Ample RAM (5GB or more), e-commerce options for selling products, 24/7 customer service, and unlimited monthly data transfers are highly sought-after features, too. Many web hosts cap their dedicated monthly data transfer offerings at 16GB, which is probably fine for most users. Some web hosts offer unlimited monthly data transfers, but they are few and far between, and you need to read the terms of service very carefully to understand just what "unlimited" means to the host in question. In addition, companies that offer dedicated web hosting typically offer daily backups, security options, and malware detection and removal—all very important factors in your website's day-to-day operation.

Recently, we've added more formal uptime monitoring to our review process, and the results show that most Web hosts do an excellent job of keeping sites up and running. If they don't, they suffer for it in our scoring. Even if they get everything else right, sites with uptime problems aren't eligible for high scores. All services suffer ups and downs, sometimes for reasons beyond their control. Those sites that fail to address the problem are penalized accordingly.

Additionally, you'll want a web hosting service that offers Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) if you plan to sell products. Here's why: An SSL connection encrypts the data that travels between your site and users' web browsers, thus safeguarding the transmission of purchasing information. You've probably seen a green padlock in your web browser's address bar while logging into your online bank account or making online purchases. It's a symbol of trust. Some companies include a free SSL certificate when you sign up for a hosting plan, while others charge close to $100. You can save some money by shopping around for the services that offer the cheapest SSL plans.
The answer to this question largely depends on two factors. Are you new to server technology and not very interested? In this case, Windows is the easiest option to get where you want to go. Do you already have experience with Linux or would you like to familiarize yourself with this operating system? If so, Linux gives you more freedoms to configure your server, and you will be using an operating system that is less vulnerable to attacks from the Internet. Linux is also open source and therefore free.
×