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You need to take into consideration the following things:
1. FTP access provided
2. Speed and reliability of access provided
3. Technical support and backup provided
4. Web hosting company reputation on the market
5. Total amount of web space and badnwidth, the provisions fro expansion
6. Hosting packages and the prices
7. Management of data center and location
If I’m honest, I suppose that the first thing I look at is price, but unless the service is reliable that’s not important. Free junk is still junk. The first important thing I would look for is reviews from past and current customers. There are always a few unhappy people, but if you start to see a pattern of complaints, look elsewhere. Another thing that is important (and often a cause of complaints) is the customer/technical support. If there isn’t 24/7 support offered, I would not go with that company. You might also want to try it out and evaluate it yourself before signing on the dotted line. The last thing you want is for everyone to be asleep or out of the call center when you have a serious problem that can’t be resolved from your end. Lastly, a consideration that used to be more of an issue than it is today is bandwidth and storage space caps. Still, it pays to make sure that these are not going to cause you problems at whatever host you choose.