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BulwarkHost

BulwarkHost Review

Posted by Review Hell
Last updated on Oct 9, 2017

BulwarkHost started out offering shared hosting plans in 2013 and added reseller hosting plans in early 2015. Back when I started using them they weren’t that well known outside of web hosting/webmaster forums. Since then I’ve noticed them being mentioned more and more, so word about BulwarkHost has been getting out.

BulwarkHost StarterI’ve been using their shared hosting “Starter Plan” for nine months and enough time has passed where I can say that their hosting operation is worth recommending. When my account is up for renewal in February 2016, I might request to be downgraded to their “Lite Plan” because I’m currently only using 245 MB out of 2 GB of space on the “Starter Plan”.

Originally the “Lite Plan” only allowed for 500 MB space and 1 website but they upgraded all of their hosting plans a couple months after I signed up (and once again since this review was first published). The “Lite Plan” now has 31 GB space, 15025 GB bandwidth, unlimited10 addon domains, emails, and databases for $4.75/month versus the “Starter Plan”, having 52 GB space, 250100 GB bandwidth, and unlimited addon domains, emails, and databases for $6.50/month. There’s no sense in paying more money for resources that I don’t require.

Great Speed Testing

I’m on BulwarkHost’s Odin server located in Los Angeles. The speed test results from Dallas, TX are below (1.05 seconds). They added a second server location option in Buffalo, NY this past August, but discontinued offering it 3 months later due to network performance issues. They have plans to add a different East coast USA location as well as an European location sometime in 2016.

BulwarkHost Speed Test

Uptime Results

There has been minimal downtime each month and no major outages (updated May network issues).

February 2015 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
March 201599.99% Uptime (1 minutes of downtime)
April 2015 99.99% Uptime (6 minutes of downtime) Scheduled maintenance – MariaDB upgrade
May 2015 99.98% Uptime (9 minutes of downtime)
June 201599.99% Uptime (3 minutes of downtime)
July 2015 99.98% Uptime (8 minutes of downtime)
August 2015 99.93% Uptime (31 minutes of downtime)
September 2015 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
October 2015 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
November 2015 99.95% Uptime (20 minutes of downtime)
December 2015 99.94% Uptime (27 minutes of downtime) LA network was under DDoS attack – Dec 4th
Updated June 1st 2016: Added uptime stats from January 2016 through May 2016. Some big downtime in May due to networking issues in LA.
January 2016 99.9% Uptime (45 minutes of downtime) Scheduled maintenance – core & distribution switches
February 2016 100% Uptime (12 minutes of downtime)
March 201699.97% Uptime (56 minutes of downtime)
April 2016100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
May 201697.99% Uptime (14 hours and 57 minutes of downtime) LA networking issues…bug in Juniper software release on the Core QFX switches.

2016-05-19 03:25 [Update] LA Network Status

As you know we’ve recently experienced a major outage earlier this week. Intermittent networking issues were present and client sites would go up and down very frequently. We know the past several days have been very frustrating for all our clients as they have been frustrating for us as well. For that, we sincerely apologize and we have already taken concrete actions to make sure this does not happen again.

We’re happy to inform you that these Juniper and Internap issues are now fully resolved (not by them unfortunately). We’ve reached a permanent resolution by moving our network elsewhere. We’re not saying that network issues won’t happen ever again as that is not something any hosting provider can promise you, but rest assured there will be no more intermittent network issues caused by faulty Juniper firmware or misconfiguration by Internap techs. We still operate from the same datacenter location in Los Angeles but we are now utilizing a different network provider.

We are confident that this change will result in a much more stable service going forward.

As a BulwarkHost customer, you’re our top priorty, and we know it’s going to take some time to rebuild trust after all this. We truly appreciate your patience and understanding during situations wherein we do not have full control. Again, thank you very much for your business and please know that we’re always available whenever you need our assistance.

Updated November 3rd 2016: Added uptime stats from June 2016 through October 2016.
June 201699.98% Uptime (9 minutes of downtime)
July 2016 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
August 2016 99.995% Uptime (2 minutes of downtime)
September 2016 99.9% Uptime (40 minutes of downtime)
October 2016 99.986% Uptime (6 minutes of downtime)

Solid Support Team

I’ve only opened up one support ticket so far. My uptime tracker sent me a downtime notification so I checked and I couldn’t connect to my site. I asked if there was anything going on, but honestly I only opened a ticket to see how they’d respond. I ended up being able to reach my site minutes after I created the ticket but BulwarkHost’s response was to go beyond what most web hosts would do. A lot of web hosts would simply say that we see no problem on our end and since you’re able to connect again, that’s great, and have a nice day. Instead they told me they were going to investigate and see if they could find the reason for the downtime. They got back to me and discovered that there was a problem with one of the server’s backup processes which had been causing services to be inaccessible for a small number customers and that measures were implemented to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. So far I’ve interacted with three people from BulwarkHost (Keith, Tim, and Aaron) and they are all friendly and very knowledgeable.

My hosting account on the Odin server was migrated to a new server in October. The migration went smoothly and is a great example of how hosting account migrations should be handled. There were a few email notifications sent out before the migration and they did real-time updates during the migration on Twitter as well.

  • The initial email was on September 8th, announcing the plan to migrate accounts on the Odin server with a great set of frequently asked questions. The date of the migration was still to be determined but the plan was for sometime in October.
  • The second email was on September 16th with the Odin server upgrade schedule, off-peak times (Saturday, October 3, 2015 1:30am – 7:30am EST).
  • The third email was sent out before the start of the migration stating what backup time frame they were going to be using (backups from October 2, 2015 at around 9:00 PM EST) and that if you made changes to your site after that time to contact them and they would retrieve a newer backup to be restored on the new server.
  • I received the final email about an hour after the migrations began saying that my account was successfully migrated to the new server.

Final Verdict

Over the nine months I’ve been using BulwarkHost I’ve experienced minimal to zero downtime each month. Their staff is friendly and knowledgeable and the price is certainly right for the premium pure SSD hosting they provide. Keep an eye on this hosting company because if they stay on this track as they grow as a company they have the potential to become a more popular and respected player in the web hosting world.

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Comments

  • Lucien

    The Buffalo-NY location was added and taken away soon after; these days they only offer L.A. location.

    • BulwarkHost

      Hi Lucien,

      Our Buffalo servers are still up however we’re not accepting new orders at the moment. The reason for this is, we noticed that the network performance wasn’t as good as when we initally tested it. We’re launching a European location in 2Q or 3Q of this year, so by then new customers will definitely have a choice.