Assuming several approved web hosting companies have a plan that meets disk space and bandwidth requirements... one or more of the following questions might apply to your site hosting needs. Each should be answered by every web hosting company before a final decision is made. Many answers should be found through the company's FAQ and/or Knowledgebase. However, call for any unfound or unclear answer, which might require a response from tech support via a call back or email and relative to how busy support is at the time. (You might even discover that you need more than a shared hosting plan, especially if CPU resources are an issue.)
Questions That Should Apply For All
How long has company been in business?
What are the terms to the money back guarantee?
What kind of servers do you use?
If Apache servers... What version do you use?
Are the severs in-house or located at a third party company?
Server location should be relative to the technical expertise to respond and quickly resolve issues that impact the accessibility of one’s site. (Pricing might also be higher if servers are located at a third party, but should be secondary to . . . if all else meets your requirements.)
What Operating System(s) do you use on the servers?
Do you monitor your servers?
How are multiple domains set-up under a plan / account?
As folders under the primary domain and one IP address . . . Means they are virtual domains with their own identity, but set-up like sub-domains. (Front Page users... Make sure to fully discuss with each hosting company about any issues that have occurred with Front Page server extensions installed on addon domains. Some companies don't allow or recommend server extensions on addon domains due to the potential of them becoming corrupted.
Separate / Same Level - In separate folders at the root level (not under any other domain)
Only a few "approved" hosting companies offer Best approach if preference to have domains fully independent of each other for publishing purposes via FTP, Front Page, or other means. This plan set-up usually involves virtual domains with one primary IP address. (A reseller hosting plan is another option if unavailable with a shared plan. It is should be less expensive than a vps, semi-dedicated, or dedicated plan relative to the number of domains.)
Do you backup my website?Where is tech support located?
Some companies use third party associations for initial tech support assistance, which can be located in another country. It then becomes an individual preference if all else is equal.
Note: While technical issues with a site's sever must be experienced and can be caused by a variety of reasons including a hacking attack, unacceptable response and/or resolution time should be part of the decision to consider a new hosting arrangement.
Questions That Apply For Specific Needs:
What version of PHP do you use?
Do you offer Microsoft FrontPage Extensions?
What kind of database access do you provide?
How many databases can be added?
What third party programs are offered?
Most hosting companies will list them, but carefully check to see if the one(s) that you need or anticipate needing is/are available or can be installed with or without assistance.
Does the web statistic program offer the information needed? (e.g. page views by URL, hits, visitors, and unique visitors on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis)
Selecting a hosting company, especially for individuals and companies with limited budgets, might come down to the stats needed to effectively develop and market your site . . . Price should then be secondary to having the right web statistic program if the hosting company meets your other needs.
Using a web statistic program on you local computer
Make sure the logs can be accessed at the server via ftp up front versus having to find a hosting company that does afterwards.
Can I use Active Server Pages (ASP) on my site?
Can I use Java Servlet Pages (JSP) on my site?
Do you allow telnet / SSH access?
SMTP Limits -- Is there a daily and/or monthly limit to sending emails through your SMTP server? If so, is it for each email account or the combined total of all email accounts?
Sendmail Limits -- Are there any limits on sendmail when using a php or asp based mailing list program like phpList? If so, can the limits be increased and what is required to do so (like whitelisting the associated email addresses)?
Approved Web Hosting Companies