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The first step in establishing the cloud hosting servers usability was based on setting up an account. If a company had a simple one-step process, it received points for usability. This score included easy account verification and domain approval through email notification.

We based these tests on new-user experience; if a service is difficult to access, most users will simply pass and move on to the next service. Half of the companies we reviewed required identification cards and credit card statements before allowing you to sign up.

After our accounts had been established, we ran a test on each dashboard. The typical interface for cloud servers is called a cPanel. Some services, like iPage, use their own dashboard. We measured which features are provided in the basic shared cloud hosting packages and looked for tools like email creation and 404 error page customization. Only a few services on our lineup offer vital services like manual backup or one-click installation of apps.

Additional Considerations: Choosing the Best Cloud Hosting for your Business

While the features we tested are the most important things to consider, other factors influence which cloud hosting company is the best fit for your small business. Cloud hosting is an extremely competitive field, and often, it is hard to determine which company performs certain tasks best. While each company on the lineup offers promotional rates that encourage you to sign up, we looked for a few important features that will matter more long term.

What Does Unlimited Really Mean?

When you initially begin reviewing cloud hosting companies, you will see “Unlimited” attached to almost every service. It is common to see things like Unlimited Domains, Unlimited Subdomains, Unlimited Email Accounts. As a consumer, it is important to know what unlimited really means.

The term technically means that you do not exceed typical use, a range based on the average cloud hosting user. While many companies claim that 99.5 percent of clients will not exceed the typical use limits, you will still receive a usage warning from the hosting provider, saying you will experience delays or slowed service if you store large amounts of data.

So, unlimited truly means that you are free to create as many email accounts or domains as the dedicated space associated with your account can manage.

Downtime Responsiveness

Every company on the lineup claims to provide service with 99 percent uptime. Technical problems can occur at anytime, though, and even a short amount of downtime on your site can cost you money or customers, if these are the main goals of your site.

When technical issues occur, there is very little you can do on your end, putting you at the mercy of your hosting provider. Choosing a company that offers reliable support can make all of the difference when these critical situations occur.