A top website hosting service is essential for any business moving on to the web. By using a well established and reliable provider you should have few problems and will be able to offer a good service to your customers by your website always being available and loading quickly. Google are now taking loading speed into account when generating their search results so if you will be aiming for a good search engine ranking, top website hosting is even more important.
Forget about free hosting, you will have to pay for the standard of service you will need. There are quite a few top website hosting providers which fit the bill (and many more that don't) and by searching the web it is easy to find sites listing their top 10 hosting providers (or similar). Unfortunately it is not quite as easy as that because these sites differ in their views as to the top hosting companies and it is usually difficult to directly compare reviews.
Before looking at any potential hosting providers it is essential to have worked out what you want:
Linux or Microsoft Hosting:- If you are having a site built for you the developers will advise you on the hosting requirements. If, for example, they build a site which requires a Microsoft hosting environment it is no good signing up for a Linux package. If you are building your own site it is best to go for a Linux package.
Shared, VPS, Dedicated Server:- Top website hosting providers offer a range of services offering more resources, bandwidth, disk space etc. and reduced competition with other users for these resources. At the outset a basic shared package will be all you need. This just means that multiple users are hosted on the same server and share all the resources. Reputable companies will not overload their shared servers so you will be fine.
Speed and Reliability:- A site that is not available is a sure way to lose customers and a site that loads slowly will result in frustration for your customers. It is worth looking for recent user comments on potential suppliers and also checking that they give a guarantee of 99.%+ uptime.
Help and Support:- This might be overlooked at the outset but it will become very important if problems arise. Look for 24/7 support preferably with a toll free phone number in addition to email.
Disk Space/Bandwidth:- Most hosting providers now offer unlimited website hosting with unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth. Clearly this is just marketing as it is impossible for these things to really be unlimited and you may well find that the terms and conditions do include some sort of limitation. However, bandwidth and disk space are unlikely to be an issue in the short term, and may never become so, unless your site grows dramatically.
Domains/Databases:- The basic sharing packages of many hosting providers limit these. If you are only interested in creating a single website these packages will be fine - you can always upgrade later.
Cost:- You might think it odd to put cost last but the price differences between the top website hosting providers are small enough to make the above factors more important. You normally pay a number of months in advance (the more months the cheaper it is per month) but some providers will allow you to pay monthly.