- Price – Generally speaking you should be able to find a good shared hosting plan for somewhere between $5 and $30 per month.
- Hosting Technologies – There are different types of server technologies, and a number of “add-on” software products that some web hosting companies bundle into their offerings. Generally speaking, the more software that is included in your plan, the higher the price for your hosting services.
- Support – Depending on your level of sophistication in dealing with web technologies, you may want to consider paying a bit extra for a hosting company that provides better support packages. Of course, if you have a friend or family member that has skills in this area, or you are planning to hire a custom website designer or developer, then you can probably forgo paying extra for support.
When you are starting out with a new website, your primary concern with a web hosting company is going to be price. You do not need to pay a lot of money for extra bandwidth or other frills. By the time you need extra bandwidth, you will have the income stream to pay for it.
Web Hosting Technologies
Your primary concern with web hosting technologies is to make sure that the host you select supports the software you plan to use to create and serve your web pages. You will also need to make sure that any additional functionality you wish to include in your website is supported by the hosting company.
- Server Technologies – You will need to make sure that your hosting company supports whatever server technologies you will require for your site. For new site owners this is usually not an issue since your web pages will be programmed in HTML that is supported by all web-serving technologies. However, if you are hiring a contract web developer to create a database-driven web application using PHP, ASP, JSP, or ColdFusion, then you should make sure your hosting company supports whatever language your developer is using. If you have questions, you can probably have them answered by the sales or support line for your prospective hosting company.
- Development Technologies – If you are using Microsoft FrontPage to develop your website, then you will need to select a web hosting company that supports FrontPage extensions. If you are unsure about whether your web host supports your development software, then the sales representative or support line should be able to answer your questions.
- E-commerce/Shopping Cart System – If you plan to sell products on your website, then you will want to select a web hosting company that offers a shopping cart system. Most shopping cart systems are customizable for your website. However, you may want to hire a seasoned developer to handle implementing your system to make sure everything goes smoothly.
- CGI/Perl Scripts – The most useful CGI script for new websites is for creating “email forms”. These allow you to collect information from your users via web forms and send it to yourself via email without paying the premiums required for developing a database driven website. Some hosting companies offer these scripts, while others do not. It is generally recommended to work with hosting companies that support these types of forms because collecting information from users is one of the primary purposes of most websites.