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A web hosting guide can help you compare the services being offered by different hosting companies. This is a big advantage because you don't have to visit different sites to obtain details. You can log on to a single site and compare services by bandwidth, by price or by disk space.

However, before visiting a web guide you need to define your needs. Do you need 1 GB of space or ten GB? What is the likely data transfer per month? Would you prefer a Unix environment or a Windows server?

You also need to decide the additional services that you need, like e-mail aliases, URL redirects, FTP access, FTP accounts, web control panel, sub-domains, auto responders, etc. Think about your need for support, promotional aid, shopping cart, chat, etc. If need be, you may take the help of a professional to finalize these details.

Once you have decided about what you need, you can start searching for a hosting service. You can use one of the popular search engines, like Google or Yahoo to find a suitable web guide.

Log on to the site and compare the different packages. See, which packages or bundled services meet your needs greatest. Ideally, you should look for a hosting service that is located approximately your office. You can then drive across and meet the company representatives and check the facilities that they offer. You can also verify if they are the actual owners or are reselling services on behalf of others.

Check and compare the specifications of the hardware being offered by the hosting services. Eliminate the hosting services that don't meet your requirements and send the remaining hosts a list of questions. The questions you ask are not so important, but you will get an idea about how prompt the hosts are in responding to your queries. This can then become a useful benchmark. You can reject those who take too long to answer.

Finally you need to test connectivity. Visit a few sites hosted on the servers of companies that you have short listed. Check the download speeds. Eliminate ones that take too long to open. Now make a final comparison. Select the one that serves your need best.