There are various parameters that should be considered when you want to buy a web hosting package. The most important two are disk space (the space on the webhost dedicated to you) and bandwidth (data your website can transfer throughout (usually) a month).
The first question about these two is: how much is enough? Well, the more the better. Is it correct? NO! People tend to overestimate their need. Hosts know that and use that to attract newbies (I will tell you how in a sec). The fact is most of the small businesses and websites do not need more than 500 MB of disk storage and 5-10 GB bandwidth. If your website grew out of these you can always upgrade.
Lots of hosts offer unlimited plans to tempt people to pay more for things they do not actually need. You can find lots of offers like unlimited diskspace and bandwidth in popular web hosting companies. First thing you should know is that there is nothing unlimited! You will never be able to use more than a certain amount of resources. The behaviour of the hosts against high resource consuming users are different, some simply don’t like them and will suspend their accounts! This kind of hosts is the last thing you want! The others will ask the user to upgrade their account and get a VPS (virtual private server) from them. Is this behaviour legal?
I don’t know. But there is a trick here to know. What webhosts offer is unlimited disk space and bandwidth but not other resources like CPU usage. The user will be limited by this way before he/she can make the server busy.
The other things to look for are the number of email accounts, number of domain/subdomains you can have, databases type and management, site statistics softwares (this will help you in making a profitable website), and other available softwares and supported frameworks. A descent offer does not contain any additional charges for these services. An important thing which I would consider for my host to have is a cPanel. This is standard a management software for your website and will make your migration from one webhost to the other so much easier compared to any custom made hosting platform that a host may have.
Do not buy your domain from your host! Some of the hosts would lock your domain and you will not be able to change your nameservers, so you will not be able to migrate from them like EVER!
Do not pay any set up fee! If they want to be paid for that, they are ripping you off.
Read the second part of this post, titled “What to look for in web hosting company?”.