As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time on the Internet reading all kinds of articles and the more or less interesting stuff that I run across. As far as I've seen, pretty much every guide which teaches you how to create your own website (including my own), doesn't expand on web hosting. However, if I remember correctly, when you're new to all this, choosing a web hosting service that suits your needs can be a bit confusing. This is why I've decided to write a short how-to and advise you about what you should be looking for when choosing a service to host your website.
The first thing most people are interested in is money, but I'm sure you're smart enough to know that you should choose a service which is within your price range. Here are the other important criteria you should take into consideration:
As far as I'm concerned the most important thing to worry about is bandwidth. This characteristic determines the data transfer speed - so, in simpler terms, it will tell you how fast the pages on your website will load when someone visits them. You can have the most beautiful and interesting website in the world; if people have to wait forever to see its contents it's all for nothing. All the services which offer web hosting should give you specific information and multiple options regarding the available bandwidth. The more bandwidth you have, the faster your site will load, and the more people will be able to simultaneously visit your site. If possible (and it should always be possible), choose the unlimited bandwidth options, which will ensure that your pages open quickly even if there's a large number of visitors currently on the website.
Another huge aspect of web hosting is the storage space which is made available to you. Depending on what your website is for, your need for space will vary, but you should always check it out and make sure that there is enough space for all the resources your website needs (texts, photos, songs, videos, documents, etc.) and for those that you may add in the feature. If you plan to create a small website with just a few pictures and lots of text, you need very little storage space, so 1 GB should be more than enough. However, if you plan to have a big site with lots of media content, you should go for 100 GB or more. Lastly, if your plan has something to do with online gaming, in my opinion, you should go for the unlimited space option.
Security is a huge deal nowadays, so making sure that the service you choose also offers you an SSL Certificate is paramount. (These certificates can be obtained separately, but it's kind of a tedious process, especially if you're a newbie, so choosing a service which already has SSL is beneficial, even if you have to pay a little extra.) Why is this so important? Because it ensures your customer's security, and although some websites might make you believe that it's only good for online shopping and money transactions, that's not actually true. You will probably want to connect your website to networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. and you need to keep your users' login information securely encrypted at all times.
Non-stop technical support and Cpanel access
The last two very important things to take into account are technical support and access to the Cpanel. You should make sure that the hosting service clearly specifies that it offers 24-hours technical support, so that if something goes wrong with your website, you wouldn't have to wait for days on end and lose a lot of traffic until the issue is fixed. (I also recommended conducting a small test beforehand to see how well / fast they respond.)
Also known as the control panel, the Cpanel gives you direct access to all kinds of cool stuff such as the ability to create and manage email accounts (on the domain that you purchase), managing passwords and a bunch of other maintenance-related options which you will probably need. So, if the service you're currently prospecting doesn't offer you access to the control panel, my advice is to look for another one.
I hope this short guide provided you with at least some of the answers that you were looking for, and as always, if you have any questions, you can post them in the comments section.