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How to Choose a Good Web Hosting Site – BigScoots Review

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As many of my blogging friends can remember, a little over six weeks ago the internet seemed to break one Friday morning. It has been a year or so since I started to blog and I’ve had experience with my site going down here and there and was no big deal. This particular situation though was like none other. At least half of the sites I visit were down for hours. In the blogging world that is horrible, especially if you’re trying to make any income through your blog. It turns out that the culprit was some issue at a data facility for HostGator that also impacted numerous other hosting companies under the umbrella of the parent company – EIG.

A little background, I had moved to them several months prior and thought that since they were such a big hosting company I’d be bound to get great service. Sadly, that was not the case as I noticed a marked difference the day I switched to them. For three or four hours each afternoon, it seemed as if Frugal Rules came to a standstill as the site was moving so slow. That said, I know each host goes down and that is expected, but this was the final nail for me. Anyway, this is not meant to be a HostGator hate fest, but a BigScoots review and why I chose to go with them.

There Are Seemingly Thousands of Web Hosting Companies

Anyone who has been blogging for any amount of time knows there are a ton of web hosting companies out there. This can make it difficult to determine which might be best for you and the needs of your blog. Additionally, switching hosts can be a bit of a headache if you end up moving to a hosting company that will not help you through the process of switching over. When I decided it was time to switch to a new hosting company, I sought out opinions of other bloggers and stumbled across a smaller company – BigScoots. The name might seem a little odd, but let me tell you that they know what they’re doing and the service has been top notch.

What Are Your Needs?

As someone who has limited tech knowledge, I want to be able to find a hosting company that can take care of those needs so I can focus on other blogging related activities. Depending on what your technical knowledge is, that’ll sway what your needs are and what hosting service you choose. While there are many needs you might have, I’ll focus on some of the key ones below:

Up-Time:

This is first as it is likely the most important. If your site is not up then how can people get to it? It’s plain and simple. Not only can it potentially impact you from an SEO perspective, but it can also drive away readers if your site is regularly down. The different companies out there have their own specific numbers they claim to reach and with BigScoots they have a 100% up time guarantee. As far as I know, my site and our business site have not been down since we made the switch.

Speed:

Who wants to go to a site that takes 30 seconds to load each page? I know that I generally don’t…I know, call me impatient. ;-) There is much more technical jargon associated with this, but suffice it to say that you want a host that’ll make sure your site is moving fast. Since moving to BigScoots, our sites are moving markedly faster.

Technical Ability:

You want to make sure that your host is able to technically handle what your blog needs. This can come in many forms from being able to support a WordPress blog to having software that is up to date. You also don’t want to run into a situation where you’re jam packed with a bunch of other sites resulting in a slower performance out of your blog.

Customer Service:

I left this one last on purpose. I value good customer service highly and will even pay more for it. Our first experiences with HostGator was on the customer service side and that should’ve been our warning. That said, you want someone that’ll take the time to answer your hosting questions and be available 24/7 through either phone, email or live chat. The experience I’ve had with BigScoots has been second to none on this front.

Why I Chose BigScoots

You may be asking yourself what makes BigScoots different from the others. There are numerous reasons why. When we switched to them, which was at 11:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, the gentleman who helped us – Scott, gave us his personal cell number and said that we could call him at any point of the night or the rest of the weekend if we noticed any issues with our sites with the move.

In my opinion, that is exceptional service. They handled moving our sites completely free of charge and had them over to their servers within 20 minutes of us pulling the trigger. As a comparison, in our previous move several months prior it took nearly an entire weekend and we still had to handle some of the things on our own – not so with BigScoots as they took care of everything for us, which made it very a easy and pleasant process.

In addition to that, they are always quick to answer any questions and actually walk us through handling a situation if we have a problem. The great thing about it, is they offer all of this at a great price as you can start out with a plan as cheap as $1.99 per month. We have a higher level shared plan which works out to $10.95 per month and we also have a dedicated IP address which runs an additional $2 per month. I know it’s likely that bigger hosting providers like HostGator and Bluehost can probably match if not best that price but, but if you’re looking for stellar service and solid up-time, then BigScoots is worth a look.

 

Who do you use for your hosting company? Were you impacted by half the internet breaking?

 

Photo courtesy of: Bogie Garry

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and would love to help out if you have the need. If you're wanting to learn how to monetize your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

42 Comments

  • Yeah, we got hit by that one, John, and you’re right, for a professional blogger, it is terrible! I really had to talk myself down that day, and remind myself that life as I know it wouldn’t end because my Friday post got up late. :-) We are just coming up for renewal on our sight, so I’ll have to check BigScoots out. Thanks for the great review!

    • John says:

      Agreed Laurie, it’s not the end of the world. However, it was just another in a string of events in a very brief period for me. I couldn’t be happier than where we’re at now.

  • I have never heard of Bigscoots, but I think you know as well as I do that Bluehost had a couple of “oops” this Summer and for some of us that simply is unacceptable. I’m one outage away from looking into companies to switch to, so I will keep Bigscoots in mind.

    • John says:

      I had not either and was very surprised at what I saw. A few of us have moved over there actually. Yea, EIG hosts have had some issues recently which is a shame.

  • An ongoing problem for web hosts is that they are vulnerable to becoming ‘victims of their own success’. A growing customer base without a commensurate investment in expanded and upgraded technology means less bandwidth and speed for everyone using their network.

    The needs you have listed here can be a very useful tool for weeding out the companies that are on top of this need for continuous investment and the companies that are not. Thanks, John.

    Cheers, Jason @froogalism.com

    • John says:

      That’s a very good point Jason, it can be a problem for hosting companies – especially if they’re not proactive in handling their growth. If they’re not, then it can definitely cause some issues.

  • I haven’t heard of that web hosting company before, I might as well check it out.

  • Michelle says:

    Good review. I will definitely check them out!

  • Matt Becker says:

    I’m with Host Gator, mostly because of the great reviews it has gotten. I was actually totally disconnected from the internet on that Friday you’re talking about, so while I heard everyone’s horror stories I don’t actually know whether my site was up or down during that time. I’m assuming it was down, but I’m not sure.

    My hosting package will be up in a couple of months and it’s probably worth looking into my other options. I haven’t had too much to complain about with Host Gator and I’ve found their customer service to be helpful when I’ve needed it. But a faster server is probably something worth looking into at the least. Not being a technical person either, I’m honestly not too sure about what else I should be concerned with. Sounds like it’s time for a little research.

    • John says:

      Yea, it likely was but who knows.

      It’s funny, because I had a completely different experience in terms of the service we received. Our site speed is markedly faster which speaks quite a bit to me. Like I told DC, a few of us have moved to them and from what I know they’ve all had positive experiences.

  • E.M. says:

    Thanks for the review, John! There really are so many web hosting services, and picking one can be difficult! I went with HostGator as it was mentioned the most often on blogs I read. That was really nice of Scott to give you his personal number, you definitely don’t see that very often! I will keep Bigscoots in mind if I ever decide to switch. I haven’t had any major issues so far, but I also haven’t needed to contact customer service.

    • John says:

      I agree E.M., there are a lot of hosting companies out there which can make it difficult to decide. I learned through this process that you benefit by taking the time to research what they have to offer and that it fits your needs.

  • I will have to keep them in mind. Once tori’s student loans are gone I may move to a more expensive but better hosting company.

  • Well, you know I am with BigScoots as well John. They are super quick and responsive. I will say that I had been with Hostgator since 2005. They were awesome up to the point when EIG bought them. That is when their service and support went into the shitter. I wasn’t going to deal with it anymore. BigScoots all the way!

    • John says:

      Completely agreed Grayson. I just wish I would’ve taken more time to do the research before I pulled the trigger on HG. I couldn’t be happier with Big Scoots.

  • Alexa says:

    I use GoDaddy and have never had not one single problem with them. I don’t think my blog has ever went down. I used to use FatCow and my blog would be down all. the. time.

    I just bought a new website and the seller wanted me to use Hostgator so I gave it a try. In all honesty that site will probably be moved to GoDaddy upon renewal.

    • John says:

      I am glad you’ve had a good experience with GoDaddy. I’ve not heard good things about them, but it’s great you’ve had good dealings with them. Lol, I can’t blame you on wanting to move though. :)

  • I think I bought three years of hosting when I started because I knew I wouldn’t quit if I already paid. Do you think they refund if you switch?

  • I use godaddy. Overall it’s been fine. They got hit really bad once too, although I think all the big hosting companies have a target on their backs. I had a couple of small problems and asked for help via twitter. They responded quickly and were helpful. I’m glad you find a good replacement and will keep them in mind if the need to switch ever arises.

    • John says:

      That’s great you’ve had a generally good experience with GoDaddy – especially quick responses as that is huge in my book. I do agree with you in terms of big hosting companies having a target on their backs, it’s unfortunate really.

  • To be honest I still don’t know what web hosting is exactly even though J has tried explaining to me a million times but all I know is that thanks to you, J and I are web hosted (did I say that right?) with BigScoots and we’re happy with it! :)

  • Thanks for the review, I was not familiar with BigScoots. I have been a loyal MediaTemple guy for years now and they do a great job for me.

  • I’ve been with GoDaddy since I started and have had no issues but am always open to something new if the quality is there. And I’m with you…if a site doesn’t load quickly, I’m gone. Quick speed is a must for any site.

  • krantcents says:

    I am using Bluehost for the last 3 years. I have had no problems!

  • Thanks for the review and suggestion, I’m looking to make a change.

  • I’ve been happy with Hostgator. I was recently moved to a new server, and had some horrible performance issues. However, after some performance work on my end (Thank you EWWW Image Optimizer and W3C Total Cache!), and some work on hostgator’s side, my page load time was cut in half compared to before the move. So I can’t complain.

  • Good to here John. I am with one of the others you mentioned (not hostgator) and have had good luck so far. Like you, I am not exactly technically savvy so its good to have have a back up option if my current situation does not work out. And yes you really cannot put a price on good customer service especially when time is important.

  • Deborah says:

    Thanks for the great review. I’ve been with HostGator for a very long time but have been warned to find a new host. I’ve been researching for over two weeks and just when I think I’ve made a decision, I find out something horrible about the company.

    I had NO idea there were so many hosting companies.

    Today I discovered BigScoots and must say that they answered all of my (many) questions without flinching. I love their answers and patience. I’d narrowed it down to BigScoots and SiteGround, but after reading your review, think I will go ahead and sign up with BigScoots. I truly can’t find anything negative about them anywhere.

    Thanks so much for your post. Here’s hoping I won’t have to find another hosting company for at least another 20 years.

    • John says:

      Not a problem Deborah. There really is a lot of hosting companies out there, which can make it overwhelming. A trusted friend directed me to them and I haven’t looked back and brought a few friends over with me as well. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Deborah says:

    I’ve been with BigScoots for over a month and can’t tell you how much I love them. They are beyond amazing. These guys NEVER sleep! As an insomniac, I usually work on my computer into the wee hours of the night. The BigScoots location is two hours later than my time zone. No matter what time I open a Support Ticket, seconds later, I get a response. It usually takes less than 5 minutes to answer my question or fix my issue. They go above and beyond the call of duty.

    I’m not easily impressed, but these guys totally blow me away.

    Please, folks, give them a try. And, no, I’m not an affiliate. Just a non-techie with a few WP sites. I need a lot of hand-holding and this company is A++++++. I truly hope they never lose the personal touch they offer.

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