What storage to choose when hosting website: HDD, SSD, NVMe?

Updated on June 7, 2023

What differentiates one hosting plan from another? Hosting plans are differentiated mainly through hardware configurations offered within them. The type of storage is a major component of this configuration, presented mainly by more traditional VPS HDD and VPS SSD hosting drives as well as newer and more advanced NVMe, each having specific features and usage cases.

Today we want to guide you through the specificity of each storage device and its implementation to help you choose the optimal solution for your web project.

HDD vs. SSD vs. NVMe

HDD or Hard Disk Drives are the oldest storage type that is based on rotating magnetic disks accompanied by a reading device. They have been the main way of storing information on both servers and home PCs until SSD drives became widespread.

SSD or Solid State Drives can be considered a more advanced solution that is based on a different technical approach: instead of a mechanical device with lots of moving parts, there is a solid-state device that stores information in microchips in the form of electric charges. The abandoning of the moving mechanism solved a range of problems associated with HDD: writing and reading the information is much faster being independent of a moving mechanism – it’s intuitively clear that charges can reach higher speed rates than a rotating thing; on the other hand, SSD is not subject to wearing out that fast; and in addition to that, SSD produces less noise, less heat, and consumes less electricity.

Although nowadays SSD drives are the primary storage device in most hosting offers, it hasn’t completely substituted HDD for the sake of price: HDD drives are offered for a lower price for larger amounts of storage, thus having still a range of actual usage cases.

NVMe drives (from Non-Volativel Memory Express) are SSD drives with a newer high-speed interface. The thing is that SSD drives were originally based on the interface originally developed for HDD, namely SATA and SAS, which had certain limitations in speed. The problem was solved on a consortium of different storage device producents, that decided to create a new standard. As an “SSD on steroids”, NVMe cost more while offering increased performance and speed.

Usage cases of the storage types

Now that we have a general idea of what each storage type is, let’s see when it’s recommended to use each of them.

HDD drives

With SSD drives becoming omnipresent, HDD drives are still useful in many cases, generally in ones where high storage performance is secondary in respect to such factors as cost and the volume of storage. This can be:

  • A niche website with heavy content: SSD drives are perfect when there is not so much to store, but the website is in turn accessed very frequently. HDD drives present an opposite case: the website is not intended for hundreds of visitors a day, but it’s important to put there as much as possible – bit files, multimedia, etc.
  • Storing archives: There are lots of cases where the main purpose of a server is to store data, whereas important is the mere availability of the data, while it’s not going to be accessed too often. This can include data warehousing, cold storage, or bulk storage of large datasets for working with big data.
  • Backups: Backups are a perfect example of a server storing data that is not accessed intensively, whereas the more data can be stored, the better. Backups are essential for ensuring that your precious data will be lost no matter circumstances, and HDD drives can help you build a powerful backup solution

SSD drives

SSD drives are a good solution for most modern websites. When you have a website that corresponds to modern website criteria, runs some complex applications, and is accessed by dozens of users a day, an SSD drive will be a wise capital investment.

NVMe drives

NVMe drives are a newer version of SSD that is enhanced through an advanced high-speed interface. This is an optimal solution when the performance of the storage is crucial to reach the optimal performance of the project. NVMe drives are a good choice when for this or that reason a standard SSD cannot cover the performance need of your website anymore. This can be the case in the development of technologically advanced applications and in the areas of machine learning and artificial intelligence.


Although storage can seem to perform a rather passive and static role, it is indeed a critical component of your server being able to significantly affect the performance of your project. It’s essential to choose it with an eye on the specificity of your project and your budget to get the most out of your server. We hope that the information above was helpful to you and wish you success in your web undertakings.

Article by:
Kenny Trinh
While he’s not editing articles on the latest tech trends, he likes to discuss business and entrepreneur. His writing has been featured in national publications such as Forbes, RD, Yahoo Finance, HackerNoon among others.

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