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Several points must be kept in mind while finding a web host that will save you time and headaches. The first is cost. Don’t be influenced by web hosts that offer to host your site free of cost. Read the fine print to find out what are the hidden conditions.

Often free hosting is provided only for a trial period. Don’t sign an agreement without checking this out. The second is your comfort level with third party advertising. Would you like your hosting company to serve ads on your site over which you have no control?

In case of shared/ dedicated hosting you have to find out whether your host offers a money back guarantee. You should also find out the charges of any extra bandwidth, disc drive space or email accounts that you may need if your site grows. Often, hosting companies charge steep rates for anything that is not part of the basic hosting package.

A good policy is to read the reviews and customer feedback. These are useful indicators of customer satisfaction. You must be quite particular about 24×7 telephone support. You need this to resolve technical problems that may arise deep in the night.

If possible, visit the data center where the hosting company keeps its servers. This will give you an idea of the scale of the company’s operations. Avoid hosting companies that run one or 2 servers only. Look for companies that can switch servers at a pinch if a server fails.

When it comes to registering your domain name use an ICANN certified domain registrar. After registration, check that only your name is listed as administrative contact with InterNIC for your domain name.

You must also check the sites hosted on the server. Avoid sharing a server with an adult site as it will corner the lion’s share of the bandwidth. It may also lead to a blacklisting of your site by search engines that discourage adult sites.

You should insist for multi-layered security to protect your domain from hackers. Although the web hosts are not responsible for protecting your code, they should have contingency plans to protect your site from network attacks such as DNS poisoning, cross-site scripting, URL hijacking, spam and DDoS attacks.

Another good policy is to enter into a short-term contract initially. The arrangement can be made long-term once you are satisfied with the services offered by your web host. Also, your agreement with the hosting company should be flexible enough to allow for future expansion.