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SSD hosting plans run on servers that store your data on solid-state drives (SSDs). SSDs are the latest big advancement in data storage technology, resulting in faster and more reliable hosting for your website than servers with traditional hard-disk drives (HDDs). Compare hosts offering SSD plans, and learn the benefits and pitfalls of SSDs:

What is a Solid State Drive?

SSD stands for solid state drive, which is a data storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies to store data. SSDs can replace traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), which store memory using electromechanical magnetic disks with spinning drives and movable read/write heads.

Unlike HDDs, SSDs don’t have any moving parts, and can access their stored data completely electronically instead of electromechanically. That means they work faster and more efficiently, and are less prone to mechanical failure. And because they use the same interface technology as hard disk drives, it’s easy to upgrade from HDD to SSD.

Benefits of SSD Web Hosting

SSDs have a host of benefits over HDDs, mainly due to their superior speed and lack of moving parts.

Compared to HDDs, SSds:

    • Are more resistant to physical shock
    • Run almost completely silently
    • Don’t get as hot
    • Have lower access time
    • Are less prone to mechanical failure
    • Use less power
    • Have no need for defragmentation

Do You Need SSD Hosting for Your Website?

Do you want the fastest loading website possible? Tests on web pages hosted on SSD servers typically load 300% faster than those hosted on hard drive servers. That’s because whenever an HDD needs to access its stored data, it needs to physically spin around to locate the information it needs to read or modify. This usually adds just a few milliseconds to its access time, but those milliseconds add up quickly depending on the amount of traffic your website gets, or the data that needs to be accessed.

When your website traffic spikes, that additional loading time gets noticed by your visitors. Most web users expect a page to load in 3 seconds or less, and when it takes longer they’re quick to hit that "back" button.

The additional speed granted by SSD hosting is especially critical for ecommerce websites, whose bottom lines are hit when they slow down. Even just a 4-second load time results in 25% fewer sales, according to KISSmetrics.

If your website gets a lot of traffic, or you want it to be able to handle big traffic spikes without slowing down, SSD hosting is the way to go. Dynamic websites driven by databases will also benefit from SSD drives, which are much faster to access all the information they need in your database, shaving critical seconds off your page load time.

The only downside to SSD hosting can be the price. Though the price of SSDs has gone down in the past few years, they’re still about seven times more expensive per gigabyte of storage than HDDs, and that’s typically reflected in SSD hosting plan pricing. So if you’re on a tight budget and your site speed isn’t critical to your success, or if you place a higher priority on storage space than speed, you may want to stick with HDD hosting.

Another option for those on a budget who still want the advantages of SSD hosting are plans that use hybrid drives, also called solid state hybrid drives (SSHD). SSHDs combine features of SSDs and HDDs in one drive, so you get the large storage space of HDD, and some of the improved performance of SSD in the form of an SSD cache for frequently accessed data.

Choosing an SSD Host

Many hosts provide SSD hosting for their VPS and dedicated hosting plans. If you have the budget and want the fastest, best-performing hosting you can get, look for a VPS or dedicated SSD hosting plan.

If you’re on a tight budget, another option is SSD shared hosting. Be sure to research the hosting company before you purchase a shared SSD hosting plan. If the host oversells shared hosting, or you get a neighbor on your server that hogs all the resources, you won’t see any of the benefits of SSD hosting.

SSD Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are some good reasons to use an SSD?

    Solid State Drives (SSDs) are great for hosting a website because, generally speaking, they are more efficient than their alternatives disk storage options. By more efficient, we mean they don't get as hot, have lower access times, and use less power. If those reasons aren't good enough, they are also more resistant to physical shock, less prone to mechanical failure and have no need for defragmentation. And while it won't have any impact on you, the webmaster or blogger using the SSD, they almost run in complete silence - which should make the men and women in the data center performing your managed services happy!

  • Are there any reasons not to use an SSD?

    Cost. SSDs can cost up to seven times more per gigabyte than hard disk drives. As mentioned above, you might not be the one literally installing SSD on your server, but that seven times cost will be reflected in the monthly charge for your site hosting if SSD is deployed. If you are looking for hosting on a budget, disc storage with SSD may not be the best hosting solution for you.

  • What are the alternatives to SSD?

    There are two major alternatives for data storage to solid state drives: hard disk drives (HDD) and solid state hybrid drives (SSHD). Hard disk drives are the traditional form of data storage - it is normally cheaper than SSD but is also slower to respond and less efficient in terms of power. SSHD brings the performance and efficiency of solid state drives at a cost savings because it integrates hard disk performance features as well.

  • Do I need to be concerned about installing an SSD on my server?

    No. SSDs will be pre-installed by most of the hosting providers that offer shared hosting or dedicated hosting services to you. When it comes to data input and output, you may have the option of choosing your storage drives if you are building a dedicated server or virtual server. However, shared hosting will likely not have the option of choosing SSD or any of its alternatives. Contact your preferred hosting provider to review their storage options before starting with them if you are interested in finding out what type of data storage they use.

  • What does self-hosted mean? I don’t have to run a server myself, do I?

    Self-hosted servers and their associated platforms do not require YOU to personally own the server and manage it to host your site. Instead, self-hosted simply means that hosting is not provided directly by the development team that created the software and systems you are using to run your SSD data storage platform. In order to use self-hosted SSD, you will need to contract a hosting provider before building your platform and make sure they offer hosting with SSD as an option with their packages.

  • Do I need managed hosting in order to use my solid state drive for my data storage?

    The answer to this question depends on your answer to the question "how much responsibility are you willing to accept for the maintenance of your website?" The more complex your hosting environment becomes, the greater your need will be for professionally managed services. Shared hosting often comes with some managed services included - but there is no guarantee your shared hosting will include SSD. If you have a dedicated hosting solution, however, SSD is far more common, and managed services are likely required as part of your agreement. To be fair, this is the case with any self-hosted data storage platform - not just an advanced platform like SSD.

  • Can I use the SSD on a shared hosting plan?

    Yes. There are several hosting plans from many of our preferred providers that include SSD as the storage used on their shared hosting plans. Shared hosting spreads server resources across multiple websites. When SSD is the storage method used for shared hosting, data input and output from sites on your same server on that generate a high volume of traffic will require fewer resources to operate. With SSD on shared hosting, your website response time is less likely to be affected by other sites generating an abnormally high volume of data input and output.

  • Do I have to know how to program to use an SSD?

    Not necessarily. If you are having SSD installed on a server for you as part of your shared hosting or dedicated hosting package from your hosting provider, then you shouldn't have anything to worry about. On the other hand, if you are going to install SSD on a bare metal dedicated server that you are going to host or colocate with your hosting provider, then you will need programming skills. The server and SSD will need to configured before they can be used, and programming will be the main driver for setting up your SSD to operate correctly with your website and server.

  • How do solid state drives compare to hard disk drives as data storage?

    SSD is a faster, more efficient method for retrieving and storing data. Hard Disk Drives (HDD) retrieve data with two major differences - for starters, they have greater latency because of the rotation of the disk. In some studies, HDDs actually have shown they take as much as 20 times longer to access data as SSDs. The second major difference - and detriment - to HDD is the seek time required to find the data. With seek time required to find data and latency due to disk rotation, HDD can lead to a dramatic increase in the page speed and decrease in overall site performance when workloads are maxed out on your server. Because of this, almost any high traffic website or e-commerce application will require SSD for their site.

  • How do SSDs compare to SSHDs as data storage?

    SSHD brings the performance and efficiency of solid state drives and combines them with the cost savings of a traditional HDD installation. The main purpose for the SSD in an SSHD is to act as a caching application for the HDD, which will increase page speed and other load times for content on a website or application. While a 100% SSD solution may be better overall, SSHD improves performance of content on your server over traditional HDD and should warrant review for companies and site owners who are taking their first leap into solid state storage.

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