Comprehensive Web hosting: filesystem quotas

Comprehensive web hosting is provided in different storage bands (see our charges page for details). This page describes how these bands are managed, how you can view how much space you are using, and the details of the warnings that we send out when you are close to the top of your storage band.

Storage band management

When you select a web hosting band, we set up limits on the web server reflecting the storage band you chose- there are two limits that get set - a `soft' limit and a `hard' limit. When you go over the soft limit you have 7 days before restrictions come into place, and if you go over the hard limit the restrictions come into place instantly. Once you go back under the soft limit the restrictions will be automatically removed. The restrictions in this case are that you will not be able to create any more files, or to increase the size of your current files. The rationale for a soft and a hard limit is to allow for times when it may be necessary to use more space than you have temporariliy - e.g. for an upgrade to your CMS.

For example, if you have choosen the '<= 250 MB' band, then the soft limit is 250MB, and the hard limit is 384MB. This means that you are free to use any amount of space under 250MB, but once you go over the soft limit of 250MB, you have 7 days before you will not be able to create new files or increase the amount of space your current files use. This will also happen if you ever use more than 384MB.

Currently this only applies to the files on the web server, and not to the amount of space used by any databases that are associated with your site.

Finding out your usage

There are various ways you can find out how much space you are using - there are tools installed on that you can use to directly query your site. For example, to see how much space the document root of the site uses you can log into access and run:

	username@access:~$ du -sh

We have also provided a command that will report on the quota of all your websites. This is the webquota command that will report on all of the sites that you have; note that the usage information is only updated once an hour. An example output of running this comand is:

	username@access:~$ webquota
        Please Note:
         the quota information for your web sites is *not* live information
         as as such may be up to an hour out of date
        site (hosted on
            Usage: 0.04 GB  Quota: 0.25 GB

Email warnings

We have set up email warnings for when one of your sites is close to the quota limit. If your site has used more than 90% of the quota, we will email a warning like:

The disk usage for your website WEBSITE (hosted on SERVER)
has almost reached your quota:

    Usage: USAGE GB  Quota: QUOTA GB

Please can you log in to and remove or compress files to reduce space. Alternatively,
if you would like to increase your quota, please have the website billing contact confirm this request
via email to, note that all upgrade options and prices are located on our website:  

Any additional charges will be worked out pro rata.

If you have any questions or if you require any further information, please contact your local IT Support staff
or the NSMS Service Desk.

(This message was generated automatically)

NSMS/Service Desk                              Tel: 01865 273209
IT Services, University of Oxford              Fax: 01865 273275
web site:

to the primary technical contacts for the site. We check for usage daily, but you will only receive warnings once per site per week.

Service area: 

Written by IT Services. Latest revision 23 June 2016