server uptime promise: 99% or above is a must
bandwidth and disc space : Dont go by Size , but now a days almost every hosting company has started offering unlimited space and unlimited bandwidth, this does not mean you have the world on your website, if your traffic is going out of control the managed hosting would not do and you would have to purchase a dedicated hosting.
Cgi Bin Access : CGI is used to install scripts and programs; CGI comes standard with any hosting packages.
Perl: You must have Perl to run Perl Programs. Paid or free scripts are mostly written in Perl. Make sure you get the latest version or get to upgrade from time to time.
security – includes SSL : This is the most important criteria to consider especially when you are planning for a ecommerce. Make sure the SSL is included in your hosting packages.
SSI – Server Side Includes are great if you want to spend minimal time updating your site. Here’s how it works. My site contains SSI’s. The left and right nav menus and the little search engine in the left nav menu are “included” with an SSI command in the master page template. If I need to update one of the nav links, there is no need to edit all the pages that contain the menus. I just edit one file which contains the menu html and upload it to my site. It’s awsome.
Database : for Linux servers its usually MYSQL, make sure you have it included in the package.
supported languages: PHP, ASP, MySQL and other Server Languages
Server operating system: Most web hosts run on a Unix based operating system, usually Linux or BSD. Unix based hosts will provide PHP, Perl/CGI, Frontpage, and very limited ASP functionality. If you will be developing your own web applications, it would make sense to get a good idea of their operating system environment. If you will be running an application that requires ASP, .NET, MS SQL, SBS or Access, you will need to find a Windows based web host; usually a little more expensive. In some cases, Windows webhosts will also provide access to other technologies like Perl/CGI, PHP and MySQL.
FTP access: Unlimited and unrestricted FTP access to your site is essential. You will need an FTP program to transfer files.
money back gaurentee: most hosts either offer it on a pro rata basis or 30 days money back.
website statastics: Excellent statistical program enables you to monitor visitors, collect email, and so on so forth to fine tune your marketing programs. Get advanced statistical program from third party if the hosting is not able to provide one, provided the program can be installed.
Emails: unlimited email hosting is common now, have a check on the web mail client used
Datacenters and Backup features: Do a background study on the hosts datacenters and back up facilities available, its very important.
Domain control – is it free or included and also check Sub domains
Established Host: only go for a established hosting company who have a pretty good track record
Recovery Time: Determine how fast the hosting company recovers from a downtime. Do they have back up procedures? What kind of UPS they use? and what is the Recovery time
Finally : PRICING ! its also an important factor , but do not compromise quality for price !
All the best.
About the Author Joshu Thomas, Orangecopper.com (About Joshu)