I have a web hosting company that I'm very happy with. Occasionally (not frequently) they are down for a short period of time.
While this certainly doesn't happen often, is there a way for me to have a backup hosting company that my site can "transfer" to in the event my primary hosting company is down for any reason?
I have secondary nameservers (in addition to my primary and secondary nameserver w/ my hosting co.) hosted on different backbones (or whatever the correct term is), but I'm talking about the entire site being accessible in the event the primary hosting companies servers go down.
And, will I be penalized in the S.E.s for doing so?
I would look for another webhost! If your server goes down when a search engine is spidering you could fall out of the database for a month.
However, no web host is 100% reliable. It may be worthwhile moving to a dedicated server where only your site(s) are hosted. On shared hosting if there are problems with other sites (and you never know who you are sharing a server with) the whole server can go down for a short time.