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Things To Look For In a Web Hosting Company? 456

v1x writes "I have had an account with my current web hosting company for a few years, with 3 domains being hosted there (using Linux/PHP/MySQL). Recently, all three of these websites stopped functioning, and upon checking the site, all my directory structures were intact, whereas all of the files were gone. Upon contacting their technical support, I was given the run-around, and later informed by one of their administrators that none of the files could be restored. Needless to say that I am looking for a different web hosting company at this point, but I would like to make a more informed choice than I did with the current company. I have read a similar Slashdot article (from 2005) on the topic, but the questions posed there were slightly different." Reader mrstrano has a similar question: "I am developing a web application and, after registering the domain, I am now looking for a suitable web hosting provider. It should be cheap enough so I can start small, but should allow me to scale up if the web site is successful (as I hope). The idea is simple enough so I do not need other investors to implement it. This also means that I don't have a lot of money to put on it at the moment. Users of the website will post their pictures (no, it's not going to be a porn website), so scalability might be an issue even with a moderately high number of users. I would like to find a good web hosting provider from day one, so I don't have to go through the pain of a data migration. Which web host would you choose?"

It is easier to change the specification to fit the program than vice versa.