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Let's start from beginning. Think of a hosting company as highway department that allows traffic, search engines, and people access to your website. The reason that this is so important boils down to money in your pocket. You could have greatest widget world has ever seen, and if your site is down, and not operating, people will buy elsewhere and what good is that?
First things first. Set an expectation that you will find "perfect" hosting company. If you search expectation that your job will be difficult, then that's what will be your experience. The best way to find a good hosting company is to ask other site owners and webmasters who they use. People love to share their knowledge and you can often pick up many helpful ideas.
Once you find a company that looks promising, see what kind of customer service they offer. Having a "live" person to talk to is a HUGE bonus and well worth any additional cost. Talk to them on phone, explain what you are doing and ask them if they can provide what you are looking for. Are they friendly, do they treat you like a human being, do they make recommendations without being pushy? Are they able to grow with you, as your business grows? The answers to these questions will give you a good idea of how they do business. Now it's up to you to determine if it is a good fit.
The author has been on the internet for over 10 years and understands the importance of quality hosting services.
Claudette Spedden is enthusiastic about hosting and is the originator of Fast X Hosting