I've only been hosted by friends' servers but I have decided that I would get my own domain and space. However, I know absolutely nothing about paid hosting. While I have looked up topics on all this matter, I'm still rather confused with which host I should go with.
My site is an art gallery/portfolio site for my works which might expand to a personal collective of a variety of sites. Space is not an issue for me, my sites have never been over 50mb and I find that a lot of the lowest spaces are more than enough for me. As for bandwidth, my site doesn't usually get visitors but I do plan to promote my site. Still, traffic should not be heavy.
As for all the technical stuff, I just really need the basics like being able to host CGI scripts, PHP and a MySQL server for a possible installation of blogging software.
Price range, I'm on a rather tight budget so around $10 or lower per month. I'm also looking to purchase a .net domain name, but I heard those are pretty cheap.
I hope I included enough information, if there is anything I'm missing just ask.
Your requeriments are pretty normal, and about the 90% of the hosts can cover it
However, I would like to ask you a couple of questions to help you to narrow your search.
Do you plan to use any kind of gallery script to your portfolio? if yes, do you already know which script is it? is it PHP or ASP based? do you need Mysql or MSSQL?
Do you have any preference on the OS that your host should use?
Preference on Control Panels?
Sorry if my post confuse you more than what it does help, but answering to at least some of this questions may help you too.
Hello and welcome to WHT! A good shared hosting company would be sure to handle your needs. Your pricerange is a good amount for a simple shared hosting plan, and i dont assume you would need a lot of bandwidth. The question of who to choose as a host really depends on what your needs are. You might check the offers section as a place to get ideas for potential hosting companies to go with. Also you may try sending a few pre-sale emails to your potential hosts, and see what thier repsonse time is lilke, this can help you guage what kind of hosting company you are going with. Good luck in your search.
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Your requests is pretty basic for your budget and as Jedito stated, alot of providers can offer you this, within your budget. I would suggest you get a list of hosts that you may want to use, and search for reviews on them. Email their sales department and ask lots of questions (kind of get a feel of the provider and response times) Also I would recommend getting a provider that offers a money back guarantee. You said you were new to paid hosting, and you may not like the provider you chose within a month, who knows.
Once you have a list of providers you may want to use, check them out here on WHT by searcing http://www.webhostingtalk.com/search.php Then you can google them for reviews or visit various review sites like WHReviews.com
Initially at least, your needs are small - so there is no advantage in going for a big package or an "overselling" host offering large amounts of space and bandwidth on all packages.
Your needs might grow somewhat so a host with a good upgrade policy would be best.
It's hard to be sure how much expertise you have since you have been hosted on a friend's server, but I assume that good support could be a feature you will actually use.
I would generally not recommend using the offers section here or review sites. Read a lot of threads in this forum and then do a search here and on the net for other feedback. Also look at the host's forums if there are any. Ask Sales any questions you have, but remember that the speed and helpfulness of a Sales response may not be the same as Support.
I have nothing against Liquidweb (though I have never used them personally), but they don't offer a small package of the sort that would best suit you (nor do they go as low as $10 monthly).
I would recommend http://www.asmallorange.com/services/hosting/ . You can start with the Tiny plan ($25 yearly) and move up to the Small ($5 monthly) when you need. I would agree with the other comments that there are many hosts who should be able to meet your needs (though not as many as the number that will claim to be able to do that). If you start with a host and it doesn't seem to be working as well as you wish, cancel the contract in the moneyback period and move to another.
Buy your domain separately from your host and use the domain registrar to point to the host's nameservers. I have always found Namecheap very good.
Make sure you always have copies of your own backups.