Five ways to optimise your web hosting

So you’ve bought a web hosting plan and just a few months in, your disk space quota is dangerously close to hitting 100%.  With web hosting companies often ready to hit you with additional charges or take the website offline should you exceed your bandwidth, you need to act swiftly especially with the cheaper hosting companies out there. It can be a confusing situation to find yourself in.

You spent hours estimating the required disk space and bandwidth your website would need ahead of time, and now here you are a short time later about to exceed all of those calculations.

Fortunately, it’s not always a case of you having got your sums wrong.  There are several ways in which your hosting account can quickly fill up its disk space without you realising.

Here are a few tips to help you bring that usage down.  It’s worth noting though, always exercise caution when cleaning up a server and deleting files, accidents can happen.


  • Clean up your chosen CMS
    If you’re using an open source application from which to manage your website, such as WordPress, Drupal, Magento or Joomla, the first thing to do is go through all of those plugins, modules and extensions that you have installed.

    Ensure that any you are using are up-to-date for security purposes, but then anything you are not actively using should be removed. Not only are these plugins filling up valuable disk space, but they can also increase the amount of bandwidth your website uses as some platforms will load the plugins even if they’re not being used.  This can also affect page load times.

  • Spring clean your mailbox
    Another element that can use a lot of space on your hosting is emails. If you’ve left yourself an unlimited email quota, then you’re going to need to review what emails you have on the server.  If you have a year’s worth of old email sitting around that you don’t need, the best course of action is to delete it.  It’s also better from a security point of view.

    Also, consider limiting the size of attachments you are sent, and even if there are emails that are large and have big attachments that you need, save them to your computer and remove them from your mailbox.  You will be surprised how much space that emails can take up.

  • Host images and video elsewhere
    There are many options out there now where media files can be uploaded free of charge. YouTube and Vimeo are great options for video content, while the number of platforms offering free image services is huge and varied (Flickr, Instagram, etc).  You can also try hosting images on free cloud platforms such as Dropbox.  Then, you can simply embed or write the images in to your web pages, thus saving a massive amount of diskspace.
  • Explore your files
    Anyone who has ever installed or built a website on a hosting server will be familiar with going in to File Explorer or entering your server via an FTP client only to see loads of files that are no longer relevant. Old image files, installation files, test files – the list goes on. If you’re certain all of these old files are not needed, get rid of them.  You can save tonnes of space.
  • Don’t allow users to upload their own files
    Once you’ve taken the steps above, another good exercise to do it analyse where your biggest files, or highest volume of files are used. If, for example, you allow your website users to upload files to the website, it may be time to disable this.  Forums are often rife for having huge amounts of files, through user avatars and upload media on profiles.  It’s probably time to trim all of this back.

Mars Cureg

Web designer by profession, photography hobbyist, T-shirt lover, design blog founder, gamer. Socially and physically awkward, lack of social skills, struggles to communicate with anyone who doesn't have a keyboard. Willing to walk to get to the promised land. Photo and video freelancer, SEO. Check out more on my Google+

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