An increasingly popular trend in computer science is the notion of SSD storage. Many PCs now use SSDs because of their clear advantages over their storage predecessors. For Web Hosting, the trend hasn’t picked up as much, and while some more forward-thinking Web Hosting services are already using SSD storage for their clients, you’ll still find many (usually cheap) options that use the more traditional HDDs.
But does SSD really make a difference where it comes to Web Hosting? This is what we’re here to find out, by explaining what SSDs are, how they differ from HDDs and their particular advantages, especially for Web servers.
What is SSD?
SSD is the acronym for solid-state drives, a type of storage device that came about at the tail end of the ‘00s. Unlike preexisting storage solutions, which use mechanical moving parts to store and access data, SSDs use integrated circuits. Not only does that mean SSDs can be much smaller than conventional drives, but also, due to the lack of those moving parts (which need to physically read and write on the disk), they can also be significantly faster.
The difference between HDD and SSD
Hard disk drives, or HDD for short, are the traditional storage solution for both personal computers and web servers. HDDs are electromechanical; they store data using spinning disks of magnetic storage, which is then accessed and/or overwritten by read/write heads on a moving arm. Basically, the mechanical components move about inside the case to access data; due to that and the fact that data is accessed in a random-access manner (meaning there’s no required order to store and retrieve data), it means that HDDs have to physically “search” for the data that the system is asking for.
Because of that requirement, HDDs are notoriously slower than SSDs, more often than not by a large margin. The latter uses flash memory to store data into its circuits, meaning that accessing any part of the data takes the exact same time, whereas an HDD takes longer to access the equivalent data because it has to physically read the spinning disk and the data itself may be fragmented, i.e. broken into small parts all throughout the physical disk’s memory.
Due to being mechanical, HDDs are also noisier, less power-efficient and more prone to failure than SSDs, which rely exclusively on integrated circuits. Also, unlike SSDs, which are growing smaller as more compact formats, like NVMe, are invented, HDDs tend to stay on the same somewhat large size, because they need that physicality to hold their disk and read/write heads.
Traditionally, HDDs are far cheaper than SSDs, especially where it comes to storage for personal devices, such as computers or videogame consoles, which is their single big advantage in this fight. However, as SSD technology matures and prices steadily drop, that gap will become narrower and narrower. Where it comes to Web Hosting, however, SSD servers are often still priced at a premium.
Advantages of SSD
To summarize, the main advantages of SSD storage are:
- Speed: even the less advanced solid-state drives outperform hard disk drives in speed by a large margin and each new generation of this technology is only becoming even faster every year;
- Reliability: hard drives can and do fail due to mechanical issues, especially with time, whereas SSD retains its reliability for far longer;
- Efficiency: SSDs are more power-efficient, less cumbersome and even less noisy than traditional storage.
How SSDs impact Web Hosting
Speed is important when it comes to Web Hosting, both for your users – no one has any patience to wait for long loading times anymore, especially not paying customers – and if you want to rank on Google.
While HDDs and SSDs are often talked about in regards to personal computers, they are also necessary hardware for web servers, because they do store the files for your website, after all. More importantly, since Web servers have more users trying to access their data, the impact of fast storage is even more pronounced, as users will be able to access platforms faster.
Also, if you care about sustainability at all, you’ll look for Web Hosting that uses SSD storage, because SSD consumes less energy and is therefore more environmentally friendly than the more resource-draining hard disk drives.
Therefore, SSDs are a must for fast hosting. While HDDs have their merits for personal usage – they’re cheaper and it’s easier to afford more terabytes of space than with SSDs, making them ideal for individual backups, for instance –, when it comes to Web Hosting, there’s no excuse not to go with the much faster SSDs.
Fair warning: if you see a Web Hosting service promise “unlimited storage” on their shared hosting plans, it’s more likely than not running on hard drive disks, because SSDs are too expensive to offer an unlimited amount of storage on them!
Find affordable SSD-powered Web Hosting at Neoxea
As luck would have it, Web Hosting with SSD storage doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Neoxea uses SSDs for every tier of our Web Hosting plans, even the cheapest one at 2.40 € / 2.10 £ a month. And while some Web Hosting services are pretty stingy with the storage they’ll give you on the lowest tier, Neoxea gives you 25 GB of SSD storage to start with, more than enough to accommodate any starting Web project.
Plus, if you run an E-commerce website and upgrade to our SSD-powered plans from an HDD server, you’ll feel an immediate burst of speed on your platform, which will only be intensified when you start using our caching plug-in to make your site even faster! Give Neoxea a try and find out how we can power your business online.