a script that list files and folder on old server and new server using curl library, import all. It would be much better ,faster and error free. keep log file for verification

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