An inode is short for 'index node' and in a Unix filesystem, it represents a single file system object.
In practise, an inode is counted for every single file, folder, email or any other unix object contained within your hosting account.
In order for us to ensure that our servers remain extremely fast, and that backups can be conducted in a timely fashion, each hosting account on our servers is allocated a certain number of inodes, as outlined in our resource usage policy.
If you reach the inode limit on your account, it will no longer be able to write additional inodes to disk, which can affect your service. For instance, new emails may not be able to arrive, it won't be possible to upload new files, and it could also result in your website showing an error. We provide very generous inode limits, but if you do hit your limit, you may need to either reduce your usage or upgrade your service to a plan which includes more inodes.
It is often the case that inodes are being consumed due to an error in your application - it could be a plugin that is writing too many files, an excessive cache folder which needs to be cleared periodically, or a mailbox which is unused and which is collecting email unnecessarily.
In order to help you identify where your inodes are being used, we have created an Inode Usage tool in cPanel which helps you check the number of inodes in use on your hosting account, broken down folder by folder in your account.
This demo assumes you've already logged in to cPanel.
Every file and folder in your account will use an inode. For an overview of your inode usage, you can view the File Usage section in the Statistics sidebar in cPanel:
The Inode Usage tool shows you the breakdown of inodes per folder in your account.
Let's learn how to use the Inode Usage tool.
1) Click the Inode Usage icon
From here you will see a few different sections on the page:
- The inodes used percentage bar
This shows your current inode usage, the inode limit for your plan type, and the percentage used in the bar.
- The current path
This shows the folder you are currently seeing the inode usage breakdown for. By default this is your home directory.
- The inode usage breakdown table
This has two columns: One for the number of inodes in that subfolder and one with the subfolder name.
2) To sort the breakdown table, click either the Inodes header or Folder header:
You can sort it by inodes (high-low) or folder (alphabetical).
3) To view the breakdown of a subfolder, click either the folder name or magnifying glass icon:
If a folder name is not clickable and it has no magnifying glass icon, that means the folder does not have subfolders inside it to scan further.
4) To go back to a previous folder, click the desired folder in the Current path section:
This is the end of the Inode Usage tool tutorial. You now know how to view the breakdown of inodes used by your account!
If you'd like to view or remove files/folders to free up inodes, you can see our File Manager tutorial next.
If the mail folder contains the most inodes, then you can use webmail to review and clear the files. See our tutorial on how to login webmail.
If you are unsure which inbox relates to the mail subfolder using the most inodes, you can check the Current path:
This folder is the default cPanel inbox. You can access it in cPanel > Email Accounts > Default Email Account tab.
This folder is the inbox for email@example.com. It can be accessed normally in cPanel > Email Accounts > Email Accounts tab.
If your default cPanel inbox has most of the inodes, you may want to check in cPanel > Default Address and change the setting to discard the email if no recipient exists. This will prevent the default cPanel inbox from being a catchall address which may fill with spam.