Your website is up and running beautifully one day, but then, out of the blue, you receive a message from your website hosting company telling you that your site is too large? Wait… What? Why? You haven’t made that many changes; so what’s happening?
Is it Urgent?
It’s not “you must drop everything right now” kind of urgent, but yes, it’s a pretty high priority. Your website host may suspend your account at worst but at the very least, will not be able to do any backups of your website and editing your website might just get that little bit harder until you have reduced its size.
Although the site’s size itself doesn’t affect the loading speed directly, the very same things that cause your site to have become this large may well have an impact on the speed as well.
So, let’s get started and get that size back down… (But please make sure you have a working backup first!):
You could be mistaken.
Sudden spikes in size may be an indicator that your site has been hacked, so the first thing to do is to check it for malware.
The most common cause for websites that use a lot of data, despite not having made any significant changes, are old backups. Whilst it’s great to make regular backups, it’s also important to delete some of the older ones. So, check if you have any backup plugins installed and how to delete the old versions and also check with your website host – good hosts will of course purge old backups automatically, but you never know!
Check if you still have any old and unused plugins and themes installed and start getting rid of them. I always like to keep just one other theme for testing.
A litte more advanced
Clean up your Media: go through your media and check if there are any unused images or videos and get deleting. It’s not always easy to determine whether your image is still in use – but the “unattached” tag by WordPress can help for simple sites. Be careful though, WordPress may well consider images as “unattached” if they are used in a plugin, rather than directly in a page or post. If you have a lot of images, there are some plugins that will help you see and sort the media size, so you can start with the larger files first for instant impact! If any gigantic images sneaked in, it’s worth re-sizing and re-uploading them.
Talking about plugins… Gallery plugins, such as NextGen, are awesome but often bypass the WordPress “Media” section altogether– so when you delete a gallery (or even the whole plugin) make sure that all the images are purged as well!
There are also some plugins (free and paid) that will help you find images that are not in use and delete the images to a temporary folder, so you can check if everything is working as normal, before you go ahead and delete them for good. Special caution here if you are using any gallery, slider or product plugins!
If you are still stuck for size, have a look at your site with a file manager (via cpanel or ftp) to see where the space is used. There are also several plugins that help you tidy up your database – used with caution and only if you know how to backup and restore a database in case things go wrong.
If none of the above work for you and / or you are just too busy or not interested doing the detective work, see if you can upgrade your hosting to include more space. Or, let us take care of it! We don’t just offer regular maintenance and support contracts, but also ad-hoc work on websites.