What Is SSD Storage? A Beginner’s Guide
There are many ways to store virtual data. Knowing the difference between the various types of storage can help you decide which is the best option for hosting your site. However, if you don’t understand how each technology functions, it can be hard to know what to look for.
Solid State Drives (SSDs) are an advanced alternative to traditional hard drives, which provide faster access to the data they contain. This technology’s speed and reliability makes it ideal for improving both load times and security. As a result, more website hosting providers are using SSD technology to improve site performance for consumers.
In this post, we’ll discuss what an SSD is, and compare it to other types of data storage. Then we’ll take a look at SSD-based web hosting. Let’s get to it!
An Introduction to SSD
So, just what is SSD storage? SSD is a physical storage device that uses integrated circuit processes to store data. It implements flash-based memory, which is accessed digitally and is faster and less noisy than its counterparts.
An SSD offers the same function as a hard drive, but works more efficiently and takes up less space while delivering immediate load and boot times. This is because it doesn’t need to mechanically retrieve data.
SSDs are made up of two different components: a flash controller and NAND or NOR flash memory chips. They use a processor, or controller, to read and write data. The data is then stored in the flash memory chips.
The SSD has its origins in the 1950s, but has evolved immensely since then. In the 1980s, companies started developing different SSD technologies, which grew into flash-based SSDs in the 90s.
The kind of SSD chips that are melded to the motherboard, similar to the ones we currently see on the market, came on the scene in the early 2000’s. Today, they have advanced into one of the highest-performing data storage options available.
Many web host providers are now offering SSD technology, because it supplies faster and more reliable hosting than traditional hard disk drives. SSD-hosted websites also have low latency, which means they are able to quickly find and serve files to site visitors.
Websites hosted by this technology have more physical resistance and experience fewer mechanical failures. All of these factors contribute to the rise in SSD use for faster and more stable websites.
Comparing SSD and HDD
Although SSD data storage is on the rise, it has an older counterpart that is still on the market. An HDD or hard disk drive is a type of non-volatile data storage device. A non volatile storage device means that it can still store data even when it is turned off.
An HHD uses electro-mechanics to retrieve data from disks that are coated with a magnetic substance. It functions similarly to an old record player, in that it employs a mechanical arm to write and read data.
There are two main types of HDDs: the 2.5-inch HDD found in laptops, and 3.5-inch HDD found in desktops. They can also be found in game consoles, mobile phones, and tablets.
HDDs are considered a bit outdated now when compared to SSDs, since the latter are more durable, faster, and more efficient. However, HDDs are still used in older devices and can have a higher storage capacity. They are also less expensive at the moment, although this might change as SSD prices continue to fall with development.
Ultimately, an SSD-based web host is the fastest option, even though it may be more expensive. However, in terms of cost per gigabyte, an HDD-based provider remains a better choice for site owners with a tight budget.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Using an SSD
As we’ve already mentioned, there are some significant benefits of using an SSD over other types of storage. Not only is an SSD faster, it is more durable because it doesn’t have any moving parts that wear out. It is also more compact and doesn’t overheat, making it much more efficient than its counterparts.
When it comes to web hosting, SSDs are at a major advantage for many reasons. Most importantly, a site hosted by SSD technology is likely to experience faster speeds. When a user visits a site backed by an SSD, the server can find and serve web pages much faster than if the web host uses standard hard drives.
SSDs also offer enhanced security. The build of an SSD makes it more durable against physical damage. HDDs, on the other hand, are more prone to break, which could result in lost data. Since SSDs are lighter and consume much less energy, hosting providers save money on energy costs.
Despite their positive qualities, there are some drawbacks to using SSDs. One major issue is storage capacity. They can usually store up to 4 TB of data, which is somewhat limited when compared to the options available with HDDs. If storage is a priority over speed, HHDs come out on top.
Furthermore, while SSD pricing has been falling consistently due to its rise in popularity, it remains more expensive than HDDs. Some website owners on a budget choose an HDD option for this reason.
The Cost of SSD-Based Web Hosting
While SSDs have historically been more expensive than their counterparts, a recent increase in demand has lowered prices. This includes web hosting – more companies are using SSD technology to provide website owners with speedier sites.
Currently, most cloud-based hosting now operates with this technology. For the most part, only budget hosts have HDD systems, which are useful for offsite storage and general backup performance.
In general, SSDs cost more for hosting companies to maintain, which means that corresponding hosting plans also see a price hike. Sometimes, to cut costs, hosts provide what is known as ‘SSD web space’.
This can be misleading because this type of plan isn’t using an SSD. Instead, it is based on a standard hard drive. When visitors go to an uncached page, the page will load from the hard drive. This isn’t the same as true SSD-based hosting, so it’s important to know the difference.
The cost of a website hosted on an SSD will depend on the capacity you’re searching for and the type of hosting you want. A plan that offers around 200 gigabytes of SSD storage can cost as little as $10 per month, or up to $320 per month for a dedicated plan.
Here at WP Engine, we use SSD technology combined with CDN and NGINX extensions to provide some of the fastest WordPress web hosting on the market. Users who migrate to WP Engine hosting see an average of 40 percent improvement in site speed. Plus, pricing plans start at $20 per month for 10 gigabytes of storage, so this can be a highly-affordable option.
SSDs will continue to develop as the demand for quicker data storage rises. They offer faster data transfer, boot times, and loading times for applications and files. This data storage method is also quieter, consumes less power, and is more durable over time.
Web owners who have the budget to pay for a slightly more expensive plan will be well-served by hosts that offer SSD-based data storage. However, SSD’s rise to fame doesn’t mean that it will replace HHDs entirely – HHDs are still less expensive and can offer more capacity. For that reason, consumers searching for maximum storage capacity for a lower cost might want to consider HHD-based hosting plans.
On the other hand, if you care about speed and efficiency, WP Engine integrates SSD-based technology to provide you with a fast WordPress hosting solution for your site!