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df -ht shows that disk usage is increasing rapidly (250 MB per day or more):

Filesystem             Size   Used  Available Capacity  Mounted on
/                       20G    14G       5.9G    71%    /

Even if I run du -skh * from root access, the amount of disk space does not show any increase, under any of top level directories, except /proc. du -skh * shows that much less disk space is being used.

Unfortunately /proc is quite cryptic and i don't think your supposed to delete anything in there.

Note: restarting the server, will restore all the unexplained disk usage increase.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 2 '11 at 22:25

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/proc does not consume any disk space. You likely want to look at /var/*, especially `/var/log/*´. –  Turbo J May 31 '11 at 23:02
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3 Answers

It's possible that the space is being taken up by one or more open files that have no hard links — these are temporary files that will be automatically deleted once the last handle to them is closed.

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off hand it sounds like a file is being filled up that has been removed, but the process is still active. Perhaps a log file or something.

You might have some cleaning daemon that purges out /tmp or something where a file is being written to by a process.

As long as the process is alive, the file will remain, even if it's directory entry is no longer there.

When the process dies, the file is finally closed. When the file is closed and doesn't have an actual directory entry, it finally gets deleted. But as long as it is opened, the space it consumes will remain, and it can continue to get larger.

When you reboot, you're obviously killing the process and the system then removes the orphaned file.

Now, as I said this is just a guess, but its somewhat explains what is happening to you.

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As others have suggested, this is almost certainly space taken up by a file that is still open but has been deleted.

If this is a Linux system, try running the following command as root:

lsof | grep deleted

That should let you identify the offending process.

(Also, /proc is a virtual file system full of little hooks into the kernel. It takes up zero space on disk and you definitely should not try to delete anything in there.)

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