The web hosting features you need

Many web servers offer limited hosting features in their starter packages and then expand the offerings (sometimes greatly) for higher level plans. Read the fine print to make sure the plan you are selecting offers what you need. 

If you need a site builder application to design your web site. If you are looking for a low-cost web server, make sure that the low-cost web server you are choosing actually comes with a site builder. Many of them require you to pay for the builder as a separate add-on. 

Website builders generally don’t cost a lot of money, but if you can find a web server that includes one for free, that’s money in your pocket. And, if it’s integrated with your hosting service, you’re more likely to have a seamless and compatible experience.

You also want a web server with 24/7 customer support, if not by phone, at least by chat. Forums, knowledge bases and help tickets are all well and good, but sometimes you just need to communicate with another human being to get things fixed as quickly as possible. 

That said, not all 24/7 customer service teams are the same. Companies such as GoDaddy and Liquid Web have incredibly knowledgeable and helpful customer support teams, a fact that we confirmed in our in-depth reviews of those web hosting services.

When it comes to server operating systems, Linux is usually the default choice. Still, some services offer the option of Linux or Windows Server hosting. 

If you have specific server-side applications that require Windows, such as SQL Server or a custom application written in .NET, then you should make sure your web server has Windows hosting. But don’t let the idea of a Linux host intimidate you. 

Today, most web servers offer a graphical interface or control panel to simplify server administration and website management. Instead of typing at the command line, you will click on easily identifiable icons.

Windows hosting is usually more expensive than Linux hosting, especially in the area of dedicated servers. That is not always the case, but it is something to keep in mind when comparing prices.