your host offers mySQL / PHP support.
advanced features mean a lot if you're serious about
developing your web skills. With PHP, you can update
thousands of pages with a cough and add
things like polls and membership options to your site.
don't know how to create a mySQL database now, but
you're a fast learner (^_^) and it'll hurt when
your host doesn't have the features you need.
This is a
really tricky area to monitor. Every single host on
the Internet advertises 99.9999999% uptime (or something
similar). However, in my experience, a lot of these
claims are either bogus or misleading.
happens for a number of reasons. Sometimes hosts will
advertise 99.99% network uptime, which is entirely
different from server uptime. If the software on your
server causes things to crash, that's not considered
finding out the new house you just bought (which is
located in a beautiful, rich neighborhood) is infested
with man-eating rats. Sure, the neighborhood's great,
but the house itself - which you live in - is worthless.
I've been hurt by this before (my first paid host in
fact - 99.99% network uptime - but their server was
down every other day).
no way tell a host's true uptime record from just reading
their website. Make sure you do some research and
read what other customers have to say about their record.
host before joining them. See how fast they respond
and see how polite they are in responding. If they
don't respond at all, move on. If they respond quickly and politely,
investigate them more.
nothing, nothing, nothing worse than
a rude, unresponsive host. Even if they're giving you
the best deal imaginable, I strongly recommend
giving second thoughts if they give you a bad vibe.
There are two ways to
manage your hosting account. The first is graphically
while the second is through absurdly difficult-to-learn
SSH / Telnet prompts (think DOS).
Make sure your host gives
you a very clean, easy-to-use graphical management
system to manage your site. It helps a lot.
There are quite a few
graphical management systems out there. The four biggest
are Webmin, PLESK, Ensim, and cPanel.
After reviewing all four
extensively, I strongly recommend cPanel over the rest.
Webmin is too basic, PLESK looks and functions like
a dinosaur, and Ensim is incredibly cluttered and confusing.
cPanel is by far the best, though the design is lacking
hosting is the foundation for your web success,
it's your best friend really. Hosting can make or break you.
I started producing sites, hosting woes almost
broke me time and time again. But I was strong and
kept fighting back.
(One of my first hosts
shut down their service with absolutely no warning,
almost vaporizing my site and
leaving me in a horrible bind! Unbelievable! And
this wasn't the only hosting nightmare I've been
2010 Update: Since I wrote this article I've received numerous emails from people asking me to recommend a web host. If you need help, drop me an email and I'll do my best to help :).