Disk Space Explained

A certain amount of disk space is allotted to each and every hosting account. This space is used to keep all the files which form your web site – including, HTML files, graphics, scripts, as well as multi-media content. Most often, the more money you pay for the hosting package, the more disk space and bandwidth you will get.

For a basic web site containing just a few pages you will need no less than 1 MB of disk space. Once you begin to add more content and/or include things such as downloadable files, pictures, music, and video you will need more disk space. Bear in mind that Email also takes up some of your disk space. If your account was given to you with a small disk allotment you may find that unsolicited Emails, or SPAM could be eating away at your disk space. Therefore, it is not a bad idea if you go through your inbox now and again in order to delete any unnecessary emails.

If you wonder what will happen if you use too much disk space, in fact, each web host has their own policies and regulations about this but in most cases, you might be charged for the extra space. Sometimes this penalty is a lot higher than regular rates for disk space so it is important to bear in mind how much space you are using. And, when you find that you are near to the limit, you must either buy yourself some more space or delete some files.

How can you tell how much space you are already using? In most hosting packages you get a control panel where you can make adjustments to almost any aspect of your account. These control panels often tell you how much disk space is being used and can also rate it against how much you were initially allotted so that you can quickly see if you have reached, or are approaching, your limit. If your hosting account doesn’t have this feature you can judge the amount of space by downloading your entire site to a folder on your personal computer so that you can verify how much space it takes.

As an approximate guide, estimate that the average web page (3 graphics and 2 screen lengths of text) takes about 20 kb (maximum). So at this rate, a hosting package with 10 MB can have approximately 500 pages. Since most of the small sites are less than 50 pages, about 10 MB should be more than enough for you to get started. If you are wondering about databases, they are habitually calculated separately from your disk allotment. But do check with your web host to see what their policies are.

If you add music or video files on your website your need for disk space (and bandwidth) will start to increase. A regular 3 minute MP3 file takes about 2.5 to 3 MB of disk space. A short video (poor quality) can take 1 MB. So a good rule for those wishing to host multimedia is to guess the total size of the files and get an account with double that space in order to allow for future expansion. You must always check with your web host first though, before placing sound or video files on your website. Some web hosts have policies against this sort of content due to the fact that it puts a strain on the allotted bandwidth – which is a serious consideration if you have a shared hosting package.


Michael Beattie is contributing editor at WebDesignArticles.net. This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.

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