MySQL InnoDB not releasing disk space after deleting data rows from table

I have one MySQL table using the InnoDB storage engine; it contains about 2M data rows. When I deleted data rows from the table, it did not release allocated disk space. Nor did the size of the ibdata1 file reduce after running the optimize table command.

Is there any way to reclaim disk space from MySQL?

I am in a bad situation; this application is running in about 50 different locations and now problem of low disk space is appearing at almost all of them.


Thank you for visiting the Q&A section on Magenaut. Please note that all the answers may not help you solve the issue immediately. So please treat them as advisements. If you found the post helpful (or not), leave a comment & I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Method 1

MySQL doesn’t reduce the size of ibdata1. Ever. Even if you use optimize table to free the space used from deleted records, it will reuse it later.

An alternative is to configure the server to use innodb_file_per_table, but this will require a backup, drop database and restore. The positive side is that the .ibd file for the table is reduced after an optimize table.

Method 2

Just had the same problem myself.

What happens is, that even if you drop the database, innodb will still not release disk space. I had to export, stop mysql, remove the files manually, start mysql, create database and users, and then import. Thank god I only had 200MB worth of rows, but it spared 250GB of innodb file.

Fail by design.

Method 3

If you don’t use innodb_file_per_table, reclaiming disk space is possible, but quite tedious, and requires a significant amount of downtime.

The How To is pretty in-depth – but I pasted the relevant part below.

Be sure to also retain a copy of your schema in your dump.

Currently, you cannot remove a data file from the system tablespace.
To decrease the system tablespace size, use this procedure:

Use mysqldump to dump all your InnoDB tables.

Stop the server.

Remove all the existing tablespace files, including the ibdata and
ib_log files. If you want to keep a backup copy of the information,
then copy all the ib* files to another location before the removing
the files in your MySQL installation.

Remove any .frm files for InnoDB tables.

Configure a new tablespace.

Restart the server.

Import the dump files.

Method 4

Ten years later and I had the same problem. I solved it in the following way:

  • I optimized all the databases remained.
  • I restarted my computer and MySQL on services (Windows+r –> services.msc)

That is all 🙂

Method 5

The shortest way I found was:


After truncating or deleting the unvanted records I ran this and the tablespace shrinked.

Here is a nice article by Shlomi Noach, where I found (this and more information about) this.

Credits to Shlomi Noach. Hope it helps. Just in case I’ll paste it here as well:

When working with InnoDB, you have two ways for managing the tablespace storage:

Throw everything in one big file (optionally split).
Have one file per table.
I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the two options, and will strive to convince that innodb_file_per_table is preferable.

A single tablespace

Having everything in one big file means all tables and indexes, from all schemes, are ‘mixed’ together in that file.

This allows for the following nice property: free space can be shared between different tables and different schemes. Thus, if I purge many rows from my log table, the now unused space can be occupied by new rows of any other table.

This same nice property also translates to a not so nice one: data can be greatly fragmented across the tablespace.

An annoying property of InnoDB’s tablespaces is that they never shrink. So after purging those rows from the log table, the tablespace file (usually ibdata1) still keeps the same storage. It does not release storage to the file system.

I’ve seen more than once how certain tables are left unwatched, growing until disk space reaches 90% and SMS notifications start beeping all around.

There’s little to do in this case. Well, one can always purge the rows. Sure, the space would be reused by InnoDB. But having a file which consumes some 80-90% of disk space is a performance catastrophe. It means the disk needle needs to move large distances. Overall disk performance runs very low.

The best way to solve this is to setup a new slave (after purging of the rows), and dump the data into that slave.

InnoDB Hot Backup

The funny thing is, the ibbackup utility will copy the tablespace file as it is. If it was 120GB, of which only 30GB are used, you still get a 120GB backed up and restored.

mysqldump, mk-parallel-dump

mysqldump would be your best choice if you only had the original machine to work with. Assuming you’re only using InnoDB, a dump with –single-transaction will do the job. Or you can utilize mk-parallel-dump to speed things up (depending on your dump method and accessibility needs, mind the locking).


With this parameter set, a .ibd file is created per table. What we get is this:

Tablespace is not shared among different tables, and certainly not among different schemes.
Each file is considered a tablespace of its own.
Again, tablespace never reduces in size.
It is possible to regain space per tablespace.
Wait. The last two seem conflicting, don’t they? Let’s explain.

In our log table example, we purge many rows (up to 90GB of data is removed). The .ibd file does not shrink. But we can do:


What will happen is that a new, temporary file is created, into which the table is rebuilt. Only existing data is added to the new table. Once comlete, the original table is removed, and the new table renamed as the original table.

Sure, this takes a long time, during which the table is completely locked: no writes and no reads allowed. But still – it allows us to regain disk space.

With the new InnoDB plugin, disk space is also regained when execuing a TRUNCATE TABLE log statement.

Fragmentation is not as bad as in a single tablespace: the data is limited within the boundaries of a smaller file.


One other nice thing about innodb_file_per_table is that it is possible to monitor table size on the file system level. You don’t need access to MySQL, to use SHOW TABLE STATUS or to query the INFORMATION_SCHEMA. You can just look up the top 10 largest files under your MySQL data directory (and subdirectories), and monitor their size. You can see which table grows fastest.


Last, it is not yet possible to backup single InnoDB tables by copying the .ibd files. But hopefully work will be done in this direction.

Method 6

Ran into this problem today (11 years after the question was originally asked) and was able to fix it by dropping the table and creating it again. I did not have to reinstall the DB or dump & restore, modify storage, change tablesapce, etc. – none of that.

I’m using InnoDB but not innodb_file_per_table so even after I deleted 900K rows from the table the DB size did not budge. So I dropped the table and created it again.

In my case, my table was cleaned out to zero rows, so it was easy for me to drop the table, but to retain the structure I ran

create table mynewtable as select * from myoldtable where 1=2;

Followed by

drop table myoldtable;

This dropped my DB size down from 5G to 400MB

Method 7

Other way to solve the problem of space reclaiming is, Create multiple partitions within table – Range based, Value based partitions and just drop/truncate the partition to reclaim the space, which will release the space used by whole data stored in the particular partition.

There will be some changes needed in table schema when you introduce the partitioning for your table like – Unique Keys, Indexes to include partition column etc.

Method 8

Year back i also faced same problem on mysql5.7 version and ibdata1 occupied 150 Gb.
so i added undo tablespaces

Take Mysqldump backup
Stop mysql service
Remove all data from data dir

Add below undo tablespace parameter in current my.cnf

 #undo tablespace
  innodb_undo_directory =  /var/lib/mysql/
  innodb_rollback_segments = 128 
  innodb_undo_tablespaces = 3
  innodb_undo_logs = 128  
  innodb_undo_log_truncate = ON

Start mysql service

store mysqldump backup

Problem resolved !!

Method 9

If the OPTIMIZE doesn’t solve your problem, try:




Method 10

I have same issue. I deleted all the data from logging_event table. But, the logging_event.ipd still consumes more than 15GB of data.
So, I have solved it in the following steps.

  1. Create new table from existing table.
    CREATE TABLE logging_event_new like logging_event;
  2. Drop the actual table.
    DROP TABLE logging_event;
  3. Rename New table to old
    RENAME TABLE logging_event_new to logging_event;

And, it worked for me.
Now, I have more than 15GB space available.

Method 11

There are several ways to reclaim diskspace after deleting data from table for MySQL Inodb engine

If you don’t use innodb_file_per_table from the beginning, dumping all data, delete all file, recreate database and import data again is only way ( check answers of FlipMcF above )

If you are using innodb_file_per_table, you may try

  1. If you can delete all data truncate command will delete data and reclaim diskspace for you.
  2. Alter table command will drop and recreate table so it can reclaim diskspace. Therefore after delete data, run alter table that change nothing to release hardisk ( ie: table TBL_A has charset uf8, after delete data run ALTER TABLE TBL_A charset utf8 -> this command change nothing from your table but It makes mysql recreate your table and regain diskspace
  3. Create TBL_B like TBL_A . Insert select data you want to keep from TBL_A into TBL_B. Drop TBL_A, and rename TBL_B to TBL_A. This way is very effective if TBL_A and data that needed to delete is big (delete command in MySQL innodb is very bad performance)

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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