Choosing a web host is never easy. There are just so many unknowns when it comes to finding a host. It's hardly ever possible to walk into a web host's office, look around, meet the owners, and get a feel for whether or not you'd like to do business with these people.
It's important, though, that you bend over backwards to establish whether your prospective web host is a credible provider - or a fly by night artist.
The webmaster industry is awash with horror stories about signing up with a web hosting company, onlty to find out later that this 'business' is run by a 14 year old who lives at home.
For the most part, you'll make your decision using whatever information you can find online.
Start out with the website of the web host you are considering.
Is it professionally designed and written? Typo's and spelling errors may signal that this is a company ran by kids or amateurs.
Is the website easy to use? Is it designed with a view towards helping people? Are help materials available online? This should give you a flavor for whether the company is client oriented.
Where is the company located? Is there an address? Can you email them?
Look at the Terms of Service. Does your prospective web host clearly spell out what may be expected of them and what is expected of you? Every deal is different, but both parties should clearly know what the deal is.
Next, do a search for the company on Google. Are you finding any negative statements? Try different searching techniques, like typing the company name followed by the word "scam", or by the words "poor support".
Now, try emailing their customer support department. Do you get a fast reply? What about their sales department? Do they answer enquiries quickly? Let's face it...if they won't pay any attention to you when they're trying to get your business, how much more will you be neglected after you sign up?
If you follow these simple suggestions, your chances of signing up with an excellent web host increase substantially.