Huge Core Dump Files in WordPress Folders

What are core dump files, and what do they signify in WordPress folders? I was surprised to see my WordPress folder sizes increasing and FTP revealed huge ‘Core’ dump files in several folders of my WordPress installation. As they gobbled up my server storage space, I had no idea where these came from and what to do with them.

WordPress core dump files

I found this 38MB core file in the root directory of my WordPress installation

core file

As I looked in subfolders, I found another 46MB core file in wp-admin

core dump

As you can see these are large files and occupy huge storage space on our server. Thankfully my hosting by Dreamhost has unlimited storage space, so I need not worry; but if your hosting has limited storage, it could add to lot of extra charges. I downloaded and tried opening these core files with Wordpad and a mix of gibberish text and symbols appeared.

Core Dump Files

I looked around for possible solutions and found more WordPress bloggers reporting this issue in the WordPress forums. I learnt that these are called Core Dump files and Wikipedia says core dump records the working memory of a computer program usually when the program crashes. Core dumps are often used to diagnose or debug errors in computer programs.

In these forums some people advised we can delete these files and save space after backing up all files and database. Some advise the core files can be read using GDB, the GNU Project debugger. I am not sure if I should delete these files and maybe you can help.

I understand that these files are hosted on our server to keep a record of useful data when the site crashed on a particular day, but I wonder if any hosting engineer is debugging this data or diagnosing why the server or unstable processes crashed or terminated.

Check your WordPress installation and post a comment if you also have “Core” dump files eating your server storage space. What are you going to do about it?