BigRock Review – Is It Worth Buying? Find Out Now
If you happen to be a budding or would-be webmaster looking for a reliable web hosting service, you may have stumbled upon quite a few names. BigRock might be one of them. This BigRock review will give you a complete idea of the pros and cons of the hosting provider.
Just in case you are unaware (as many webmasters often are), BigRock is a subsidiary company owned by Endurance International Group Inc. Yes, it is the same mother company that owns several other hosting, online marketing, and digital marketplace companies. Want to know which companies they own? Here is the complete list:
- Constant Contact
- MOJO Marketplace
So yes, some of the most popular hosting companies out there, including BlueHost (which is actually recommended by official WordPress.org), operate under the same umbrella company.
For those of you who are wondering why BlueHost, BigRock, HostGator etc. have a similar looking control panel and chat support interface, you have your answer, don’t you?
My Experience with BigRock – A Quick Summary
Back in 2008, when I quit my day job to get fulltime into blogging, there was no BigRock. It came into existence 2 years later in 2010. I started with 3iX and trust me, their services were plain – AWFUL. It took me nearly 2 years to understand the nitty-gritty of hosting (and of course, my own requirements) before I decided to make a switch.
By then, BigRock was there in market – a brand new company making some brilliant promises. I did not hesitate. My logic was –
A new company will give brilliant services to establish itself in a market that is already flooded with many hosting companies.
I jumped in and my experience was ‘good’. Fast server, almost zero downtime, several add-on services for free and free emails! Who wouldn’t love all those? I was happy, really happy, really really happy until one day… I ran into a problem!
The most dreadful dream of webmasters – a mail from BigRock stating “your account resources have reached maximum limit and it can be suspended and files deleted if not fixed immediately”. Well, the technical words were different but that was the summary of the mail.
I went to BigRock support chat and bam! All my happiness came crushing down like a castle of cards. We will get there later in this review. But the summary is – BigRock support is ‘DESPICABLE’!
Okay, enough talks! Time to review BigRock’s hosting service. I know you are waiting for this.
Just a reminder: Read between the lines…
BigRock Review: Hosting Server Speed
Back in 2008 when I started blogging, speed was not really a parameter for standing out in SEO. Yes, Google didn’t mind slow websites. They went for other things, for example, content quality. Competition was low and not everyone had a smartphone tucked somewhere in their clothing. Today, the story is different. Speed matters.
You already know that, don’t you?
Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages is a dreadful introduction to the world of websites. Many webmasters have adopted it to avoid penalty from Big G. Many others have simply opted to go for optimized site design that load fast!
Since you are new to blogging or planning to start your own blog, you will definitely go for speed. Also, you will most likely go for WordPress because that is a platform that can rightly be called as ‘Plug-n-Play’ blogging software.
So, you will likely think of these things:
- Theme loading speed.
- Plugin loading speed.
- Number of plugins to use.
- Image dimension and compression plugins.
- AMP plugin or AMP-supported theme.
- Caching plugin.
- CDN or Content Delivery Network etc.
All of these boils down to just one thing – Speed!
Have you ever wondered about the role your website sever has to play in your site speed? I never did until I had a bitter experience with BigRock support following an email from Big G which stated that my website’s server was taking too long to respond.
Yes! Server response time can be the real culprit behind your slow site load. Your website theme, plugins etc. may be the innocent bystanders taking the blame of your webhost’s blatant lies.
If the server takes a lot of time to respond to a query from a random reader trying to access your blog, your site can slow down and your bad time starts!
When I started using BigRock, it did not do well in terms of server speed. The average server speed stood at 1,700ms. That is 1.7 seconds! Today Google says that world has gone mobile and websites should load in less than 3 seconds to retain customers/readers.
Imagine what happens when server takes 1.7 seconds to respond to a query! Your website or blog then starts loading. If you have an image-heavy website or you run too many plugins, you are in for a sting from the Big G! Your page load time can be well above 6 seconds and guess what? Google doesn’t like such sites anymore!
BigRock has come a long way. 8 years into business, they have upgraded their hardware and the average server response time across world clocks around 312.5ms or 0.31 seconds. However, depending on the server location, BigRock may have slow response time.
Here is a live proof of one of our websites hosted with BigRock:
Here is a screenshot of the response time of BigRock server from Asia-Pacific:
As you can see from the screenshot above, BigRock’s server located in Asia-Pacific responds to a query from USA in slightly over 1 second.
Yes, BigRock has improved a lot! There are times when it even beats BlueHost. But yet, it has a performance grade of C. This means it is below industry average. It doesn’t however indicate that BigRock is bad.
Most of the cheap or budget hosting companies will give average server response time of 300 to 400ms. But again, depending on server location, the response time can vary.
Remember that they mostly provide Shared Hosting and each server has hundreds and thousands of websites hosted. Each server receives thousands of queries every second. Naturally, server speed or server response time will be low. You can always upgrade to VPS or Dedicated server or Cloud hosting if you need more speed.
Conclusion: So what is the take away point of this BigRock review so far? This hosting provider has an ‘at par’ performance compared to some big names in world of Shared Hosting. Choose your server location wisely. If your website or blog caters mostly to US citizens, it is wise to have your server in USA. For example, one of my education sites that gets 80% of its traffic from USA has a server located in USA. For my other site that caters to Indian audience, my server is located in Singapore.
Server Uptime for BigRock
When you own a website or a blog, you will definitely get visitors over time provided your content is worth reading. But, you need to understand that loyal visitors or readers are the ones who will make or break your website to a great extent.
What happens if they come to your website only to see that the website is not showing up? They type in the website URL in their browser and they get an error stating that the server is not responding and the website cannot be displayed. What happens then?
They will leave your website. They may return later but, if they find the same condition, they will most likely never visit your website again. This is not good for business. You need to stay online always so that people from across the globe can visit your website any time of the day they want.
So, your server needs to be up and functional. This is called server uptime.
BigRock is known for providing excellent server uptimes. Over the last 2 months, the average uptime was clocked at 99.99%. Yes, the server went down only once and that too for a couple of hours. It was not the fault of their server. The server was simply undergoing a scheduled maintenance.
Wondering what is the current uptime? At the time of writing this review, it stands at 100%. Take a look at the screenshots below:
In case you are wondering which tool/service I use to check server uptime, here is the answer: I use Pingdom for checking all my servers.
Having said that, it is important to mention that back in 2015, I experienced a 4-day outage. Yes, the server was down for 4 days. No one was able to access my website. Even I was locked out from my website and even server control panel. That again was not caused by a failed server. BigRock came under DDOS attack!
DDOS stands for ‘distributed denial of service’. This is caused by hackers who will target a server or a website with a ‘tsunami of requests’ that the server cannot handle. This will in turn deny the legitimate users from accessing the server or website.
Every web host can come under such attack. I faced the same in 2012 when one of my websites was hosted with GoDaddy.
BigRock never faults on server uptime. Except for occasional maintenance services, their servers always stay online.
This is good for business! I have been with BigRock since 2010 for a few of my sites and I highly recommend BigRock on this aspect.
BigRock Plans – Cheap or Expensive? Find Out
BigRock claims to be one of the cheapest webhosting providers in world. Is it true?
I say – ‘They are tricksters’!
Why do I say that?
Take a good look at the images below:
The image above shows the pricing they have for servers located in India.
89 Rupees per month sounds lucrative, right? Look again! That 89 Rupees per month is a price tag you will get only and only if you purchase hosting for 10 years.
Yes, you read it right! You need to commit for 10 years straight. Your money will be blocked. That’s quite a lot of money.
- At 89 Rupees per month for 10 years, you will pay: 10,680 Rupees.
- At 149 Rupees per month for 5 years, you will pay: 8,940 Rupees.
- At 149 Rupees per month for 3 years, you will pay: 5,364 Rupees.
- At 169 Rupees per month for 2 years, you will pay: 4,056 Rupees.
- At 199 Rupees per month for 1 years, you will pay: 2,388 Rupees.
So, if you are purchasing a hosting plan for 1 year and you renew your subscription every year, you will end up paying Rupees 23,880 for 10 years. That is more than double of what you pay for a 10-year plan!
The same is the case with US hosting plans! The image below shows the trick they play:
So, no! BigRock isn’t really that cheap as it claims to be. Low figures come with long term commitments, which is never a good idea.
Which plan should you go for?
There are several things you should consider. First, what is the nature of your website? Will it grow over time or will it remain more or less static? If your website grows over time, I personally recommend a medium-term commitment. A 3-year plan sounds pretty decent to start with.
Why not commit for 10 years?
I thought you’d never ask this! Glad you did!
See, a growing website that stays online for a decade will gradually get millions of visitors a month. Sever should be capable enough to handle millions of requests without slowing down your website. Such situations dictate cloud hosting where resources like RAM, CPU cores etc. can be scaled up on demand to meet the ever-increasing traffic pressure. You will pay for only what you use.
Is BigRock’s Cloud hosting good?
Cloud hosting is always good but…
BigRock, like its shared hosting plans, offers only prepackaged Cloud hosting plans.
They come with predefined RAM and CPU cores.
This can tie you down. What if you need more RAM or more CPU cores? You cannot increase them at your will.
So, Cloud hosting from BigRock is not a great idea. There are better and bigger ones like AWS or Digital Ocean.
Coming back to BigRock’s shared hosting review, they are decent for starters and newbies who are just getting into blogging. It takes time for a website to grow and hence, keeping a low-profile server is always a wise decision. As your website outgrows your server specs, you are free to move on to another host or simply upgrade your BigRock hosting.
I highly recommend Starter or Advanced plan depending on the type of website you are creating!
If your website is image-heavy, going for Advanced plan makes more sense because you will not be restricted by space limit or transfer limit. Advanced plan gives both unlimited space and unlimited transfers.
If your website is text-heavy with very few images or embedded third-party hosted videos (such as YouTube videos), a Starter plan will work just fine because 20 gigs of disk space and 100GB of bandwidth or transfers will allow you to tackle up to several thousand visitors a month.
So, what are the features offered in BigRock shared hosting packages? Let us take a quick look:
BigRock Starter Package:
- Transfer: You get 100 GB monthly transfer limit with this plan. This basically refers to the amount of data that will be transferred between the server and the rest of the Internet. So, if a typical page on your website has a page size of 20 KB and this page is requested by 100 users at once every day for 30 days a month, the amount of data transferred will be 20x100x30 KB = 6,000 KB = 0.006GB. Transfer limit can quickly expire depending on the type of website you are hosting.
- Emails: This plan offers you 5 email IDs. For example, if your website is say, http://yourdomain.com, you can create up to 5 email IDs such as firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Location: You can choose a server that is located in India or in USA. You should choose wisely depending on the target traffic. The closer the server to your target traffic, the faster the response time of your server.
- Number of websites allowed: You can host only one website on the sever. That is, only one primary domain (http://yourdomain.com) can sit in the root folder of your server. You can however create multiple subdomains. There are no limits to the number of subdomains you create. For instance, you want to create an online store as a subdomain of your root domain. You can do so with the format: http://store.yourdomain.com or http://yourdomain.com/store.
BigRock Advanced and Pro Packages:
For Advanced and Pro packages, the bandwidth, email and space limits are lifted. There’s no limit to the number of files you can store or the amount of data that is transferred between your server and the rest of the Internet. For Advanced package, you will be allowed to host only one primary domain. For the Pro package, you can host unlimited number of websites in your root folder. Again, both these packages will allow unlimited subdomains as well.
BigRock Review: Hosting Resources
This is important and you need to focus on this section very carefully. BigRock shared hosting has certain limitations and violating them can land you in problems.
BigRock Storage Space
There are options for 20GB space or Unlimited space. Well, we know what 20GB means. It simply means that you will not be allowed to store any more files once that limit is reached. But what about Unlimited plans? Well, unlimited plans are not truly unlimited. Of course, when you upload files on your server, you can upload as many as you want for the unlimited plans. However, you need to make sure that you cannot use the space for the following:
- A site designed for mirroring, distribution, backup, archive, file sharing and file upload.
- A site for driving traffic to some other site.
- Making designated storage space available for public.
If you violate the policies, your account can be blocked and closed. So, if you are hosting a legitimate website and using an unlimited plan, there are no limits.
BigRock Inode Limit
What are inodes? Inode refers to data structure of your server’s file system (Linux servers). Inodes keeps information on everything you store on server. Anything from files (HTML/PHP/JS/CSS etc.) to folders, emails, images, videos etc. on the sever is structured using inodes. There is a limit to the inodes that are allowed for the hosting account you purchase. This limit cannot be changed. There are different limits for different plans. You need to ask the support system when you purchase a hosting plan. Inode tree can be seen through the cPanel or control panel. Here is a screenshot of where you can find inode details in control panel:
The inode limits for the different plans are given below:
|Package Name||Inode Limit|
Yes, all plans have the exact same inodes limit. This is a bummer because technically you should have higher inodes limit for higher or pricier plans.
cPanel stands for control panel. It is basically a tool that is installed on Linux Servers. When you purchase a hosting plan, you will be given access to cPanel and not the WHM or Web Host Manager. WHM is far more advanced and it gives direct access to all server files. This is not meant for shared hosting plans.
I once had a VPS hosting plan with Mocha Host. They gave me WHM access and it was quite intimidating.
You need not bother about WHM though. Shared hosting plans with BigRock always come with cPanel that gives you access to all the information you need for your web server. Here is a quick look at how BigRock’s cPanel looks like:
If you notice carefully, on the right you will see some nifty details about your hosting account.
On the right are many options that have been categorized neatly. You can quickly access your website files, email accounts, MySQL databases, backup options etc.
cPanel is extremely powerful (though not as powerful as WHM). It can quickly tell you about the disk space used, bandwidth used, number of email accounts created, number of MySQL databases you have in your account, all subdomains in your account, security options available and more. It even shows the inode stats, website stats, error logs, visitor metrics etc.
At a glance, the cPanel image in this BigRock review may look a bit intimidating. However, if you spend some time clicking your way around in a real scenario, you should quickly get a hang of it and find it to be a very useful interface. Just don’t click on and edit or delete anything you don’t understand. You can land yourself in some trouble.
BigRock Database and Users
Even the most basic plan (Starter) actually allows you to create unlimited MySQL databases. Check the image below:
Currently, my account has only 1 MySQL database of unlimited allowed. However, you don’t need many databases. Only one database is all that you need for your website or blog.
Talking of users, you can assign unlimited users to a single database with different levels of privileges. For this, you need to select MySQL Databases option from Databases section in cPanel and create a new user from the next page you see. Check the screenshots below:
Accessing MySQL Database
New User Creation
BigRock SEO and Marketing Tools
BigRock’s hosting accounts come with some tools for SEO and marketing. Though these tools are integrated in the cPanel, they are actually offered by a third party known as Attracta. These tools can be very useful if you quickly want to get into Google searches and beat your competitors.
I personally however don’t like these tools. I prefer doing on-page SEO, off-page SEO, link building etc. on my own. The results are slow but they definitely work for me. In case you don’t want to do them on your own, you can use the tools available through cPanel.
Caching Options of BigRock
Caching is a buzzword when it comes to site speed and you should definitely care about this. BigRock’s cPanel comes with Varnish – a caching service that can insanely speed up your site. However, be warned! Varnish setup is neither easy nor is it a top choice when it comes to options. There are several limitations to varnish that are already outlined in cPanel. All you need to do is click on the Manage Varnish option on cPanel to check those limitations.
Just to let you know, Varnish is not for dynamic sites. Your blog is most likely going to be a dynamic one as you will keep on updating data (posts).
Choose wisely! You have been warned! Don’t blame me if anything goes wrong.
BigRock Security Features
When it comes to security, BigRock neither underplays nor outsmarts any other shared hosting service provider I know of. They come with standard security features like SSL certificate, IP Blocker, SSH access, hotlink protection and leech protection. What are these?
Allow me to explain!
SSL Option with BigRock
SSL refers to encrypted connections. When you see ‘https’ on a site address instead of ‘http’, you should know that the site has a secured connection.
With BigRock hosting, you are free to install SSL certificate. This is actually recommended not only if your website collects data but also from SEO standpoint.
Did you know Google actually ranks ‘https’ sites higher than ‘http’ sites?
One really bad thing about BigRock is that it has no offer or option for Free SSL. You need to purchase SSL certificates from different vendors and install them on your server. Even worse, it is DIY job. BigRock support will not help you.
There are other hosts who offer free SSL (provided by Let’s Encrypt) if you go for pricier plans. With BigRock, irrespective of plan you purchase, you will have to purchase SSL certificate separately.
BigRock cPanel IP Blocker
I cannot afford to miss out this feature in this review. This is a handy feature. You may see a lot of spammers on your website or you may even identify hackers trying to get access to your site without your permission. Trust me, this is really frustrating! What do you do with them? Just block them out. One of the most effective ways of doing so is to block their IP addresses.
The IP Blocker feature of BigRock allows you to block individual IPs or even block entire range of IPs. Blocking a whole range is not recommended because it can literally block out legitimate users.
For one of my websites that is not hosted with BigRock, I have blocked out whole China using IP range. The reason was simple! Chinese people tried to hack my website. So, the move made sense. What works for you is something you need to decide.
Take a look at the screenshot below. It shows IP blocking interface that you can access through cPanel of your hosting account with BigRock.
BigRock SSH Access
A day may come when you will find yourself in the middle of a public network and you may still have to access your web server. That is risky, don’t you think so? Public networks are vulnerable to hacking.
So, it is always a good choice to either avoid connecting to the server altogether or connecting through a secured communication channel with your server. This is where SSH comes in.
It gives you an interface to connect to your server securely even through insecure channels.
This is a bit of techy thing and you need to learn how to use it but trust me, once you learn it, you will enjoy using it. It is totally a command line interface and it is total fun!
cPanel of your hosting account with BigRock allows SSH access. You will have to create new keys to do so. Once you have the authorization keys, you can always use an SSH client like PuTTy to connect to your server anytime from anywhere!
Here is a snapshot of the SSH Key management interface of BigRock:
Hotlink Protection of BigRock cPanel
Some webmasters are bad, really bad. In order to save their server space and bandwidth, they will link to images located on other websites and show those images on their own website.
This way, when their website is loaded, the images are loaded from the other website, saving some bandwidth for those crooked webmasters.
This is really bad, especially if someone hotlinks to your images when you have a limited bandwidth. This is where hotlink protection comes in.
Activating hotlink protection on BigRock hosting servers is very easy. All you have to do is click the ‘Enable’ button! That’s all. Check out the screenshot:
Leech Protection of BigRock cPanel
Your website may have a few registered users with passwords and login IDs. What if they publicly post those credentials in restricted areas of your site? Your site’s security will be seriously compromised.
So, it is better to prevent them from actually doing so. This is where leech protection comes in. You have to define the areas that you want to protect. There is a list of folders given that should never get public access. Select the ones you want or select all of them and continue with setup. It is simple and straightforward. Here is how the leech protection interface of cPanel of your BigRock hosting looks like:
Virus Scanner of cPanel in BigRock
BigRock also offers virus scanner through cPanel. Remember that this virus scanner is not a complete malware scanner.
Viruses are specific types of malware that can replicate, spread and infect your website files. There are other malwares that will simply sit there and open backdoors or send vital information to hackers. They are difficult to detect.
There are new threats emerging every now and then. So, while BigRock’s virus scanner is definitely a security layer, you may still consider using a separate and full-scale malware scanner. In case you intend to use WordPress, you can always use Sucuri or Wordfence or several other plugins that will do wonders!
BigRock is a Domain Registrar
How can I not say this in this BigRock Review? One of the biggest advantages of BigRock is that it is also a domain registrar! Yes, you can register a domain with the company alongside purchasing a hosting account.
This is great!
You really don’t need to go and have your domain registered with someone and have a hosting account with someone else. All your purchases will be listed under the same account of BigRock, making renewal quick and easy.
BigRock Website Migration Services
This might be a turnoff for many! If you already have a website hosted somewhere and you are planning on moving to BigRock, you have to do the migration thing on your own. BigRock tech support won’t do that for you.
It is a DIY thing irrespective of what plan you purchase. Anything goes wrong during migration, it will be completely your fault. So, if you intend to move to BigRock from a different host, ensure that you know how to take care of migration or simply hire a developer to do so.
I found Mocha Host better because they gave free migration for all their plans except their basic plan. This might have changed now.
Available Integrations with BigRock
BigRock lacks at least in one aspect here. BigRock hosting plans do not come with Google Apps. You have to purchase GSuite separately irrespective of the plan you purchase.
Yes, GSuite is one of the most powerful tools set you can have for your business and it is simple! Reliability of Google is always there. This is where Bluehost and some other hosting providers stand out because they give GSuite along with some of their hosting plans.
Apart from that, BigRock provides everything else you will need. They have Softaculous App Installer, allowing you to install an assorted collection of applications like eCommerce apps, Forums, Project Management, ERP and more.
The cPanel they provide also comes with CloudFlare that you can get for free. No money needed. It is a free CDN service from CloudFlare and is widely used. There are limitations because CloudFlare will not give proper support to those who use free CDN. If you are a paid member, you will get proper support but enterprise-grade customers always get priority!
You can check the complete list of applications you can install from the Softaculous App Installer tab. Here is how the interface looks like:
Free Domain by BigRock?
Nope! There are no free domain options with BigRock. If you don’t have an existing domain, you need to purchase one while purchasing a hosting plan.
This is pretty much the same setup for almost all hosting companies in the world. If you are planning on buying a hosting plan, you will first be asked to either register a new domain or point an existing domain to the new hosting plan you are purchasing.
Talking of free domains, some hosts like Bluehost offer a free domain when you purchase a certain hosting plan (generally a pricier one). Of course, this domain remains free for the first year and you need to pay for it starting the second year. BigRock has no such offer. No matter which plan you choose, you don’t get a free domain.
BigRock Money Back Guarantee
Haven’t you been waiting for this section of the review? Come on! Who doesn’t like a financial security? I specifically look for this with every host I have worked with or will work in the future! Therefore, there is nothing wrong with this.
Getting back to the point…
They have a 30-day money back guarantee like most hosts out there in the market. Sounds good but…
There are terms and conditions!
For instance, if you are buying add-on products, there’s no money back for those products.
Also, there’s no money back for domains purchased through them.
That makes sense because if they give you a refund for your domain name, you will lose it. You don’t want that to happen, do you?
Despicable Customer Service of BigRock
This will be the most scathing segment of this BigRock review and they deserve this!
I have just one word for their customer service – ‘AWFUL’. Their chat support is horrible and they sound like robots. They don’t have proper answers to anything technical in nature. They will always divert you to knowledgebase articles that seem to be very ‘thin in knowledge’.
Chat team almost always gives canned responses and will invariably try to blame you for any technical issue. If your website is slow, they will tell your theme is not right, your plugins are not right, your codes are not right and so on. They will never ever ponder over the fact that their server may be responding slow or maybe some other webmaster is running a resource-intensive script on the server.
If your resource limits are breached (like 100% CPU usage or max allowed entry processes), they will never help you to drill down the issue. They will only warn you and blame your website’s code. They will threaten you of account suspension without giving you any proper resolution or even a remote hint for resolution.
You may want to call their tech support team (who are slightly more knowledgeable) but even they behave the same way.
Why am I badmouthing their customer service?
Here is one instance:
Once my resource limits for one of my websites (now running on cloud hosting with a different host) were breached. I tried drilling down and panicked. I received no help at all from Big Rock support team. Instead, I received repeated warnings and threatening emails that my account will be suspended and all files will be deleted if the problem isn’t solved within 24 hours.
They were threatening me, LITERALLY!
Eventually, I figured out that the traffic spike was caused by Google crawler bot. I limited the crawl frequency of Google crawler through Google Search Console (also referred to as Webmasters Tools) and the problem was solved.
Either way, it was a nightmarish experience with customer support who were totally unfriendly or as I prefer saying, HOSTILE!
If I have to rate their customer service, it will be a -10 (negative).
Final Words on BigRock Review
Despite literally HATING BigRock’s customer service, I still recommend them as a hosting provider because they have decent and pocket-friendly plans (compared to several hosts like Mocha Host, HostingRaja etc.) with quite a lot of features that you can find handy. Their shared hosting is good for new webmasters. However, if you have a big website, BigRock might not be the right choice, not even their Cloud hosting. Go for some other service like AWS or Digital Ocean.