US based web servers
It is a known fact that the US data centers are the best ones in the world. And I'm not saying that just because of pure patriotism. This fact is known to anyone who has ever touched a computer that's connected to the internet. The biggest data centers are here in the States and even European and Asian web hosting providers acknowledge this fact. Therefore, it is of no surprise that American customers always search for US based servers to host their websites. There two main reasons for that- 1. The US data centers are always equipped with the latest technology, they have 24/7 support, unlike some Australian DCs who only work during Australian business hours (Melbourne time zone is UTC/GMT +10, good luck with contacting them), and they always have the best possible connectivity which is crucial when connecting to a server over long distances and 2. Why have your server overseas, when you can have your website hosted in your own country?
Choosing the right provider
There hardly is a serious web hosting company that doesn't have at least some servers in the United States. On the other hand, it is important to know that the most experienced web hosting companies will never have their servers in one location- US or otherwise. Therefore, when looking for a web hosting provider, even though you're going to sign up for a server in the US, always check if they have servers in other locations. The more the locations, the more clients the company is aiming for, thus the higher experience and resources they have. It is never advisable to sign up with a small company since, although cute, their services simply cannot match with the ones of the big providers. The criteria for finding a good provider, can be divided into three groups- number of data center locations, which we already discussed, the number of web hosting services that they offer, how those services are arranged into hosting packages and last but not least- the control panel/s that they offer with their web hosting packages.
Diversity of hosting services
Even if you have an idea about what service you're going to sign up for, always check what other services does the company offers. Never go with a provider that only offers one type of hosting, since that will mean that the company is aiming to a smaller percentage of users, which speaks about how serious and determine they are. There are four main types of hosting services- shared hosting accounts, virtual servers, semi-dedicated servers and dedicated servers. Each of those types has its own sub-types but we're not going to discuss each and every one of them, since we'll get quite off-topic. The main point is that the most experienced companies will offer as many types of hosting services they possibly can, in order to cover a larger amount of web hosting clients. This is always a good sign, since it speaks about the company's determination, resources and experience.
It is important to understand that there is no such thing as an "unlimited" hosting plan. Most companies, however, adopt the so-called overselling marketing strategy, meaning that they are selling more than they actually have. Now, this is not all bad, in fact, it can be good for both the company and the client, when however, is performed with though and is under constant monitor and control. Also, this is only applicable on shared web hosting packages. There is no possible way for a VPS or a dedicated server to be oversold, since these services have fixed hosting features which the user cannot possibly exceed. Therefore, do not expect to see "Unlimited disk space" in a VPS hosting plan offer, and if you do see that, then you should note this company as being a scam and simply move on to the next one.
Web hosting control panel
Most people always look for the web hosting features in a hosting plan and forget to look for how those features are going to be managed, once the account is active. There are several commonly used web hosting control panels and it is important to know the difference between them, before signing up. The most widely used hosting CP is the cPanel. Now, cPanel is great. It is efficient, it is flexible, it is outstanding and it is above all, quite outdated. The cPanel was in its prime some 7-8 years ago, however, since then the hosting business has changed almost entirely, while the cPanel remained the same. Still, most people prefer to use it, for some unknown reasons, however, many of the experienced providers decided to move on and with the absence of a good alternative, some even decided to create their own control panel, especially build for their hosting services, using the latest technology available. For instance, NTCHosting.com developed the Hepsia control panel, which they use not only for their shared hosting accounts, but for their VPS and dedicated hosting servers as well.
Why a VPS?
The VPS is by now, the most modern form of hosting. It is a private server, which allows the user to benefit from almost all of the features of a dedicated server, however at a much cheaper price. As the name suggests, the VPS is a virtual machine, which means that it cannot have all the characteristics of a dedicated server, which is mostly valid for the amounts of CPU, disk space and bandwidth. However, the people that actually need all the features of a dedicated machine are quite few, therefore, the VPS is the perfect solution for anyone who wishes to have complete control over his web hosting environment and to secure a stable and reliable platform for his website/s. I can honestly say that a virtual private web hosting service, hosted on a US based server, is the most efficient and affordable type of web hosting available today.