It is very common to want to free up hosting space if you have a website. In general, the management of the web implies accumulating files, emails, backup copies and other elements, which occupy a space that is subtracted from the hosting plan that we have contracted.
If you have any questions BEFORE hiring a reliable hosting service, and you want to know what features you have to pay attention to, I recommend that you see how to choose a hosting well .
We always hire a hosting plan that is sufficient for the site or sites that we plan to have. That is, why buy more space and features than necessary? For “ordinary” users, who have a single site to manage, a basic plan (up to 10GB) is usually sufficient, but keep in mind that even so, depending on how you manage it, it may be time to free up disk space or to buy more.
And it is that, sometimes it happens that the space that we originally bought fills up and there comes a time when our website can stop working or the emails stop coming and going . This is a warning that we are running out (or have run out) of physical space .
How to solve the problem of lack of disk space in the hosting
To solve this problem we have two solutions:
- Buy more space from the hosting company
- Free up hosting space that we already have contracted, avoiding having to buy more.
Logically, there will be cases in which this solution is not enough.
In this post we want to focus on how to free up hosting space, so
- First, we are going to review the elements that tend to accumulate and therefore subtract disk space
- Second, we will see how to free up space on it so that it works well again, taking into account the elements
seen in that are usually the main cause of its reduction.
Elements that usually accumulate in hosting disk space
- First of all, to warn of something very important: never delete things
- that you don’t know what they are for or if you are not 100% sure.
- Everything we add to our website occupies x space. There are things that take up more and things that take up less, but it all adds up. There are thousands of little hidden files that you are not aware of, for example. But those, better leave them alone.
We are going to see the elements that you can easily identify to decide whether to delete them to free up space on the hosting or not.
Components of your content manager ( WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop… )
If your website is designed with a CMS or content manager, you are surely familiar with the concepts of themes,
templates, extensions, modules, plugins…
- In the case of themes and templates : you already know that they are pre-designed templates that facilitate the visual and WordPress content optimization design of your website. It is not advisable to have more than two templates installed on a website, one active and one inactive in case the first one fails.
- In the case of plugins or extensions : the same thing happens. They are little programs that extend the functionality of the web. These components naturally take up space as well.
- Images uploaded to your website: If you have many images (several in each post, for example), these must be optimized, otherwise the weight can slow down the loading speed of your website, in addition to
occupying a very precious space in your hosting.
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Emails and email accounts
Most hosts today give away dozens of email accounts when you buy a domain and hosting. There are users who, even being a single person, register more emails than necessary. In my opinion, this is a mistake.
Delete the backup copies of the content manager
When we install our content manager, like WordPress, we can configure the way we want backups to be generated and saved. In fact, we can make them not auto-generate, although this would be a bug.
Every backup takes up a respectable amount of space, since it copies your entire website from start to finish. There are people who have several websites hosted on their hosting plan, so multiple backups are usually generated , which therefore take up more disk space.
What is a backup : A backup or backup copy is, as its name suggests, a copy that is made for preventive purposes, that is, for what may happen. The backup copy or backup allows you to restore your website to a previous point in time and is used when there are problems in the present.
Other files that accumulate in the hosting
CMS like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or Magento generate cache files, temporary files, etc. These files are stored in your hosting. Sometimes, even a plugin or a theme that you have deleted, can leave “traces” in the form of files that are useless.
There are also the garbage (trash) and temporary (tmp) files, which are the ones that I can show you below how to delete to free up disk space.
So far the most common elements that are usually stored in your hosting. If the number and weight of images are not abused, in my opinion, the main causes of space consumption are the accumulation of email and backup copies .
What to remove to free up hosting space
So let’s see how to free up disk space so that we can avoid having to hire a larger hosting plan or buy more space for as long as possible
WordPress themes, CMS templates in general
Having more themes installed that we are not using is useless and can be harmful if we accumulate too many, not only because they take up space on our hosting, but also because that unnecessary weight slows down the loading speed of our website and also having inactive themes can mean a security issue. Delete any themes or templates you don’t use. In the next post I explain several ways to delete a WordPress theme.
Plugins or extensions
We must try to use the WordPress plugins that are strictly necessary for the proper functioning of the website and eliminate all the others, especially those that we may have inactive. Having too many plugins, active or not, can cause speed problems on your website , and also security problems, so the best thing you can do to improve loading speed , in addition to freeing up hosting space, is to eliminate the ones that They are not necessary.
Heavy and unoptimized images
An image on a website should never exceed 200kbs. Inexperienced users upload images that sometimes exceed 2MB, which is outrageous. If we multiply 2MB by as many images as we have on our website, the space they occupy can be monumental.
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Free up that space by optimizing images : For WordPress, there are dozens of plugins that perform this function. I optimize them manually, every time I write a post, with online tools like Webresizer and Resizeimage. Then I have a plugin that optimizes them even more.
Another option is that you upload your images to another platform so that they are not within your hosting. In this way you will save many megabytes of space.
- Having email addresses that are not used is absurd, although it is not a determining factor when talking about
space in hosting.
- Regarding the emails of each account, however, it is. Try to delete all the old emails that you don’t need from all the trays ( Inbox, Sent, Trash, etc.) and folders.
- In the case of companies, they should delete both the account and the emails of anyone who stops working for
- I doubt they will, to be honest. All those accumulated emails from employees who no longer work there are
still taking up disk space, and maybe a lot.
- As it is personal management, it is possible that they have accumulated years in their Sent , Trash , folders created by themselves, etc. This can equate to megabytes and megabytes of space.
- So, in both cases, I recommend freeing up hosting space by removing unnecessary emails and unnecessary
accounts that should be disabled.
- Today I have been deleting and I have uploaded a few megabytes at a stroke, and I am one of those who always
delete permanently (that is, I do not leave anything in my Trash tray , and in Sent etc. I leave what is strictly
- Go to cPanel>Email>email disk usage and start deleting what you don’t need. You can also delete from your email client.
- Eliminate old, heavy and unnecessary emails: It would be a good habit to regularly empty the Sent and Trash folders , as well as delete emails that contain attachments , especially if they are large.
CMS backups (WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop…)
If we have a backup generated a month ago, we made some important change a week ago and today we crashed the website due to a blunder, the backup copy is older than our changes, so we will have to make them again. However, if we have a much more recent copy and we mess up today, we can restore the website to how it was yesterday, for example, and only have to make the changes that we would have made today.
For all this, it is important to configure the creation of backup copies or backups very well , according to our particular needs. There will be those who hardly ever make changes to their websites, so perhaps one copy a week will suffice, while there will be those who make changes daily.
The fact is that, depending on how we configure the backup generation, they will be generated more or less, with more or less frequency, etc. It would be best to always have a minimum of one backup, although you can have two. You should delete the backups of WordPress (or your CMS) regularly, if they are not deleted automatically (the hosting company usually takes care of deleting the old ones, but each one has to check it personally with their hosting ). If you don’t know how to delete WordPress backups , I’ll explain it to you in that post. It will be very similar for other content managers (CMSs).
Files that you do not use are stored on your hosting and, if we want to free up disk space, it would be best to delete them. However, how do we know which ones we can eliminate and which ones we can’t? If we browse through the File Manager , we will surely find folders that contain files that take up space and we do not know what they are for. The most important thing here is that you should not delete those files, folders, archives, etc., of which you are not completely sure that they are useless.
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Faced with this temptation, never delete anything if you don’t know what it’s for. In general, we can delete some .zip files, as well as cache and temporary files generated by some installed CMS such as WordPress or PrestaShop.
In the File Manager we have * the cache and tmp folders , and the hidden .trash folder (the .dot in front means it’s
hidden). These folders, in my case are all under the root file home , but in your case they could be somewhere else, like public_html.
The cache folder possibly has old cache files. They are very small but it all adds up. If you have any recently created
ones (see the date column), leave them and delete the rest.
As you know, Trash means garbage , so this folder is a bin like the recycle bin we have on our computer. When you delete files from the administrator, a small window appears for you to confirm the deletion and also to prevent or not that these files go to the trash. This is the folder in question that they would end up in if you choose not to delete permanently
Permanently delete files
Find the folder and check the number and weight of files. If you don’t have too many, check that they don’t take up much and leave them if you want, the system itself eliminates them from time to time. If you see one that takes up a lot but is expendable, delete it.
The case of temporary files is more “tricky”, because it is most likely that we are not entirely sure if any application or script is making use of any temporary file. So you have to be careful with this one. If you’re not absolutely sure that the files in the tmp folder aren’t being used, don’t do anything.
Check other files on the server
In addition to the above files, if you know a little about the administrator, you may be able to identify other unnecessary files. If, after the above checks, you find files that you’re sure are unnecessary, go ahead and delete them. Otherwise, if you notice some large file that you think could be deleted but you’re not entirely sure, you can always go to your hosting company and ask them. They are not obliged to answer because it is not a real problem, but rather a query that, depending on how nice they are or the workload they have, they may or may not answer.
Restrict the option to attach files
It is not the most common, but there are websites that have forums, chats, etc., in which users have the option of attaching files. In certain types of websites, this can be an elementary and essential option for users, so you cannot eliminate it. What you can do is limit the weight of the files that users attach.
Buy more space to hosting
If, despite freeing up space as I have explained, you are still very short on hosting space, then it is most likely that you bought a plan that was too small for the project or projects you had in hand. In that case, the safest thing is that you have no choice but to extend your hosting plan.
As you have seen, in general, the actions to free up space on your hosting server are quite simple, although some
may require some patience and others a little more knowledge or experience and criteria to evaluate if performing
them will be really useful. However, it is worth carrying out them regularly, since the reward is more free space on
your server, with the benefits of performance, speed and security that this entails.
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