First Things First
After deciding that you are going to have a website, you need two things, a domain name and a company to host it for you. Domain names are fairly cheap, you can go to www.godaddy.com where they sell them for $9.00 a year or sometimes, the web host provider will either sell them or give it to you with their plan.
The web hosting company is basically renting you space on their web servers. Whatever your website will be, a web hosting company will let anyone in the world view your site.
What To Look For
When shopping for a Web host, a couple of things you want to keep in mind: How fast are their servers, do they have good support and how is their uptime (meaning, how good are they at keeping your website up and running).
How fast are their servers? You want to know this, its crucial when people try to get to your site that it loads fast. Look for at least a server with a pentium chip in it and 800 MHZ.
Do they have good support? You do want to have the best support possible. If you have a question, you want it answered, fast. I look for host that have 24 hour support, if not anything else, at least 24 hour email support.
How is their uptime? Everybody can say they guarantee 99.9 % uptime, but are they just pulling your leg, find out for sure, ask them for statistics. Basically anyone with 99.5% uptime is good in my book. Mostly all the better host will give you that. Ensure that there is some sort of written agreement regarding service, which ideally will provide you with financial compensation in the event of failure.
How Much Should I Pay
If your reading this article, chances are your just starting out. My suggesting to you would be to spend no more than $15 a month on a basic web hosting plan. You can view some of our basic web hosting providers here.
No need to look for a host that is going to give you 500 MB of disk space, unlimited bandwidth (note: be very careful when a web host says they are giving you unlimited bandwidth, there is a catch and there is a limit). If you are just putting up a basic website than 50 MB of space and 2-3 GB of bandwidth should be enough. Nowadays, some of the bigger web host can offer you more space at the same price as some of their competitors who offer a lot less space, these are the best deals. Reasons for this could be that they are just trying to get more people to sign-up, or they have the technology and money to offer these services to you.
Remember, you get what you pay for. Keep in mind the 3 top services to look for in a web host and you should do fine with finding one that does all this and is less than $15 a month.
I have been in the industry for more than 4 years and have worked for a web hosting company in the past as their marketing manager.