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How do you select a web host? Do you just look at what they offer? Their price? Technical support? This web site contains several documents that will help you select the right host. Not only that, but it will teach you the terms used in web hosting. This is suggested reading for freelancers.

A neat thing about this web site is their search feature. You can search from hundreds of hosts according to price and features (bandwidth, diskspace, language support). Also, I like to read the reviews. Keep in mind though that reviews could be written by the same company or competitors.

Here's some information from their "Gotchas" section:

Here are some things to watch out for when selecting a web host. Some are tricks, some just business practices of the industry or minor problems. You can usually find them by carefully reading host's terms of use and acceptable use policies.

  • "Unlimited" space, transfer, etc. This is usually just an advertising gimmick. Almost all hosts that have "unlimited" plans, specify in their Acceptable Use Policies that no site can use an "excessive" amount of resources. If you use too much disk space, bandwidth, or CPU time, these "unlimited" hosts will ask you to upgrade or leave. We recommend against using "unlimited" hosts so you know exactly what you're getting.
  • Daily transfer limits. Very few hosts have such limits, but you should be aware that you can't just multiply by 30 to get the monthly transfer limit because transfer usage is uneven.
  • Setup fees. Few hosts hide the fact that there is a setup fee until you get to the signup page.
  • PayPal-only payment. Few hosts only accept payment by PayPal, not by a credit card.
  • Limits on file size. Some hosts limit maximum sizes of files (not to the total space used for all files, but the maximum size of a single file). This can prevent customers from putting files for download or having big graphics.
  • Not allowing downloads. Some hosts won't let you use a large percentage of your available transfer for file downloads.
  • FTP transfer limit. Few hosts have limits on FTP use.
  • Bad uptime guarantees. These guarantees usually have multiple qualifications, such as making only unannounced uptime count, often making them useless.
  • Limit on database size that is only listed in the terms of use.
  • Very high extra space and additional transfer costs. It is normal for extra space and transfer to cost more than they do for the initial account, but these additional costs can often be way too high.
  • No emergency phone number. Many cheapest hosts only have email or chat support.
  • Severe limits on resource use. All hosts impose some CPU limits on shared plans but some hosts forbid all resource intensive scripts, such as message boards.
  • Slow setup. Many hosts are not fully automated (sometimes to prevent fraud) and the setup can take a couple business days.
  • No support on weekends.
  • High domain name prices. We don't recommend using hosts for domain name registration because many hosts' prices are not very competitive.
  • No control panel. This may be OK for experienced webmasters but many new users need a control panel.
  • No POP access to emails. Some hosts only offer Web access to site's email accounts.
  • Limit on monthly site hits. Few hosts do that in addition to transfer limits.
  • Long commitment to the host required.
  • No money back guarantee.

http://www.webhostingratings.com/

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Last Post by SurendraS
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And try to talk to existing customers of the hosts you're eyeing up. Visit the hosts' customer forums if they have any and judge for yourself whether or not they're doing a good job. It pays to do research - as is mentioned in the above article.

Regards,

Martyn

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Dear Samaru,
This is one of the best articles on the care that should be taken abt selecting web hosts.
B'cos I am already experiencing the miserable 'Unlimited Bandwidth' catch with a leading hosting provider. My site is a high traffic site and they are disabling it once in every 2 days forcing me to upgrade to dedicated hosting.

I should have read this article long before :-)

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