The five main factors that you need to consider are:
cost (depending on your requirements)
By the way are you looking out for shared hosting/vps hosting? Please consolidate your requirements first so that we can guide you better.
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I second the above list and can add :
Location (having your website closer to your customers is always a benefit)
Warranty (like money-back guarantee)
Support is very important (make sure they have a ticketing system and response time guarantee )
Easy-of-use - their control panel, website installer, website builder, etc.
1.Most Imp : Support | Most important factor while you are going to select any service even a simple landline phone .If support is reliable and average response+ resolution time is less ,i would go with them .
2.Features ? and how much they have reliable server by checking past reviews in legit sites rather than any affiliate blog/forum.
3.Speed and Uptime of server by checking past record in internet .
4.TOS and SLA if it dedicated server .
5.Server Location .
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1) First you have to check the reviews of the hosting company you choose. 2) Check if they are reachable on phone and check if they have provided their contact address on the website.
3) Check the configuration of their servers.
4) Before you sign up with any hosting company chat with them and find the limitation of shared hosting.
5) Ask all your questions to them and get clarified before you sign up.
For me I would consider on the:
i) Price - Comparison between other Web Hosting Providers.
ii) Customer Reviews - It's important to read and compare customer reviews or feedbacks between web hosting providers. So you'll acknowledge the web hosting providers' reputation.
iii) Area of Focus - It's an important factor to know which type of website you want to host (i.e. portal, forum, personal, etc.), only then you'll need to proceed on types of plans provided in the web hosting services.
These factors can depend on many different things depending on who is looking for hosting. For me I would look up their uptime , and I would check if they have good supoort. I may also consider looking at their locations.
Check out how long they take to respond. Besides speed of responses, check to see if they are technically competent. You wouldn't want to sign up for a host that is run by a bunch of salesmen who only know how to sell and not fix problems.
If you are planning on doing any sort of business through your website, you might want to look out to see if the host provides these facilities (SSL - secure server, MySQL, Shopping Cart). These facilities normally involve a higher priced package or additional charges. The main thing is to check to see if they are available at all before you commit to the host. You will definitely need SSL if you plan to collect credit card information on your site.