What is an inode and how does it affect my webhosting account?

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An inode is an internal data structure that Linux uses to store information about a file system's object, file or directory. Inodes equals the total number of files and directories in a user account. A file or directory adds 1 to the inbox bill. Knowing the limits for this is of great importance when selecting a web hosting / service provider.

Many hosting services limit inodes to> 250,000, most often because a lot of inodes on a server can cause bugs on file system controls and in a shared account, there are several users.

To check how many inodes are in use, you can:

  • Use you by cPanel.
  • Use the command line and log in to your account with SSH.
  • Contact their support.

Or using a shell to count the total number of inodes for your account, type the following command:

find | wc -l

Press Enter.

To watch a sorted breakdown of inode usage for all sub directories found in the "current directory", type the following command:

find -printf "%h\n" | cut -d/ -f-2 | sort | uniq -c | sort -rn

NOTE! This command shows which directories use most inodes and that's what you should use! To display inode usage for a particular subdirectory, switch to the directory (for example, cd public_html) and type the same command again.

Now if you need to reduce inodes under your account, look for old emails and delete them, an email is the same as an inode!

Cron jobs, can also create a large number of files very quickly.

For the total number of inodes, type:

ls -id

Press Enter.

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