When you decide what you are hosting you can start looking at which hosting company offers the best service that is specific to your requirement. Some may offer better packages for web hosting but their virtual private server packages may not be as good. Some companies may have better access to server hardware and therefore offer better dedicated server hosting. Availability of multiple Internet upstream providers may also play an important factor in your decision. Do not forget to ask the questions as every question answered is one step towards the right hosting solution.
This is very important so always consider this first as you will find yourself using it more often than not to manage your service. A well designed and feature rich interface can make the difference between you being productive or you losing hair (assuming you have hair to lose). End of the day it also comes down to what you are familiar with, some prefer Cpanel while others prefer Plesk.
Most often the most overlooked factor. Consider that your requirements can always change and for that reason it’s important to have a hosting company that can offer you the flexibility to upgrade or downgrade your service as required. Be sure to check that your hosting provider has sufficient capacity in their backend systems to help you grow. Or if your requirements change and you need to scale back on your service make sure your hosting company allows you to do that without heavy penalties.
What most may not realize is that not all Internet services are the same. Some may offer very high speed connections but have very bad response times (latency). Others may offer very good download speeds but uploads speeds may be severely limited. You may also find that some hosting companies use Internet providers that maybe better suited to specific geographic areas.
What you are hosting will determine what type of Internet connectivity you will need. Email servers generally do not require very low response times whereas a Remote Desktop Server may require it to ensure the user has a smooth experience on the desktop. Also as mentioned above consider who your users or target market is. If you are a company operating in Singapore but your target market is in Australia, then you may consider a hosting company that has Internet providers who have premium routes to that country.
It may be difficult to determine this on your own so do not forget to ask your hosting company for the details and check if they can provide you some data to back up their claims.
I would go as far to suggest that if your hosting company is not bundling any security services with your hosting then look elsewhere. A compromise in your service can mean a loss of reputation and reputation is hard to gain. At a minimum consider bundling some form of firewall option in your package.
Where you host will also be determined by who you are hosting for. This of course comes back to the hosting company’s connectivity options. Consider what your connectivity requirements are and shop for who can offer you the best options at the most reasonable prices. Internet connectivity options such as low response times and premium routes can quickly add up the costs of the service you require. Using a hosting company closest to your target market may provide the best connectivity options and save you a huge chunk of money.
How much support you need normally depends on what you are hosting and how critical the service is to you. Some hosting companies provide very basic support and tend to push customers to use knowledge base articles. These hosting companies would then offer a more advanced support for a premium. If you are very tech savvy, then support might not be highly critical to you but regardless of your requirements consider that timely response from support to be essential. Compare what is being offered and look at reviews if any to determine what the support experience is like with the companies you are looking at.
There are many packages out there that might look good on the surface but may not include the critical items. For example, a lot of hosting companies provide virtual private servers (VPS) with no firewall service bundled. In this case you are reliant on the firewall capabilities of the operating system running on the VPS which in most cases are limited to simple access control lists (ACLs). If security is important to you and the data is very valuable, consider going for an option which includes a firewall. I would consider this a must in most cases.