For years, I had been a DreamHost customer. I had their standard shared reseller hosting account that costs peanuts. Every few weeks my sites would crash hard when they had any remote amount of significant traffic. Eventually it got to the point where I was losing out on ad-revenue because of DreamHost’s inability to keep their servers in good shape. I decided that I’d had it with DreamHost’s constant down-time issues and started researching hosting companies.

Picking out a web-host is probably one of the most difficult tasks that a web-developer has, mostly because it’s difficult to determine what level of customer service they will provide after you are a customer. Eventually I settled upon Arvixe, because the reviews that I read online were much more positive than what other companies had. Most companies have pretty mixed reviews; even Arvixe has a few bad reviews floating online.

The best way to scope out a host ahead of time is to type “CompanyName Sucks” on Google. You can also read reviews and see if the host bothered to respond and offer to help customers that had bad experiences. You definitely want a high ratio of good reviews to bad reviews, but you’re still taking a bit of a guess as to whether or not the host will be any good.

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I’ve been using Arvixe to power my two high traffic sites, and for about 5 months now. The two sites together easily get 150,000 unique visitors per month and Arvixe’s servers handle the load just fine, even on the cheap shared hosting plan that they offer.

I’ve ran into two situations where’s I’ve needed customer support from Arvixe. The first time, had 19,000 unique visitors in a day. The WordPress-based site had a couple of plug-ins that were misbehaving and sucked up the entirety of the server’s CPU. As a result, Arvixe shut the site down, sent me an email and told me why they did what they did and what plug-ins I needed to remove to prevent the problem. After taking the action that they suggested, they were more than happy to re-enable the site and the problem disappeared.

The second time I dealt with Arvixe’s customer service team was last week when the server that powers my ASP.NET websites went down. Apparently there was a hardware malfunction and the server had to be taken off-line. Arvixe had full-backup and replaced the server within a few hours. The company also had to take the server down early on a Sunday morning to do a file system check.  As the file system check took place, Arvixe provided hour by hour updates to let me know when my sites would be back up. The company even provided a 2-month credit because of the down-time that really wasn’t their fault to begin with.

I’ve been really impressed with Arvixe’s customer support so far, so, keep up the good work guys!