The word “tarball” is often used to describe the type of file used to back up a select group of files and join them into a single file. The name comes from the .tar file extension and the tar command that is used to group together the files into a single file that is then sometimes compressed to make it smaller for its move to another system.
Tarballs are often used to back up personal or system files in place to create an archive, especially prior to making changes that might have to be reversed. Linux sysadmins, for example, will often create a tarball containing a series of configuration files before making changes to an application just in case they have to reverse those changes. Extracting the files from a tarball that’s sitting in place will generally be faster than having to retrieve the files from backups.