How to choose a good web host?

(First Draft from forum: needs editing)
This question has come up again, Audrey from the CTC Network in nsw asks:
  • Eve is currently researching potential web hosts for the Joomla site. Are there any that you could recommend?

Hello Audrey, i would recommend webhostsaustralia. Based in Qld, plans starting around $80/year; with 'cpanel' and 'fantastico' which includes one-click install for some CMS programs, including Joomla. They've given us great service for the last while (you'd need one of the 'linux' deals to run joomla i think). Plus they offer free hosting (full deal) for non-profit organisations. Not sure if you're non-profit (?).

Plus, this question came up in the wider Networks forum: (look for the corrected version, and replies)

Issues to consider when making your choice:

  • do you get the programming language you need? (PHP for joomla)
  • does the plan give you one or more web databases? (eg MySQL)
  • do the versions of php / mysql match the application you want to run?
  • does your plan offer easy hosting management? (eg CPanel)
  • and one-click install for popular open source web applications? (eg Fantastico)
  • how much space are they offering?
  • how much bandwidth?
  • and of course, cost ..

Other things to think about:

  1. is the web host "overselling" their space? Angus from Web hosts au assures me that anyone offering 20G of space for $5 a month is 'overselling'. Meaning they are using this as a hook, but if everyone fills up their space, the service will fall over. (Now i'm not completely sure about that, others may have different opinions.)
  2. where do you store all the login / password details for your hosting account, and who looks after them?
  3. do you need a 'dedicated server'? These are more expensive, but guarantee you won't have to share the machine's processor with other people. i've been running our moodle intranet on a service called Dreamhost, who offer hundreds of Gb space, but it's way too slow. (This crowd could be 'overselling'.)

(From the networks discussion:

Have found some good looking Australian companies:

oh, the paste didn't come across .. hang on ..