When shopping for a company to host your website, first and foremost, you want a company that is reliable with good service at a fair price — one that guarantees at least 99.5% uptime and offers some form of 24-7-365 support (online chat, email or phone).
Look for a web host with a good reputation and history of service, perhaps one that has been reviewed well. Google “top ten web hosts” and compare results; then Google something like “consumer complaints web host” and take note of those as well – poor service from your web host can make you or your webmaster absolutely miserable, can waste hours of your time, cost you money and business — and there’s really no reason for it, with so many good companies to choose from.
You also want to look for a sufficient amount of storage space and bandwidth, which most companies offer, but beware of those cheaper $3.00-4.00/month hosts. Often the reason they are so cheap is because they store as many as 4,000 websites on the same server. You would be better off finding a hosting service where you are sharing server space with far fewer other websites, perhaps more in the range of 200-400. Why? It will effect the response times your visitors will experience when visiting your website.
Also, if you plan to have an extremely busy site, perhaps running on an intensive database application, you may need to look into having a dedicated server; however, expect to pay a premium rate for a dedicated server.
Compare several hosting companies, looking also at the features they offer. Compare their email services, see if they offer some sort of spam protection, check for the number and type of ftp accounts they offer, whether they offer multiple domains or subdomains, what kind of site management tools, statistics packages, marketing features, security features, and multimedia options they provide, and whether they offer any special features you may require, such as e-commerce, databases, scripts, etc.
Our favorite hosting company is Hostgator; their prices are very good; they offer a lot for the money; their tech support is excellent; they use the easy-to-navigate C-Panel interface…and so much more! Should you decide to host your site with Hostgator, use this link if you’d like to give us credit for referring you. We’d very much appreciate it!
Contact us if you would like help selecting a web host.
One more important tip: we recommend that you obtain your domain name from a different company than your web host, in the case of failure or dispute with either your domain name registrar or your web host.
Finally, for more detailed information about Web Hosting, this article at www.web-source.net covers a lot of the basics.
(I originally wrote and published this article on my design website, Marilyn Fenn Design. I have updated the content for re-posting here.)