When it comes to selecting a web host, there are a lot of options available. However, all of these options are far from being equal. In order to avoid a major headache and get the most for your money, you need to know what to look for in a web host.
To begin with, while many hosts will try to upsell you to their VPS hosting or a dedicated server, when you’re starting out, all you need is a shared hosting plan. Not only will a good web host allow you to host as many websites as you want with one shared hosting plan, but if necessary, it will also be easy to upgrade to VPS hosting or a dedicated server down the line.
The next factor you want to look into is the uptime and performance of the host. Even if you’re only paying $1 a month, if the websites you are hosting are constantly down, or they take a long time to load, you are still wasting your money. If a host can’t provide you with a legitimate 99.9% uptime guarantee, there’s no reason to choose them.
Next on your list of considerations should be the company’s support. Do they only allow you to contact their support via email, or do they provide additional options as well? Does the company regularly back up your important data? Because some issues simply can’t be avoided, the quality of the company’s support will determine whether the issue is simply a minor annoyance, or a significant problem for you. While you can get information about the company’s support from their website, you will be able to get a real feel for what their support is like by reading reviews from other customers.
Another important factor to consider is what features the host offers. While many features will be nothing more than bells and whistles, there are some that are very important. For example, does the host provide you with an unlimited number of MySQL databases, or do they limit the number you can create? Do they provide multiple support for languages like PHP 5, Ruby on Rails and Python? Is their control panel cPanel?
Depending your level of technical skill, you may also want to know what kind of website building and script installation tools they offer. If you are fairly inexperienced, tools like SiteBuilder, SiteStudio and one click installations of popular scripts like WordPress can be incredibly helpful.
Also, while it’s not a crucial factor, you may be interested in finding out if the company offers any bonuses. For example, when you sign up, will you receive any Google AdWords, Facebook or other advertising credits?
Finally, price should definitely play a role in your decision. When it comes to shared hosting, you shouldn’t have to pay more than $10 to $15 a month for a fully featured shared hosting account.
For a host that meets all of this criteria, you can read a detailed HostGator review.