When jamespautz.com first launched, I found a really good deal with Dreamhost, so I signed on for a year. Their regular price was a bit more, but it wasn’t horrible at the time. When that first year was up they had raised the price by $3 per month and they also charged extra for decent customer service. I didn’t have any problems with them, but I couldn’t afford to sign on again.
I decided to shop around a bit. It was then I came across a good deal that I could sign on for multiple years, essentially saving me $25 and some. It was through IX Web Hosting. The setup went great, domain transfer and hosting, but after a couple months I noticed a that my site was seeing some downtime. (It happened for me two days in a row.)
It was then I decided to monitor more closely, so I signed up for a free account at Pingdom.com. Pingdom is great. It can ping your site every minute if you want, it will notify you if you want, it gives you a nice display of statistics, similar to Google Analytics. Needless to say, my site’s uptime wasn’t doing so great. In the first 2 days I had almost 4 hours combined downtime, some periods up to 18 minutes at a time.
This prompted me to contact IX. IX has great, prompt customer service. The people you talk to on the phone are easy to understand and nice. They don’t, however, do much to help you if your site is seeing downtime. They tried a few things, but my site was still seeing only 93% uptime (as opposed to the the promised 99.9%). They even told me I would have better luck upgrading to a Dedicated Server (which would cost more).