Disk Usage Warning

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DreamHost offers disk-related limitations (quotas) for email accounts on its servers. This allows you to control the amount of storage for each email address. By default, all new email addresses are limited to 200MB, but you can adjust or remove that limit in your panel.

If that limit is set for a mail user, you (or the owner/administrator of the account) may receive Disk Usage Warning email notices when a user account approaches, reaches, or exceeds those limits. Your users may also receive these messages in an effort to let you know what's going on, so that you can take appropriate actions to resolve the situation.

Viewing your disk quota statistics

You can view the disk usage statistics for all of your user accounts on the (Panel > 'Billing & Account' > 'Disk Usage') page.

Dh-kb-note-icon.fw.png Notes:
  • The panel statistics only update once per night so any changes you make during the day won't be reflected in the panel until the next day.
  • Changes to your quota limit in the panel are not instantaneous. Those types of changes often take several hours to be pushed to the live servers.
  • All usage under 10MB shows as < 10 MB.


When an email account reaches/exceeds its disk limit, it usually stops working and displays various errors when you access the mailbox (e.g., "IMAP connection dropped"). It also bounces incoming messages.

Panel and email warnings

Once your quota limit is reached, DreamHost sends the account owner an email with the following contents:

Disk Usage Warning Email Notification.png

This is to notify you that you must take action to either delete mail or increase your quota limit. Additionally, the panel shows a warning next to the email address:

Disk Usage Warning Panel Warning.png

Again, the solution is to either delete mail or increase your quota limit.

Common errors

If a disk limit is set, you may see the following errors when the quota is hit.

  • Disk quota exceeded
  • IMAP connection dropped
  • insufficient disk space
  • Unable to create file...
  • Unable to delete file...
  • touch: cannot touch...
  • Bounced email

For example, the following bounce message was received when an email was sent to a DreamHost email with a quota limit set. Because there was not enough storage space left to accept the message, it was bounced back to the original sender:

Disk Usage Warning Bounce.fw.png

Common causes

  • You may have the Inbox Archiver configured to move messages from your inbox to the "old-messages" folder. There may be so many messages in this folder that you are not able to index it to find out how many are in there. If this is the case, please contact support for assistance (either in chat or by submitting a support ticket).
  • You haven't emptied or purged the "Trash" folder. Disk space is NOT necessarily recovered when messages are deleted. Messages are often moved to the "Trash" folder (or whatever folder your email client is configured to use for this purpose) so you can recover them if necessary.
  • You attempted to send an email with an attachment to an address which does not have enough storage allocated to accept the email. In this case, a bounce is sent to the original sender.

General consideration of the email quota limit

Whenever you create a new email user account, you’re given the option to limit the total disk usage. By default, this is set to 200MB. DreamHost recommends that if you do set a limit, raise that number if you're expecting to store/save a lot of mail through that new email address and leave it on DreamHost's servers (as opposed to downloading it off the server using a POP3 connection).

Total disk usage of 200 MB is usually a good amount for regular mail, but when it comes to HTML mail and attachments, you'll quickly reach that limit which causes errors until it's changed. If you set a limit and then later you need to change it or remove it entirely, you can do so by editing the email address on the (Panel > 'Mail' > 'Manage Email') page.

Dh-kb-important-icon.fw.png Important: DreamHost recommends that you never set an email account with a disk limit below 100MB as most email clients require some free space in order to operate (even to delete messages). If an email account reaches/exceeds its disk limit, it displays errors and bounce incoming messages. If that happens, you'll need to increase/remove the disk limit in order to get it working again. However, DreamHost also does not not recommended storing over 1000MB of mail as this could cause connection failures in Webmail when attempting to load your Inbox.

DreamHost mail servers allow incoming messages as large as 40MB, and a couple of large messages can easily fill your account very quickly if its has a very low disk limit. For more information on incoming message limitations, see the following article:

Dh-kb-note-icon.fw.png Note: When changing/removing disk limits (quotas), it can sometimes take several hours for the changes to be pushed to the live servers.

If your account reaches/exceeds its disk limit, and you've made a change via the panel, you may want to contact support through a ticket or by starting a “Chat Live” session (using the “Chat Live” button on any page of the panel) and request if support can expedite the change for you.

Adjusting/removing the quota limit

  1. Navigate to the (Panel > 'Mail' > 'Manage Email') page.
  2. Click the Edit link for the address in question.
    The email edit page appears:
    Disk Usage Warning Edit.png
  3. Either increase the value of the "Limit total disk usage" field, or uncheck the MB box.
    Dh-kb-note-icon.fw.png Note: If you increase the disk limit, make sure that the "Email me daily warnings" option is checked so you or the user are notified if the limit is ever hit.

  4. Click the blue Save changes to save your changes.