Linux file system
A Linux file system, where data is stored, consists of data blocks and inodes.
Inodes keep all the metadata (owner, size, location, file type, etc.) about the file or a folder on the system and your account.
The more files and folders you have on your web hosting account – the more inodes you use.
Each time a file is opened, the kernel (Linux core) reads the inode, which consumes resources.
The more inodes you use – the more server resources are spent.
This is the primary reason why the inode number capacity is capped on major consumer based hosting services.
It’s necessary to cap the number of inodes per account to have a fair share of inodes among all accounts on a server and prevent system resource overuse by any one account.
How to check your inode usage
To check the inode usage on your web hosting account, go to your hosting control panel.
In our example, we’re using cPanel.
On your cPanel homepage, check your Inode usage under the Statistics section on the right-side frame:
How to reduce your inodes
There are several practical ways to reduce the number of inodes (files/folders) on your account.
Here are just a few:
- Remove all the files and folders on your account that aren’t actively used by your website
- Delete inactive plugins and themes from your website. If the plugin is just deactivated – it still uses inodes on your account as it’s not entirely removed
- Delete old backups, especially if they are being created automatically by a plugin or a third-party service. Download all backups locally to your computer, and remove them from your hosting account’s File Manager
- Remove unused image sizes from WordPress. Many themes generate multiple image sizes for each uploaded image, and that takes space on the server. If you’re not using all available image sizes – remove the unused ones from your account
- Clean up your email accounts, as your emails count towards the inode limits. Make sure to empty your Junk/Spam/Trash folders regularly, and delete non-important emails
- Purge the cache files if there are too many on your account. If your website uses file caching, make sure to purge cache often to remove the stale and unnecessary files from your account