Simple Tips on Social Media For Web Hosting

Social Media Tips For Web Hosting Industry

Social media is one of the most accessible ways to engage with your target audience and build your online presence. It’s also one of the most cost-effective ways to market and promote your business and brand. The hosting industry is no exception – however, it is very specific. Therefore, you have to be careful when choosing the right social media channel for your business. To help you out, here are our top social media tips for web hosting.

To select the right social platform to focus on, you’ll need to find out where your followers are. If you don’t have any social media presence yet, check where your customers are more likely to be. Where do they get information about similar services and products? And where will they probably advertise their own services? From our experience, the best channels for hosters to reach out to their audiences are Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook.

Why Use Social Media for Your Web Hosting Business?

1. Making a Good Impression

Firstly, your potential customers will search for some feedback about your services and end up on your social media pages. They will most probably ask some sales-related questions. You can take the opportunity to answer these frequently asked questions even if your salesperson is not around. Communication during the sales process gives a potential client an idea of what they can expect from your support afterwards. So be sure to make a good first impression.

2. Support and Problem-solving

Similarly, you can offer ‘support’ through your social media questions by communicating and redirecting complaints and questions accordingly. You should keep the comments you received and their replies as a public record of your commitment to your customers. Proof that that you pay attention to and solve their problems. Often it will be them checking on a pre-existing issue, verifying that they haven’t actually been ignored.

3. Encourage Brand Positivity

Our advice is to give questions priority when you spend time on your web hosting social media marketing efforts. Because customers who voice problems on social are also the ones more likely to publicly sing your praises. By showing interest and communicating honestly, you can turn an unhappy client into a brand ambassador.

4. Advertising

Social media should be part of your go-to market strategy. After, you launch a new product or service, you should Facebook post or tweet about it to inform your customers. Not just of your product but of the benefits they may get. Social media is a tool to leverage your original content, solidify your brand awareness, as well as to obtain more visibility.

How to Use Social Media for Web Hosting: Tips

1. Set a Social Media Intention

What are your goals for using social media for your web hosting business? Do you wish to boost sales? Awareness? Build a reputation? Maybe you want to acquire new customer leads or keep your existing ones happy. Setting up a clear long-term intention helps you establish why you’re doing it for more effectiveness.

2. Create a Proper Social Media Calendar

Content is king. And as we mentioned earlier, social media platforms are great boosters for your original content. This is why you should optimize all your marketing materials, content and posts for your social channels, adjusting where necessary to meet your audience’s expectations.

3. Build Communities Around Your Brand

You can do this by asking for feedback and reactions on social media, then replying in a timely manner. We recommend you read and comment on other web hosting forums and blogs too – to show your presence. Or maybe even share that content on your channels with your own added point of view. Not only to boost your community’s efforts and create awareness, but also to potentially start a positive conversation.

This is what we do at Plesk. Because our partners are the core of our business and industry, we make sure to highlight their efforts on a regular basis. Show your partners the support they deserve and send the message that you can all succeed on a larger level.

Insercorp and Plesk: Putting the End-user First for Mutual Success

One of our endeavours at Plesk is giving web professionals more control over their website and business growth. However, it’s equally important to offer a solution that makes this easier for them. That’s why we decided to check in with our clients at Insercorp to see if and how Plesk is meeting these needs.

Meet Tim Bradshaw – the man behind Insercorp. A reputable brand catering to key requirements of new digital entrepreneurs. Be it hosting, designing, development and content management needs with its proprietary CMS – iPlasmaCMS2. He’s been awarded a distinguished position among the 100 entrepreneurs in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Tim talks about Insercorp’s journey, iPlasmaCMS2, and the strong relationship between Plesk and Insercorp.

Tim Bradhsaw - Insercorp

Tim’s and Insercorp’s story is an inspiring one. From humble beginnings as a self-funded start-up in the Franklin Business Incubator, to becoming one of the top 100 Entrepreneurs in 2012.

Tim Bradshaw and Insercorp: An entrepreneurial journey

I started the business in September 2007 after stepping away from being a Publisher at the GamePlasma Network. This was a network of websites and online communities in the Interactive Entertainment Industry, which I founded in 2003. I wanted to utilize my experience and skills to provide professional website design, development, and hosting solutions for an emerging market.

“Starting the business with $100, a laptop, and no outside investments or loans was a challenge. But nothing great in life comes easy.”

Since the beginning, we’ve reinvested all our profit into developing our CMS. Also, in strengthening both our operations and infrastructure, and supporting our local and regional communities. The first years were about establishing a market foothold, building client and partner relationships, and developing procedures and policies.

We then launched our proprietary Content Management System, the next several years centered around diversifying our portfolio. We did this by expanding our clientele, improving user experience, and developing modules to allow iPlasmaCMS2 to serve any purpose. For the past five years, we continued evolving our product to prepare for critical mass.

Our philosophy was building within our means while exceeding the expectations of our clients. Allowing for slow but steady growth without overextending. We’ve continued to work towards our goals every day, adapting as needed.

Small Business Benefits of iPlasmaCMS2

We created iPlasmaCMS2 on three pillars: Secure, Intuitive, and Scalable. Built for performance and SEO optimization – regularly passing Google Lighthouse Audits.

Security: Clients know their websites are running 24/7 and their data is safe without having to worry about WordPress updates or data loss from hackers. We keep the CMS regularly updated through security risk mitigation. Detecting and patching vulnerabilities before they become a threat.

Intuitive: Our interface makes it easy for non-technical users to add/update info on their websites in real-time. Reducing the need for developers, saving both time and money.

Scalability: iPlasmaCMS2 websites can serve any purpose, from basic, informational websites to complex info-systems with robust databases or e-commerce.  Integration with third-party APIs, widget support, and dynamic content makes it all easy.

Insercorp Managed Plesk servers with Dedicated and Cloud options make for a truly scalable platform. Our clients only pay for what they need. As their needs grow, their websites grow with them.

Why Insercorp provides iPlasmaCMS2 exclusively on Plesk-powered servers

Web Development companies wanting a more secure, user-friendly, customizable solution to WordPress can offer Insercorp’s iPlasmaCMS2 through Insercorp-managed Plesk servers. iPlasmaCMS2 has gained traction as a more secure open-source CMS substitute, especially with government and health organizations, and small businesses.

We developed iPlasmaCMS to work with Plesk since its inception.  Our solution allows for integration of completely custom designs to allow for unique user experiences and branded website interfaces. The iPlasmaCMS2 Control Panel user interface has evolved over the years based on user feedback. We’re currently planning a Plesk extension for iPlasmaCMS2 too.

 Aside from the familiarity of Plesk’s intuitive interface I’ve always been fond of its customization abilities, providing a sense of ownership. Taking advantage of Plesk’s built-in security, DNS management, extensions, and optimizing settings allows us to efficiently deploy and manage code as a scalable solution. As Plesk evolves, we adapt and evolve with it.

“Both Insercorp and Plesk put the end user first, with a focus on quality service and reliable support.”

Over the years we’ve seen continuous improvements in the user experience as well as the technical capabilities of Plesk. Something we strive to provide in our own web-based website management solution.  Making it easy for clients to keep up with their ever-changing technological demands in areas of performance, security, and scalability.

Community events as a major Insercorp objective

It’s part of our mission to improve local communities by giving back through in-trade sponsorships, volunteering, and cash contributions. I value the relationships we’ve been able to forge through developer conferences and cultural events. Our support has allowed our community partners to reach larger audiences than they would have otherwise. Providing the right expertise or budget for this is very gratifying.

In turn, we also get experience developing successful event marketing and communications strategies, and the opportunity to strengthen our own brand awareness.

The reason professional services rule over free/low-cost options

Many of our clients have tried cheap DIY options or WordPress. They hence understand the value we offer and love our solution. However, at the end of the day, I believe it’s our personalized, custom approach that clients recognize.  I treat each project as if it’s my own business – “it’s all in the details”.  We build solutions for end users and we see our clients’ growth as a result.

“In September 2019, we celebrated 12 years in business. “

While there have been many ups and downs along the way, we are well-established in our market. The key is to set high bars and continuously reinvent our approach and procedures. We grew from mistakes and failures, while pivoting off victories and successes.

The Top 7 Most Common Mistakes in Google Ads For SaaS

The Top 7 Most Common Mistakes in Google Ads For SaaS - Plesk Tips

Is your Google Ads campaign not performing as expected? Are you new to this game and feel like you are not achieving your goals and KPIs? No worries! We’ve gathered the 7 most common mistakes here. And we’ll give you some valuable and easy tips on how to avoid them! Luckily, many of these rookie mistakes have easy fixes and can become the support you need for successful campaigns.

1. Location setting

google ads location setting - plesk

It might come as a surprise to some of you, but by default Google has this feature set up as “people showing interest in the targeted location.” That means, for example, that if you are looking for a vacation in Hawaii, you might get ads targeting the location “Hawaii.”

Solution: Use the exact location of the audience you want to target. That will save your budget for people who matter for your business.

2. Bidding strategy

adwords bidding strategy

Fingers crossed we don’t get Google-banned for eternity for encouraging people to toss automatic bidding strategy! But yeah… the truth is that. We know, we’re can be control freaks and want to be hands-on during our campaigns. However, we found that automatic bidding increases our ad spend enormously and gives us poor results. Namely irrelevant traffic, low conversions, and pretty poor CTR (Click-through rate).

Solution: Keep manual CPC. Or if you have minimum 30 conversions per month per campaign for the last 30 days, you can also try to target CPA. Automatic bid strategies will most likely get more precise in time, so don’t stop testing.

3. Too broad keyword and limited negative list

too broad keywords and negative keywords list

It is approved that a well-built negative keyword list makes your account “healthier.” It is vital to exclude negative keywords daily and help optimise Google’s algorithm to define what is relevant and what is not for your business. At Plesk, we use a master list, set up on an account level. The negative keywords are an essential part of all campaigns’ targets.

Solution: Start building a negative keyword list straight away and don’t use broad match type keywords, as it will not wholly exclude your negative keywords from searches.

4. Not using sitelinks and other ads extensions

sitelinks

If there is a chance to make your ad larger, which means more space in the search results and more possibilities to catch the eye, why not do it? It is a perfect all-year-long gift from Google, and many times it is not appreciated. Sitelinks are essential, and you should have at least four variations in order to be adequately served. However, be aware that Google would choose the ones to show, when and how. So don’t stress out if you see that sometimes your ads are shown with only two of your sitelinks. Apart from sitelinks, there are many other extensions worth adding:  call to action buttons, structure snipped, and promo, for example.

Solution: Go crazy! Use them all, and let Google recognize how good an advertiser you are! This way, you may also gain an extra point in the “mysterious” Quality Score 😉 (We will cover this topic on a separate blog post, as it’s quite an important part of any SEM expert’s life.)

5. Lack of well-balanced ad groups

well-balanced ad groups

An effective ad group is an ad group with the right balance of keyword types match (phrase, exact, broad or broad modifier). What a good ratio should look like depends on which industry you are in.

Solution: For instance, if your market attracts more competitors and a higher average bid, invest time in research of long tail keywords for phrase match to ensure that you will get the most relevant traffic. If you are in an industry with limited search volumes, go with more broad modifiers or even broad keywords, but always keep a close eye on negative keywords.

6. Lack of proper keyword Investigation

keyword investigation tools

The key to success is having a set of keywords which brings the most relevant traffic to your website. In the hosting industry, you want to search for the longer-tail keywords. And here is where the main problem appears – where are you going to find them?

One of the publicly available tools is Keyword Planner available as part of Google Ads. Not sure about your experience, but we’ve noticed that it became less “generous” in perspective of available suggestions. If you feel the same, don’t worry! We have some super-top-secret tips on how we are getting new ideas. The best tools which we’re in love with are:

  • Ahrefs.com – although it’s a tool mostly focused on SEO data, there’s plenty of info on keywords which your competitors may use, both for organic and paid purposes.
  • Kwfinder.com – another SEO tool which helps check search volumes and bring new ideas.
  • Keywordtool.io – we use it as a substitute for all above, and it gives valuable additional data too.

With these tools you are sure to find the proper keywords for your campaigns.  And remember  – always look for keywords which have significant volume and low to medium competition score.

7. Not running RLSA campaigns

RLSA campaigns - plesk

If you’re not familiar with the term ‘RLSA‘, don’t worry, here is what you should know. RLSA stands for Remarketing Lists for Search Ads and is used to target a specific audience for your search campaigns. RLSA is like a remarketing ad, but instead of being shown on display, it will appear in Google Search. In many cases you’ll see elevated CTR but… the CPA won’t be cheaper. If you’re still focusing on sales/leads, this is an excellent tip to test.

Solution: Create a campaign with target keywords (not only the brand but with more service/product oriented). Add your remarketing list on which you want to bid. Choose “ targeting” instead of observation – which is set up by default. You’ll probably want to exclude your actual customers. Since you’re going to show your ads to your existing visitors, don’t forget to customize it accordingly. An additional option is to adjust bid for those visitors. But keep the following in mind: If you go with too many bid adjustments, you’ll end up with a significant overspend on search keywords. We recommend keeping max 1-3 bid adjustments at a time.

All the mistakes listed above are common and predictable, just a part of your learning path. Hope we managed to help you avoid them in the future.

Have you experienced any other mistakes that you need help with or would like us to cover in next blog posts?
Please add your suggestions in the comments below.

SSD vs HDD From a Hosting Perspective

SSD vs HDD - hosting perspective - Plesk

There’s been a big transformation in the way data is stored by web hosting providers. In the past, most hosting companies used hard disk drives (HDDs) as core storage devices. Now servers are increasingly using solid state drives (SSDs) to improve performance. However, hosting providers – whether offering budget shared hosting, dedicated servers or VPS, still offer a mix of HDD and SSD.  What’s the difference between SDD vs HDD? Which should you choose? And should you migrate to SSD if you’re currently on HDD-based hosting?

SSD vs HDD – the basics, and why it matters

SSD vs HDD – the basics, and why it matters

It can be difficult to figure out whether a hosting company uses SSD or HDD storage. Particularly when it comes to shared hosting. Web hosts don’t always clarify that their offered hosting has hard drives or solid state drives. However, because solid state drives are faster, hosts that do offer servers running on solid state tech usually mention it.

Before we go any further, let’s discuss exactly what the difference is between solid state drives and hard drives. SSDs are generally more expensive than HDDs so the associated hosting is more expensive too. Knowing what the performance differences are can help you justify the cost.

The main differences between SSD vs HDD

The basics of hard drives

The 1950s saw the invention of what is today’s hard drive storage technology. Based on magnetics, operating similarly to vinyl records. The data on a hard drive goes on a metal disk and mounts on a wheel that spins it. Each drive has a sensor called a drive head which moves along the disk to find data. The head reads the data and sends it to the computer.

Hard drives on their own have different speeds. It depends on the rotation speed of the disk (5400 or 7200 RPM, for example). And also the bus which connects the hard drive to the motherboard. There are a number of bus types, two centred around ATA technology – parallel ATA and serial ATA. Plus the more server-orientated SCSI, and of course Serially Attached SCSI. Another server standard is called Fibre Channel.

Interestingly, there’s a similarity between hard drives and floppy drives. The soft magnetic disks that were broadly used for data transfer and storage in the past. However, over the years, hard drives evolved to store far more data. A typical modern hard drive stores several terabytes (TB) of data.

Introducing solid state drives

SSDs or solid state drives only came on the computing scene around 2009. There are no physically moving parts in a solid state drive, instead solid state drives contain memory chips – just the same memory chips used in random access memory or a USB storage drive. Why use memory chips for long-term storage? Well, solid state drives offer much faster throughput – in other words data transfer speeds – compared to hard drives. That said, it is the seek times – in other words, the amount of time it takes to locate data – which are dramatically faster than hard drives.

In other words, an SSD drive can locate data nearly instantly whereas most hard drives have seek times of 10ms or more. This is because SSD devices do not have moving parts, but make use of ICs (or integrated circuits) instead. Benchmarks can reveal this quite quickly, solid state drives are overall able to transfer up to 95% more data under situations that heavily load the device, compared to a hard drive.

Benchmarks also show that SSDs generally respond to input/output requests up to 20 times faster than a hard drive. Note that, just like hard drives, solid state drives also perform better depending on the bus the drive sits on. The fastest drives are directly linked to the computer by means of PCI-express, but in servers fast SSDs will be on Fibre Channel or Serially Attached SCSI as it is a practical way to connect a lot of drives in a redundant manner.

HDD vs SSD – the important distinctions you need to be aware of

SSD vs HDD hosting - cost, reliability, speed and performance - plesk

Just like any new technology, SSD vs HDD cost was really high when solid state drives were first launched. Even SSD drives with little storage capacity were extremely expensive, matching large hard drive capacities was exorbitant. So for the first few years it was only elite hosting or high performance server hosting where providers would use solid state drives in their machines.

The slow shift is also in part due to the fact that servers are purchased in cycles, most hosts would only replace servers every few years and hosts were not interested in paying big amounts for solid state drives at the time.

SSD vs HDD: solid state costs rapidly dropped

But, solid state drives are becoming much cheaper. Consumers demanded the faster performance and SSD manufacturers managed to reduce the costs in their manufacturing processes. As a result SSDs have started to replace hard drives across the hosting spectrum. Hard drives are still significantly cheaper on a gigabyte for gigabyte basis nonetheless solid state drives have taken over with most cloud-based hosting now operating on solid state drives.

It is only budget hosts that will offer hosting that is based on hard disk drives exclusively – think cheap shared hosting plans and so on. There is also another concern with hard drive: they fail more frequently, however hosts will usually have redundancy in place to prevent data loss and service disruption. Because hard drives are so cheap it is easy to implement redundancy, but it erodes some of the cost advantage of hard drives. HDDs are still very effective for offsite storage, archival purposes and general backup duties.

Device reliability

Equipment with moving parts fail, and this is the case with hard drives too. Mechanical devices rarely function forever across the board, device by device. Different variables can contribute to failure rates, including heat and load factors. As much as rack mounted machines are not subject to movement and vibration the way desktops and laptops are, heat and high server loads plus the round-the-clock requirements of servers can mean that hard drives fail fairly frequently in server scenarios.

SSD vs HDD: solid state is more reliable, but not infallible

We know the solid state drives do not have a problem with moving parts. Another reason why SSDs perform better than hard drives in terms of reliability is the fact that SSDs respond to requests faster, like we said – up to 20 times faster. This means a solid state drive is less likely to be overloaded by requests. Equipment that is frequently strained can eventually lead to mechanical failure.

However SSDs have a different, unique problem not faced by hard drives. An SSD can deliver missed writes and bit errors if a specific sector of an SSD is read into frequently. This is due to something called electron tunnelling, but this problem can be mitigated by the firmware on an SSD. In fact, SSDs have come a long way as various SSD-specific issues have slowly been eliminated in large part due to firmware.

What do the benchmarks say?

Well the best way to judge HDD vs SSD in terms of reliability is to look at the benchmarks. Hard drives would typically fail at a rate of 3.5 out of 100 throughout the lifetime of the device. SSD’s would fail at a rate of 0.5 out of 100. That’s a seven-fold difference.

The high failure rates of HDDs are the reason why RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) storage has become so important over time. With RAID data is mirrored across drives so that if a single drive fails the data is not lost, instead the data can be rebuilt on a new drive.

Compensating for device failure – necessary for both SSDs and HDDs

Almost every virtual host will use RAID on their machines to ensure that their customer data is safe if a physical drive fails. RAID quickly becomes complicated and can be expensive to implement where a company has multiple data centres distributed around the country, and where data is stored offsite.

However for most hosting plans that are sold retail RAID will not be something the customer needs to worry about. The host will take care of RAID concerns. It is only clients who make use of private cloud or cluster service that are elastic who will need to be concerned about which RAID regime they will implement. This also goes for managing the overall backup strategy as dedicated hosting and private cloud solutions require real disaster planning to mitigate system crashes and hardware failures.

Devices speeds and the impact on hosting

Easily the primary factor for choosing an SSD over an HDD in the hosting scenario is speed, and that’s the case especially where web hosting is concerned. The reason for this is the high transaction volume and hence high number of disk access requests generated by web hosting. However, from a practical perspective, it is only websites which experience high loads or where hosts try to pack a lot of websites into a shared hosting environment. Here website owners will really lose out if they sign up with a hosting plan that puts high server loads on hard drives, this will put their sites at a competitive disadvantage.

Mitigating the problems with hard drive speeds

Of course, web hosts can do a lot to mitigate problems around hard drive performance and they often do so to enable the ongoing use of hard drives, which in turn reduces the costs associated with hosting. For example, a host can choose to store data-intensive applications like MySQL on hardware with solid state drives, while serving media files from a hard drive-based machine.

Using file caching based on reverse-proxy is another option, alongside load balancing to take the load off a single machine and its individual hard drives. With multiple copies of the same website running a host can manage demand in a way that hard drives can cope with. Thanks to load balancing traffic is routed to machines with a lower load so legacy hard drive-based servers can provide reasonable response times.

There are more factors, of course. A content delivery network or can also bypass hard drive performance shortcomings, and so can the use of caching and virtual RAM. Web hosts usually manage domain services for companies so they can run DNS requests, which require fast responses, through a machine that uses SSDs. On the flipside the host can put websites with little traffic on legacy machines that makes use of hard drives.

In fact, many hosting plans include CDN as an option because it is so effective at mitigating slow hosting speeds where hard drives are the culprit. That said, nowadays hosts also offer solid state hosting as a benefit above CDN, even if this is more expensive and effectively premium-priced. All that said, it’s not uncommon that a basic shared hosting solution will be relegated to hard drive-based servers.

SSDs count for overall performance

Particularly where virtual RAM solutions are used in shared hosting accounts to boost RAM available to content management system (CMS)-driven sites, hosts must make SSDs available to customers in their hardware to ensure the CMS systems run fast. Hard drives can result in slow response times. Many hosting companies have opted to offer cloud virtual hosting plans which are based on SSD hardware to ensure customers get better performance, but these would come at a higher cost than the host’s equivalent HDD-based hosting solution.

SSD vs HDD power consumption

SSD vs HDD power consumption

Web servers consume a lot of power and according to the IEEE up to 35% of the power consumption of a server is due to storing data. It adds up to large numbers, $20bn is spent annually on electricity by data centres around the world.

SSDs save the day

Solid state drives consume a lot less power and for this reason stand to bring environmental benefits to the hosting and data centre fields. The reduced electricity use associated with SSDs can save a lot of money. Benchmarks suggest that a solid state drive will use 0.38w for every hour it idles, 0.68w for every hour it performs read operations, 2w for every hour it performs a database processing function and 3.01w for every hour that the drive is writing at its maximum speed.

How do hard drives compare? A normal HDD would consume fifteen times the power of an SSD while idle. The power usage difference is less under load, but still significant with HDDs using about 2.5 to 7 times more power under heavy server load compared to SSD drives.

According to a study performed by one of the world’s biggest hosting providers, Rackspace, the difference in power consumption when comparing HDD vs SSD is not large enough to recover the difference in cost, even over a period of up to five years. However there is still a degree of savings involved where companies run major data centres as SSDs also require less cooling. In contrast HDDs can generate a lot of heat.

Points to note around durability

SSd and HDD durability in relation to hosting

Overall when looking at SSDs vs HDDs it is clear that a hard drive is more likely to fail. Statistically hard drives fail at a rate of 3.5 out of 100 across a three to five year usage period, while solid state drives will fail at a rate of 0.5 out of 100 over a period of three to five years. Interestingly the failure rates for hard drives vary across their lifetime. In year one, the failure rate is about 5 in every 100, dropping to 1.4 out of 100 in year two, jumping to almost 12 out of 100 in year three.

Why hard drives fail more frequently

The reasons are myriad but are mostly due to issues during manufacturing or problems with the hard drive firmware. Of course the ongoing use in a strenuous environment such as web hosting will lead to failure rates too which is why hard drives start seeing increasing problems in year 3. Other factors that influence hard drive failure include the manufacturer as some are more reliable than others while spin speeds and bus types can also have an effect.

How SSDs compare to HDDs

The reason for SSD failure is however very different. In the case of solid state drives the reason for failure is mostly because a specific block is written across far too frequently. Good drives will include an algorithm in the drive’s firmware that levels out the wear on the drive so that the strain on the NAND chips are lessened under demanding scenarios.

Though solid state drives are slowly replacing hard drives in the server environment there is not yet enough data to understand how SSDs perform in the live environment, and whether SSDs are statistically less likely to fail than hard drives under the strenuous demands of web hosting. However, the expectation is that SSDs will have a longer production use than hard drives, outlasting the five to six-year lifespan of HDDs.

Overall estimates suggest a ten to twenty-year lifespan for solid state server storage hardware which more or less means the drives will last as long as the equipment is used for. Most hosts will upgrade servers far faster than a ten- or twenty-year interval so it’s likely that solid state drives will never see the need for more than just the odd replacement in a server scenario.

HDD vs SSD costs

HDD vs SSD costs

SSDs are clearly much faster than hard drives and are also more reliable. The only reason SSDs are not adopted more widely is that they are so much more expensive than HDDs. This is why SSD implementation has been held back over the last decade. How much different are the costs exactly? Well estimates suggest that solid state drives are about four times as expensive as hard drives on a per-gigabyte basis.

Of course, in high-performance server environments the extra cost can easily be justified due to the up to twenty-times faster server performance. This huge performance difference can be massively beneficial for web hosting and mobile apps that need to scale to serve large audiences.

But for web hosting and low-demand server scenarios the benefits of solid state drives are not always that clear. Under these scenarios hosts can often operate at extremely small margins which means that there is not much room to splurge on hardware. For these hosts the HDD to SSD switch has been very slow. Even in 2018 many shared environments are still driven by what is now relatively slow hard drive technology.

Unlimited storage keeps SSDs out of shared hosting

Cheap hard drives has made the provision of “unlimited” hosting plans which puts no caps on storage consumed by clients possible. However, it is difficult to offer a hosting plan with no caps on storage when SSDs are in use by the hosting provider. This has stopped SSDs from being adopted in this sector of the market.

On the flipside clients who pay for dedicated servers or virtual private servers have come accustomed to premium pricing and are generally willing to fork out for SSDs in return for the better performance. With Google now evaluating search engine rankings in part on page load speeds many website operators are opting for hosting on solid state drives thanks to the faster performance.

SSDs are appearing in budget options

Yet with budget hosting where fees are only a couple of dollars a month solid state drives are starting to make an appearance; though SSDs are not yet widely available in budget hosting. Shopping around can be a good idea, you may be surprised to find that some affordable shared hosting providers offer hosting plans with solid state drives. Importantly, don’t get locked into a plan which forces you to stick with hard-drive based hosting in the long run, particularly if you are buying a plan for dedicated server provision or a virtual private server.

How you should decide between SSD vs HDD hosting

How to decide between HDD and SDD hosting - Plesk

Solid state drives are changing the hosting environment for the better and have been doing so for almost ten years. SSDs allow much faster transactions for databases and improves web site loads speeds tremendously. That said the hardware investment cycle has hampered SSD adoption, while hosting providers are also waiting for costs to go down.

When choosing you should look at your own hosting requirements. If you need high performance in 2019 you should not even consider a hosting plan which depends on hard drives for storage. You have a lot of options when it comes to Windows or Linux shared hosting as most providers can now provide a solid-state drive option.

Yes, you can obtain a discount by choosing a hard-drive based dedicated server or virtual private server but you are looking at a huge drop in speeds, with hard drives up to twenty times slower than solid state drives. For most clients the huge drop in performance is not worth the small savings, and this is particularly true where a content management system is used to drive a website.

Is it worth moving your hosting to an SSD-based server?

Purchasing a new hosting solution is one question, but another question surrounds whether you should move from HDD-based hosting to SSD-based hosting. If you’re on shared hosting you are probably getting about 0.5GB to 1GB in RAM alongside unlimited bandwidth and storage, and unlimited domain names. Some hosts will provide a virtual RAM allocation that is based on a disk.

Most website operators should consider moving to SSD-based hosting if they are currently making use of a hosting plan that is based on HDDs, and can probably do so on a plan that costs more or less the same. In particular, any solution that uses virtual RAM is not really well-placed to run a website driven by a content management system. However, if this virtual RAM is based on a solid state drive the performance becomes similar to real RAM.

In practice it is worth paying just a bit for SSD vs. HDD hosting for any website that runs PHP or a database such as MySQL. That said if you are really on a budget you could consider a basic hard drive-based solution that is backup up by a content delivery network or another type of website cache; these can bridge the performance gap between solid state and hard drive-based hosting.

When is it worth choosing HDD-powered servers in the HDD vs SSD debate?

Budget website hosting providers have been very innovative when it comes to fixing the performance problems of hard-drive based hosting. For example, load balancing can help hosting companies that still use hard drives compete with their peers who have switched to solid state drives.

Some sites do not need solid state drives for high performance: a website which is based on static HTML files do not draw on server resources very much in won’t see much benefit from solid state drives in the HDD vs SSD comparison.

Where large files are handled, such as archival tasks, or where hosts are operating a download or file storage service the need for solid state drives are reduced because of the low rate of file access. Here you can save a fair amount of money by opting for hosting solutions based on hard drives.

Likewise, a blog site with a single user and perhaps up to 2,000 page views a day can make use of content delivery networks and caching to manage demand, and to remain on affordable hard-drive based hosting servers. Here hosting can be just a few dollars a month, easily, which can be very attractive for some website owners.

Finally, where you own several website that are currently operating at sufficient speeds it may not be worth the time and effort involved to change to another host to enjoy solid state-based hosting, as long as the existing hosting solution is providing adequate performance – and particularly where you are already locked into a discounted hosting plan that is in place for the long term.