Websites are hosted on servers, which are powerful pieces of hardware that house websites and data related to those sites. Every component of your website is stored on a server and accessed through your web host. 

Servers are physically located in data centers, which are typically run and managed by different web hosting companies.

In hosting, disk space is the amount of space available on the server for storing the content of your site. This content includes pages, images, videos, files, databases, among others. In some cases, it can also be used to store emails, but this is not a rule. When you host a website, all your content is stored in that space. As you update it, new content is being stored. This is done automatically and no action is required.

Web hosts provide the technology and server space required for your website to be accessed on the Internet. This allows users to search for your site and view your web pages online.

Reducing Server Disk Space is a big issue for Web-to-print 

To survive the die-hard competition of the present eCommerce print industry, businesses are now offering digital storefronts. Customers are now capable of ordering a product online or even customize it based on their preferences. And web-to-print technology has become an exceptional solution for them, no doubt.

Web-to-print helps printers with faster and efficient production as well as enhances customer experience level and satisfaction. It’s more than online shopping for customers and print solutions for businesses. 

If a web-to-print doesn't have its own in-house print shop, it will partner with one. Print projects can include anything from business cards and brochures to posters and pop-ups.

As time goes by, the business gets bigger with hundreds of orders a day. You might need a good design management system to avoid unnecessary mistakes. A large quantity of saved designs, uploaded images on your server disk space is also a considerable problem. 

Your server disk space has a critical role in keeping your website’s availability higher and supporting all the storage-related operations.  The more images you upload, the more orders are made with saved product designs, the more disk space your site will occupy. Over time, your server and applications data take up more space, which gradually approaches 100% disk capacity. After a while, you may find that there’s no more disk space available. Running out of storage is an unfortunate event and can render your server unavailable, crash your website, worst of all, destroy your visitor’s experience. 

Optimizing server performance is important in supporting the end-user experience. Web server monitoring and optimization help you to troubleshoot bottlenecks as they emerge and optimize server performance. Web server optimization allows for improved performance and speed required for end-user satisfaction.  When a web server is not optimized:

  • Your website will get 11% fewer page views compared to your competitors and a 16% reduction in customer satisfaction
  • Your website conversions will decrease by 7%

Solutions to the problems 

Some web-to-print owners choose to buy additional disk space for their websites by upgrading the hosting package. However, this option will cost you tons of money because you have to keep upgrading your hosting package to be fitted with your business expansion.  In addition, some hosting suppliers don’t have the packages to support your requirements or refuse to host an extremely data-heavy website. In that case, you have to consider switching to a different hosting provider. Very frustrating!!!

Understanding that this challenge might cause every web-to-print owner frequent headaches, we have spent time investigating to find solutions for this issue. These 2 following solutions are the most interested by our clients purchased CMSMART standard Printshop solution and NBDesigner plugin. If you are looking for a solution to monitor and optimize the server disk space of your web-to-print you could consider and choose to integrate one function on your website. 

Note: those functions are additional services, not included in Standard products. 

1. Designer Manager Function Integration

This design manager function allows to manually and automatically delete existing design files from the website server to free up disk space. The admin could choose to manually delete design files from one user or automatically delete design files that reach the expired date. The feature is described in the following flowchart to make it easier to understand. 

We developed a separate dashboard in the back-end for the admin to manage all those design files from customers. This dashboard contains 2 tabs: 

  • NBDesign Management: It shows a List of designs filtered by the user. The admin could check and manually delete each or multiple design files from the list. After the file is deleted, the system then sends a notification email to the customer. Those deleted files are saved to delete logs. The admin could view the log of deleted designs later if he/she wants. 

  • Setting tab: It calculates the days from the date one design file was created. The admin could set up the expired time. When an existing design file reaches the expired time, it is automatically deleted from your server. 

The admin also could set up the email content to be automatically sent to the customers once the design file is deleted. 

There are different cases applied for per customer group:

For registered customers:

  • If they design, click on the Save for later button on the editor page, all data will be stored in the database with the time admin setting (taking from setting Saved design Expiration Date). 

  • If they design, click on Process button and then Checkout, all data will be stored in database and server disk with the time that admin setting (taking setting from Design attached to order with customer Expiration Date). 

For non-registered customers: 

  • If they design, click on Process button and then Checkout, all data will be stored in the database with the time that admin setting (taking setting from Design attached to order with guest Expiration Date)

For both registered and non-registered:

  • If they design then drop the design, upload design, or upload image on the editor, all data are stored on the database with the time admin setting (take the setting from Dropped Design Assets Expiration Date)

  • Dropped design assets should include both scenarios:

    • Assets uploaded in Photo upload inside the editor

  • Assets uploaded in Upload Design functionality

  • If pressing 'Process', NBDesigner generates design data/files stored in the database and disk

The system automatically deletes design files that expire during the day and sends emails to customers. 

For end-users, they could manage which files are deleted, which will be deleted in 1 week, or reset the expired time. All in buyer dashboard. 

From My account -> My design

  • It shows all user’s design files. The user could edit the design, save for later or reset the time. 

  • There is a warning shown 1 week before the design is deleted and one after the design is deleted. The warning also comes with an option to never show again.

2. AWS S3 Storage integration 

Amazon Simple Storage Service, widely known as Amazon S3, is a highly scalable, fast, and durable solution for object-level storage of any data type. Unlike the operating systems we are all used to, Amazon S3 does not store files in a file system, instead, it stores files as objects. Object Storage allows users to upload files, videos, and documents like you were to upload files, videos, and documents to popular cloud storage products. 

This makes Amazon S3 very flexible and platform agnostic.

To avoid your server disk space running out of storage, instead of storing your uploaded images or design files on your server, we synchronize output files to Amazon S3. Here is how it works. 

 

  •  When users design online or upload design files, the system compresses all images and design files of the same order in one folder. The folder name is the order number. This folder contains all images, design files, and the order summary. 
  •  When users edit the design or reupload design files, the system recompresses all design files again in one folder. The folder name is the order number. This folder contains all images, design files (lastest, updated), and the order summary. 
  • After the files are compressed, the zip files are uploaded to AWS S3 storage in specific folders. Then, the admin could download the zip files from the dashboard. 

A quick overview of how to operate the synchronization feature:


Many firms in the world use S3 to secure millions of objects. Costs can grow or reduce depending on demand and S3 allows implementation in few minutes. Many industries such as the financial service sector, entertainment, and health use S3 to develop big data, transcode, or archive.  

Besides the AWS S3 storage, you could also consider other cloud storage such as Google Cloud Storage, Dropbox, etc... All of them have their own strong and weak points. Choosing one depends on your needs and business requirements.  

There are quite a few things that can eat up your disk space. Finding the cause can be tricky, but it is worthwhile because cleaning up your disk space can make your site faster, more efficient, and can save you money. There are so many tips out there to reduce your site's disk space usage. However, in this case study article, we only mentioned these 2 solutions which we thought are useful tips for web-to-print. Many clients have shared with us that they had frequent headaches with this issue and need a solution for that. These two functions integration themself surely help to free up website disk space periodically and they do not have to upgrade your hosting package too frequently at all. 

Have you ever had a disk space problem? Please share your experience by leaving a comment below!

And, if you need assistance with your disk space issues, do get in touch. We’d be happy to give you some useful advice.

Some words from CMSMART team 

As an experienced software and website development company, we're focused on developing technologies that respond to our clients in the printing industry needs. We deliver custom-built eCommerce web to print solutions, third-party plugins integrations, and all the eCommerce related-services that help your printing business to grow.

Web-to-print opens the door to infinite possibilities for you to customize your print business infrastructure. Moreover, your customers and prospects get the ultimate freedom to personalize their products based on their tastes and preferences.

However, there is no web-to-print solution that could give you a management system that could exactly fit your business model and printing industry needs. All ready-to-use solutions are built to meet standard requirements only. If you want to achieve your unique business needs, you could consider upgrading the standard solution by customizing some existing modules or adding new features. CMSMART could help you to customize the standard tools or develop any kind of software as per your request.

If you are interested to add this design management function to your website, or you are intending to build an eCommerce website for selling personalized products but do not know where to start, do not hesitate to contact our sales consultant - Mr. Vincent Ray through his email vincent@cmsmart.net, WhatsApp +84 868 901 261 or Skype live:vincent_4281 for a private discussion.

Let us help to build up everything for you!