A Solid-State Drive (SSD) uses a data storage technology that provides dramatic improvement in the speed at which data is stored and retrieved from a storage device, as compared to classic magnetic hard disk drives (HDD). SSD Hosting is a web hosting service that uses solid state drives for its storage, thereby delivering superior read-write speeds, reliability and performance for websites and applications hosted on the server. Let’s dive deep to look at whether small businesses need hosting that uses SSD storage.
Technology behind SSD is common and you’ve probably used it
Solid State Drives may be a mouthful to the uninitiated, but odds are high that you have the used the technology behind these. The average flash drive (aka thumb drive, pen drive), the memory cards used in cell phones or digital cameras are all solid-state storage devices.
Advantages of SSD as compared to HDDs
Until flash storage devices became plentiful and cheap, we were stuck with messy optical disks and magnetic hard disk drives (HDDs) which require mechanical arms and read-write devices. As is the case with most devices with moving parts, wear and tear can be a major cause for concern as can physical shocks like when a device is dropped from a height. The read-write speed of a magnetic storage device often depends on the rotor speed, usually denominated in RPM with 7200, 8400 RPM being some popular options.
In contrast, SSDs offer significantly higher read and write speeds which depend only on the storage architecture and quality of materials rather than limitations on the number of spools and moving heads in the disk. SSDs require lesser power to operate which helps our efforts towards green hosting. They are also more immune to drops and damage from wear. The lack of moving parts prevents the server from heating up too much, leading the reduced cooling requirements – although this is only one small part of a server with several sources of heat.
All these factors together mean that SSDs deliver significantly better speeds and performance as well as improved reliability. This comes at a cost – in the form of cost per unit of data storage although this has been reducing as solid-state storage devices have become more popular.
SSD hosting compared to normal HDD Hosting
Let’s start with the goal you should consider, as a small business, before you tackle this comparison. When you’re building a website, the factor that you as a website owner or developer should prioritize is customer experience – the ease with which the target audience of your website can find, load, navigate and use your website.
Page load speeds and latency play a big role in defining this experience, slow websites can discourage your audience from your website. A 1 second delay in page response can lead to a 7% reduction in website conversions. What’s more, Google announced that page speed will play a role in determining the search engine ranks of websites, starting July 2018. Therefore, slow websites can seriously harm your search engine rankings as well as user experience.
Shared hosting providers use a variety of hardware configurations and software techniques to deliver fast website page loads. Some of these are:
- Better processors – Webnames uses cutting-edge processors for optimal speeds
- Better memory and storage – Webnames hosting uses high speed RAM combined with SSD Storage
- Optimized Web servers – We use LiteSpeed web server for optimal performance
- Smart caching of website content – Both web hosting and WordPress hosting use integrated caching on Litespeed that offers up to 7x performance boosts
In addition, some providers may opt for content delivery networks (CDNs) and geo-located hosting. For instance, Webnames hosting uses servers located in Canada, which offers significant speed gains if your audience is in Canada. (Read: Why you should host your website in Canada)
Returning to the SSD vs. HDD question, we’ve already established that SSD storage helps boost the performance and reliability of your websites. When combined with the location advantages, hardware and software optimizations, it becomes a simple decision to choose a web hosting plan that uses SSD. We strongly recommend choosing SSD Hosting even if it means that you must pay a marginally premium price.
Why is HDD still an option in web hosting?
Isn’t that an obvious follow up question? The 2 primary reasons are Price and Popularity. As I mentioned earlier, cost per GB of storage on SSD still exceeds that of HDD storage. There is also a tremendous amount of HDD hardware that is already deployed by several companies that is already in use and they have not reached the end of their shelf lives.
At Webnames.ca, we do not use HDD in our hosting, but we cannot speak for others. Several web hosting providers do not explicitly specify whether they use SSD or HDD in their servers. In fact, some of them even mix and match the devices across their hardware.
There are a few scenarios where reliability or speed may not be as important as space or price. For instance, disaster recovery backups or non-critical servers focused purely on storage, where HDD may be an ideal fit.
Choose SSD Hosting to get:
- Faster disk read-write speeds
- Higher hardware reliability
- Faster website performance – and therefore, better SEO and happier customers
For a small business looking to go online, SSD hosting is clearly a way of setting yourself up for success. Pick the right hosting plan for your needs or plan for website migration to our Canadian hosting.