Web hosting packages are very popular nowadays that almost all hosting provider has a few tricks up their sleeves. Consumers are then confused on what hosting plan to buy and what features are actually needed. If you still haven’t come up with a solid decision yet, allow me as a guide in choosing a web hosting platform based on the features that you actually need.

There are two kinds of hosting you can use, shared and dedicated. Most newbies will choose dedicated hosting over shared because they believe shared hosting lack features. However, in today’s hosting platforms, shared hosting is packed with features similar to running your own dedicated servers. Let’s discuss the most common features in a hosting server. These features apply to both Linux and Windows operating systems.

Your Contract

contractIn a contract, there are three things to look out for. These are:

  • Upgrade options. To ensure cheaper expansion should you need one.
  • Contract length. Longer contracts reduce the overall cost, but you will be tied to the hosting provider for a long time.
  • Money back guarantees. You are entitled for 30-day money back guarantee. Be certain that the company will provide at least 30-day opt-out period and a prorated refund.

Reliability

reliableThe uptime is an indication that the hosting provider is reliable. Uptime is also an important feature you must look out for because a higher uptime guarantee will ensure that your website is running round-the-clock without failures or difficulties. Unfortunately, cheap hosting services do not have a higher uptime rate than those expensive services.

Support

contactEven though, you consider yourself as an expert, don’t ignore the hosting provider’s customer support. You will need support from time to time and when you do need one, you should be able to contact them 24/7, and it should have phone, chat, and email support.

Storage

diskThere are no such things as unlimited storage, so be sure to ask the hosting provider what actually is their “unlimited” storage space. 10 GB of space is enough for a basic website even if it has a lot of high quality images. When choosing a storage space you should always think of how much space your website will use for a few years. If unsure, consider a hosting package with available upgrade options.

Bandwidth

bandwidthThe same with storage, there is no such thing as unlimited bandwidth. We cannot gauge how many bandwidth we can use per month because this depends on your number of visitors, and other factors. Choose a hosting plan with appropriate bandwidth because if you are locked up in a plan that does not have enough bandwidth, it will kill your website profits. (Refer the article How Much Web Hosting Space & Bandwidth Do You Need.)

Other Features

  • Database – just as important as storage space because it stores your customer emails, comments, search index, and other stuffs. Keep in mind that hosting providers handle storage space and database space separately.
  • Site Builder – It can save you a lot of money especially if you are just starting up a web business.(Refer: Building a website with Bluehost’s sitebuilder.
  • Scripts and applications – A lot of software available and a configuration that uses 1-click deployment.
  • E-commerce – if you plan to sell a product online, Ecommerce features are very important.
Recommended hosting companies: Bluehost, Arvixe, WebHostingHub