Selecting a website hosting provider: a checklist for beginners

Before you choose a website hosting company, you need to know what your specific web hosting needs are. This will make all the difference as you examine the overwhelming amount of website hosting offers and providers out there. Web hosting reviews, such as those on this site, can be a great help - but only if you know what you're looking for.

Bandwidth and disk space

Virtually all website hosting providers will offer enough bandwidth and disk space for most basic sites. However, if you are planning a busy e-commerce site, a gaming site or another site will heavy traffic, you may need to make special considerations. As you'll see from web hosting reviews, many of today's top website hosting companies offer unlimited hosting options - this can also be a great choice but, again, not if your site grows beyond the limits of "unlimited" service (yes, they do exist!). For the busiest of sites, you many want to consider a virtual private server or dedicated server - or keep those options in mind, if your operation should grow to that point. Again, for most personal and small- to medium-size business websites, a basic website hosting package will offer you the space and speed you need.

Tools and features

Read web hosting reviews for an honest evaluation of the features website hosting companies offer. Look for a control panel - this is the page through which you will manage your website and account - that is comprehensive, streamlined and easy to use. You'll also want a basic website builder, perhaps with templates you can quickly adopt to your own purposes. If you're starting an e-commerce site, you'll want to examine the limits so you can avoid extra fees. If you want to blog, ensure there is at least one, if not more, blogging tools available. And so on!

Help center

This is really important for beginners, especially if you plan to build and maintain your site on your own. Look for tutorials, FAQs and a decent sized knowledgebase. Before you sign on with any website hosting provider, go in to the support center and look around. Read web hosting reviews for more advice. Pick up the phone and call customer service and see if you receive a response.

Customer satisfaction guarantees

Choosing a website hosting service can seem like a huge decision. And it is an important one. But we leave you with one final piece of advice: find a service with a money-back guarantee. Whether this is for a week, a month, or more, having a refund policy on your side gives you time to try a website hosting company and see if they're going to work for you. Ideally you choose right on the first try - but at least you have options if you don't.

Web hosting reviews can help you evaluate many of the top website hosting companies on this and other factors.

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