Solid State Disks (or, as they’re more commonly abbreviated, SSDs) are an alternative to the
more traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) that have been in use in one form or another since
the infancy of mainstream computing.
As the name suggests, SSDs involve no moving parts, unlike their mechanical counterparts,
the HDDs, which utilise a combination of mechanical arms and read/write heads to move
information around the drive.
Alternatively, SSDs operate with electronics and microchips alone, and utilise non-volatile memory to store information, rather than traditional spinning disk. In effect, they operate in much the same way as a standard USB drive, but on a much larger scale.
This offers a host of benefits to the user, particularly those intending to use their SSD for web
hosting or cloud services.
Let’s check some of them out:
Strong and sturdy
For a start, the use of non-volatile memory as a storage solution means that you won’t lose
any information stored on your SSD in the event of a sudden power outage. With its data
stored in microchips rather than a spinning disk, SSDs prove significantly more resistant
to shaking and bumping than their HDD counterparts. With so many websites in a near-
constant state of being updated, this increased durability and reliability is a must.
As well as durability, the microchip storage system employed by SSDs also sees a decrease in
data read/write times. The reason for this is obvious. When reading or writing data on a
standard HDD, the mechanical arm has to move the read/write head to the appropriate point
on the hard disk before it starts working. With SDDs, the disk simply accesses the
appropriate chip where the required information or blank space is held.
This is the big attraction of SSDs for hosting use. Your standard HDD accesses information
within 15-20 milliseconds, which is pretty fast. On the other hand, a regular SSD can perform
the same action in a mere 0.2 milliseconds: that’s up to 100 faster than a standard HDD.
Now, while 100 times faster sounds impressive, does it really matter when we’re talking in
terms of thousandths of a second?
When someone accesses your website, all the information that gets displayed on their
browser is taken from your host computer and put together at the user’s end. Imagine a
standard website, made in WordPress – every user needs to pull the web code, the theme, any
widgets you have installed, graphics, files, links, all those little bits that make your website
what it is. That’s a lot of information, and a lot of data transactions to take into account.
People are impatient by nature. No matter how detailed your website, a delay of even a few
seconds while their browser pulls the information from your hard drive will have potential
clients hitting the back button and looking somewhere else.
This is even more pronounced with eCommerce sites that involve regular search enquiries
from multiple simultaneous users, each of which increases the strain on an HDD system,
while an SSD hosting platform doesn’t even bat an eyelid at the increased traffic.
So, is there a downside? Well, granted, SSDs are more expensive than HDDs (often as much
as 4x the price for comparable storage space). However, with the benefits they offer in terms
of speed, reliability, and improved experience for your users, they should be considered an
investment for the future.