How much disk space do you need for a WordPress site?

Person editing a WordPress site
(Image credit: Pixabay)

Having a clear picture of how much disk space your WordPress website is going to need is crucial when choosing a web hosting provider and picking out the right hosting package.

It’s not only about how much of it you’re going to need right now but also about how much disk space you're going to need in the future when your site (hopefully) starts to grow.

First things first, let’s clear up what disk space is and why you should concern yourself with it. 

Also called storage space, web space, and local storage, disk space is an amount of physical storage on a server you’re renting from a web hosting provider. There, you can store all sorts of content including site layout, pages, text, logos, images, videos, databases, code, and so on – to put it simply, everything you can see on a site.

If you run out of disk space, your site will cease to grow, but it’s not all of it. Some hosts will let you know if you’re running low on space while others will temporarily shut down your web hosting account once you reach your limit without any warning.

So, to help you figure out how much disk space you’re going to need for your WordPress site, we’ve come up with this guide.

How much disk space do web hosts offer 

Since disk space is the amount of storage space your site will have on its servers, it’s critical to consider this before investing your time, money, and energy in a specific web hosting provider. So, make sure to compare plans, pricing, and available resources (yes, disk space but also bandwidth and RAM) before making a decisive decision.

With most entry-level hosting plans, whether WordPress-specific or unspecified, you’ll get 10GB of disk space (like with Bluehost, Kinsta, and SiteGround among other hosts).

However, now more and more hosts are throwing in a few dozen GB more, and some of them are going as far as to give unlimited storage space (DreamHost, HostGator, iPage, to name a few). This means that if your site were to go viral all of a sudden, you wouldn’t need to stress yourself about storage space – so, we hope the unlimited storage feature will grow into a worldwide trend.   

However, while having an unlimited disk space might look like a great gain at first, since most users need less than 10GB anyway, all this “unlimited storage” talk feels more like a smart marketing move than anything substantial.

How much disk space does an average WordPress site use

Since every site is built in its own way, there’s no one-size-fits-all type of answer for this question – each site has its own storage needs. At the same time, text-based sites with little to no images tend to take up little space, while those high on images and videos do the opposite. 

So, if we take a run-of-the-mill WordPress site and ask this question, the result would be roughly between 1GB and 2GB. 

A simple WordPress site would need to have a core installation of WordPress (which is currently around 31 MB in size), a theme (which varies between 1MB and 10MB), a cople of sweet plugins (these take up somewhat between 5MB and 10MB), a database (let’s say around 50MB for a business site), and WordPress code and database backups (which often gets overlooked). If your site has 10 themes and 10 plugins, that would add a mere 200MB at a maximum, which is next to nothing if our average web hosting plan offers a disk space of 10GB. 

Random access memory (or RAM for short) is one of the core indicators of the server’s performance, as well as the performance of your site – so, the faster the RAM, the faster the processing speed. 

Also, statistically, if your site takes more than three seconds to load on any device (desktops, tablets, and smartphones alike), its visitors will likely abandon your site altogether.

For starters, the WordPress app itself takes at least 512 MB of RAM – so, this is a bare-bones minimum you can’t work without. You can indeed run a simple site with as little as 256MB of RAM, but this doesn’t apply to WordPress sites, particularly if you want your site to have more than a passable performance. Therefore, don’t go below 512 MB of RAM.

Fortunately, most of the popular web hosting providers will supply you with much more than this.

How to work out how much disk space you need for your site

So, we’ve already figured out that an average WordPress website requires roughly 1GB to 2GB of disk space, but now it’s time for you to calculate how much space your WordPress site will need.

As suggested above, take into account the core WordPress installation together with plugins and any other third-party apps and scripts you think you’re going to use and HTML files (layout and content of the site).

Plus, if you've already prepared some content for your soon-to-be-created site (text, images, videos, and such), go to the folder with it, check how much space that content takes, and then try to make an educated guess about what you’ll need for the future. Also, don’t forget about things like email accounts, access logs, databases, and backups.

We should also note that sites that often publish new content and feature more multimedia files (such as e-commerce stores, blogs, and membership sites) tend to take up more disk space than simple business sites – so, if you plan to create such a site make sure it has enough space to grow.  

It’s also a smart strategy to learn about ways to optimize (and save) disk space before starting with the first steps. Most of the top tips recommend compressing large images and removing pretty much everything you’re not using or don’t intend to use in the future.

These include unused image sizes (since WordPress generates three sizes of all images you upload to your media library), drafts of blog pages or posts you aren’t planning on publishing, old and inactive themes, out-of-date and inactive plugins, spammy comments, and unwelcome emails. And if you really want to save space, remove WordPress backups – that is, delete outdated ones and download up-to-date ones to your computer.

Disk space is important

Whether you’re trying to make the right decision regarding your next web hosting package or making plans about your WordPress site’s future storage needs, it’s smart to have a clear idea of how much disk space your site will really need.

Fortunately, with most top web hosting providers the disk space is highly scalable, so there’s no reason to lose sleep over picking out the wrong package – you can simply upgrade your hosting plan and increase the disk space limit.   

Also, keep in mind that for an average WordPress site 10GB of disk space should be enough and to spare.

Mirza Bahic is a freelance tech journalist and blogger from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. For the past four years, Mirza has been ghostwriting for a number of tech start-ups from various industries, including cloud, retail and B2B technology.