I was looking through my Cpanel recently and noticed that my backup status shows that my files “would not” be backed up. Whats that all about?
Well it appears my inode usage has gone above the 100,000 file usage range. Whats that mean? In a nut shell, any file associated with our cpanel counts as an inode.
I have several domains, email addresses, and CMS installs running so its easy to see where its all coming from.
To be sure I was able to click on the “inode distribution” link on the side bar of Cpanel and get a better idea of exactly where my inodes were coming from. I discovered that about half of my overall inode count was coming from email. Your situation might be different however, but you can annex Cpanel this way to some extent and find large file numbers and size. My mail path looks like this:
Basically every email counts as an inode. My main email address has an unlimited mail box size and I tend to check my email via webmail. This means all of these files stay on the server. Hence a rather large inode count.
To reduce this one can go into their webmail program start deleting old emails. A quicker way might be to setup a mail program on your local machine. In the setup process make sure to choose the option to download and then delete messages from the server.
My Mail program is Mac Mail. The option to delete messages is under Preferences > Accounts . Advanced tab.
Some things I consider are: Do I have backups locally? Yes I do (via Time Machine). Do I need these messages to be available from another machine > work for example (via webmail), or your mobile device. This could bea big issue if you travel and need the ticket info. In my case I had several years worth of email on the server.
I am going to pull them all onto my local machine, have mail program delete the rest. I will then run a backup. I can then change the setting on my local machine to “not” delete messages on the server. In my case this will remove half of my server inodes. No, my automatic backups should work again.
What else can you do to reduce inode usage?
Check to see how many CMS, blog, or other database related installs you have on your server. I happen to host a few sites for family and my church. However I did have several test installs that I was able to remove to help lower the inode count.
Another thing you could do might be to package collections of files into compressed zip files.