Legacy! : This is a very old post transfered from my previous blog. Information presented here may or may not be true! If there is interest in the topic let me know so i'll update it :-)

One of the most crucial factors of a website success or failure is  the web hosting. a bad web host can render your site extremely slow or  even unavailable to your visitors. Moreover, extended site  unavailability translates to loss of rankings, unhappy customers, and  (lots of) complains. Multiply that by a factor of 100 if your website is  an e-shop and your business relies heavily on it.

It is obvious from the above that you should invest in your sites web  hosting. Forget about cheap web hosting, its not going to work out, at  least not in the long run. Be extra careful in what hands your trust  your brand, your business and reputation. Inspect their policies and  watch for the usual red flags such as an amateur web design, badly  written descriptions or inconsistencies.  It is a good idea to run a  ‘background check’ on them. Google them, read as many reviews as you can and make an intelligent and informed decision.

It should be noted however that all services may experience some  downtime and a yearly percentage of 0.01-0.05% of unavailability is  generally acceptable. If you cant afford that there are solutions to  bring that percentage close to 0 (it’s going to cost you an extra) and  in most cases it just isn’t worth the money and effort.

Here are some important factors to take into consideration, summed up in question form, to help you decide:

1. Clear policies and SLA (Service level agreement).

What happens if their service becomes unavailable? are there backups  available or do they charge extra for their retrieval?  Whats their  policy in such a case and do they offer any sort of compensation?

Is your website content accepted and how they handle complains?

2. Availability and Backups

Can they guarantee a server and network availability level of 99% or  over? Do they keep a daily or at least a weekly backup of your data and  how easy is it to deploy a backup?

3. Be extra careful of lock-ins

Many providers will advertise a ‘free domain name’ or ‘free  sitebuilder’. There is no such thing as free (not in this case anyway). Almost always there is a catch.  Find out how easy it easy to move your domain or the website you have  build with their sitebuilder tool to another provider. Do they charge an  extra for that?

4. Reviews and user feedback

Google their firm and read as much feedback from their users as you  can. Obviously there will be bad comments but is it the general case?  Sometime users have unrealistic expectations from their web hosting  space, thats not the web hosts fault. Make sure the comments and  feedback apply to the web hosting service you are looking for.

5. Do not trust the ads

Ads are ads.. they will tell you what you want to hear (well read,  anyway..) , dont trust them. Again, there is no such thing as free,  there is no 1 cent web hosting and there is no unlimited web hosting.  They cant make money with that. (Simple as that).

6. Start low and upgrade

Don’t rush. You most likely do not need 10 GB of web space to host  your blog. Start with a small plan, evaluate their services and upgrade  (remember, each company has each own policy on that) as neccessary. Also  a yearly contract is probably not a good idea, unless of course you  have a solid plan for your website and they have proven trustworthy.

7. Support

Will you receive an acceptable level of support from them in case you  need it? Is there a live chat option or perhaps phone support  available? Try their support before ordering.

Update 8/6: I am currently using 4 web hosting  providers and probably have used a dozen or more. I consider writing  some honest reviews (no affiliate junk), let me know if that would  interest you