How to enable disk quotas for users

Linux allows setting quotas on a filesystem. This will prevent users from using more diskspace than they are allowed.

This can also be used to manage group allowances to enforce the allowance for a collection of users. Stopping users from filling up a diskspace can be an important on a shared system as filling up a physical disk drive can bring a system down, or make it unstable.


Initially, you will need to mount a filesystem with a ‘usrquota’ or ‘groupquota’ command passed in /etc/fstab. After these have been applied, you will need to remount the drive for the quota to be effective.

 /dev/sda3 /home ext4 defaults,usrquota 1 1 

 $ sudo mount -o remount /home

Next, run quotacheck on the filesystem to set up quotas.

$ sudo quotacheck -vu /home

Then, set the quotas as active with quotaon

$ sudo quotaon -vu /home

Finally, edit the quota for each user with edquota

$ sudo edquota someusername

You can also add grace periods with edquota, which allows users to plan for their storage needs if they exceed it with a time limit on moving their data.

When using edquota if you set a limit to 0 then this will mean that no limit will be enforced for that user or group.