1. If you see a host advertising 20Gb of Space and 500Gb Bandwith for $4 a month you know there's a catch in most cases. You can sometimes pick up "Genuine Bargains" but in alot of cases these sort of deals are not worth the trouble, for instance you may find a super cheap host, but take into consideration their uptime Guarantee and other features such as Support Systems. Use your common sense.
2. Also please do read your host's terms of service - many low cost hosts have you cornered in a 12month contract!
3. It's always a good idea to pay monthly rather then yearly, at least until you rely on the host enough to pay a full year.
4. If you are considering a reseller hosting plan, make sure you go with a half-decent company and make sure their servers are located in good data centers.
5.Make sure you check whether or not your host provides a control panel - preferably cPanel - unless you are an advanced user, you will find it very difficult to manage your hosting account.
6. Make sure the host has a secure billing system before entering your card details!
7. Make sure there site is completed if you are ordering via their URL (no missing images and links, for example).
8. Do not host with companies who have a free Url Address (such as .tk .free domain). It may sound absurd to some of you, but I have seen it.
9. Search for reviews on your "to be host" www.google.com is your best friend when doing this - a good search string to use is [name of host] problems. It's not always good to use [name of host] review because lots of review sites are bastards who affiliate with the host companies and promote them by putting up glowing reviews in professional-looking websites.
10. Make a whois search query on their domain name via www.whois.net- type in your hosts domain name into the search box followed by the extension.
Be sure to check the following details or certainly take them into consideration:
- See if the domain is registered with a email address and avoid hosts with public email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com - you get the idea.
- See if the whois data looks "Genuine"- for instance, if the domain is registered to "Jack Black" and the address is "12345 Hollywood Boulevard", you know that it's unlikely that's their real address.
11. If the host provides a phone number, check it and see if it works.
12. Send the host a random pre sales question and see what their response time is like. More than 24 hours is unacceptable, my host answers me in 30 minutes to 1 hour via e-mail.
I use Phatservers, their support is great and speed is awesome but they provide little space.
Dreamhost is a nice option if you want a host with a lot of space and bandwidth, and you can use the code DREAM85 in their 5th page of signup to get 85 dollars of discount, and their speed is decent too (one of my sites, Meiobit, is hosted there because it requires large bandwidth and lots of space) - but to get the discount, you have to pay an year in advance.
One of the options in the middle is IXWebHosting (yes, this is an affiliate link) - they offer cheap prices, decent space and bandwidth and they are also well rated.
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