Once you’ve decided to build a website, you need to find a hosting provider that can provide a home for your site. There are so many hosting providers available that the choice can be difficult. Don’t forget, you can always discuss hosting solutions with other affiliates in our affiliate marketing forums. The following tips offer suggestions about what to consider when choosing a hosting provider.

1. How much storage space is provided?

If you are running a small personal or business site, your storage needs will be minimal. Many small sites require only a few megabytes of disk space to house pages and image files. Large websites will require considerably more disk space, especially if your site is heavily dependent on graphics and images. Estimate the approximate size you will need before you begin researching hosting providers. Also ask about the availability of additional storage space if your website grows as it becomes more successful and popular.

2. How much bandwidth does the host offer per month?

Bandwidth is the amount of data a website can transfer each month. If you have ever visited your favorite website only to find an empty page with the message “Monthly bandwidth limit exceeded,” then you can appreciate the importance of choosing a host that provides adequate bandwidth. A small site that relies most on text files will require little monthly bandwidth, while a large graphics heavy website will require considerably more. Remember, the amount of bandwidth used increases with more visitors, so it is important that your hosting provider offer an adequate amount of bandwidth.

3. How reliable is the hosting provider?

While no hosting provider can ensure that your website will be up and running 100 percent of the time, it is absolutely critical that you choose provider that can guarantee minimal website downtime. Every time your site is inaccessible, you lose valuable Web traffic. Aim for a host that offers 98 to 99 percent uptime. Talk to a customer service representative about the company’s reliability and contact a few sites that are currently hosted by the service. Happy customers are a good indicator of the reliability of a hosting provider.

4. What type of technical support is offered?

A good hosting provider will be available to answer any question you have and offer assistance when you run into problems. Look for a hosting provider that offers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You should be able to call or e-mail a technical support specialist any time of the day or week.

5. How much does the service cost?

Once you have established that a hosting provider can meet your storage, transfer, and technical support needs, its time to start comparing prices. As you will quickly realize, monthly fees can vary widely. Don’t feel compelled to choose the most expensive host. Plenty of excellent hosting providers offer affordable rates for websites of all sizes. Avoid hosts that try to make you commit to a long-term contract or who cannot guarantee a flat monthly rate.

6. Does the hosting provider offer any bonus features?

If you are having trouble deciding between service providers, consider the bonus features that each hosting provider offers. Examples of good bonus features include detailed site traffic reports, shopping carts for online purchases, and multiple e-mail accounts.

The vast number of hosting providers can make choosing the best one for your needs seem difficult. In order to make the best choice, you need to research a variety of hosts. By comparing features and considering your own needs, you will be able to find a reliable hosting provider that provides you a home on the Web.