How to fix SpinupWP ballooning disk space issue

A site we host on Digital Ocean recently went down. It took me a lot of troubleshooting and digging before realizing that the issue was that our disk space was maxed out on Digital Ocean. The site in question needs ~20gb of space, so our 50gb server should be plenty. But alas, there it was at 100% disk usage. And for those not in the know, when your server hits 100% disk space usage, the websites you are hosting on said server go down.

Once I realized that the disk was full, I started looking for big files on the server. It took me a couple of tries, because at first I was using an ssh user without full permissions. But once I switched to an ssh user with sudo permissions and ran a bunch of “du” commands to find big directories and files, I was able to discover the culprit. The offending directory was “/home/spinupwp/”.

We use SpinupWP’s excellent WordPress management tool to take care of the server admin tasks on this site, and, since this directory seemed like one that SpinupWP created, I contacted their support. They were very helpful, saying that the files in that directory seem “to be the remains from a failed attempt to restore a site. I think it’s safe to delete if needed.” I deleted the files, and problem solved!

Additional Notes:

One thing I keep learning over and over again is that the really tough problems like this ballooning disk usage issue still require human experts. There’s no ChatGPT or AI engine that could have solved this issue for me – The solution required a human (me) looking through thousands of files and directories, using my past experiences and WordPress expertise to spot something curious. So take that, artificial intelligence overlords!!

Anyway, I hope my experience here helps someone else who sees their disk usage jump unexpectedly!

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