Disk space is the amount of storage space that your hosting provider allocates to you.
It’s important as a WordPress website owner that you keep an eye on your disk space and make sure that you don’t hit your allocated limit, or you may find that your website stops working as expected.
If you do hit your limit and you require more disk space then you may have to upgrade your hosting account, which will cost you more money, or you will have to move to a hosting provider who can offer you more storage space for your money. And I’m sure you would rather avoid both of these situations.
But the good news is there are things that you can do reduce the amount of disk space you are using on your hosting account to avoid potential issues with your website and so that you don’t need to upgrade your account.
In this post, I’m going to share a number of ways in which you can free up disk space on the hosting account of your WordPress website.
Remove old backups
Making regular backups of your website is important, but it’s not necessary to keep old backups of your website on your hosting account as these can take up a lot of space.
I recommend keeping your 2 or 3 most recent backups and then remove the rest. If you’d like to keep older backups for any reason, download these backups and either store them on your computer or upload them to somewhere like Dropbox or Google Drive.
Use external hosting services for large files
Videos and audio files are often very large and can take up unnecessary room on your hosting account.
Instead of uploading videos and audio files directly to your WordPress website, I suggest using external hosting services such as Youtube or Vimeo for video, and Soundcloud for audio.
Compress your images
Images are often the main reason why people hit their disk space limit on their hosting account; they can take up a lot of space!
One of the best ways to reduce the amount of space your images are taking up without deleting them is to compress them. You can compress images before you upload them to WordPress using image editing software like Photoshop, but you can also compress images using a plugin such as reSmush.it, WP Smush or Compress JPEG & PNG images by TinyPNG.
You may also find that compressing your images helps improve the loading time of your website, and in turn this can have a positive impact on SEO and user experience. So it’s an win win situation!
Remove any unused image sizes
When you upload an image to your media library, WordPress automatically generates different sizes of that image. By default, WordPress has three image sizes (thumbnail, small and large) but often additional image sizes are added by your theme.
If you install and activate a new theme, that new theme might be using different image sizes to your previous theme, and you’ll need to regenerate the correct image sizes for your new theme using a plugin like Regenerate Thumbnails.
But then, of course, you’ll end up with lots of versions of the same image in the sizes dictated by your previous theme and your new theme. Therefore, you should make sure you delete any images that are the wrong size for your current theme.
You could do this manually, or you could use Regenerate Thumbnails, making sure you tick the box next to the option “Delete thumbnail files for old unregistered sizes in order to free up server space.” before you resize your images.
Delete draft blog posts or pages
Something that you might not consider to take up space on your hosting account is blog posts and pages, including draft posts and pages that are not yet published.
Granted, they don’t take up a massive amount of space, but if you have a lot of draft blog posts or pages that you aren’t planning on publishing, you might as well delete this and free up a little bit of space.
Delete spammy or unwanted comments
Similarly to blog posts and pages, comments also take up a small amount of disk space on your hosting account. If you have comment moderation turned on, make sure you regularly check your pending comments and delete any comments that you don’t want; don’t just leave them pending!
If you use an anti-spam plugin to catch spam comments, such as Akismet, try to get into the habit of regularly checking your spam queue and deleting the comments in there.
Remove old themes
Old themes that you have installed but that are no longer in use can be a waste of space. I recommend removing any themes that you know for sure that you aren’t going to want to use again. It’s also good practice to remove any inactive themes for security reasons.
Remove inactive plugins
Plugins also take up disk space, so be sure to check if you have any installed plugins that are deactivated that you can remove immediately. Then check through to see if there are any activate plugins that you really don’t need, and remove these too.
As with themes, plugins can pose a security risk, so it’s always good practice to remove any plugins that you don’t need to improve the security of your website.
Delete unwanted emails
It’s not just your website and it’s content that takes up space on your hosting account. If you utilise the email accounts on your hosting account then your emails will also be taking up valuable space.
Make sure you regularly check through your emails and delete any unwanted emails, whether they be spam, irrelevant or just old emails that you no longer need.