Reliability. Is the host reliable? Not just their hardware, but their networking skills that keep them online delivering your content. How many peering arrangements do they have, are their multiple servers available? If you should want your hosts on multiple servers, connected to multiple high speed connections, to not have everything on one host with one connection to the Internet, ask if that's available. If there is a need to audit their uptime, do you know how? Service. Anyone with access can look up your email password, what's better service? The support team that is always able to solve your problem, is available by phone and email. Simply put they look at your hosting service issues as mission-critical, every time. Can you get references from existing customers? Usability. If your duties require managing email accounts, checking traffic stats, editing files right on the server (instead of via FTP), configuring CGI be sure there are support pages that answer these questions, for the times you need assistance, and you can't reach your support staff instantly. Web based controls are easier to use than doing things from the command prompt. Do they add new features to their offerings, when was their last add-on made available?Whether you outsource your web design, development, deployment, usability or support....simply ask.