How to free up storage on your account

How to Free up Storage

Why do I need to care about storage space?

Although we’re talking about our web hosting accounts in this article, you need to care about storage in general! How much space does your music take up on your phone? What about all those videos and photos? Every device and account has a limited amount of data associated with it. If you need more space, then you’ll pay extra. A google account comes with 15GB for free. Once you use it up, everything stops working – you can’t back up any more photos, and you can’t get any more emails. (Pro tip: that’s why I recommend having a dedicated Gmail account for your photo backups!). It’s the same with Apple’s iCloud. Once you run out of space, you need to either delete things or pay for more storage. Your web hosting account is no different. And once you run out of space, it could bring down your website.

Fortunately there are some handy tips and tricks to avoid getting into this situation!

What takes up the most space in my account?

As a general principle, videos take up the most space, then audio files (eg that voice recorder app on your phone) then photos and then files like large documents or pdfs – generally with embedded images. So if you are looking to save space, start by deleting videos to get the most ‘bang for your buck.

OK so for my Web Hosting what do I do to free up space?

Managing Space on your Website

We build our websites as efficiently as possible. If you are uploading images or files to the site after we hand it over, we ask that you make those images the right size, and that you optimize them. We’ll also set limits on the maximum file size you can upload, and have tools running behind the scenes to further compress images. We do this not just to save space on the server, but also to keep your pages lean and as lightweight as possible so they load faster – which improves your SEO. We also encourage the use of YouTube or Vimeo to embed videos on your site, and would never recommend uploading videos directly.

Helpfully we have some handy guides on how to optimise files:

Managing Your Emails

If your webhosting account is running out of space, chances are it’s your email account that is to blame. Your email account(s) wherever they are hosted should also be managed efficiently. Here’s how.

Never send Large Files via Email – Use WeTransfer Instead

As a general principle never send large files over email. It impacts not just you but the people you send the emails to! Instead we recommend sending all videos and images via WeTransfer. This is a great service offering a generous free tier – and it’s really easy to use! If you’ve tried dropbox in the past and been put off, give WeTransfer a go.

Maintain Good Housekeeping in your Email Accounts

We all fall foul of this one. We start with the best intentions and then life gets in the way and all of a sudden our mailboxes have filled up. If you are in this situation then you have 2 choices – delete large emails or archive messages to your computer.

1. Delete messages:

You can delete messages so that you reduce your usage of storage space on the server. This is the simplest solution – especially if you don’t really need to store all your old email messages. If you know you will never ever have to refer to an email that’s e.g. over a year old, you could manually delete all messages this old from your mailbox.

This is the simplest solution, but possibly not the best solution for everybody. Having said that, it’s quite good to get into the habit of deleting irrelevant emails every day as they come in – this saves space on the mail server and, if you later archive these messages on your own computer, will save space there as well.

You can search for messages larger than a certain size, and delete messages with large attachments. Instructions on how to do this will vary from platform to platform depending on your email client. Here is an example for Thunderbird (our preferred client):

Go to Edit / Find / Search messages. Then simply search on ‘size’ ‘is greater than’ 1024 – this pulls up all messages larger than 1MB. Make sure you have selected your mailbox in the ‘search for messages in’ dropdown at the top.

You can order messages by size, and start to address the largest ones. If you don’t see that option on the toolbar, then head to the right hand corner and ‘select columns to display’ and tick size. More on how to do that here:

If you are deleting messages to free up space – remember to empty your bin afterwards!

2. Archive your old emails:

This option is a sort of cross between using IMAP (messages stored on a ‘cloud’ server and accessible via multiple devices) and using POP3 (messages stored on a physical device). For new emails, you retain all the benefits of IMAP, and its ability to synch your email between your different devices. But for your old emails, these are downloaded to one of your devices (e.g. your desktop computer) and deleted from the mail server. Old emails will then only be visible on the one device where you archived the mail. Email applications will generally have an archiving function. For example, in Microsoft Outlook, Auto Archive can automate the archiving task for you, checking regularly for mail that is older than X months and archiving it to be stored locally on your computer.

This Microsoft article describes how to use the “Auto Archive” function in Outlook: In addition, a further setting may need to be configured to ensure that archived emails are removed from the mailserver: – in Tools … Accounts … (..account..) … More settings … Advanced – check Purge items when switching folders while online.

The Auto Archive process can also be used to delete old messages, instead of deleting them manually as described in option 1. So, for example, if you know you don’t ever need emails that are older than e.g. a year, your can use the Auto Archive settings to delete these old emails. See the Microsoft article mentioned above for more information.

Thunderbird does not offer an automatic archive but it’s simple to do this manually:

Bear in mind that your archived mail is downloaded to your computer and deleted from the mail server. So make sure that the location where your email application archives your email is part of your regular (hopefully daily!) backup plan – otherwise you run the risk of losing all your emails in the event of a disaster such as a fire or the theft or failure of your computer.

How will I know if my Web Hosting is Running Short on Storage?

We’ll let you know because we have monitoring in place to give you advance warning!

Be notified when we post a new guide!

If you are interested in keeping up to date with our help guides, sign up below to receive a notification of new posts. We'll only send you an update once a month. Please check your spam folder if you don't receive the opt-in email!

Scroll to Top