Here are the basic TEN parameters of web hosting. Pick the best web hosting and also the cheap web hosting package at the same time with these smart steps.
1. Number of Domains: It is possible to host any number of websites under a single account and many hosts support unlimited domain hosting. If you own only one (or very few) domains, you may choose to go for a hosting package which allows single (or limited domains) hosting. In this case if you wish to start a new website, you will have to buy web hosting again, which demands investment. It is good to go for a host which supports unlimited (or a lot of) domains and unlimited hosting is also cheap. Although, a host may support unlimited domains, it is good not to stack a host with more than 50 domains, citing downtime, maintenance and transfers.
Nutshell: Go for a hosting provider which allows you to host unlimited (or large number of) domains.
2. Disk Space / Storage: Disk space is nothing but the capacity of hard drive on your server. In case of shared hosting, you will have access to only a percentage of the hard drive space. This is the space, which you will use to store all your files, images, scripts, videos etc. The space occupied by a website primarily depends on the software you use on your website. Typically, when a CMS is used, all text would go into a database and all files (scripts, images and videos) would be directly stored in your hard disk. A good percentage of hosts specify the disk space limits like 1GB, 10GB etc, while a few others claim to offer unlimited storage. While unlimited hosting is certainly not possible, you would not be billed for excess storage, when you go beyond the specified limits. Hence, it is better to go for unlimited storage.
Nutshell: Go for unlimited Storage, rather than limited hosting.
Warning: Although hosts mention unlimited hosting, they have a unspecified limit of 50,000 files.
3. Bandwidth / Transfer: Transfer of bandwidth refers to the amount of traffic, which means the size of files your host serves. WordPress webhosting Transfer depends on the size of your images, scripts used on your web pages. It is typical for a web host to put a cap on this, in order to avoid over utilization of the server, but most hosts offer unlimited bandwidth. If you have very little traffic and only a few domains, a cap is alright, else it is better to go for unlimited transfer.
Nutshell: Go for unlimited transfer or bandwidth, unless you have very less needs.
Warning: Although unlimited transfer is true, CPU cycles is not, Read on!!
4. Uptime: Uptime for a website is very critical than most other parameters and it determines if your site is accessible by your readers or users. A server may go down due to maintenance by your host or due to problems in your server or data center. It is typical for a web hosting provider to claim 99.9% or even 99.99% uptime in a shared hosting scenario. You should choose one which provides you with 99.9% minimum.
Nutshell: Talk to users, believe in tools and gather uptime data, before you make a decision.
5. Emails: A email account on your domain looks more professional than a Gmail or yahoo account. I strongly suggest using your own emails and you may want to take help of either Google apps or a mail client like thunderbird, apple mail, etc for the same. Check the capability of a server to host emails. Typical parameters would involve number of emails, pop and Imap access, web mail, and no file limits.
Nutshell: Use Google apps for emails, Its free and has very good uptime.
6. Language Support : Most bloggers would go for a standard CMS like WordPress, Joomla or drupal. While most server software run on PHP, a few other software may demand additional requirements. Your application may demand ruby or python platforms. Check the features sheet for language support. You may also want to raise a question with the support team about version. I usually do this to ensure that I get the answer and also to get a fair idea of how long it takes to get a response from the support team.
7. Live Chat: If there is no Live Chat, the chances of signing up goes down by 50%, in my case. As a customer or a prospect, you should be able to chat with your web hosting service provider and it has be to super quick. Although phone support is good, It is good to have text chat support.