You’ve might not have heard of A2 hosting. Neither did we initially.
Our bad. Due to not being ‘internet famous’ as BlueHost or HostGator, they claim to boast speeds of up to 20X faster. A2 Hosting has been around since 2001. When it first hit the scene, it was known as Iniquinet, but it was renamed A2 Hosting back in 2003. The name may have changed, but the services and features have remained the same. The company is still known for providing blazingly fast speed, superior uptime, and stellar customer service today. It manages to accomplish this by owning all of its own web servers. It has data centers in three locations, with the primary data center in Michigan and additional servers in Amsterdam and Singapore, Asia.
So what’s the verdict?
A blazing fast host with amazing uptime and great support? Or another company who’s great with adjectives, but can’t back it up with performance (hint: iPage & Arvixe)?
Keep reading to discover the results.
Merits (+) of using A2 Hosting:
A2 hosting claims their uptime, speeds and customer support are great. But just how great are they? Well, pretty great, it turns out.
check out the reason why:
#1. Fastest Shared Hosting provider? Yep.
A2 earlier claimed speeds of up to 20x faster than competitors, remember? Anything close to that would be impressive. And lucrative. Some of the top online brands load in under a second because taking even 3 seconds to load can cause you to lose 50% your traffic. So… just how did they fare in our own tests? The short answer is perfectly well (basically INSTANT).
A2 hosting page loading times came in with an average of 361ms over a period of TWELVE months – the highest of every web host we have reviewed – and 191% faster than the industry average (1052ms).
Best of all, their page load speed was also consistent and stable. Regardless of the account that you use, you can integrate it with Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress. It’s also easy to integrate basic shopping cart applications to create a merchant web site using.
It offers three options for shared hosting, in the form of Lite, Swift, and Turbo. Like many of the hosting companies out there, it focuses on unlimited options with its shared plans. The plans range from $3.92 to $9.31 a month, and they all come with unlimited storage and transfer, plus free SSD. In addition, the Swift and Turbo plans include unlimited websites and databases.
While shared hosting is the most popular option, it’s far from your only choice
You can also go with Unmanaged or Managed VPS hosting with A2 Hosting. Unmanaged VPS hosting starts at $5 a month, while Managed VPS hosting starts at $32.99 a month. Choose the Managed VPS hosting option if you want a user-friendly platform and a worry-free Host-Guard Management system. Go with the Unmanaged VPS hosting option if you’re a developer and you want to have full control over your server.
A2 Hosting has three reseller hosting options available. The Produce plan starts at $13.19 a month; the Progress plan starts at $19.79 a month, and the Prosper plan starts at $36.29 a month. These plans range from 60 GB to 200 GB of storage a month and 600 GB to 2,000 GB transfer a month. They all include unlimited accounts and free SSD.
Dedicated Server Hosting
Finally, you can sign up for dedicated server hosting. Select the Unmanaged Flex Server plan or the Managed Flex Server plan. The Unmanaged plan starts at $99.59 a month, and the Managed plan starts at $141.09 a month. The Unmanaged plan is fully customizable and includes root access, while the Managed plan has a free cPanel control panel. Both provide 10 TB transfer and 8 GB of RAM.
#2. Stable and Reliable Uptime of 99.96% (last 12 months)
‘Uptime’ is critical, However, when someone tells you that they have 100% uptime – you must not believe the hype. While 100% can be achievable, it’s VERY rare. We’ve tested ~30+ hosting providers and none of them have managed to get an uptime of 100% over a period of 12 months.
Over the last 12-month period, A2 Hosting came out with an uptime of 99.96% – .17% better than the industry standard of 99.79%.
#3. Fast & efficient customer support, 10 out of 10
Great uptime and fast load times are nice.
But none of that matters if your experience – the help you do (or don’t) receive when issues pop up – comes out lackluster.
A2 follows their string of impressive performance with friendly, helpful, US-based support. They’re available 24/7/365 through email, chat, phone or ticket submission.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given their A+ rating with the BBB (which is impressive considering they’ve been doing this for 15+ years already).
We tried reaching out to their support to provide a fair, unbiased review and were connected instantly. Their support representative was also incredibly responsive, answering our queries within a minute.
#4. Free ‘HackScan’ Keeps Your Site Safe
A2 provides a few helpful, preventative measures to keep hackers out of your site with HackScan; a free service including dual web hosting firewall, virus scanning, 24/7 security monitoring and brute force defense.
Some hosts simply provide similar tools to use if you’re so inclined. But unless you know what you’re doing, they’re useless. A2 hosting goes above and beyond by providing this preventative service for you, providing that whole ‘peace of mind’ thing so you can just worry about running the site (and NOT constantly performing technical maintenance).
#5. Free Site Migrations (!)
A2 will move help you relocate from another hosting provider – gratis! – if your site currently uses cPanel (which most professional site’s do).
Moving the site yourself can be a huge hassle otherwise (if you’re not the most tech-savvy) or a time consuming, menial task (if you have a large site with many pages, images, etc.).
#6. 30 Day, Money Back Guarantee
A2 stands behind their product, offering a complete refund if you don’t like your experience for any reason (within 30 days).
Please note that domain registrations, setup fees, SSL certificate, and other migration fees are not refundable (which is pretty common with other companies as well).
#7. Compatible with Common Content Management Systems (CMS)
Installing popular content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, OpenCart, and Magento is a simple, ‘1-click’ setup. Pretty simple and painless. ‘Nuff said.
Some minor cons of using A2 Hosting:
Our affection for A2 hosting should be obvious by now. Great uptime, speed, and support go a long way in our books. Plus, they don’t nickel-and-dime you for things like migrations.
However, nobody’s perfect. Here are a few of A2’s flaws.
#1. Expensive than Average
The old adage, “You get what you pay for”, rings true here. All those fancy benefits come at a price.
A2 hosting tends to be more expensive than the average web host.
Like other web hosts, they also employ a common procedure of providing the lowest possible price if you sign up for a longer term. Traditionally their cheapest shared hosting plan advertised at $3.92 meant you needed to sign up for 24 months.
However, the great news is that currently, they’re providing a one-time discount code that will give you that low price for a short term as well (like 12 months).
#2. Restrictions on Cheapest Plan
If you want the flashy features, you gotta pony up some more dough.
For example, their Lite plan (the cheapest one) has restrictions on the number of websites (1, as opposed to unlimited) or databases (5, as opposed to unlimited) you get.
But it’s worth noting that in our experience, the cheapest plan is still much, much faster than most other web hosts. So you’re probably OK still.
- Ease of Signup: Three step sign up. Not too difficult.
- Payment Methods: Credit Card, PayPal, Check or Money Order, Bank Transfer, Skrill, and PayULatam.
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: Payments made by check are not refundable. But honestly, who pays by check anymore?! There’s also a $25 fee to move your account to another data center or to downgrade your hosting plan.
- Upsells: Very few upsells. Thank the Lord!
- Account Activation: Instant Activation.
- Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: cPanel.
- Installation of Apps and CMS (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): Option to install WordPress and other popular CMSs available on the checkout page.
Do We Recommend A2 Hosting?
Other web hosts might have the big, flashy advertising campaigns. Or the entire blogosphere singing their praises. But A2 hosting delivers where it matters most: performance.
Despite flying under the radar for all these years, they offer some of the best uptime and speed results we’ve seen. Their customer support is also friendly, attentive and couldn’t be recommended more highly.
Need a fast, reliable, and helpful web host for almost any type of website? Give A2 hosting a try. You shouldn’t be disappointed. After all, they’ve been one of our top web hosts for the past 8 months.
A2 Hosting server speeds (for real!)
There is a lot to like about A2 Hosting.
Fat server resources & Railgun Optimizer
The company kills when it comes to speed – the folks at A2 Hosting are heavily obsessed with hosting speed. The shared servers store everything in SSD, including your files, databases, and OS. The shared hosting plans come with 10 GB redundant networks, 64 GB of RAM, and a 12-core server. Plus, all of the shared plans include free CloudFlare CDN support. If you upgrade to a Turbo plan, you’ll also have access to the Railgun Optimizer for free. This tool loads HTML 140% faster. If you don’t want to upgrade, you can still get this tool, but you’ll have to pay a monthly fee.
Multi continent server locations
Along with all of this, all of the packages include multiple server locations Michigan – United States, Amsterdam – Netherland, and Singapore) – which helps a lot if most of your target audience is from a specific region.
As great as all of this is, it gets even better if you use WordPress. A2 Hosting offers exclusive WordPress hosting features, courtesy of A2 Optimized*. Pages load 6x faster, and sites have enhanced security. Your package will include automatic A2 Optimized updates so you don’t have to worry about getting the latest updates when you have access to this tool.
Our speed test results
While this all looks good on paper, you probably want to know how it actually performs in the real world. With that in mind, I performed a speed test on my test site using Bitcatcha (awesome tool – go check it out). The test site hosted on A2 Hosting is pinged from 8 different locations and then compared with 10 million other results (more about how the test works later).
As you can see below, the test site performed an A in the speed test – which is extremely impressive for a shared hosting that costs $3.92/month. If you compare other web hosts in the same price range, most of them will come in at a B or lower.
Author: CMSFolks Editorial Crew
Editorial Staff at CMSFolks is a team of Enthusiast WordPress experts led by Kunle Ajayi. The whole Website is maintained by Kunle Ajayi