June 1st, 2022 at 3:10 pm

HostArmada Inodes Manger: Reducing the Inodes usage in cPanel

7 minutes reading

Have you ever bumped into an error on your website when you are uploading an image, stating that the image cannot be uploaded for some strange reason? Have you ever seen a warning in the cPanel service indicating that you have reached the limit of inodes for your Web Hosting Account? 

These scenarios happen pretty often with big and busy websites. The most common reasons (but not limited to), based on our experience, are the number of images uploaded on the website and the number of cache files generated by some caching plugins. 

Alright, but what should I do when I reach the limit of inodes for my Web Hosting Account?

Keep on reading because, in the following lines of this post, we will show you an easy-to-follow, quick trick to maintain the inodes usage of your web hosting account in its healthy boundaries!

So, what an Inode is? 

By definition, an Inode is a structural component of a Unix-based file system. It is used to describe a file or a folder, and typically for each file/folder, a single Inode is being consumed. In simple words – if the inode consumption of your web hosting account is 15 000, this means that on your web hosting account, there are 15 000 files/folders. 

For example, you can imagine a single Inode as the box or package your smartphone came in. The package will always have the product description as well as the content of the package. Similarly, an Inode contains information about a single file such as ownership, access mode (read, write, execute permissions), and file type.

Why does the Inode usage grow in time?

Today, many websites are based on open-source platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, Magento, Prestashop, and many more. When you install such a platform, it comes with a certain number of files/folders that cannot be reduced. In fact, the default installation of such a platform is merely the beginning of the inode consumption. Here is a breakdown of how many inodes each of the said opensource platforms utilize when you get it installed:

  • WordPress 5.7.2: ~ 2500 Inodes
  • Drupal 8: ~24200 Inodes  
  • Prestashop: ~7900 Inodes
  • Magento 2.3.7(no sample data): ~91303 Inodes

After a platform is installed, typically, you would like to add your static files such as images, audio, video, CSS, javascript, and so on. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, this is the most natural thing to do in order to get your website visually and functionally matching your goal. 

However, every platform has its own opinion about how for example, images will be stored. 

Take, for example, WordPress. The platform has the option to generate different image sizes based on your personal needs. Why might you ask? – Because on the different areas of your website, you might need images that are of specific dimensions. So instead of processing every image manually and uploading each variation of the same image separately – WordPress will do that for you. Great, isn’t it? Except it is not if you do not control it!

Every plugin or visual theme that you install on your WordPress website has the option to define its own image dimensions in the WordPress configuration. This means that when you upload one image on your next excellent post, WordPress will make, for example, 5 or even 10 copies of the same image with different dimensions on the file system of your web hosting account. 

As we already explained, for each file, there is a separate inode that is used on the file system. So basically, for the one image that you have uploaded, the inode consumption might become 10. Let’s scale that. Let’s assume that in a single blog post, you use, on average 3 images. If your WordPress generates, let’s say 10 copies of 1 image, this means 30 images for a single blog post which translates to 30 inodes. If you post 1 blog post per day, this makes 31 posts in a month times 30 inodes; this makes 930 inodes per month. Not to mention that some caching plugins generate additional cached copies of the images, which multiply this usage even further. 

So why the limit?

The concept of limiting the inodes per web hosting account on the Shared Hosting is relatively new compared to other limitations such as the limit of RAM, for example. The need for such restriction was immense when the shared hosting providers started switching from HDD storage units to SSD. 

Every file that you host on your web hosting account is stored on a physical storage unit, and each such unit has a physical limit of how many files it can keep in addition to the regular limit of how much data it can store. Of course, that limit depends on quite a lot of factors, such as the file system type, for example, but the important thing here is that there is an actual limit of the inodes per storage unit. 

Back in the day, the SSD space was relatively more expensive, and in fact, it still is. To cover the price difference, the hosting providers started using smaller disks with fewer inodes. It sounds logical – reduce the inode usage so you can get more speed. But the websites of the existing clients were already big and with tons of files. So the web hosting companies were forced to adopt the Inodes limit as a standard on the Shared Hosting plans. 

We are proud to say that HostArmada has one of the most considerable limits for inodes on our Shared Hosting plans. Also, our policies are pretty soft – we will never suspend your account if you reach your inodes limit. Instead, we will do everything we can to assist you in resolving the issue. 

Maintaining Inodes usage with HostArmada Inodes manager.

Typically to maintain the Inodes usage of your web hosting account, you have to mess with the SSH service for your Web Hosting account. SSH stands for Secure Socket Layer, and it is the native way of how a user can communicate with the Operating System of their Web Hosting Account. 

Sometimes, you might not feel comfortable working with SSH as it involves a slightly complex authentication process, and you need to have knowledge and experience with the service so you can proficiently maintain the inodes usage of your web hosting account. 

As always, there is an alternative to that! It is called Inodes Manager, and it is the new kid in the block! 

The HostArmada Inodes Manger is an inhouse built plugin for cPanel. It offers a graphical representation of the inodes usage for your web hosting account in such a way that you can quickly review and determine which websites or physical folders are consuming most of the inodes for your web hosting account. 

In addition to that, you will be able to clear the folders (delete the files) on the fly or if you would like to review the files in each folder on your own. 

In simple words – it is the tool you need when the situation gets critical!

How to use the HostArmada Inodes Manager

We built this plugin with UX in mind so our users can easily read and decide what they can remove from their web hosting accounts. 

As this is a cPanel plugin, you will find it in the cPanel service for your web hosting account. Once you access it, right at the top of the page, you will see a section called “HOSTARMADA FEATURES”. In it, you will find the Inodes Manager.

Let’s see how the plugin looks. Logically, the plugin is separated into 3 main sections. The first one contains a brief explanation similar to the one we provided in this blog post. 

The second section shows you the current inodes usage for your entire cPanel account. 

The third and final one shows you the inodes usage per website. 

Let’s begin with the Current Usage section. There you will see a graphical representation of the used inodes. The color of the model will vary depending on your current Inodes usage. 

In the “Usage per domain” section, you will find a sorted table with all of your websites and their inodes usage. At the top of the table will always be the website with the most inodes usage. To browse the inodes usage per website, please click on the small eye icon next to every website.

Next, you will see a table with the top 20 folders sorted again by inodes usage. 

It is always advised first to find information before deleting a file or a folder. Therefore when you see a folder at the top of the list, do not clear it immediately. Instead, what you should be doing is that you should review the contents of that folder and determine what exactly in that folder is causing the excessive inodes usage. 

To navigate within a folder, click on the folder’s name.

This will bring another table, but this time you will be presented with the top 20 inodes using folders within the folder you just accessed. This can be performed as many times as you would like to. Remember, you should always first find out which folder is causing the excessive inodes usage and clean that folder in particular instead of the parent one. 

To clear a folder from its files, please click on the broom icon next to the folder you would like to clear. 

This will bring a warning that will suggest you first download the folder over FTP before clearing it, as otherwise, you might lose critical data. Also, you will be presented with the option to upgrade your plan to the next tier in line in case you do not want to clear any of the files that you host. 

Once you finally confirm that the folder should be cleared, our plugin will remove all the files within the folder and will return a message for success. 

That’s it! Pretty easy. 

Let’s wrap it up! 

As you can see, having the right tools when you are in need is quite handy. Yes, the HostArmada Inodes Manager is merely a tool at your disposal, but it is the difference between night and day for someone that is not familiar with the SSH service since, at the moment, there is no other way to maintain the inodes of your web hosting account.

HostArmada will continuously work in our client’s favor and best interest providing new tools, improvements, and constant innovations for all our customers! If you have an idea for a service or a tool that can ease your Web Hosting experience, do not hesitate to reach out!