Where is the disk space being used?
Thursday, January 2nd, 2020
Summary: If your intention is to use your web hosting account mainly for your website and your website relies mostly on HTML, PHP Scripts, and images – then the amount of disk space you really need may be minimal. Sure, more disk space for the same price might be appealing – but are you ever going to need that disk space? Why not focus on other server peripherals, like disk space, server response time, server reliability, and hosting provider reputation when choosing a web hosting provider?
In a previous post we learned that the average disk space being used by our accounts is right at 1.8GB. That kind of makes you wonder why web hosting companies are trying to sell you gobs of disk space that you do not need and will likely never use. A better approach might be to consider a reasonable amount of disk space on super fast solid state disks that do not have any moveable parts and can provide super fast load and response times.
To take this a step further, we decided to take a look at where specifically the disk space is being used on these accounts. If an average account is using 1.8GB of disk space – where is that disk space being used at and for what purpose? The results were interesting to us.
How did we conduct this survey? Well for this survey, we couldn’t take a look at all of our accounts… there was just too many. So we took a look at 100 random accounts that were using between 1.5GB and 5.5GB of disk space. Then from that we broke down the disk space usage into 8 categories: HTML Files, PHP Files, Mail, Image Files, Video Files, Zip files, Tar.gz files, and then any Other files. Did we mis-characterize some files? Probably. But our hope is that since we took 100 random samples, then the chances of this skewing the results is slim.
What’s interesting about these results is that far and away the largest percentage of the disk space is being used by email stored on the account. This is not all that surprising that this is the case, but the surprising part is by how much. The 43.3% being used by mail is over twice of the disk usage of the next category – the hard to define Other category – and over 3 times more than the next highest, Images. This tells us that mail is a huge part of web hosting when it comes to disk space storage.
The other takeaway from this is just how little HTML and PHP files factor into this, about 2.6% of the disk space is used by these two file types.
Video storage was small at 3.2% but this also factors into what type of website you are going to be using. The majority of websites are not video specific – only 31 of the 100 accounts had any videos to count. The issue with video is that if your website is heavily reliant on video, chances are really good that you are going to know about this and you’re going to have a much firmer grip on what your disk space needs are. The purpose of this study is more for general use – people that may not understand exactly how much disk space they need or where it’s being used.
Zip files, Tar.gz files, and likely a lot of the files in the Other category refer to mostly backup files – where users may choose to keep a backup of their account or script readily available on their web hosting account. A lot of times this space can be reclaimed if the user will download the backup files to their own computer for save keeping and delete the copy on the web hosting server.
This study was definitely interesting. And it gives us food for thought on how we might be better able to offer plans to better fit our customers needs. The big takeaway from all of this… if you’re puzzled by just how much disk space you really need for a web hosting plan… first consider if you’re website is going to be hosting a lot of videos, if it’s not then consider how you can manage the email accounts you expect to host on the account. Can you manage the disk space being used for those accounts? Perhaps even consider an alternative mail setup – we can help you with that. Outside of those two items – your disk space needs are probably going to be a lot less than you may see advertised with other web hosting providers. Consider other factors, like speed of the disks, are they SSD? Has that web hosting company been in business long enough to be equipped to handle factors like these?
There are a lot of factors that go into choosing a reliable web hosting provider. We encourage people to take a deeper look at what different web hosting providers offer instead of just focusing on the “bigger is better” in terms of raw numbers.
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