I've seen many, many posts on "how do I pick the right host"? or "which host should I choose"?

I would hope that asking around is only part of your investigation in deciding on the right host for you.

Here are some general but very simple guidelines I wish I had followed when I started:

*Adequate plans. Do they have what you need? You don't want to sign up for a plan and then go and build your site in a fashion that isn't supported by the host. (Example, if you require ColdFusion, check that CF is supported )

*Server status, can you ping their servers? What speed are you getting?

* Forums: ask around about hosts you have interest in. If the host site itself has user forums, browse around there.

* Service. (most important IMO) Do they have a toll free number? What are their hours of service? If they have phone support, is it outsourced or on the same premises as your server? In my case, live 24/7 support was essential.

* how long have they been open? Do a who-is search, was the domain registered yesterday? Do they have a client list? Companies that have been open longer obviously have the experience and reputation and resources needed to survive in the industry.

Send them an email, see how long it takes for them to respond to get an impression on wait times between getting responses.

Those are just some random tips. I've learned a few things the hard way and I wish someone had told me those things several months ago.

Just my two cents.