7 Steps to Reduce the Disc Space Used by Your WordPress Website

Have you received a warning from your web hosting company notifying you of an unusual resource use from your account and asking you to upgrade from your shared hosting to a more expensive plan like a VPS or a dedicated server where your resource use will have less impact on other clients. That is probably because you are overusing the allocated space way beyond their expectation or going outside the prescribed usage in the web hosting company's fair usage policy. You'll need to manage the process by taking a look at your files and entire data on your WordPress website.

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In this post, we look at this issue as it affects a WordPress website. No doubt, WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) and website building tool today. That accounts for our dedication of much resources on WordPress management.

Managing your website size is crucial to running a stable website. Infact, you will find that one major cause of failed backups associated with WordPress is the lack of disk space. Once you are able to address this issue and prune down the size of your website, running a backup for your site will no longer be an issue.

Now, let us look at some steps that will help reduce the size of your WordPress website.

Step 1: Take a Manual Backup

Sounding this warning is never enough. You should never do anything to your site without first taking a backup. If this rule is ignored, then it means you may not have a functional backup from where to restore if something goes wrong.
You can backup the files using FTP software or use the cPanel backup tool to keep a full backup of your website.

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Step 2: Remove Redundant Themes and Plugins

Let's get on with the crucial steps. Deactivated themes and plugins on your WordPress dashboard take up space and also constitute a security risk. In WordPress, we have found that a site can still be breached via deactivated themes and plugins.

3. Re-access Your Active Plugins

It will be necessary to take a close look at your active plugins to determine if they are good and necessary to keep. You will find that you really may not need all active plugins. You will need to deactivate and remove them from your website. For instance, you may not need a WordPress sitemap plugin if you are using the WordPress SEO by Yoast. The SEO by Yoast plugin includes XML sitemap functionality and therefore you will not need a separate XML sitemap plugin. There are certain bloated plugins whose resource intensiveness is not worth the added functionality. Such plugins need to be taken out. Use the Plugin Performance Profiler Plugin to single out the main offenders. Educing the amount of plugins used on your WordPress website result in an increase in site speed which is good for SEO and users love a fast loading website.

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Step 4: Adjust Your Media Settings

Your media files account for the majority of your website's size.. Moreover, WordPress is particularly notorious for creating various duplicates of the same file and making your media folder two or three times larger than it should be. You need to define the image settings on Your website by navigating to Settings > Media: Adjust the Max Width and Max Height fields to zero in the Settings. Media screen and WordPress will no longer create them. This may have adverse effects depending on how your theme is set up so it  would be advised that you take a backup and experiment to be double sure.

A final tip is to use a lossless optimization plugin like WP Smush.it to reduce the size of your image files when they are uploaded. It'll only take a minute to install and activate the plugin and from then on it in it will help manage your image sizes.

Step 5: Delete Old Backups

Sites get bloated in many cases because users maintain multiple backups. They back quite often forgetting to take out old backups. This is not a healthy practice. It is recommended that schedule remote backups to cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive. That way, you will free your server space.

You will also need to double check to see that whatever processes that is causing backups to be stored locally is stopped. Remember to set up a remote backup before taking this step.

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6. Avoid Free Third Party Backup Plugins

You need to take this seriously. Avoid free plugins and be very wary in using them. Do a thorough assessment of the plugin before using any free one. Developers of third party plugins are sometimes not paying attention to how much space they take up on your server. If on the other hand you are using a more professional service such as ManageWP's scheduled backups feature, you may find that a copy of the backup is stored locally as well as remotely.

In this case you should make sure that only one backup is being kept and that duplicates aren't piling up over time. The tool should be excluding that backup folder from being included in the regular backups (as ManageWP does), which negates the size issue.

Step 7: Delete Random Files

There are lots of files that appear on your site which are useless and unneeded. This issue can come up occasionally. These files (which are actually core dumps) can be upwards of 100mb each and appear in droves, yet they shouldn't be there at all. You can safely delete them and inform your hosting provider of the issue so that they can resolve it.

As a rule, any file that is particularly large should be viewed with suspicion. As I said previously, there are few times when a website will utilize a large file. I am not however suggesting that you should start deleting large files. However, if you do find something suspicious, try to Google the issue to get suggestions or contact the WordPress support forums for help.

Let us have your suggestions on alternative or even better ways to implement the suggestions we have discussed here. Your comments will be appreciated.

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