1) Know how much you need

Depending on whether you're a blogger or a multinational corporation you'll need to know how much bandwidth and total storage space you're going to need to comfortably support your site. A small blog is not going to need at 1TB/s bandwidth cap and 600 GB of storage space on the server. Think realistically about how much traffic is expected and get a plan that supports it. Most web hosting companies make it easy to upgrade and will (happily) do so when you feel it's necessary.

2) Features

Do you know how to do the ftp -file transfer protocol on your own? Do you want to code every look and theme for your site or choose a pre-designed template? Finding out if a web host provider supports interfaces like cPanel or ispCP and if you're willing to use these tools is the next major item to consider. cPanel has become the general interface standard but may be limiting to a medium or large scale business.

3) Customer Support

Without good customer support you could be stuck with a broken site and no one to help you. The quality of support a web host can provide should be a heavy factor in determining which one to use. Large domain hosting companies can sometimes be a pain in terms of finding an actual person to talk to about an issue. Also check to see if they're open 24/7 or have actual closing hours for their support center.

4) Reviews

This is the age of social comment, why not use it? See what other customers have to say about their hosting companies and if they're generally satisfied. A great place to look is on their Twitter or Facebook page, especially Twitter, where one search will bring up all tweets (good or bad) for that company without a filter. For example A Small Orange was named Best Managed VPS Provider and Best Shared Web Host by Review Signal, who bases their ratings off of positive and negative real time social media feedback.

5) Price

This is what you're paying when it's all said and done, but it doesn't just mean a dollar amount. For any blogger or business TIME can be just as precious as money. Opting for a cheaper service that is less reliable could end up costing you more due to the time you spend just keeping it running and not creating content. However, the most expensive is not always the best. This goes hand in hand with reviewing a company to see if people feel more ripped off using their services or that the price is justified. Independent research will go a long way here.

These are guidelines to get you started in choosing a web host that is right for YOU and not because their commercial is cool. Each persons needs are different. Maybe some of the factors on this list don't apply to you, that's OK. Just remember that it's always good to go in with a plan and not be swooned by every deal that comes along.

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