You must do a proper research of a web hosting provider before making a choice, as there are many web hosting providers available in the market. You must ask sufficient questions, the following are a few important questions which you must ask to the web hosting companies which you think will be able to provide you the best web hosting services.
At which time can a technical support be contacted?
When do you operate, is it after very long hours or on weekends? If it is so, then you must know when you can reach out to the technical support. It not only means that you send a long angry message, but you also expect them to revert to you within a tentative time. When you question the web hosting provider see what they answer and check if what they are saying is true. Call them on a weekend or initiate a web chat, see what you receive in response, a good company will keep up to the promise it has made.
How much is the degree of security?
See if the web hosting provider is leasing the data centers or do they have their own data center, either ways see if the servers are checked from time to time. Check if the data is safe, do they have a power backup to support if there is a blackout? Have they placed the firewalls properly? It is important to have a secure web hosting now a days for your own safety.
Are you allowed to keep your own domain name?
It is very important to choose a domain name when you are planning to release a site. The domain name should be easy so that the visitors and clients can easily remember. When you find a domain name of your choice you will surely want to keep it even if you change the web hosting someday. You must make sure that this option is available with them.
You must know the kind of contract you are signing?
You may save some money if you are signing a particular web hosting provider for a couple of years. But before you do that you must know the policy of cancellation. Is there an option of money back guarantee, to a certain extend? Will they offer you a lump sum amount if you are not satisfied with their service and fail to fulfill their promise?
What is the amount of disk space and band width offered?
There are many web hosting providers who provide an unlimited disk space and bandwidth. It is good but it is not actually require. At an average a site may use up around 50-60 Mb of space, so around 100 Mb will be more than sufficient. Anything more than that will be a waste unless and until you are making high potency pages or you are expecting a huge traffic.
What types of tools are available?
Good web hosting companies provide what is required to grow, maintain or build a site. There are many open source software made available so the web hosting provider should make it easy for you to use them. You must see that the control panel functions properly and the e commerce and multimedia should also be supported whether you require at present or not.
Are there any other charges to be paid?
See if there are any extra charges for stuff like technical support, maintenance, set up, etc. The web hosting company must provide all these facilities, if not then switch to another company.
You may have other questions as well, depending on the kind of work you are into. So you must surely ask to clear you doubts.