Before rushing for a web hosting account, you need to check the following features which are important for any web hosting account. Many people overlook this features and pay the price later. So here are the important features you need to check with your hosting company before paying for it.
Technical support is one of the most important factor you need to consider when a choosing a web host. Test different companies before you sign up by sending them an email with a question or two. If they respond quickly, this is a good sign.
The more uptime they guarantee, the better. 99% uptime is the minimum acceptable standard. Look for 99% plus guaranteed uptime. 1% of uptime is about 87 hours in a year.
Decide how much disk space you will require. A basic web site with few images and about 10 to 20 pages will not take up much web space . If you require a lot of graphics or multimedia or you need to store a lot of information, you will need a bit higher disk space. Again you can increase your web space as required with almost all the hosts by paying the extra charges.
This factor is usually overlooked until the data transfer limit is reached. If you go over your alloted data transfer, you will get a hefty bill. If you are running a site with lots of downloads, or a site with lots of images such at a photo post site, your data transfer will be higher than a site with mainly text. The average website uses less than 200MB of bandwidth per month.
Scripting Languages support
If you using a scripting language to output your html, you need to check whether the plan has support for that script. You will need a windows hosting plan only if you are using microsoft scripting languages like asp and asp.net.
This is now standard feature with almost all hosting companies. If you do not have access to your own CGI Bin, you cannot install your own cgi scripts and programs.
If you do not have Perl, you cannot run Perl Programs. Many good scripts that you buy or get for free are written in Perl. In my opinion, it would be a limitation not to have the latest version of Perl installed
Server Side Includes are great if you want to spend minimal time updating your site. Again this feature is provided by many hosts.
Unlimited and unrestricted FTP access to your site is essential. You will need an FTP program to transfer files from your computer to the server.
A good stats program is handy if you want to keep an eye on how many visitors you are getting, where they are coming from, referrers, top entry and exit pages and so on. Some companies offer excellent stats programs as standard while others offer basic stats but you have to pay extra for advanced statistics.