HDD (Hard Disk Drive) and SSD (Solid State Drive) are the two most popular storage options nowadays. In all sectors including web hosting, they have proved their capability over time.
Although both of them are non-volatile, which means they retain stored data even after a power outage, their internal structures are very different. Their performances and cost also vary significantly. We are here to know the details about these differences and which internal drive will help boost your website more.
What is HDD?
HDD stands for Hard Disk Drive, but people also call it as hard drive or hard disk. It is the traditional choice for internal non-volatile storage. Since the 1980s, it has been in use and even now it provides decent performance at an affordable cost. HDDs store data utilizing magnetism where every bit of the information resides in a spinning platter or magnetic disc.
What is SSD?
SSD or Solid-State Drive is a modern non-volatile data storage option that offers a faster speed and thus higher performance for the hosted website. It is capable of performing all the functions of HDD but relies on flash memory chips instead of a metal disc.
How Can HDD and SSD Affect Your Site?
Your choice of the internal drive will affect your website in significant ways. These drives will store all data of the server including operating system, software, and website content. When a user visits your site, it will process the information from these drives and present the web pages accordingly.
So they will influence the loading speed and uptime for the site - both of which are crucial factors. They can get you a high rank on Google if the drives perform well. This is why you need storage drives which are well-equipped and capable of providing top-notch performance.
It will also affect the durability and data security of the site. These are important measures for gaining reliability of customers who are at the heart of all businesses.
So by choosing the right drive option, you can elevate the performance of your website, take it to a higher rank on Google and build strong reliability among your customers.
Differences Between SSD and HDD
Now, let's dive deep into the differences between SSD and HDD to see which one meets the requirements of your website:
The biggest advantage SSD has over HDD is its incredible speed. This speed refers to the rate at which a drive reads and writes data. HDD falls behind in this sector because its structure limits it from producing high speed. Its actuator arm can spin on the magnetic disk only so fast.
SSD, on the other hand, takes full advantage of its compact structure based on flash memory and microchips. There is no moving part in an SSD which needs to reach a certain speed level. So it can process the read and write requests without any delay. It also does not exhibit any access time virtually.
This results in better backup rates (3 to 5 times faster), random I/O performance (15x faster than HDD) and I/O requests resulting in a noticeable upgrade in the website performance.
For all these reasons, most of the leading web hosts provide an SSD-based infrastructure. It helps the websites residing on their servers to run at the lightning speed. Their web pages load 20-times faster than traditional HDD-hosted websites.
If an e-commerce site goes down for even a minute, it will generate huge losses for the company. Similarly, downtimes can affect the journey of any website adversely and obstruct its path to success.
Great uptime statistics result from a stable infrastructure that can guarantee fast disaster recovery and negligible network or server failures.
These are some of the reasons hosting providers offer SSD storage so that they can ensure higher uptime for all hosted websites, and why the industry is moving toward a day when SSD drives will completely displace HDD,
Reliability here refers to how well the drives can serve the website. Use of HDD can lead to sudden service failures for various reasons. One of the main reasons is their inability to handle a huge number of I/O requests. The hardware often can’t take the overload of these requests and causes the website functionalities to halt. And as we mentioned earlier, such sudden standstills can cost your business huge losses.
SSD can mitigate this risk efficiently since it can process such requests 20-times faster. Besides, SSDs can theoretically maintain data integrity for over two centuries. That is why the implementation of SSD on a server increases its reliability to the potential hosting clients.
HDDs have a shorter lifespan due to their structure and mechanism. The metal platters of an HDD can spin at a few thousand rotations per minute. Their moving parts like the arm actuator make them more vulnerable to wear and tear. As a result, they have low durability which can cause the website massive data losses or a complete shutdown.
SSDs can save you from such dangers since they usually possess a longer life cycle. Their non-mechanical structure again proves to be profitable and lowers the risk of physical damage over time. So SSDs can be more beneficial to your website by ensuring a long-term of providing services.
It is a common norm to divide the space within an HDD into multiple fragments. These blocks help HDD to perform efficiently by allowing the read-and-write function to begin at a certain segment and reach its end through a continuous path.
Unfortunately, this also creates some fragmentation problems since it scatters pieces of the large files into separate blocks. Although improved algorithms have minimized the fragmentation issues by now, it still makes HDD slower than SSD.
SSD can store data anywhere without the need of any beginning or ending point for reading and writing information. This contributes to its high speed and thus makes your website faster.
5. Power Consumption
As the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) reports, 25% to 35% of total power consumption on web servers belong to the data storage functions.So it significantly affects the total price presented on monthly electric bills.
HDD consumes more power than SSD and thus can generate much a higher cost. This is due to its intense mechanism involving a moving head and spinning a stationary disk.
As a result, the energy bills of an HDD-based server at the end of the month turn out to be far higher than SSD ones. SSD needs power only to store information.
Because SSDs utilize more modern technology than HDD, manufacturing them is a bit more costly. Their structure does not depend on standard memory chips which lose all data as soon as the power goes down. Producing the advanced memory chips which can provide non-volatile memory storage requires a higher price.
As a result, the prices of SSDs are much higher than HDDs even though the latter provides a larger space at the same price point. However, the gap between their cost is getting shorter every day. Scientists are developing new ways to manufacture SSDs with less costly resources. The experts have predicted that the difference between their price points will close down completely by 2020.
SSD prices have been steadiliy coming down for several years now so you can definitely find affordable SSD packages.
Which One is Better for Your Site?
If your website demands high performance and response times, opting for a hosting plan based on SSD would be a better idea. It can keep your website up for the maximum time, prevent sudden server failures, provide faster data access and handle high traffic.
Starting in January of 2018, Google started, Using page speed in mobile search ranking. While SSD isn't the only variable determining page speed, it does help.
However, if you are on a tight budget and cannot afford SSD hosting plans, you can confide in the HDD-based plans. They will cost less, but also provide a lower level of performance.
Even though the affordable HDD seems to be the better choice initially, SSD proves itself to be more cost-effective in the long run. If you have settled your mind in SSD-based web hosting, check out the current best SSD hosting providers.