While high definition audio and video can quickly consume a lot of computer storage, the good news is that it’s never been cheaper or more convenient to load up on additional storage space. From USB drives to external hard drives, the cost per terabyte of data has never been so low.
More memory, less cost
While inflation tends to increase the cost of most things, computer technology is still one realm where capacity continually goes up and prices continually go down.
If you’re old like me, you might remember when a 1.44MB floppy disk was the best option for data portability. These days, manufacturers are offering USB drives with a million times more storage! Sure they cost $100 where an old floppy was $1, but that’s still a 10,000X improvement in storage per dollar. Apparently, you can even still find them on Amazon, which could be handy if you’re working on a retro project or using legacy hardware.
But this is 2021. Forget about using a dozen disks to share one 4k photo – now you can share hundreds of such photos on a single disk! Same goes for songs, pictures, and video. Even though the quality of digital media is increasing, the ability to store it seems to grow even faster.
Choices for every scale
Are you looking for a quick way to transfer large files from one physical location to another? Grab a USB drive or three!
Need something a little more permanent and cost effective? Many external hard drives offer 5 to 8 terabytes for between $100 and $150.
Even if you’re looking for web accessible storage, there are a variety of cloud providers that will let you store and download your files from anywhere.
For web sites, most hosting providers even provide SSD style hard drives to ensure data loads as quickly as possible. Dreamhost, for example, used to offer unlimited website storage on their VPS plans, but they now include 30GB of SSD storage per 1GB of VPS RAM.
Top picks for memory and data storage
If you’re running out of space – on your computer or web server – here are my top picks for getting more capacity at a great price:
External hard drives
Many external hard drives can also be connected directly to a router so as to be accessible across the entire network. This increases convenience if multiple people are sharing the drive, but it can slow down your transfer rates a little bit!
USB flash drives
If you’re just trying to move large files from one physical location to another, USB drives are a great solution. I also came across a great deal: 5 USB drives with 32GB of storage each, for about $25. They’re USB 3.0 so they’re fast, and with 32GB to store files, they’ve got plenty of room for audio, video, or lots of pictures.
When it comes to storing data for websites, always make sure you have SSD speeds. There are a lot of things you can do to optimize code and optimize servers for quick loading, but nothing will contribute nearly as much as having a fast hard drive. For the fastest SSD web hosting, I’ve got to recommend Dreamhost and Linode. No other web hosts have consistently both large quantities of storage, and a high quality of storage access speeds.