When using a website hosting service, it is common not to worry about managing the space available for storing files. After all, companies usually offer more than enough space for most websites, right? Still, over time, some sites may reach the storage limit of the plan.
Often we are not prepared to deal with the issue of limiting file storage on hosting, unfortunately. So we may be surprised by a warning that your site has reached (or is close to) the limit of disk space on the hosting. This type of warning can leave the user confused and not knowing where to start to solve the problem.
If you are in this situation, do not despair. There are some very effective (and simple) ways to free up disk space on your hosting. Let’s get to know some of this article. Continue with us and find out!
1. Optimize your site’s images
Images can be key pieces when we talk about freeing up disk space on the hosting. This is because a single image can be much larger than the entire page’s textual content. According to the HTTP Archive, on average, a page on the internet is about 3 MB in size. Of these, more than half (1.7 MB) are just image files. The textual part of the page (HTML) occupies only 27 KB (less than 0.3 MB). Of course, these data are averaged across thousands of websites, but they give us a good sense of just how much space an image use.
Therefore, it is very important to pay attention to the images you publish on your site. The smaller the file size, the better it is. This does not mean that you should remove images from the site, but rather that you can (and should) optimize them. There are several ways to reduce the size of images with little or no quality loss, as we’ll see.
Tools to optimize images
Image editing tools, such as Photoshop, have ways of exporting an image file already optimized for the internet. But if you do not have access to this type of software, there are several other free ones, often without having to install any program on your computer. We have listed some very good ones. Let’s check them:
Photopea – Online image editor, similar to Photoshop, 100% free. It has the ability to “export for the web”, where it is possible to redefine the size (measurements) of the image and the quality (compression).
Kraken.io – Free and online image optimizer. Lets you choose the compression method, quality and resize the image.
TinyPNG – Free online tool for reducing images in JPG and PNG formats. It does not allow customization of file size or quality, but the reduction and result are very good, especially for PNG images.
Bulk Resize Photos – An excellent free tool for mass image reduction. Upload up to 150 images at a time and reduce them without uploading the files. That’s right, the images are reduced by a script in the browser. At the end of the process, you should save a .zip file containing the compressed images.
2. Free up used disk space with emails
Some companies include the email service in the same space used for hosting websites. If this is your case, doing a cleanup on your inbox can be a good way to free up disk space. Incidentally, even if you do not need it, the following tips can be useful for freeing up space on any email account, especially those with a storage limit.
A good practice, which can be done regularly, is to empty the trash can and the spam box. It is true that messages in these places are usually deleted after some time, but you can speed up this process by manually deleting these unwanted messages.
Download the emails to your computer
Another way to considerably free up space on the mail server is to use a local email program (on your computer) and configure it to erase messages downloaded from the server. So, once the email is on your computer, it will be erased from the mail server, freeing up a lot of space. Programs with Outlook or Thunderbird have this function. The disadvantage of this technique is that if something happens to your computer, you may lose the messages if you do not have a backup.
Downloading the emails will also help with another big problem: the files attached to the emails. Depending on the size of the attached files, a single message can take up a lot of space. So if there are very large attachments, it’s worth downloading/backing up the messages and removing the original emails from the server.
Hire a professional email
When we talk about email, one of the most effective ways to free up disk space is to hire a separate email hosting service from the hosting company. In this case, the email messages will be sent from another server and will have no influence on the hosting of the site.
3. Do not host videos and audios on your site
Putting videos or audios on your website is something very interesting for your readers because it offers a very different experience than having only texts and images. But be careful, because multimedia content can be a problem for your hosting.
The reason is that videos and audios take up a lot of storage space on the hosting server. A much larger space than that is occupied by pictures, by the way. Plus, by displaying videos on your site, you’re still consuming part of the monthly data transfer of your hosting.
Use a website specializing in videos and audios
The solution is simple: Host your videos and audios elsewhere and use the embed code to insert them on your site. Video platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo are ideal for this. For music and audio, there are equally dedicated platforms, such as SoundCloud. All these portals offer the option to insert the content in another site, through the embed code. That way, the video/audio will be present on your site but hosted elsewhere. So if you have multimedia content on your server, removing them will be a great help in freeing up disk space.
In addition to the space issue, using sites like YouTube for video offers other advantages. The user experience is often better on this type of platform than on self-hosted videos. This is because the investment of companies that maintain sites with YouTube is great and the tool has been improved over time. Additionally, the visibility of the video may also be higher when you publish it on other platforms. It can be found organically, off-site, in searches for related subjects, for example.
4. Move your backups out of the hosting
It is common to find the functionality of generating a backup in the hosting control panel. Some, like cPanel, save a full backup of the account in the hosting area.
This functionality is quite practical but can be terrible for disk space consumption. This is especially true for web hosting that shares space with email accounts. Also, saving the backup file on the hosting server does not protect your site in case of server crashes. In that case, not only will the site be lost but its backups as well. It is true that many companies offer the backup service in the plan, but the way it is done varies according to the company and may not be the latest copy of your site.
In summary, make regular backups of your site, but make sure they are stored elsewhere. And if there are one or more backup files on your server, make a copy on your computer (or elsewhere) and delete them from the server. This can be very useful for freeing up disk space.
5. Remove unnecessary files
In the quest to free up disk space, it is worth doing an analysis of everything that is on the server. In addition to the site files, which are essential for its operation, are there any others that could be deleted?
An example of this is when the server is used for file sharing with clients or third parties. It is quite practical to upload a file in the hosting area and pass the link to someone to download it. However, it is common for this type of file to be forgotten on the server since there is no problem in leaving it there.
Another problem with this practice is that many hosting companies prohibit plans from being used as a file repository. This rule holds true for shared hosting plans of companies that offer unlimited storage space. The restriction says that files hosted on the server must be directly related to the website. So do not run the risk of having your account suspended for breaking a term of use of the plan. It is worth remembering that in more robust plans, such as VPS hosting or dedicated servers, this rule does not apply since in this case, the contracted disk space can be used as the client understands.
To close, when we are at the edge of space, any Megabyte released is already worth it. So, evaluate the files that are on the server and identify all those that do not need to be there. At the end of the review, make a backup and remove the files that have nothing to do with the site.
With the actions listed here, it is possible not only to free up disk space but also to control its usage over time. To do this, you must turn these practices into a routine to be performed regularly. The time interval to perform these actions should be analyzed on a case-by-case basis.
Depending on the size of the site and its growth over time, one can consider hosting migration. A plan with more space will be a relief to those who are suffering from it and have already tried actions like those suggested here. But with a little patience and dedication, the shelf life of the hosting plan can be lengthy and the upgrade deferred accordingly.
It is important to mention that other elements of a site can (and should) be optimized. Thus, your website performance will be better under various aspects, which can include speed, resource consumption and even the satisfaction of your users.
Do you have any tips that were not mentioned here? Got any questions? Leave a comment and it will be a pleasure to chat!