Free Up Disk Space: Tips for a Faster, More Efficient Website

Free Up Disk Space: 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

Identifying Unused Themes and Plugins

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.

Removing Installation Backups

Getting rid of unused themes and plugins 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

Deleting Spam Comments

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 the future.

Removing Old Pages and Posts

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.

Clearing Out Unneeded Post Revisions

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

Emptying Spam and Trash Folders

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. 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.

Downloading Attachments

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

The Pitfalls of Hosting Multiple Sites on One Plan

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.

Investing in Separate Hosting Plans

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

Using Video Hosting Platforms

While video has become a very popular form of web content, video files can be very large, especially if they are not optimized 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.

Benefits of Remote Hosting for Performance

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

Choosing Remote Services Over In-Panel 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

Deleting Old 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.

Setting Limits on Uploads

You can put a limit on image formats and file 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.

Optimize Your Site’s Images

Importance of Image Optimization

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.

Tools for Image Optimization

There are several ways to reduce the size of images with little or no quality loss. Tools like Photopea,, TinyPNG, and Bulk Resize Photos can help you optimize your images efficiently.

Move Your Backups Out of the Hosting

Benefits of External Backup Storage

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.

Regular Backup Practices

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.

Remove Unnecessary Files

Analyzing Server Contents

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?

Complying with Hosting Terms

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. So do not run the risk of having your account suspended for breaking a term of use of the plan.