Web hosting can best be described as a modern-day marriage: none of this till death do us part stuff, it's more like I'll stick around as long as your uptime is 100%, you answer my frantic queries instantly, and you charge me less than a decent latte at Starbucks. What follows is a few tips to help make the relationship less rocky and possibly prosperous!
First of all, we all need to take a little responsibility and at least figure out what we think we need from a web host up front. This isn't always as easy as you might imagine. You don't always know your exact needs ahead of time, and sometimes these things are difficult to forsee. Your site may become hugely popular, requiring more bandwidth or storage than previously thought. You may decide to have data feeds hosted on your site, which will gobble up resources. On online store can do the same. One way I've found myself in the position of having to change web hosts is when a technology you want to use or implement on your site isn't supported by your host. This will (and did!)prompt a move.
Ask friends and associates who they use. While their needs may be somewhat different than yours, basic issues such as support and uptime will be evident, as will cutomner satisfaction. Check out several of the web hosting directories, as they maintain a wealth of current information regarding the specifics you're interested in. Come armed with a list of things you're looking for and narrow your choices down using this.
Make sure you can grow with this new host. Not only in the size of your current sites, but also number of domains and subdomains you can host there. If you're anything like me, I want to be able to get the most bang for my hosting buck!
In short, due your homework, check them out, do your part in knowing as specifically as possible what you're after, and make your choice. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!
Keith Thompson is the Webmaster of Web Hosting Providers a site offering and reviewing great choices for outstanding web hosting!