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What does the inode limit mean

One of the limits in the control panel is the inode limit. What is it, and what happens when you reach it?

What is an inode?

Unix-like systems, like Linux and macOS, have the concept of inodes. Every file and directory on a file system has an inode, containing details like permissions and last modification time. A file system has a limited number of inodes it can contain. And, the more inodes are on the system, the longer it takes to look up files, meaning the storage will be slower.

In your hosting account, the inode counter shows the number of files and directories in your website. These are only the files and directories accessible through FTP and the file manager, databases and emails are not counted towards the inode limit.

How to decrease the inode usage?

First of all, if you have a big script, or multiple scripts, 40-60% inode usage is normal and no reason to be concerned. As long as you're below 80% usage you don't need to worry about the limit.

Inodes are files and directories in your account, so to decrease your inode usage you need to delete files and directories in your account. A good way to keep your inode usage low is to make sure that any scripts or domain folders which are no longer in use are deleted.

Note that the inode counter is not a live counter. It's sampled only once every few hours. So if you just added or removed many files and are wondering why your inode usage hasn't changed, just wait for some time for the counter to update.

Some directories, like the ones containing log files, cannot be deleted. However, there are less than a dozen inodes per domain which cannot be deleted, which won't have any meaningful effect on your inode usage.

What happens if the limit is reached?

If the limit is reached, you will not be able to create any new files or directories on your account. Usually, your website will keep working, but if your website requires a file to be created to serve a request, it will crash.

Because of that's it's a good idea to make sure your account stays below the inode limit.