With hosting space getting more and more affordable, it is easy to start piling up files and going for more storage space over time. It is also very tempting to host more websites, run more scripts and use various add-ons to make the cloud hosting service more economical or cost-efficient. Unfortunately, just like your normal PC at home, your cloud hosting account can become cluttered. Use these next few tips to keep it optimized at all times.
Clean Cache and Delete Unused Files
This first step is perhaps the easiest one to do: you need to delete files that are no longer in use. Cleaning your cloud hosting account brings benefits. First, you get to free up valuable hosting space. In fact, most users should be able to reclaim up to 40% of their hosting space just by cleaning old and unused files.
The second benefit is security. Old PHP files and scripts can pose serious security threats to your entire server. When a script no longer gets updated, it is prone to outside attacks and hacks. Deleting scripts you no longer use is the best way to go. This includes old WordPress plugins that you have deactivated a long time ago and themes you used once during the development stage of your site.
To take it a step further, you can also clean cache files from your server. There are several ways to do this depending on the kind of cloud hosting and caching mechanism you use. If your cloud hosting service offers cPanel, for example, you can clean cache directly from the administrative panel. Memcache or Nginx cache can be cleared using a simple SSH command.
Emails and Attachments
Most – if not all – of the time, your emails are hosted on the same server as your site. Emails are generally quite small, so storing them over an extended period of time should be fine. Once you start adding thousands of old, unused messages and their attachments, however, you may be looking at several gigabytes of valuable hosting space you can easily free up.
You can either clean emails and their attachments manually from your mail client – as long as it is told to sync deleted emails as well – or you can access the mail directory of your server and delete the files manually. Most email systems will automatically index the missing files and delete them from the archive the next time you open your inbox.
Another good tip to use when you really want to conserve hosting space is to automatically upload email attachments to free cloud storage services such as Google Drive or DropBox. This can be configured to run automatically, so you don’t need to store each email attachment manually every time a new email is received.
Accounts and Access Management
Security is always an important aspect of maintaining your own cloud hosting account. The only way you can maintain high level of security is by controlling access to different parts of the server meticulously. You may have an old server administrator or web developer whose logins are still in record and usable. Now would be the best time to delete them.
Don’t forget to check if the accounts you want to delete are tied to system processes. For instance, a server administrator might (perhaps accidentally) run a WordPress instance using his own account instead of the more conventional www-data user. Should you delete the administrator’s account, that WordPress installation will simply stop working.
Offload and Outsource
Cloud hosting is very flexible by nature, so there is no such thing as running out of space when you use a good cloud hosting service. You can always add more hosting space and server resources to the account whenever you like. Storing everything on a single account, however, may not be the most efficient way of doing things.
Content Distribution Network or CDN can really help distribute your site’s static elements much faster. They use multiple server notes located across the globe to make it easier for users to access the site. Offloading some of the static files – or even all of them – to a good CDN can really help speed up your site and keep your main hosting account lean.
The same goes for multimedia files. It is easy to host them on your server, but you can get so much more when you use available services such as YouTube and Vimeo. Not only will you offload a lot of large video files, you also get better analytics, the ability to monetize your videos and of course native YouTube embed for easy sharing.
There are still a lot of things you can do to optimize your cloud hosting account, so be sure to stay tuned for more updates right here on this site. For now, use the tips we just discussed earlier to free up some valuable hosting space and maintain your cloud hosting account’s overall performance.