How To Free Up Disk Space on a Web Hosting Server

How To Free Up Disk Space on a Web Hosting Server
10 min read


  1. How to solve the problem of running out of storage in web hosting?
  2. What are the elements that use the disk space?
    1. Components of your CMS (WordPress, Joomla, etc.)
    2. Emails and email accounts
    3. Delete the CMS Backups
    4. Other files that use the hosting
  3. What to remove to free up hosting space?
    1. WordPress themes or CMS Templates
    2. Plugins or extensions
    3. Non-optimized images
    4. Unnecessary emails
    5. CMS backups (WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop etc.)
    6. Other files
      1. Cache folder
      2. Trash folder
      3. Temp folder
  4. Check other files on the server
  5. Restrict the option to attach files
  6. Buy more space Hosting space

If you hosted a website, it is a common need to free up disk space on your web hosting server. Generally, the management of the web indicates gathering files, emails, backup copies, and other elements, which occupy space on your web hosting server.

If you have any questions before getting a reliable hosting service, and you want to know what are the characteristics in which you have to look, I recommend that you read how to choose web hosting.

We always get a hosting plan that is sufficient for our website needs. In simple words, why you need to buy more space and features than business requirements? For “general” users, who have a single website to manage, a basic plan (up to 5GB) 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.

Your website may stop working (or the email send/receive stopped) due to hosting space, so it is a warning that you are running out (or have run out) of physical storage space.

How to Solve The Problem of Running out of Storage in Web Hosting?

You have the following options for this problem:

  1. Buy more hosting space from the hosting provider such as Temok  
  2. Free up hosting space that you already have bought

In this article, I am going to focus on (2) how to free up space from the hosting, so

  1. I am going to review the factors that occupy the storage (causes storage reduction) and  
  2. how to free up space from it so that it works well again

What are The Elements That use Disk Space?

It is highly recommended that you will never delete things you don’t know.

Everything we add to our website occupies some space. There are different elements that occupy more and things that occupy less, but everything adds up. There are hundreds of small hidden files that you are not aware of.

I am going to focus on the elements that you can easily identify to decide if you delete them to free up space on the hosting or not.

1) Components of your CMS (WordPress, Joomla, etc.)

If your website is based on CMS then you are familiar with the concepts of themes, templates, extensions, modules, plugins.

  • Themes & Templates: As you know they are predesigned templates that facilitate the visual and content design of your website. So, it is not recommended to have more than two templates installed on a website, one active and the other inactive in case the first one fails.  
  • Plugins or extensions: They are little programs that extend the overall functionality of your website. These components also take up space as well.  
  • Website Media: If you have many images (several in each post, for example), then make sure you have optimized them otherwise the weight can slow down the loading speed of your website, in addition to occupying very precious space on your hosting.   

2) Emails and Email Accounts

Most hosting plans include dozens of email accounts when buying domain and hosting.

There are users who, even being a single person, register multiple emails that are useless. According to my opinion, this is a mistake.

On the other hand, if the user has a small company, he will register as many emails as employees who need it (and some others such as “administration”, “billing”, etc.).

3) Delete the CMS Backups

When we install our content management system, like WordPress, we can configure the way we want the backup copies to be generated and stored. In fact, we can take manual backups, although this would be a mistake.

Every backup takes up a respectable space because it copies your entire website from start to finish. There are people who have several websites hosted on a single web hosting plan, so multiple backups are generally generated, which therefore takes up more disk space.

What is a Backup?

As the name indicates, A backup is a copy that is made for preventive purposes, that is, for what may happen. The backup allows you to restore your website to a previous point in case you are facing problems.

4) Other Files That use the Hosting

CMS like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or Magento generates 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 trash (trash) and temporary (tmp) files, which are what I can show you below how to delete to free up disk space.

So far, the most common elements are usually stored in your hosting. If not abused in the quantity and weight of the images, in my opinion, the main causes of space consumption are the accumulation of email and copies Security.

What to Remove to Free up Hosting Space?

Let’s see how to free up disk space so that you can avoid having to buy a larger hosting plan or buy more space for as long as possible.

1) WordPress Themes or CMS Templates

If you have installed multiple themes that you are not using are useless and can be harmful in case of accumulating too many, not only because they take up space on your hosting, but also because that unnecessary weight slows down the loading speed of your website and also having inactive themes can pose a security problem. Delete themes or templates that you don’t use.

Login to cPanel, open file manager, navigate to the Themes folder under wp-content in case of WordPress and delete the folder of the inactive theme.

2) Plugins or Extensions

It is advised to use the plugins strictly necessary for the proper functioning of the web and eliminate all the others, especially those that we may have inactive. You are using too many plugins, active or not, to generate speed and security issues on your site, so that the best you can do to improve the loading speed, plus free hosting space, is to eliminate those that are not necessary.

3) Non-optimized Images

An image on a website should never exceed 200kbs. Inexperienced users upload images that sometimes exceed 2MB, an outrage. If we multiply 2MB by as many images as we have on our website, the space they occupy can be monumental.

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, and optime images with the help of online tools like tinypng and Resizeimage. Then I also have a plugin that optimizes them even more.

Another option is to upload your images to another platform so that they are not within your hosting. In this way, you will save many megabytes of space.

4) Unnecessary Emails

Having email addresses that are not used is absurd, although it is not a determining factor when talking about space in the 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 them. I doubt they will if I’m 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 Envoys tray, Trash, folders created by themselves, etc. This can be equal 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 loaded a few megabytes at a stroke, and that 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 necessary).

Go to cPanel> Email> email disk usage

cPanel Disk Usage: How To Free Up Disk Space on a Web Hosting Server

and start deleting what you don’t need. You can also delete from your email client.

cPanel Email Disk Usage: How To Free Up Disk Space on a Web Hosting Server

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.

5) CMS Backups (WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop etc.)

If we have a backup generated a month ago, we made some important change a week ago and today we loaded the web due to a mistake, the backup copy is older than our changes, so we will have to do them again. However, if we have a much more recent copy and today, we screw up, we can restore the web 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 backups 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 point is that depending on how we configure the generation of backup copies, they will be generated more or less, more or less frequently, etc. It is best to always have a minimum of one backup, although you can have two. You should delete the WordPress backups (or your CMS) regularly if they are not deleted automatically (the hosting company, in general, takes care of deleting the old ones, but that each has to check personally with their hosting).

6) Other Files

Files that you do not use are stored in 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 cannot? If we browse through the File Manager, we will surely find folders that contain files that take up space and we don’t 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.

Usually, we can delete some .zip files, as well as cache and temporary files that some installed CMSs such as WordPress or PrestaShop generate.

In the File Manager, we have * the cache and tmp folders, and the hidden .trash folder (the dot in front means it is hidden).

* These folders, in my case are all under the home root file, but in your case they could be in another place, like public_html .

Cache Folder

The cache folder may have old cache files. They are very small but everything adds up. If you have any recently created (see the column of dates), leave it and delete the rest.

cPanel Cache: How To Free Up Disk Space on a Web Hosting Server

Delete cache files from the file manager to free up space on your server

.Trash Folder

As you know, Trash means trash, so this folder is trash like the recycle bin we have on our computer.

When you delete files from the administrator, you get a little window for you to confirm the deletion and also to avoid or not that these files go to the trash. This is the folder in question that they would go to if you choose not to permanently delete.

cPanel skip the trash and permanently delete files: How To Free Up Disk Space on a Web Hosting Server

Permanently Delete Files

Find the folder and check the number and weight of the 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 every so often. If you see one that takes up a lot but is expendable, delete it.

cPanel Permanently Delete Files: How To Free Up Disk Space on a Web Hosting Server

Temp Folder

The case of temporary files is “trickier” because it is most likely that we are not entirely sure if an application or script is using a temporary file. So, in this, you have to be careful. If you are not absolutely sure that the files in the tmp folder are not being used, do nothing.

Delete cPanel Tmp folder: How To Free Up Disk Space on a Web Hosting Server

Delete temporary files that you are sure are no longer useful

7) Check other Files on The Server

In addition to the files above, if you know the manager a bit, you may be able to identify other expendable files. If, after the previous reviews, you find files that you are sure are unnecessary, go ahead and delete them. Otherwise, if you notice a large file that you think could be deleted but you are 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 question that, depending on how nice they are or the workload they have, they may or may not answer. Temok has an expert team of professionals available for your 24/7.

8) 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 to attach files. In certain types of web, this can be an elementary and essential option for users, so that you cannot eliminate it. What you can do is limit the weight of the files that users attach.

9) Buy more Hosting Space

If, despite freeing up space as I have explained, you are still very tight on hosting space, then the most likely thing is that in your day you bought a plan that was too small for the project or projects that you had in hand. In that case, the safest thing is that you have no choice but to expand your hosting plan.

Final Words

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 whether performing them will be really useful. However, they are worth carrying out, and regularly, since the reward is to get more free space on your server, with the benefits of performance, speed and security that it entails. Share your questions in the comment section below so that we can help you.

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