Hosting Guides

How Many Inodes Does Your Website Need? Hosting Inode Guide

A website is made up of files that are stored on your hosting server.

An Inode limit, broadly speaking, denotes the maximum number of files and folders you can store on your server.

For example, when a hosting company lists 200,000 as their Inode limit, it means that your website can’t comprise more than 200,000 files and folders.

How many Inodes does a WordPress website need?

A basic WordPress website with just a few installed plugins and themes plus a handful of posts typically uses up between 9,000 and 13,000 Inodes.

Beyond that, the number of Inodes your website may require will vary greatly. Here are some examples based on multiple WordPress sites that I have access to:

  • A blog with 250 posts (3-5 images per post) and around 30 plugins, uses up 25,000 Inodes.
  • A blog with 80 posts (3-5  images per post) and around 20 plugins, uses up 21,000 Inodes.
  • A small business website with just one page and six plugins installed uses up 17,000 Inodes.

It’s important to note that the Inode usage depends on many factors that go beyond the number of pages your WordPress website has. See my guide on factors that influence Inode usage and how to control them for details.

For example, a sophisticated WP theme with many customization options and features will comprise hundreds or thousands of files  – regardless of whether you use any of these extra features. Conversely, a basic WordPress theme may only comprise 50 or 60 files.

As a result, a website running a sophisticated theme could require significantly more Inodes than a website running a basic theme – even if the former has fewer posts and pages.

Generally, an amateur WordPress website that’s updated with new posts multiple times per week is very unlikely to require more than 35,000 Inodes – even after multiple years in operation.

How many Inodes does a custom-made website need?

Unfortunately, this question is impossible to answer.

A basic HTML/PHP-based website could comprise as few as 10-20 files, or as many as thousands if multiple scripts, CSS files, and JavaScript libraries are used.

If you are just starting out as a webmaster, you definitely want to stick to WordPress for its simplicity and low entry barrier.

However, if you are an advanced user planning to code your own website, you probably know better than anyone else how many Inodes you’ll need.

What happens if you exceed your Inode limit?

Usually, when you begin approaching your Inode limit, your hosting provider will send you a warning email.

This email will usually include advice on how to reduce the number of files your website uses.

If you fail to cut down on the number of files and exceed your limit anyway, your website will probably be taken down until you:

  • Delete files to free up Inodes, or;
  • Upgrade to a hosting plan with higher Inode limits

Some hosts may impose additional restrictions. For example, HostGator’s WP Cloud hosting has an Inode limit of 250,000. However, if you go past 100,000, they will no longer take automatic backups of your website.

Again, if you are using WordPress, see my guide on reducing the number of files your WP site uses.

Does “Unlimited Storage” mean that there is no Inode limit?

Definitely not.

In fact, when you see a host advertising unlimited server resources (including unlimited storage), it is usually a sure sign that the hosting company imposes an Inode limit.

So even if your provider officially offers “unlimited” disk space, you’ll only be able to store a certain maximum number of files on your server.

Checking out my reviews or contacting your host’s live chat are the fastest ways to find out what a provider’s Inode limit is.

What is a typical Inode limit at most shared hosting providers?

In my experience, the Inode limit offered by most shared hosts falls in the 150,000 – 250,000 range.

Often, this limit is the same regardless of the shared hosting plan you choose – whether you go for the cheapest or most expensive plan, you’ll encounter the same limit.

There are exceptions, however. For example, SiteGround’s cheapest shared WP hosting plan comes with a 150,000 limit, while their highest plan is limited to 450,000.

Some of the more expensive shared hosts don’t have Inode limits at all. WPX and WP Engine are good examples.

Should you worry about your host’s Inode limits?

If you are a beginner just launching your first WordPress website or two, Inode limits are not something you should be concerned about at all.
Your sites are highly unlikely to comprise enough files to put you in danger of exceeding most host’s Inode limits.

Experienced users with large websites, or anyone planning to host multiple websites with the same hosting company, should definitely take Inode limits into account.

Use the rough guidelines in this article to decide how many Inodes you might initially need, then read my hosting reviews to find out what the Inode limits are at the various providers.

Keep an eye on your Inode usage (you can view it after logging into cPanel, or just ask technical support for the information), and if you’re in danger of exceeding your limits, upgrade your plan or move to a different host that offers more Inodes.

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