Why do you want to build a website? Most people choose to build one because they want to start a business. A business that will one day make a lot of money if they're lucky, so you can already see why you would want to take everything seriously right from the get go. Some people must forget about what they're trying to do because they don't exactly make sensible business decisions. The worst thing they can do is choose a terrible hosting company just because it's cheap.
If you decided to start a furniture making business would you start off with a plastic saw because it was cheap? It might take you a while to cut through the wood, so your business could end up being destroyed before it even had a chance to become successful. We're going to look at some of the things you should look for in a hosting company. You will then know why each thing is so important, plus what could happen if you go for an inferior option.
24/7 tech support
When you're starting out you really need someone on the other end of the phone who can give you support. 24/7 support is great, but not essential. Whenever you have a problem you can basically get it solved straight away. If a company gives you hosting for practically nothing you have to expect next to no support because they won't be able to afford it. If those companies helped everyone it would end up costing them money to host your website.
Very little or no downtime
Don't be fooled by all these companies who tell you they never have any downtime. They do and you need to find out about this before you hand over your money. You will end up with people emailing you asking why they can't get onto your site. Every time your website goes down it could cost you a certain number of sales. Those are the times when you finally realize it's worth paying a little more for a decent hosting company.
You will probably start on shared hosting, but it's not the best idea in the world if you expect a lot of traffic. If you use cheap hosting these is no way it will be able to handle an avalanche of traffic coming to your site within a short amount of time. Your website will just be taken offline, and so it should be. You can't impede on other people because you're cheap. Choose a company that gives you enough bandwidth to get a decent amount of traffic before it cuts you off.
This is probably the most important thing you want in any hosting company, because nothing else matters if a hacker comes and steals your website. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how exposed some companies leave themselves. Some hosting companies will also make backups of your website at regular intervals. You can't rely on these backups, but they're definitely nice in the case of something tragic happening. At least you will be able to throw a saved version of your site back up.
A good reputation
Some companies will screw you over at every opportunity. If a random competitor emails your hosting company with a fake complaint they might take your website offline. You then have to pay them money to put it back up again. If you also register your domain name with them they might hold you to ransom. Before you choose anyone it's good to look around to find out about these little things that might crop up from time to time.