When I decided it was finally time (past time, actually) to switch my hosting plan to something better, there was one specific feature I wanted — SSDs. My sites were crawling along painfully slowly, and I’d had enough.
We write plenty about how speed sells and performance is pivotal, but I wasn’t practicing what I preached. I had prioritized price over performance when shopping for my last hosting plan and wanted more for my modest collection of websites.
SSDs, which stand for solid-state drives, are an improved type of storage device that copies, writes, and opens files many times faster than traditional hard-disk drives, or HDDs. As the name implies, SSDs contain no moving parts; data is stored in flash-memory microchips, meaning the drives draw less power, create less noise, generate less heat, and last much longer than HDDs.
Because SSDs are a newer technology (gaining traction and popularity in the early 1990s, as opposed to when HDDs were introduced in the mid-1950s), they are more expensive and typically have less capacity than HDDs. While that doesn’t directly affect your hosting experience, you’ll understand why plans with SSDs tend to be pricier, come with lower storage limits — and still appeal to more seasoned web hosting customers.
Although I was only looking for shared hosting for my personal sites, I’ve combined my research and experience with the rest of the HostingAdvice team to provide a full menu of options for the various levels of SSD hosting. Read on to learn about the differences, along with which hosting providers offer the best plans and services.
If you’re already forking over the dough for dedicated hosting, finding a provider with SSDs will boost performance without much noticeable change in cost. Frankly, if a dedicated plan is still using HDDs, it probably isn’t worth having unless you have massive databases of information. Regardless, your site or application needs performant infrastructure, so why not get the best?
Fortunately, many of our favorite hosts include SSDs as standard components of their dedicated servers. In fact, Liquid Web offers custom configurations around its SSDs, along with instant provisioning and automated migrations, backups, and monitoring.
At the other end of the spectrum, InterServer is a great choice for those who appreciate a host that operates its own datacenters. The company’s hands-on approach bodes well for customers, who can choose from a surprisingly affordable dedicated server for $50.00 per month to a configuration including up to 2TB of SSD storage.
If you’re not quite ready for a dedicated server but still need a ton of computing power, storage, and bandwidth, a VPS hosting plan using SSDs will do the trick. The performant hard drives are a great addition for organizations needing a hosting plan that can rise to the challenge.
InMotion Hosting includes SSDs in all plans, but we’re particularly fond of the provider’s VPS options. For an affordable rate, InMotion Hosting packs an abundance of features into making customers’ sites and applications hum along 20 times faster than those on HDD hosting. We appreciate the high levels of RAM and bandwidth the company allocates to VPS customers, in addition to free server management, live-state snapshots, and the company’s 90-day money-back guarantee.
Speaking from experience, SSDs impact site performance no matter which level of hosting you’re at. Although price seems to reign supreme at the shared hosting level, more nuanced and experienced customers will understand and seek the value SSDs bring to users’ experience.
When it comes to speed, look no further than A2 Hosting. The company is known across the industry for going beyond SSD speed to offer Turbo servers and highly tuned configurations that put the pedal to the metal. The Michigan-based host gives customers unlimited resources, high-powered hardware, and a free content delivery network.
If you’re not quite ready to ditch the price-awareness mentality of many shared hosting customers, scroll down to see who we recommend as cheap SSD hosts and compare them to the rest of our top affordable hosts.
A cousin to VPS hosting, cloud plans offer more responsive computing resources. When combined with SSD performance, cloud hosting offers increased stability, speed, and scalability. For many of the same reasons as in the VPS section, we recommend InMotion Hosting for cloud hosting, as well. The company’s cloud-powered infrastructure is built for real-time redundancy, live-state snapshots, and high availability.
Liquid Web serves a refined palate of cloud hosting options, ranging from VPS or dedicated resources to the all-inclusive CloudSites platform — all managed by who the company calls “the most helpful humans in hosting.” Liquid Web leads the way in speed and customer loyalty and includes enhanced tools for security, CDN, and backups. Daily billing means customers pay only for the computing resources used.
We’re hard-pressed to think of a scenario where SSD storage can make more of an impact than when it comes to WordPress hosting. The incredibly popular content management system is everywhere, but it can be cumbersome and difficult to host exactly right. SSDs remove some of the computing burdens and free up resources to deliver sites at optimal speed.
A2 Hosting boosts speed even more with the company’s proprietary Turbo servers, which provide a drop-in Apache replacement that loads pages 20 times faster and allocates more resources toward each user.
In addition to HostingAdvice experts, SiteGround gets another stamp of approval from the WordPress Core team for offering managed updates, a one-of-a-kind staging environment, three levels of caching, and git integration.
One of the most common and, yet, most frequently overlooked, features when it comes to web hosting is the platform that helps users manage all aspects of their account. Although cPanel is far and away the most widely used control panel, hosting providers implement the administrative interface differently.
For example, SiteGround customizes the cPanel portal to maximize simplicity and user-friendliness. We appreciate the reorganization, as well as the added third-party and in-house tools to give customers even more flexibility and functionality when managing their hosting.
On the other hand, we appreciate how InterServer gives users more options for control panels. Depending on your hosting service and configuration, you can opt to use Plesk, DirectAdmin, or Webuzo. The company’s own management tools offer unique additional features such as reverse DNS, server monitoring, and domain registration.
Who doesn’t want a good deal? Although the biggest gripe about SSDs is the price tag, customers don’t have to break the bank to get a solid shared hosting plan powered by the performant hard drives. Hosts offering affordable SSD packages show a commitment to user experience by making performance an affordable, attainable goal.
As such, InMotion Hosting leads the way by offering SSD plans for only slightly more than the bargain-basement plans offered by HDD-based competitors. Even though plans start around $4 per month, the company doesn’t cut corners: All customers can enjoy unlimited disk space and email, as well as free backups, malware protection, transfers, and a domain name registration.
For only pennies more, A2 Hosting maximizes performance by including access to the Cloudflare CDN and an optimized plugin that preconfigures caching and compression options for WordPress and PrestaShop sites. The company goes a step beyond SSDs with Turbo servers, which use fewer CPU and memory resources.
If you’ve got an entrepreneurial itch, reseller hosting is a quick, affordable way to pocket a few extra bucks. Resellers typically use VPS services acquired at wholesale rates and sublease the unused server space to others. White-labeled accounts mean resellers can conduct business under their own brand; providers maintain the infrastructure, but resellers run the business and are responsible for customer support and invoicing.
SSDs are just one of several perks InMotion Hosting offers to resellers. In addition to unlimited cPanel licenses, InMotion includes the WHMCS billing software for free to organize user accounts and payments. Resellers can even enable their customers to register domains through an included eNom domain reseller license.
As SSDs continue to gain popularity with both hosting customers and providers, you can expect prices to fall and capacities to rise. Companies around the world are opting to deploy SSDs in increasing numbers to reach more people more quickly.
Beyond the type of hard drive, hosting customers can further boost their site’s speed or performance by selecting a provider that operates a datacenter near where the bulk of your traffic comes from. Content delivery networks help, but nothing beats a nearby datacenter that can quickly provide your users information without having to request the data from thousands of miles away. Milliseconds matter and speed sells, so nearby SSDs will spell success for your hosting endeavors. Happy hosting!