While inode is not the most critical factor to look into when choosing a web host, it's one of the “good to know” especially if you are hosting a lot of websites in one hosting account.
What's an Inode?
Inode is created in your server every time a file is created or uploaded. When a file system is created, data structure that contain information about that particular file is created. Each file has an “i-number” and is identified by an inode number in the file system where it resides.
Inodes are used to store server file information – such as file user and group ownership, access mode (read, write, execute permissions), and file types. For most file types, the number of inodes available is fixed when the file system is created.
Inodes = Devil in Unlimited Hosting Offers?
Inode is one of the few ways to limit users' consumption in “unlimited hosting plans“. To keep server resources in good balance, hosting providers usually set a limit on inodes per account and will suspend users who exceed that limit.
Here are few examples
Hostgator users get 100,000 inodes per shared account by default. Users running with more than 100,000 inodes will not be included in Hostgator's weekly backup and their account be suspended if they go above 250,000 inodes.
Hostinger allows up to 250,000 per shared hosting account (see screenshot below).
Most shared hosting plans today allow up to 200,000 inodes per account – which is usually more than enough.
As with all cluttered storage drives, freeing up inodes on web hosting can often simply be a matter of getting rid of the junk. If you find yourself getting resource usage warnings because of your high inode count, there are a few ways you can quickly free up space with a bit of housekeeping.
1. Clear your Cache
Before you touch anything else, this is one of the first places you should look, especially if you’ve noticed a recent high volume of traffic. Many sites (especially those which are CMS-driven) make use of cache files.
Although often temporary, they can bulk up quickly if you overlook some control settings. If you’re using a CMS plugin, simply purging your cache can quickly free up inodes. For other sites it may be more involved and you may have to hunt for temporary files.
2. Lose Some Bulk
Many of us tend to make the mistake of not having good housekeeping practices. This means that we create files and constantly improve our sites – without getting rid of old junk. This can present problems in a number of ways.
For example, having unused old files lying around is not just a waste of inode count, but also increases your risk signature. If you find yourself short on space, do some housekeeping and get rid of the junk.
3. Email also Contributes to Inode Count
For those who have email included in your hosting accounts, bear in mind that your emails also factor in. One email may be an inode, but each attachment in it counts as one also. If you’re the type who doesn’t remove old email – sooner or later, things happen.
Clear up your email folders regularly and make sure to remove your junk mail as well. If you want to keep them, make a copy offline and don’t clutter up your web server.
Founder of WebHostingSecretRevealed.net (WHSR) - a hosting review trusted and used by 100,000's users. More than 15 years experience in web hosting, affiliate marketing, and SEO. Contributor to ProBlogger.net, Business.com, SocialMediaToday.com, and more.