Once I had my site designed, the next step was to find a reliable hosting company. This will take some research on your part as any hosting company will not do. There are many issues that will be covered below.
The range for a hosting package can be anywhere from just a couple dollars per month to $200 or more on a monthly basis. You will have to decide on what you are looking for, whether it be virtual hosting or a dedicated server. A dedicated server will end up costing you more money. Taking into consideration the budget you have for hosting and the options available, you will want to find a hosting company that has little down time.
For instance, for my website, the first hosting company that I chosen, I did research and even had a friend refer them to me. But in just the first month, my site ended up being offline for 2 days straight. This is surely something that you want to avoid. So, needless to say, I decided that it would be best to cut my losses and find another hosting company. The problem with downtime is that this directly affects the amount of traffic that your site will receive and you could be loosing potential customers. Also, this can affect your rankings as well if a search engine spider comes to your site and it is continuously down.
When deciding upon a list of hosting companies, there are a number of things to take into consideration. The amount of bandwidth needed, unique IP address available, UNIX or windows server, are logs available (with error logs and usage stats). It is highly advised that you choose a hosting company that has logs and that you have the option to have them updated on a daily basis if possible.
Shared IPs are more common as not all hosting companies can afford to put every single website on a unique IP. If the hosting company you choose to go with does have this option available, it would be advised to look into this. But it is still quite common for a number of sites to be hosted on a single IP.
Why Have Logs?
It is highly advisable to have logs enabled on your site. Logs track all visitor activity on a website. This can tell you the amount of traffic each page is getting, the amount of repeat visitors, see what search engine spiders have visited your site, and see what keywords are people are using to find your site is just some of the valuable information logs capture.
Take it a step further if you have the available funding and buy some Web Analytics ROI Software (there are a variety of sites out there). You will want to find one that covers both SEO and PPC campaigns. Google AdWords and Overture do have their own tracking software now, but ideally, you will want something that tracks everything on your site..
Unix or Windows
A lot of these depends on what you created your site in. If you have chosen ASP or ASPX pages, then you will want to go with a windows platform hosting provider. Also, if you wanted to possibly expand into asp/aspx pages in the future, you would want to choose a windows platform as well.
Always do some research when looking for a hosting provider. The cheapest way is not always the best, sometimes you will have to spend a bit more money to get a good reliable hosting provider, but in the long run it will be worth the investment.