True Web hosting companies resemble ISPs in that they also provide servers connected to the Internet. But good Web hosts invest in more powerful servers and faster, more direct connections to the Internet. A Web hosting service is also likely to offer other features that you can't get from a regular ISP, such as special commerce servers that provide additional security
for online transactions.
Server space. Initially, 10MB of disk space on a server should be enough for a typical business site. If your site has lots of graphics or multimedia files, you may need much more room; many hosts offer 100MB or more of disk space at reasonable rates. Also, find out whether email, log files and other "overhead" files count against your space limit--once you exceed your disk quota, the hosting service will charge a penalty. It's always better to have too much space than too little.
whether they support aliases, which allow you to set up addresses such as email@example.com. Ask about programs for managing mailing lists and generating automatic email responses.
You want to find out about the visitors to your site--what links they followed to get there, which pages they view most often--so make sure that your host is equipped to track and provide that information. If you or your Web developer uses Web authoring and management software (such as Microsoft FrontPage) that offers nonstandard features, look for a host that can support that software. And if your site provides interactive functions such as forms or surveys, or if you allow online transactions, you need to ask about features such as CGI script and e-commerce support.
Just as you need to make sure your host can provide the features you need, you want to be equally careful not to pay for ones you don't. If you don't plan to take credit card orders online, for example, you don't need to pay for secure socket layer (SSL) or other special security features. Once you've narrowed your list of Web hosting candidates, ask each service you're considering for a list of the sites it houses. Visit those sites to see how quickly the pages load, especially sites with pages of similar size and complexity to yours. You can also try sending email to the Webmasters at the sites to ask for their opinions of the hosting company. Internet mailing lists, computer user groups and professional associations are other good sources of information on finding the right Web host for your business.