Want to make one of the biggest performance and speed boosts to your website for only a few dollars more per month? Switching to web hosting with Solid State Drives (SSD) can deliver an instant increase in speed to users of your website, as well as your own back-end experience.
As I’ve written about in the past, you can use a CDN to increase your website’s speed and reduce the load on your web hosts server without breaking the bank. An SSD can also deliver a very noticeable increase in speed for only a few dollars more per month.
What are SSDs?
Hard Disk Drives have been in use for decades, and the technological breakthroughs each year have helped this technology grow from storing a few hundred Kilobytes to several Terabytes between the 1970s through today. HDDs work by spinning platters at 5400, 7200, sometimes even 10,000rpm. But movement begets wear, wear will eventually degrades the performance, and before too long, the drive will stop operating entirely.
The transfer speeds of HDDs also had plateaued by the late 2000s, even when the technology was available for faster transfers.
You know those flash drives that you have on your keychain that can hold a decent amount of storage? Those use Flash memory, and the concept of a SSD drive isn’t too far off from Flash memory at all. An SSD can be seen as just a large Flash drive, but higher quality components. Since it’s using Flash memory, there’s nothing moving, and the speed of the memory is significantly faster, up to 33% faster.
In October, I built a new computer and used a fat 480GB SDD as my boot-up drive, and the speed increase is phenomenal. My Windows 7 machine fires up in about 30 seconds now, and other programs and applications are incredibly fast and responsive. Also, it’s silent. I now only hear my other HDD drives and the computer fans on my computer.
SSD drives right now are not as large as HDDs in terms of storage space. You can find 3 and 4TB HDDs, but a 2TB SSD fetches around $3,000 right now. However, a 250GB SSD will only set you back about $120. That’s why SSDs are great for computers, especially laptops, and other operations where the amount of storage isn’t key, just like web hosting.
Why You Should Upgrade to SSD Hosting
So now we know that SSDs can increase the speed of your own computer, how can it assist the speed and performance of your website?
33% faster speed
As shown above in the boot-up time test, there is a noticeable speed increase on the front-end and back-end of your website. There are a few WordPress sites that Tampa SEO manages that are several hundred MBs in size that would take well over 10 minutes, sometimes up to 30 minutes, to successfully complete a backup. When those sites moved to an SSD host, the backups completed in only few minutes. Furthermore, there were fewer—if any—errors from timeouts or other plugin conflicts.
The increase in speed also gives other components of the server a chance to work more efficiently, since they are no longer waiting on data to come streaming into their processes.
Google has stated many times that speed is one of the many factors of how a website gets ranked. Even finding half a second increase of speed in your website, will benefit your users and might give you a slight SEO boost.
Where your site is hosted and what other sites are on the same shared server as your own have a major factor in performance and even factors into your SEO. If your website shares the same server as a website that does not comply with Google’s guidelines or is just obviously not a safe website, that can be detrimental to your SEO and your site’s performance.
SSDs are still a premium upgrade for most hosting services, which means that websites that have nefarious intentions (spam and scams) might not see the benefits of upgrading to SSD, so they don’t. This means more professional websites that care about their performance will make the upgrade.
Knowing that your website can be on a shared server that has a better neighborhood you might see boost in SEO as well. Also, websites aren’t upgrading that fast, so you might be on a shared server that isn’t crammed with other accounts like other low-cost hosting, giving you a slight edge on server processes and memory.
SSDs use 50% less energy. HDDs use between 6-7 watts, where an SSD uses between 2-3 watts. You might not see that as a major increase in efficiency, but if everyone switched from HDD to SSD, that would make a significant dent in worldwide web hosting energy consumption.
Cons of SSDs
In general, the downfalls of upgrading to SSD hosting will be placed entirely on your host’s shoulders and not yours. They are solely responsible for the equipment at their facilities, and a great host already has a backup plan for a wide variety of hardware failures.
Because SSDs are entirely electrical, and have no moving parts, they are still susceptible to power failures, and can lose their storage capabilities overtime. As stated earlier, they are not meant for mass storage and are not currently designed for computation-heavy tasks. But your website doesn’t need mass storage and isn’t computation-heavy, making SSD hosting perfect for most websites.
The only real con of switching to SSD hosting for website owners is the increase in cost, which is usually a mere $2 to $5 a month in hosting costs. But the surge in speed should provide enough of a performance boost to increase ecommerce sales or generate leads, which should drastically out-weigh the upgrade costs.
Again, the biggest con of SSD hosting is the price, which is negligible. This means that there is only an upside to switching to SSD hosting for your website. In most cases, your host will migrate your from your antiquated HDD hosting to a server with SSD hosting.
I wouldn’t be surprised if HDD hosting was entirely eliminated from most hosting companies within a few years. The upside of SSD hosting is too great to ignore for website owners who are serious about their website performance.
So are you going to make the move?
Steve Scott is the CEO & Director of Training at the Tampa SEO Training Academy. He has taught SEO skills to people from around the world and currently offers his hands-on search engine optimization training workshops in Tampa to individuals and businesses of all sizes. Corporate SEO training classes and consulting are also available.