Before you launch a website, you will need to choose a website hosting company. But with so many companies to choose from, it can be a daunting task to decide which company with which to do businesses.

Some companies offer free or very inexpensive hosting. While it may sound like a great idea to use such plans, these plans are often unreliable or are plagued with unwanted advertising. As a general rule, free hosting should be avoided.

That leaves paid hosting. If you intend to pay for hosting, you need to evaluate which company offers the best overall package.

As with anything else, have a look at the prospective company's pricing. How do one company's prices compare with the prices of its competitors. There is no sense in wasting money on website hosting. There are other fees involved with running a website. You will want to save as much money as possible - while still getting the service you need.

Is a long-term hosting plan available or will you have to pay per month? How do these plans compare to other companies?

Reliable service
A web host is worthless if your website goes offline frequently. You need to ensure that whichever host you choose will be able to serve your website to a visitor anywhere in the world at any time of the day or night.

Customer Support
Learn about the company's customer service. Is their support team knowledgeable enough and skilled enough to assist you if you should have a problem? Are they will and able to determine when there is a problem with their own server? Few things are as frustrating as being told that a website error is your fault when you are confident the problem is a server issue.

How easy or difficult is it to contact the company's support team? How is their support reply time? Will you be waiting days for technical support or hours? This can make all the difference in a purchase decision.

Hopefully you will never ever need to request support, but you don't want to be stuck with a company that won't help its customers.

Scripting Ability
Depending on the nature of your website, you will need the ability to run various scripting languages and server-side technologies. For example, WordPress requires PHP and MySQL. If a web host does not support these technologies, WordPress cannot function.

If a company does support these technologies, are they included in the price of your hosting plan or will you need to pay extra to use them?

Most modern web hosting companies do support these technologies, but it never hurts to ask.

The key thing is to pick a web hosting company that provides all of what you want for the lowest price - but don't slack on features and support!