Knowing how much space you need for your business website can be a tricky thing to understand. In this article we will try to tackle this question and answer other questions you might have about web space.
How much Web space do I need for a WordPress site? WordPress 5.0.2 is 10.8 megabytes. But you need to calculate more than just the size of WordPress. Things such as databases, email, themes, plugins and more will balloon your web requirements. Always make sure you have more than enough space otherwise you can run into serious website problems.
Down below we will get into the details of what takes up space and just how much space you will need to keep your website up and running.
Understanding space limitations
Website hosting comes in two flavors unlimited and limited. Most web hosts with the exceptions of some are pulling back from the unlimited web space for many reasons. One being that most people don’t need unlimited web space that cost money to keep files on a server somewhere.
Files on a web host work much of the same way your files on your phone or computer work. It stores them and then when someone wants to access them; they use your domain name as a telephone to call those files to their browser.
The reality is most web hosts can not give you unlimited space; it isn’t workable profit model. So when you are picking a host making sure you have more than enough web space should be your first goal.
As a rule of thumb for new websites I often recommend at least 1gb of space although depending on the site you can get away with 500 megabytes. Consult with your web designer to determine what you will need.
I like Bluehost for a beginner to medium websites; they offer unlimited which is nice and they don’t cost a fortune. I wouldn’t use them for higher end sites.
Other factors such as email and databases
People new to websites will often forget about things like databases and email but yet almost everyone I met needs these things. A database is the brains of your website and will often require a good bit of space to maintain.
Your database will keep information such as passwords, users, posts, pages and so much more. The more you add to your website the more information the database will contain the bigger it will get.
As a good rule of thumb you should also clean your database every so often to ensure it’s lean and working right. Several plugins that will do this automatically.
Email is another area that people often forget about when they are dealing with space issues. Everyone who wants to have an email using [email protected] will find that those emails quickly accumulate space.
I find a good buffer is about 250 megs and delete them after 30 days to ensure your email space does not grow to crazy sizes but you will need to experiment to find the right size for your situation. If you are email heavy and website light, this number maybe be unlimited or higher.
As above check with your web designer and find out the right number, this will often take rounds of experimenting before you hit on the right size.
Do Themes take up a lot of space?
Themes are often lean because many people want things to load quickly. Because of this growing trend themes are getting smaller.
Most of the most popular themes on the WordPress repository are light. Some themes like Astra are less than 50kb which is not even 1mb in space. Most themes are going this route and using less space which makes the theme lighter to load and easier on mobile applications.
Because of Google’s new mobile restrictions it doesn’t take much to figure out what themes are just not up to the level of some of these very lean ones.
But if I we worrying about space I would worry about what we talk about below before I would ever worry about themes.
What about Plugins?
Now plugins are a different beast. Plugins can range from very tiny to huge a bloated in size. Often the more plugins you have the bigger your website can be.
A plugin that does something simple can often be a few megs while something like a page builder such as Divi is 6.6 megs zipped. These type of plugins can make your website much bigger even with little content.
As a rule of thumb, only use as many plugins as you need and not more. Still these will only contribute to a small amount of your space below we dive into the main culprit that most people ignore.
Media and the rules
Most people will often forget that every good website needs images. One of the biggest problems with WordPress is people will often upload images that are not compressed and use a ton of space.
Before you ever upload an image to WordPress, I would make sure that image has been optimized for the web and then use a plugin to optimize it again. This not only helps your website load quicker but it will save you website space which will help you keep your site tiny.
Also, don‘t forget about things like videos and PDF handouts which will often take up a lot of space on a web host. Most small videos can be 250 to 500 megabytes while large high resolution videos can be as high as 1gb of space.
Make sure any web videos have optimized just like the images. I would recommend making sure this is done before uploading to WordPress as they don’t have any plugins that I know of that will do this for you.
Why is unlimited considered such a bad thing? The problem with unlimited unlike a limited web space model is that unless the company is huge, they can not support that type of claim. In fact, many unlimited web hosts have been found limiting you once you hit a certain point. So while your host may say you have unlimited web space, don’t be shocked if you open and email telling you that your website is down.
Just don’t be greedy and you find that you are all right.
Which web host do you recommend? I like Bluehost for a brand new to medium websites. They do unlimited web space but their customer service is excellent, and they have proven to be a reliable company. That’s more than most people can say about other web hosts.
How do you recommend calculating your Website space for existing websites? Normally before I analyze your web space requirements, I will do a backup of the website. I have an article called How to move a WordPress site fast. This will give you the total amount of web space that your website is using without reducing your files.
Can I use Cpanel to find out my total space? Yes. In Cpanel there will be a section labeled Disk Usage. Often you can click on this and it will give you a tree that you can expand to see where most of your web space is going to. Every modern host has this included in your hosting package although it might be called something different.
I hope this article has helped you determine the amount of web space you need for WordPress. As you can see from the list above, it’s not an easy thing to determine. You have a lot of factors but if you consider all of these things you will be in good position.