Missing zlib extensions on Ubuntu

I have a Wordpress install on a 512Mb Ubuntu 14.04 x32 which is working fine 95% of the time, however I occasionally get this error when both browsing and working in the Admin panel:

Abort class-pclzip.php : Missing zlib extensions

URL here

Can anyone help me identify what this might be? My guesses at this stage are pointed towards a plugin dependency, or php extensions but I want to confirm before playing with the config.

Cheers, Andy

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For wordpress create a file /wp-content/mu-plugins/gzopen.php with the content:

if (!function_exists('gzopen') && function_exists('gzopen64')) {
    function gzopen($filename , $mode = 'r', $use_include_path = 0 )
        return gzopen64($filename , $mode, $use_include_path);