I use Google sites for file repository, to be later retrieved by others. As you understand, the files sometimes go through modifications. And whenever, I upload the modified file, it is saved as a new version.

Now, when I have uploaded the new version, the old file became irrelevant. Moreover, there is an upper limit at Google sites on the usage of space. (Which is only 100 MB and quickly runs out.)

See this example below.

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Google is storing four versions of the first file, five versions of the last three files. For me, the latest version would have fully served the purpose.

Is there any way I can delete the old versions and keep only the current version? Deleting all the versions and then uploading the latest one is too cumbersome.

  • Are you sure old versions of files count against the storage limit? Feb 25, 2013 at 15:00
  • I was under the impression that since all the versions are always available for download, it counts towards my storage limit. Do you have another opinion? This document does not mention a thing, http://support.google.com/sites/answer/96770?hl=en.
    – Masroor
    Feb 25, 2013 at 15:28
  • 1
    Unfortunately I don't have any other information. The documentation for Google Docs, though, states: "Do multiple revisions of a file sync to my computer, and does this count against my storage limit? Multiple revisions of a file are available online, but only the latest version is available on your computer. The online revisions are not counted toward your storage quota unless you’ve explicitly decided to keep older revisions." (from support.google.com/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2490100). Of course, things might be different for Google Sites. Feb 25, 2013 at 17:26

3 Answers 3


After the suggestive comment from Vidar S. Ramdal, I decided to practically test whether different versions of the same file count towards total storage.

There can be three scenarios for this,

  1. Only the latest version counts towards storage.
  2. Total size of all the versions counts towards storage.
  3. Difference of various versions counts towards storage.

I created a site to test the above.

At the very beginning, there was no file in the site.

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And the site usage was shown as,

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We can assume that around 1MB is consumed as site overhead.

Then I uploaded a file of around 1 MB

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Site usage was correctly reflected (1 MB + 1 MB = 2 MB) for version 1 of the file.

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Then I changed a the file to bigger size, around 4 MB and uploaded this file.

enter image description here

Site usage was shown like this version 2 of the file.

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File size increment, 3 MB. Reported usage increment around 3 MB.

Still, I uploaded version 3 of the same file.

enter image description here

Site usage was shown like this version 3 of the file.

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File size increment, around 2 MB. Usage increment around 2 MB.

Finally, I uploaded a version 4 of the above file.

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Site usage shown like this for version 4 of the file, with very slight change in file size.

enter image description here

File size increment, around 10 K. Reported usage increment was around 1 MB.

So, now this site have total four versions of the same file with the sizes 1 MB, 4 MB, 7 MB and 7 MB. The total size of all the versions is 18 MB.

However, with the total reported usage being 8% of 100 MB = 8 MB.

So, we have very strong (circumstantial) evidence to suggest that Google uses an intelligent file difference policy to store the files. And hence only the incremental size counts towards total storage.

Finally, I replaced the file with a version of very small size.

enter image description here

The reported storage usage was like this.

enter image description here

This time, I am not sure what to conclude about storage usage. This is even smaller than the very first time.

However, we can safely answer to the original question that there is no need to worry about deleting old versions. We can leave them as they are without any worry.

Google is in a better position to comment on the whole issue.

  • 3
    +1 for doing this experiment! It seems that some words have been dropped from your answer, e.g. "And the site usage was shown as,". Could you edit your answer to include the missing words? Beware that SE accepts only a very limited set of HTML markup elements. Feb 26, 2013 at 9:06
  • Thanks for your kinds words. Actually at that time I was in the middle of drafting the answer. The article being very big, I could not leave everything to save at the very end and then loose the whole set in some network problem. Do you think I should start a new topic in meta about providing separate Save and Post buttons?
    – Masroor
    Feb 26, 2013 at 9:47
  • 1
    Seems a draft function is already in place: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1177/… Feb 26, 2013 at 11:00
  • But draft function is not available for self answers.
    – Masroor
    Feb 26, 2013 at 14:34

When you add a new version of a files, Google sites deletes it and replaces it with the new one.

That's why you've been getting sizes of the current version.

  • Then how can I retrieve the older version(s) if I want to?
    – Masroor
    Nov 9, 2013 at 5:30

I worked out a way to do this. Back up all the data from Google Drive to a hard drive. When it is saved on the hard drive it shouldn't have previous versions for each file. Now delete all the data from Google Drive. Once deleted copy the backup files from the hard drive back to Google Drive and you should now be using substantially less storage space.

Not ideal I know. There should be an option, but obviously Google wants you to use more data so you purchase one of their packages. But it works...

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