Choosing a good host is a rather difficult endeavor since you can get excellent or lousy service for the same price. It's much better to get it right the first time, than to move from one host to another spending time and money.
There are plenty of companies that offer inexpensive web hosting services. You can even find hosts which offer a long list of features for as low as $1-$2 per month. But be wary - they usually offer very much disk space (500-5000 MB), only 1-year contracts.
I tried such an extremely inexpensive web hosting provider offering 5000MB of disk space, unlimited bandwidth and 99.99%(!) uptime guarantee for $2/month.
It was a real headache. Almost every day, during peak hours, the site was inaccessible or very slow at best. Also, three times the site was down for two or three days and I had to restore it from my copy. These downtimes were long enough for Google to drop almost all pages out of its index.
An important feature to look for is whether they do a backup of customer's files every day. In case of a hard drive failure (this happens frequently on many hosting services) they can quickly restore your data from the backup copy.
Customer support is very important. To test it before opening an account, email them with a few sample questions to check the speed of their responses. Although this doesn't guarantee that they will respond at the same speed if you do become a customer, this approach is rather accurate
so how much space do I really need, then? Answer: it depends. Work it out.
Calculate your page sizes and add them up. If you have too many pages to be bothered doing this, "guesstimate" your average page size first.
The average web page, for example, uses about 50 kilobytes of space, some less, some a little more, and this includes a fair number of graphic images, which we are sure to make as small as possible. This means that we could fit about 20 Hostgool pages into a single megabyte of space. If you were to purchase 100 megabytes of space from a web site host, then you could fit the equivalent of 2,000 Hostgool pages into your web site!
Why Inexpensive WebHosting ? Many sites are small and modest - you are not Microsoft after all! - and do not need more than 10 or 20 megabytes of space max. Still, some websites may require more, for the following reasons: graphics and dynamic content, such as multimedia files. Always ask yourself, "Do I need all these graphics or multimedia files?" "How can I make my pages smaller?" "Do I need all these tables?" "Should I split this page into a number of smaller pages?"
The average graphic uses between 5 Kb and 50 Kb of space alone. Always check your graphic sizes and use a good graphics program to make them as small as possible - "Save for Web" is a great new feature of many graphics programs. If a web site has many different graphics, then it will certainly need more space.
Also, some web sites have message forums. These forums can generate web pages very quickly and obviously require more space. Another reason you may need more web space is if you are offering software or other products or files for your visitors to download. You would then need to store these products within your allotted web space and again, all these items will take more space.
So, figure out how much space you are currently using and then approximate how much you think your site may grow from here. If you do not yet have your web site finished, or are not experienced in this area, or hate anything to do with numbers, it may be somewhat more difficult to decide how much space you will need.
In this case, Hostgool recommends that you start with around 20 megabytes of web space. This should give you more then enough room to move, and you will not have to pay too much for this amount of space.
If your site is obviously very small, mostly text, and free of graphics, you can probably host your site on 2 MB of space, which is about 200 pages of text. For most average sites, 50 to 100 MB is an awful lot of space. Cyber-malls and big Net Communities may require approximately 200 to 400 MBs of space, but do you? In general, 1 MB equals about 100 pages of text.
If your web site does eventually use up the space you bought, fear not: you should easily be able to purchase more space from your current host. Thus, it is important when searching for a web host to make sure you find one that makes it easy to upgrade and does not charge extra fees for doing so, outside of the cost of the upgraded package of course.