One certainty about running a website is that over time you will use more storage. Website content, newer software versions, plugins, user data, emails, etc. all take up more and more space until, eventually, the storage capacity of your hosting plan gets near its limit. When that happens, the performance of your website can slow and you’ll be unable to store additional data to grow your business. While you can upgrade to a bigger hosting plan, often you can reclaim adequate space just by cleaning up what’s already there. Here, are eight tips to help you clean up your website disk space.
- Clear out unnecessary software
Most websites will have several pieces of unnecessary software stored in their disk space. If your site is built with WordPress, for example, it already comes with a default theme and plugin that you have probably never used or got around to deleting. A common practice when looking for a new plugin or theme is that people often install several different ones to try out which is the best.
They will only activate one but frequently will leave the others installed and deactivated. All these take up precious space but have no use whatsoever. Getting rid of them can free up quite a lot of space – as can clearing out any installation backups that have been generated when you have installed new software.
- Hunt out hidden files
While you might be aware of unused software, there are plenty of ways that space gets eaten up without your knowledge. If you have a website where post comments are allowed, you might find that there are a lot of spam comments sitting on your disk waiting for you to manually remove them. It’s not uncommon for popular sites to get thousands of these.
Delete them all and activate the Askimet plugin to ensure they get automatically deleted in future. Also look for old pages, posts, images and other content you have taken offline but not deleted, as well as unneeded post revisions that you have no intention of restoring. Another common issue is with old log files. Rather than keep them on your server, simply download them to a computer to clear up space.
- Eradicate old emails
Some hosting plans store web files and email files on the same server and this means emails will take up disk space you need for your website. As people tend to keep old emails, this can be a big drain on storage, especially when there are large email attachments.
Permanently deleting old emails, emptying spam and trash folders and downloading important attachments to your computer can provide a great deal of additional space, especially if you haven’t had a good clear out in some time. If this is a major problem for you, it is probably wiser to get a hosting account where emails and web files are stored on different servers.
- Don’t overcrowd your hosting
Just because your web host allows you to host multiple sites on a single hosting plan doesn’t mean it’s always the best way forward. Yes, it might save you a little bit of money, but with multiple instances of your website software, themes and plugins all on one hosting plan, shared hosting accounts can soon end up short of space.
It will also impact the performance of those sites. With hosting available for just a few pounds per month, giving each site its own space to grow is an affordable investment that will save problems occurring further down the line.
- Host large media files remotely
While video has become a very popular form of web content, video files can be very large, especially if they are not optimised for the web. Rather than have them stored on your own server taking up acres of space, a better solution is to upload them to a video host like YouTube or Vimeo and then embed them in your website. Aside from saving space, doing this will make your pages load faster and the videos will perform better and get more views.
- Use remote analytics tools
While you can access some great analytics tools from within your control panel, if you are running out of space, it might be worth choosing a remote service, like Google Analytics. The reason for doing this is that analytics requires the collection of quite a lot of traffic data, and while remote tools store this on their own servers, those like AWStats will store it on yours.
- Control user-generated content
Not all sites allow user-generated content to be uploaded, but if you do, each piece of content will take up additional web space. You can save space by deleting old content that never gets seen and controlling what you allow to be uploaded. You can put a limit on image formats and files sizes, for example, and set expiry dates so that older content is automatically deleted once it has been on the site for a certain amount of time.
If you have issues with the amount of disk space you have left for your website, the suggestions here should help you clear out unnecessary clutter. However, in many cases, it will only be a temporary fix. If you are getting close to your limit, it’s a clear signal that you need to upgrade to a larger solution quite quickly. If you run out of space, your website may stop functioning altogether.
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