The first thing you should know about web hosting is that the field is very saturated, with quality ranging from excellent to horrible. In this context, try to limit your commitment to a service, especially at the start.
Never, ever register a domain through your web host. This is an attempt by many web hosts to lock you in to the company – and in some extreme cases, this means when you decide to stop using that service, the host will not release control of the domain to you. Pick your domain registrar based on quality of service, then select a separate provider for hosting, also based on their quality.
Secondly, have a realistic understanding of what the word “unlimited” means. In the real world, it means the maximum amount of bandwidth a web hosting service will let you get away with before they bug you. If your site really takes off and you get heavy traffic, as sure as night follows day the provider will contact you “recommending” you upgrade to their pricier package. If you decline, what sometimes happens is your site suddenly “disappears” from the web – whoops, you’ve just been held hostage by a greedy, unethical provider. You can head off being victimized like this by reading up on different web hosts on forms and other review sites before you make your choice regarding a provider.
Another real world suggestion involves the type of payment you make to the web hosting service. It’s best to restrict your payment options to a debit card, or PayPal when dealing with the provider. Don’t use a credit card! As stated before, the quality of service (or ethics) of some web hosts is such that they will keep charging to the card no matter how emphatically you have closed your account with them. A debit card controls your losses to the balance remaining on the card, and with PayPal you can dispute and reverse a transaction easily.
Read the fine print in terms of the trial policy or cancellation policy associated with the web hosting account. If you are completely dissatisfied with the service, will you get all your money refunded, or only a portion? Or even, none at all? Is the policy open to providing assistance to you if the host’s IP address gets blacklisted, due to spamming practices or other questionable things the host is practicing?
Finally, if you have technical questions, it’s recommended that you contact their tech department and ask a few test questions to see if they are competent (or available) enough to answer them satisfactorily. This could be critical if your is complex enough to need that kind of backup support.