I have been with SpeedySparrow for about 6-7 months now and figured it was about time to write up a service review about them. I first discovered SpeedySparrow through Sean’s and Eric’s posts over on the WebHostingTalk forums. What really caught my eye was that Sean and Eric would often help out and provide solutions for users of other hosting companies – while the support from their own companies wasn’t even there to respond yet. Talk about giving before getting. This immediately caught my attention – because proper support is one of the biggest concerns of mine (in-case you didn’t already know this from reading my GoDaddy service review). Now while we’re on the topic of support I should point out that SpeedySparrow does not offer free phone support. You get access to the helpdesk, and livechat – however phone support will run you either $6.95/month (which gives you 3 phone calls a month); or $15.95/month (unlimited phone calls). I have never had any issues with using the helpdesk or the livechat to be honest – and all of my tickets have always been responded to within minutes. Furthermore the staff at SpeedySparrow always send out emails regarding upcoming server maintenance – along with keeping an updated thread on their forums regarding the status of a server maintenance job. So really – the emergency support is not needed – at all.
Before we jump into discussing the hosting experience – let’s talk a little about SpeedySparrow and the community that surrounds it. For starters if you think this is a big large hosting company with dozens of servers – you’re wrong. It’s a small company, with a few servers – and alot of heart. The beauty of it being a small company is you can often talk first hand with the CEO or the Operations Manager. The forums have a semi-active community of customers – to be honest it really only gets active during downtimes – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. See we all come together then, as one community, and discuss the issues, what can be done in the future to avoid such situations, etc. That’s actually one of the major factors that keeps me with SpeedySparrow – the community around it – and the heart that Sean and Eric pour into this business on a daily basis.
The shared hosting experience itself – has had a few hiccups to be honest. Originally my first few months were spectacular. Low server loads, fast load times, no issues or hassles. Sure there was the scheduled maintenance here and there – but everything always went smoothly and I was always notified well in-advance of any upcoming work. Then in September 2011 the Chestnut server was set to undergo a SAN disk expansion and was due to for some downtime during this matter. A freak hiccup at the datacenter screwed the whole upgrade process – and in the long run that led to roughly 72 hours of downtime (see forum thread). Since then Chestnut was never the same. The issues just kept piling up – slow load times, timeouts, etc. The team at SpeedySparrow worked around the clock during each matter. They dealt with all of our complaints, and they handled everything professionally. They always put restoring your data first – no matter what the situation looked like. No matter what – I always felt like I was truly cared about as a customer.
Eventually they made a switch to a new datacenter, and also launched a new server called Almond – splitting up the load amongst the 2 servers. The problem’s with Chestnut continued – and as I write this SpeedySparrow is still working on getting it back to operating at 100%. Just recently a SAN disk failure led to roughly 2 more days of downtime – which in turn forced the SpeedySparrow staff to switch from SAN storage to local disk storage. Interestingly enough this seems to have sped up the load times on the Chestnut server even more from what I have noticed – shaving up to a couple of seconds off my sites load times. Now keep in mind none of these issues had any effect on their VPS clients – who have maintained their uptime and quick load times throughout all of this. Furthermore the Almond server is standing strong, and running super fast.8
So what’s my recommendation in the end? A personal site, or a small business – will definitely enjoy their experience with SpeedySparrow – especially knowing about any issues in advance – you can now head over and request the Almond server, or a VPS account – and be comfortable knowing you have great support, you’re surrounded by a friendly community, and there is a great network behind you. Their prices are very low, their service is absolutely stellar (especially if you are still a novice webmaster like me), and they offer a lot of extra goodies (like Softaculous and Cloudflare) to add some extra possibilities to your site. Sure you might get the same features with some bigger company – but I can promise you that you won’t feel as cared about anywhere else.