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To test the lineup, we purchased subscriptions of the windows cloud hosting basic services. These plans typically auto-renew and in most cases include a free domain name as part of the package. The numbers we gathered for dedicated disk space, memory and bandwidth are based on the introductory plans for each service.

Hosting Package

Cloud hosting packages should be flexible, giving your website room to grow as your business expands. We measured the flexibility of a service based on how many cloud hosting packages it offers and by talking to its support staff about how easy it is to upgrade a plan, even midcontract.

Four is the average number of cloud hosting plans that a company offers. A few companies on the lineup, like iPage, give you three options, while others, like HostGator and GreenGeeks, offer up to five plans for you to choose from. The best is Arvixe, offering a full six plans for you to choose from.

Important features found in typical cloud hosting plans include unlimited domains, dedicated disk space, memory and bandwidth. With cloud hosting, you are designated a certain amount of space on a shared server. While you are sharing access to the server and CPU cores, you are allotted your own space, which is dedicated to your account. This setup gives you the flexibility to help your business grow without having to make the jump to the extreme of dedicated hosting.

Support Options

Customer service is an important attribute for any service but becomes especially important with cloud hosting since companies often assist you in managing your account. If you decide to use a fully managed cloud hosting server, the company will conduct all of the server administrative tasks, like managing setup, configuring updates and installing the most up-to-date versions of the software.

Quality customer service is also important because as a website and business owner, you are relying on solid uptime with your site. When a server temporarily fails, cloud hosting companies need to be able to respond immediately to help you get your site running again.