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Choosing a hosting provider for your website

There are hundreds of web hosting providers. Many of them promise unlimited space, unlimited bandwidth and many other things. In all reality a website doesn't take up much space at all. If someone has 50GB of space they are using on a hosting service, then they are either storing files improperly or should have their own server because the website is too extensive for shared hosting.
Know what kind of useability you want on your site and make sure the hosting provider offers it before you sign up.
Do your research. Check out the hosting provider ahead of time using reliable sources such as Netcraft. Many hosting providers do provide a 30 day money back guarantee. If the providers you are looking at offer something of this, try them out.

The majority of web hosting providers offer hosting at prices such as $5-12/month. These are usually fairly large companies who guarantee a 99% up time. This sounds great right? Well, that 99% up time refers to all of their servers, not just the machine your site is being hosted on.
Even if the company only has 1 server, 99% up time means that your website may still be down 3 full days out of the year. A company that has 1,000 servers that guarantees a 99% up time can have 10 servers crash and be offline for the entire year and still meet their guarantee. It is important to realize that things happen and no company can guarantee 100% website up time. It is also important to understand what that 99% up time can mean to you if your website happens to be on one of those 10 servers that crashed and the company can't get your site back up for 2-3 weeks

So how do you know who to choose? Many people figure that all hosting companies are the same and simply choose the cheapest one. If you pay more per month for your cell phone bill, than your web hosting, what does that say about how much you are willing to invest in your business/company/ or web presence?
Choosing hosting based on who offers the lowest rate is great if you have a personal site for your dog or grandchildren, but invest a little in your business, not just financially, spend the time to check out the different hosting companies.

First and foremost, figure out what type of hosting you need.

Next choose the operating system or platform that you need- Linux or Windows.

Consider the amount of traffic and size of your website. Google considers 1,000 hits per day to be a low traffic site, a web hosting provider may consider that a high traffic site. You can determine the amount of bandwidth that you will need by doing a simple calculation. (Average visits * Average size of files) If you have 3 images on 1 of your pages, 1 is 95KB, 1 is 105KB, and 1 is 45KB, the file size of the page itself is 5KB. Add these together. Every visitor that visits just that 1 page will need to use 150KB of bandwidth. If you want 1,000 visitor per day that is 150,000KB or roughly 150MB of bandwidth per day for just that one page.

Consider your hosting environment. Shared hosting accounts load much slower than a virtual private or dedicated server. If you have a heavy graphic, video streaming, or database driven site, you may want to consider a higher end solution for your hosting or you will probably be disappointed by the loading speed of your page.

Be comfortable with the company. If you feel uncomfortable about a company, then you shouldn't do business with them. Call or email various companies to get an impression of their representatives and support staff.

Consider their systems. A company in the web hosting industry should invest in their data center and their ability to grow. They should offer T1 lines or higher. They should have some form of redundancy and back up generators. They should have firewall protection. They should have options that allow you to upgrade to a higher level of hosting.

Consider other people's experience. Every company has it's rough times, but take a look online to get an idea about what some past customers may have thought about a particular hosting company. They are all over forums and review sites. People love to post their experiences. Take a look into these as well as some of the independent companies like NetCraft or HostingSpeeds