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danger-danger-disk-usage Wiki CommonsEvery now and then you might get an alarming email from your web hosting provider, warning you that your disk usage is close to the limit or over the limit.

Depending on which provider you are with and how you have your website and email configured, there are different ways of responding.

Today, I’ll share two quick responses that will help you stay safe.

What is disk usage and why is it critical?

The first thing to note is that when you buy web hosting, there are three main factors to consider:

  • How much traffic are you allowed to have
  • How much processing usage is in your quota
  • How much disc space you have

The first, traffic, relates to how many times visitors can look at your website each month.

Every time someone looks at your website, or a search bot like Google looks at your site, your web host has to send copies of your web pages and images to the visitor.

This is metered and comes away from your allowance.

For most small business people most of the time, you will rarely use up  your allowance.

However, if you are about to be featured on a prime time television program with a wonder drug, it would pay to talk to your host provider first to make sure they will be able to cope with an influx of traffic.

The second relates to how many cycles of the computer processor your site can use when working on your site, processing forms, etc.

When parts of your site do not work or you get CPU warnings, you know something is wrong.

Some plugins within the WordPress world are designed to keep your site running ‘lightly’, such as Super Cache.

Talk to your webmaster about them if you start getting these warnings.

The third is how much space you have on your web host’s computer to store your website, images and emails.

And this is the focus for today.

What takes up most space on my web host?

Most space on your web host is usually taken up by:

  • Backups
  • Emails

If you have WordPress backups being done regularly and using your own hosting provider as the location for your backup files, you need to take care.

Firstly, make sure your backup program only keeps a small number of backups, say, 5, and deletes old backups as new ones are added.

This will be the surest way to stay within your disk allowance.

Ideally, using a backup regime that saves your backups in third party locations such as Google Drive, Dropbox or your own computer will mean you are likely to never cause disk limit warnings due to backups.

To clean out your web hosting, log in to your hosting (your webmaster should have given you the access codes) and look for your file manager.

If you find a subfolder called backups that is full, look for the oldest files and delete them. But be careful not to delete critical files. This task is best carried out by your webmaster who can then take steps to prevent it reoccurring.

Secondly, emails can be the culprit most of the time, all due to a particular setting.

If you are using your web host as your email service provider too, then it is wise to check your email software to make sure that a particular box is unchecked.

If your email software, such as Outlook, has been set to leave a copy of emails on your server, your web host will fill up over time.

If the box says tick to leave a copy of the server, un tick it. If it says tick to remove emails from your server, tick it.

You will still have emails to remove from your server so use remote access to do that.

Firstly, do a send/receive so you know you have a copy of all your emails safely brought across from your server.

Then, for most WordPress users with cPanel web hosting, go to yourdomainname:2095 (we would go to https://bakermarketingservices.com:2095), choose a webmail interface from any offered and sign into your email with your email address and password.

There you can do some mass deletion.

Of course, you can always deal with the situation by buying more space with your web host but those two approaches above will give you ways to regain breathing space for your WordPress site and keep your emails flowing.

Image: Wiki Commons from Lost In Space

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