Hosting is an area where the average punter finds something that works and learns to live with it. At some stage in the process Hosting becomes the ‘Black Box’ and so we can overlook the importance. There are a couple of assumptions that we often operate on. One is that all hosts are essentially the same and that the difference in cost merely reflects the level of support you can expect, or that you pay for what you get so people who are prepared to spend thousands get better hosting than people who pay hundreds.
There is in fact more to it than that. The forst consideration should be what you are going to do with the website. If I was planning a website with php an mysql technology I would certainly be looking for linux hosting, where as of I was planing Dot Net Nuke and an MSSQL database I would certainly need windows hosting. The various CMS packages use resources differently so some of the performance of your site will be determined by the way the host has there servers set up.
One of the reasons I choose to be a reseller for Blue Host is that they have tuned their servers to deal specifically with WordPress. Whilst on one score that is focussing on one part of the market, it is a big section of the market as WordPress now hosts 25% of the worlds websites. I ran some benchmarking against a few web hosts and BlueHost outperformed by a considerable margin all the others which were really very close to each other. Equivalent sites on others were ranking around the slower side whereas BlueHost moved performance to the upper side.
It was in the end this clear difference in performance to was behind my decision. BlueHost is not the most expensive, neither are they the cheapest in the market. Comparable page loads were about half what they were on other hosts, and that makes a real difference to what the visitor to your site experiences. This will often mean a difference to the value that Google places on your site, and they certainly factor speed of landing pages in their assessment and page ranking. Against other hosts tested BlueHost are either $0.50 cents a week dearer than the cheapest and $6.00 a week cheaper than the most expensive tested.