Email disk usage warning overview


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 1000 MB (1 GB), but you can adjust or remove that limit in your panel.

DreamHost purges all spam and trash email messages after 15 days. Please make sure you check your spam and trash messages within this time frame.

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 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 your user accounts on the Disk Usage page.

This page can be accessed from the Manage Account page.

  • 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 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 notification. This is to notify you that you must take action to either delete email 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.

When you've cleared out old emails, the panel may take up to 24 hours to update. During that time, your email should function normally, but the panel may still show your user above quota.

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, if an email is sent to a DreamHost email with a quota limit set but not enough storage space left to accept the message, it will be bounced back to the original sender with a "Disk quota exceeded" error.

Common causes

  • 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 that does not have enough storage allocated to accept the email. In this case, a bounce is sent to the original sender.
  • You may have been sending multiple messages with attachments and haven't cleared your Sent folder recently. Sent messages are saved to the "Sent" folder, along with their attached files.

See also

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Article last updated PST.

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