Why is My Storage So High?

  • Thread starter JGaulard
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May 5, 2021
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I've heard about this problem a few times now. Someone signs up for a starter account for their new blog, post a few times, and then begin receiving alerts that their account storage is reaching its limit. The first thought they have is, "How could that be? I haven't even written that much!" I'm here to tell you that it shouldn't be. When I listen to stories like this, I reach for my detective hat. I enjoy getting to the bottom of mysterious storage issues.

Let's Do the Math​

Okay, let's get going. If you've signed up for the free account, you get to use 3GB on their servers. That's not bad. Even after 100 posts, you should have quite a bit of storage left. If we do the math, we can see how much storage actually gets used.

Let's say you've written 100 posts and each of those posts includes 10 images. That's actually a lot of images per post, but for the sake of argument, let's just say that's what you've got. Also, for the sake of argument, let's say that each image is 1MB. These would be very large images. So if you have 10 images (at 1MB each) x 100 posts, you get 1000MB, which equals 1GB. You most likely don't have nearly what I just described, but that was the point. If you're going over your storage limit with any WordPress hosted account and you're just a beginner, something is going wrong.

What Counts Toward Storage?​

If you look at the WordPress page that discusses plans and storage, you'll see that their storage quota includes anything that's uploaded to the media library. These things might include logos for your site, photos and GIF files that you've included in posts and pages, PDF files that you're offering for download, ZIP files, audio and video files, and pretty much anything else that you've uploaded to the WordPress servers. It may also include plugins and themes, but I can't be 100% sure of that. Those things may be already hosted on their servers and you're just tapping into already existing files. What I am sure of is that anything you upload gets counted towards your quota.

Where's the Problem?​

The problem usually lies with photos that haven't been sized correctly and optimized for use on the web. If you were to upload very large, unoptimized images for all your posts, you'd fly right through your storage quota. And even if you upgraded WordPress plans to get 6GB, 13GB, or 200GB, you'd chew through those quotas as well. In order to set things straight, you need to fix the problem. The thing is, WordPress is supposed to reduce uploaded images to specific sizes according to their settings in the Settings > Media area. If the setting for large images is too great, you're unnecessarily images sizes you don't need.

I do want to warn you about something other than images that will shoot you right through your quota. If you were to upload just a few videos, you'd have real problems. So check your Media > Library area for those.

Oftentimes, beginners get caught up in all the bells and whistles of their new account. They play around and upload things they forget about. They also don't look at their storage quota and are very surprised when they look at the little bar that tells them they'll be over their cap. My advice would be to dive into the media area and scroll through ever page. Look for huge images and weird files, such as those for audio and video. I have a feeling the mystery will be quickly unearthed.

Have you ever gone over your storage quota with a account? If so, did you figure out what was wrong? What was it? What did you do to fix the issue?


May 10, 2021
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  • #2
I actually experienced this issue last year on my account. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why I continued to receive overage notifications inside of my WordPress account. At one point, my account was even locked. Actually, I was receiving overage notifications from my WordPress host, not from itself. I guess my version of WordPress was installed by the host.

Anyway, what we finally concluded was that a plugin I installed when I first set everything up was the problem. It was a backup plugin that continuously backed up my entire site, over and over and over again. I obviously didn't set it up correctly and it didn't take long for all those backed up files to create a big problem. Even if I never wrote one post or uploaded one image, I still would have eventually gone over my quota, just because of those backups. Crazy. So be careful of the plugins you install. I've heard so many bad stories about them.