We’ve used lots of hosting companies, some good, some bad. We have learned that the real measure of a great hosting company comes down to the following:
1. Reliable Email service: it’s funny that you’d think that bandwidth or space or some web space feature would top our list, but we have learned that even a great host with poor email service is not a good host.
2. Reliable Up-time: pretty obvious, but very few hosts come close to their 99.9% up-time claims.
3. Having smart system admins that won’t upgrade MySql, PHP, Apache, etc. or make changes to fopen, curl, register globals, etc. without telling you beforehand. The best hosts will make copies of your files and add the corrected files/code for you.
4. Great support: we stuck with a big host in L.A. for a while that boasts about the number of customers they have. Their support was terrible. Their up-time was terrible. Their forums were full of flame posts from irate customers. Oh yeah, their email servers went down all the time. Don’t stay with a host like this!
5. Sure, bandwidth, disk space, and features are good, but are more of a commodity now with the web hosting competition out there.
We highly recommend BlueHost as the best web host we have found so far. You get a free domain name, unlimited Hosting Space, unlimited File Transfer, unlimited Domains, 2,500 POP/Imap Email Accounts, SSH (Secure Shell), SSL, (S)FTP, Stats, CGI, Ruby (RoR), Perl, PHP, MySQL, 24/7 Superb/Responsive Sales/Support.