What are your requirements?
Generally, hosting is going to be provided in a Shared or Dedicated Server environment. Unless you specifically choose a dedicated server, your website will be hosted on a shared server. Which means there could be hundreds of websites sharing the same server resources with you. This affects performance. It also carries potential security risks. If you are planning on a simple one-page business card website then shared hosting is fine. However, if you intend to stream video, or have a busy membership, or an eCommerce website in mind, then you are better off looking at a dedicated server.
Getting third-party input is a great idea. There are a number of reputable websites that can be used to check the reputation and reliability of companies. Web hosts mentioned on www.hellopeter.com is a good place to start.
Make sure you have enough bandwidth and storage
Limited bandwidth is generally not a problem these days. However, this ties in directly with the company you are being hosted by and what their packages provide. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you have checked all the hosting package specifications.
Cheap is not a good idea
There are some very cheap, and nasty, hosting providers out there. Some even offering their service for under R10 per month. With examples like this, you will definitely be sharing hosting, or your server, with possibly hundreds of websites, struggling with low bandwidth as well as minimal storage. If your website is intended to compete online for its brand and online presence, then you must be prepared to invest some money in the service.
Try customer support before you buy
Another feature hundreds of hosting companies have is the ease with which you can sign up online. Rather try and make contact with the web host before making a purchase. Take note of how long the response time is. Is there a response? What are their recommendations for your requirements? Do their service offerings meet your bandwidth and storage needs?
What are the backup plans and security features
This is extremely important. Unless you are making use of a premium service or a DIY approach to regular backups, you must understand most web hosts DO NOT guarantee their system backups. Make sure you read the fine print in the provider’s terms of service. Understand that your web host will back up their entire network. However, if their system misses or overwrites an update on your website, or if their backup entirely fails, they will more than likely have a zero responsibility disclosure.
If you are looking for a company to design, manage and host your business website, the Digital Alliance has the professionals you need.