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When I first decided to build my blog website a long time ago, one of the major hosting features I cared about the most was performance. Thanks to my desire to give my blog readers the best user experience possible, the huge performance claim in many A2 Hosting reviews quickly caught my attention.
Now, after hosting with the vendor for several years, I’ve acquired enough experience to offer a reliable verdict on their hosting services. I understand that choosing the right hosting provider from a myriad of options can be quite difficult. This is why I’ve put A2 Hosting to a wholesome web hosting test.
In this A2 Hosting review, I’ll be assessing the provider based on the hosting features you care about the most:
- Pricing: How much would A2 Hosting WordPress plans set you back? Are you getting the best value for your money?
- Performance: Is the vendor reliable? Will your WordPress site visitors be getting top-notch user experience?
- Features: Do you get features such as domain registration, SSL certificate, and site transfer for free?
- Customer Support: Can A2 Hosting’s tech support come to your aid when you need them?
Now that you know what to expect in this A2 Hosting review, let’s cut to the chase.
WHAT IS A2 HOSTING?
A2 Hosting is a web hosting company founded by Bryan Muthig in 2001 under the original name of Iniquinet.
It was originally designed to handle a small number of clients. However, by 2003, the company had gained a lot more clients than anticipated.
The name was changed to A2 Hosting, named after Ann Arbor, Michigan, the town where it all began. The company continued to grow rapidly.
A General Overview of A2 Hosting
When it comes to WordPress hosting, most site owners may be familiar with the likes of Bluehost and SiteGround. However, A2 Hosting is a vendor that has also secured its place among the big boys over the past years. The web hosting provider has a specific focus on performance.
This is apparent in its brand tagline: “Our Speed, Your Success”.
Nonetheless, irrespective of your web hosting needs, you’ll easily find A2 Hosting a reliable and robust solution. The web host hardly lags behind in any department. If you’re looking for great server response times, top-notch security, and a ton of other web hosting features, then you’re in the right place.
A2 Hosting plans are also highly scalable. They offer value-packed shared, Virtual Private Server (VPS), reseller, cloud, and dedicated hosting.
You’ll find at least one of their plans an ideal match for your project, no matter the scale. Additionally, each of these plans is powered by servers with industry-leading features.
It’s not all rosy with A2 Hosting anyway. Though the provider promises a lot in the performance department (and they partially deliver with server speeds), they can do better when it comes to uptime. We’ll get to explore this in detail in the performance section.
In general, A2 Hosting poses as an all-in-one solution in the web hosting niche. And it’s really hard to disagree – the provider puts up an above-average performance in almost every area I tested it. If performance is your greatest priority, then, this is an outstanding option I’d readily recommend.
A2 Hosting Pros and Cons
- Speedy WordPress-optimized servers
- Unlimited SSD storage
- Free SSL certificate, automatic backups, and site migration
- Stress-free money-back guarantee
- Competitively priced hosting plans
- Uptime could be better
- Outdated control panel
With A2 Hosting, pricing is nothing out of the ordinary – competitive but not the cheapest. As a WordPress site owner, you can purchase their unmanaged WordPress hosting plans which start at $2.99/month on the Startup plan. However, for the best user experience, consider the more expensive managed WordPress plans starting at $11.99/month.
Managed vs Unmanaged WordPress Hosting
The major difference between A2 Hosting’s unmanaged and managed WordPress plans is that with unmanaged hosting, you’re solely responsible for maintaining your WordPress site. In other words, you’ll have to pay more to get features like site staging environments, a JetPack personal license, easy backups, etc.
Also, all managed WordPress plans include turbo-optimized servers, an advanced Plesk control panel, and high-priority support.
Here are the four available unmanaged (shared) WordPress plans and the server resources on offer:
- Startup ($2.99): 1 website and 100GB SSD storage.
- Drive ($4.99): Unlimited websites, unlimited SSD storage, and free automatic backups.
- Turbo Boost ($9.99): Unlimited websites, unlimited NVMe (turbo) storage, and free automatic backups.
- Turbo Max ($14.99): Unlimited websites, unlimited NVMe (turbo) storage, free automatic backups, and other features.
With each of these plans, you enjoy a free SSL certificate, unlimited email accounts, free CDN, and free site transfer. However, only the two top-tier unmanaged WordPress plans deliver turbo speeds – thanks to the new industry-leading NVMe storage!
The three managed WordPress hosting plans, on the other hand, are a little conservative with their server resources.
Here’s basically what you get:
- 1-Site ($11.99): 1 website and 10GB NVMe (turbo) storage.
- 3-Sites ($18.99): 3 websites and 25GB NVMe (turbo) storage.
- Unlimited ($18.99): unlimited websites and 40GB NVMe (turbo) storage.
You must bear in mind, though, that all the listed prices in this A2 Hosting review are only available on a 2-year subscription. For example, the cheapest Startup plan costs $8.99/month when you’re billed monthly.
Interestingly, on all hosting plans, you can demand a refund for your unused resources anytime! However, if you want a full refund, you’ll need to request a refund within the first 30 days of your subscription.
Other Web Hosting Plans
If WordPress is not your cup of tea, A2 Hosting also have something for you. There are VPS, reseller, and dedicated hosting plans you can choose from. Here’s the type of pricing you can expect:
- Unmanaged VPS: from $5.00/month to $15.00/month
- Core/Managed VPS: from $25.00/month to $99.99/month
- Reseller: from $13.19/month to $61.99/month
- Unmanaged Dedicated: from $99.59/month to $299.99/month
- Core/Managed Dedicated: from $141.09/month to $349.99/month
Whichever A2 Hosting plan you opt for, you can rest assured that you’re getting a bang for your buck. This is especially true if you’re taking advantage of the discounts on the long-term subscription plans.
Now to the feature A2 Hosting boasts so much about!
One thing is sure – A2 Hosting pays very close attention to performance!
The server speeds I recorded in my time of testing are a clear proof of this! I decided to test the server response times over three months. And for shared hosting, the results are some of the best I’ve tested.
Coming to this A2 Hosting review, you’re probably most concerned about the “20X faster” claim. The truth is I never expected that claim to check out. You can be sure though that when compared with the competitors in the same category, A2 Hosting can sometimes deliver turbo server speeds as much as six times faster.
After testing their server over three months, here are the results I recorded:
An average response time of 443ms is definitely quite remarkable. You can expect top-notch performance with any figure below 450ms. At its worst, the server response times also maxed out at 689ms.
Unfortunately, the uptime recorded didn’t give off as much confidence. There were 12 outages summing up to downtime of 42 minutes in about three months.
Just to clear the air, A2 Hosting clearly delivers on their 99.9% uptime commitment. However, with the competition (hosts like BlueHost and DreamHost) delivering 100% uptime steadily, A2 Hosting could definitely step up. Otherwise, it will be hard to crown them the performance king they pose to be.
Furthermore, I took an A2 Hosting test site on a page speed test to see how it performs in real-time.
The PageSpeed score of 97% was simply phenomenal. In general, there’s hardly anything to complain about here. The server speeds are some of the best across the board. Though the uptime could be better, you can still expect decent stability.
When it comes to features, A2 Hosting packs some of the most robust offerings I’ve come across with any web hosting provider. If you’re a WordPress site owner, the vendor will get you set up in virtually no time. On the other hand, if you’re more of an expert, their ‘developer friendly hosting’ also supports tons of development frameworks and programming languages.
WordPress – A2 Optimized
Just like the majority of web hosts out there, A2 Hosting targets the WordPress development audience. And they do this rather efficiently. They let you set up your cPanel with WordPress pre-installed. You can use the Softaculous App Installer to install a variety of other useful apps such as WooCommerce, Elementor, and the likes.
You can set up your WordPress during the checkout process. Once you choose your domain, all you need to do is fill in your personal information and click Install. This seamless approach to WordPress installation will definitely save you a lot of time and nerve.
It’s really hard to recommend a hosting provider if the process of installing a CMS is long and arduous. In this review, A2 Hosting clearly wins major points here. It’s not a rare feature among web hosts, but it’s always good to have one-click WordPress installation. With this, even newbies won’t have any problem getting around.
With the A2 Optimized for WordPress plugin, you can expect top-notch performance from your web pages. The plugin uses custom settings and other third-party functionalities to get the best of your WordPress site in terms of speed and security. The Softaculous App Installer also makes it very easy to set up.
In the same way, you can set up your professional email, add a domain name, and carry out other operations right within your control panel. Though the interface is rather outdated, you won’t have much problem navigating your way around.
A2Hosting Security Features
Another area where A2Hosting excels is security. The vendor packs a lot of features that help you keep a tight ship. Talk about SSL certificates, firewall and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection, and two-factor authentication? A2 Hosting packs them all.
Fortunately, these features are also available for free. The free SSL certificate on their hosting plans is powered by Let’s Encrypt. I think the level of security offered will be sufficient for the majority of websites. If you have a large-scale project requiring more, you can choose from other paid options.
DDoS protection is also included by default. So, your site will always be protected from some of the most popular types of cyberattacks. Combined with the fully integrated CloudFlare Content Delivery Network (CDN), your site visitors will always enjoy top-notch security and speed.
Other interesting security features include 24/7 HackScan protection, dual firewall, Patchman software, etc. No doubt, A2 Hosting packs a bunch and can be fully trusted in the security department.
Backup Feature of A2Hosting
However, some of the ground gained in the security department of this A2 Hosting review seems to be lost in terms of backup. Though the provider offers free automatic backups, their backup policy simply doesn’t cut it for me:
In my opinion, the terms are stated pretty loosely. If the web host doesn’t guarantee that all my files will be backed up, what is the point then? Nonetheless, the majority of site owners will find their 50GB backup limit sufficient. Otherwise, I’d recommend that you download your cPanel backups and store them locally. After all, the web host seems to suggest the same.
With such extensive security features, A2 Hosting seems to target the top rung of enterprises. I feel that they could hit the target even better if they improved on their automated backup policy.
Other Interesting A2Hosting Features
Their “20X faster” claim may be a stretch, but A2 Hosting sure offers many features that aim to make your site blazing fast. Probably the most important is the incorporation of SSD storage disks on all their servers. SSD is clearly a better performer than the old-school HDD in terms of server speeds and energy consumption.
Things get even better with the newer NVMe discs which are used on all the managed WordPress plans. This technology offers a lot of advantages and is yet to be adopted by most hosting providers. This is why A2 Hosting emphasizes turbo server speeds in their marketing copy.
Developers also have a lot of features to play with here. The provider supports almost every major Content Management System (CMS) and development framework or programming language out there.
So, if you want to use Drupal, PHP, Python, or Ruby on Rails on your next project, they make the process easy, even for newbies. If you’ve ever tried to install frameworks or dependencies on your site manually, then you’ll definitely appreciate this feature.
All in all, there are tons of features on offer with this web host. It is always a breath of fresh air to see a provider that supports such a variety of development technologies and provides a lot of security features for free.
If you want to contact support, there are four ways you can go about it. You can either use the live chat, phone support, email ticketing system, or consult the knowledge base. From my experience, the knowledge base is always a good place to start.
I’ve always found the knowledge base very useful. You can easily search or navigate it using the different categories. They also have a blog with lots of articles you’ll find helpful.
However, if you really need to speak to tech support personnel, you may not get the best experience. Though the live chat and phone support are available 24/7, the responses aren’t necessarily speedy (at least in my experience). But when you finally get a hold of a support agent, they are always very polite and knowledgeable.
If A2 Hosting could optimize their support speed, then I’d probably praise them more in this department. For now, I can only recommend the extensive collection of articles in the knowledge base.
MORE ABOUT THE STAFF
All A2H staff speaks fluent English. This means you don’t have to explain complicated problems five times because the support person has no idea what you’re talking about. Support staff are never outsourced at A2H.
Many competitors believe they’re saving money by outsourcing their support services to overseas, cheaper centers.
The support staff is regarded as friendly and helpful, regardless of how easy or hard your request may be.
To round off this review, A2 Hosting is definitely a web host I place high up there with the likes of BlueHost and SiteGround. They offer arguably the best server speeds in the market and do so at a competitive rate. However, performance is not their only strength.
The vendor includes a generous offering of security features and software solutions on all their hosting plans. For the features on offer, you’re probably getting one of the best bargains possible, especially if you subscribe to their long-term plans. Nevertheless, even the monthly pricing is still very competitive.
On the downside, uptime can be better. Though they keep to their uptime guarantee, many users may find the significant downtimes rather problematic.
Overall, A2 Hosting remains a robust feature-packed web hosting solution for beginners and experts alike. Irrespective of the scale of your project, at least one of the options from the variety of scalable plans will come in handy.
MORE ABOUT THE A2HOSTING
WHAT IS THE FUSS ABOUT A2 HOSTING?
A2 Hosting stakes its reputation on “high powered hosting” making speed and reliability their top priority. A2 calls its SSDs “Turbo Servers” that can load pages up to 20 times faster than a typical non-SSD server.
Top speed isn’t limited to their high-end clients, either. Their shared hosting plans also feature Turbo Servers — even if you’re only paying a few bucks a month for your plan.
A2 Hosting has won plenty of top hosting awards and consistently ranks high on best hosting lists. They promise 99.9% uptime on all their servers. But if you do have a problem, their “Guru Crew” support team is available around the clock.
GREEN ENERGY – GREEN HOSTING
It’s worth noting that A2
Hosting is committed to green energy practices. They’ve partnered with Carbonfund to offset and reduce their carbon footprint with the FutureServe program. A2 has been 100% carbon neutral since 2007.
Whether you’re a newbie creating your first blog or an advanced developer looking to mine bitcoins with your own OpenStack cloud, A2 Hosting is worth adding to your consideration list.
If your website goes down for any reason, it can cost you a great deal in terms of revenue and potential new clients.
A2 Hosting provides a 99.9% uptime guarantee and the technical experts work tirelessly to ensure your online business remains live at all times.
A2 Hosting uses the most advanced data centers and industry best practices to make sure your site has all the latest security patches.
Try A2 Hosting for yourself. If you decide that, for whatever reason, A2 Hosting isn’t ideal for your needs, you’ll receive a full refund within 30 days or a pro-rata refund on the unused services if you cancel after 30 days.
EXTRA FEATURES FROM A2 HOSTING
You receive some interesting freebies which are worth noting. These are:
- A free Website magazine subscription
- $50 Bing/Yahoo Ad Credits,
- Your site listed in Google in 24 hours with Attracta
Additionally, you get a free iContact email marketing trial. You get discounts on WordPress themes from TeslaThemes.
A2 Hosting offers plenty of diversity in the types of plans and the various inclusions available. Plans can be used for a huge variety of purposes and you can manage your own site or have the A2H gurus do it for you. It’s already optimized for WordPress users when you open your account.
While you may pay a bit more for hosting and the additional benefits and features, you’re getting high quality, premium hosting that has 99.9% uptime and genuine 24/7/365 support from people on the phone if you have problems of any sort.
FAQS: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON A2 HOSTING
Who owns A2 Hosting?
A2 Hosting is a privately held company and its headquarters is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the United States. A2H was founded by Bryan Muthig in 2003 and he is also their current CEO.
What are A2 Hosting name servers?
If you already have a domain with a different registrar you must change the name server (DNS) settings for the domain to point to A2 Hosting. At your domain registrar use ns1.a2hosting.com, ns2.a2hosting.com, ns3.a2hosting.com, and ns4.a2hosting.com.
What kind of support do I get?
A2 Hosting offers 24/7/365 support via phone, email and live chat. They keep their 24/7 promise. If you ring them at 4 am in the morning someone will actually answer the phone (you may be asked to leave a message if they’re inundated with calls but you will get a call back as quickly as possible). What languages does A2 Hosting support speak? All of A2 Hosting support staff speak fluent English.
Where are A2 Hosting servers located?
A2 Hosting owns all of its web servers and monitors them 24/7/365. Their primary data center is located in Michigan (United States), with additional data centers in Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Singapore.
What are the best A2 Hosting alternatives?
A2H offers high powered hosting solutions that won’t disappoint you. The best A2 Hosting alternatives are; SiteGround, Bluehost, InMotion Hosting, Arvixe, and GreenGeeks.
What is A2 Hosting cheapest hosting plan?
A2 Hosting cheapest shared hosting plan is 3.92. A2 Hosting offers a 30-day money guarantee. If A2H isn’t ideal for your needs, you’ll receive a full refund within 30 days or a pro-rata refund on the unused services if you cancel after 30 days.
What extras do I get with A2 Hosting?
When buying hosting with A2 Hosting you get a free Website Magazine subscription. You also get $50 Bing/Yahoo Ad Credits. Plus you get your site listed in Google in 24 hours with Attracta, and you get a free iContact email marketing trial. Last but not least you get discounts on purchasing WordPress themes from TeslaThemes.
Can I install WordPress?
A2 Hosting gives you the option of either having WordPress auto-installed and configured with your order. Once you have purchased your hosting account, you’ll receive an email with the login information. The other option is to use Softaculous 1-click WordPress installer that comes with your cPanel control panel.
Will A2 Hosting help me migrate my website?
A2 Hosting offers free site migration. If you use cPanel with your current host, they will migrate your site for you, for free. If your current site is not on cPanel you should contact their support team for website transfer assistance.