Joined: 13 Jun 06
12 Sep 07 10:25 pm
The usual maxim of "you get what you pay for" pretty much sums it up for hosting providers as well. (Although there are plenty of cases of "you don't get what you pay for" when it comes to hosting too. Very rarely do you see "you get more than what you pay for"!) In my books the most important things you should look for in hosting are:
1) That it has reasonable uptime
2) That it allows you to host multiple domains
3) That if you're allowed to host multiple domains, they allow you a ridiculous number of mySQL databases. Each time you want to set up something like a blog, it'll use one of these, so a hosting provider that limits you to two mySQL databases is actually really limiting you, regardless of how many domains they let you host, or how much bandwidth they give you.
4) That you get a reasonable amount of hosting space and bandwidth allocation.
Beyond that, there are things that make it easier for you to do stuff. A lot of hosting providers offer something called cPanel which makes managing your website a lot easier, and others (I think GoDaddy is like this) provide their own tool for this sort of thing. Some offer "fantastico" which gives one-click installation of popular blogs, forums, content management systems etc. I know hostgator offer these things.
Regarding some other comments here, I don't think that searching for a hosting provider purely on their provision of an "easy website builder" tool is the way to go. You're much better off learning how to do things independently of your hosting provider, so that you actually know what's going on. If you decided to move your website to another hosting provider sometime down the track, you might find it difficult if you've used one of their products for building your site. Just be careful.
All the best,