Email: Unlimited vs. Infinite
Email is one of those little things that you can easily forget about. You read it, maybe even type out a response and click send… but then you go on about your day, likely paying no mind at all to the fact that the little email actually does take up physical space on a hard drive within a server. This can lead to some major issues in the long run, however. Like personal fitness, it is something that you need to keep tabs on and do daily. Left unchecked, an inbox full of old email and spam can ultimately lead to detrimental issues.
What Unlimited Really Means
It’s easy to think that unlimited does actually mean infinite, but the reality is that physical limitations do exist; there will always be a finite amount of space, be it in your office or on a server. Every single file takes up space, even if just a minuscule amount, but those teeny-tiny amounts do add up when left unchecked!
This is most definitely applicable to email. If you don’t go through and remove old emails and spam from time to time it can really add up, just like cholesterol in your veins. Over time, the blockage can grow to become a serious issue.
Despite its name, an inode isn’t some new flashy Apple product, it’s a data structure used to keep information about a file on your hosting account. Things on your hosting account like emails, files, folders, or literally anything else stored on your server consumes a relative amount of inodes. There is a set limit of how many inodes you can utilize at any given time, which is the literal physical limitation that people may start to bump up against. A shared server imposes a limit of 250,000 inodes, and while that sounds like a lot it can easily be consumed by an unkempt inbox.
Although it’s easy to lose track of the situation and let it get out of hand, it’s actually quite as easy to nip it in the bud. Put aside some time every day to go through your inbox and trim the fat, deleting old emails, or even just attachments that are no longer relevant. Every little bit helps. Don’t forget to empty your trash and spam folders too!
Another solution might be to use an offsite mail fetch service such as Google. This will help reduce the use of Disk space and inodes, leaving you more legroom to work with.
This hygienic practice should also extend to any 3rd party email services as well like Gmail and Yahoo. Remember, it’s important to keep your inbox clutter free, not only for the health of your server but for the health of your business too!