A2 Hosting Review – is it faster than Bluehost, Siteground?

A2 Hosting Review - is it  faster than Bluehost, Siteground?

A2 Hosting Review

a2hosting-logo

You’ve probably never heard of A2 hosting. Neither have I initially.

That’s a shame.

Because while they’re not as ‘internet famous’ as BlueHost or HostGator, they claim to boast speeds of up to 20X faster.

They’ve also been around since 2001, formerly known as Iniquinet (yes – good call on the rebrand). And have data centers around the world in the US (Michigan), Europe (Amsterdam) and Asia (Singapore).

In addition, they make claims of ‘99.9% uptime’ and ‘guru support’. (OK, now it’s just sounding too good to be true.)

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)?

To test for ourselves and provide an unbiased a2 hosting review, we bought their cheapest “Shared Plan” back in 2015 and set up a basic WordPress website.

Keep reading to discover the results.

PROS of using A2 Hosting:

A2 hosting says their uptime, speeds and customer support are great. But just how great are they?

Well, pretty great, it turns out.

Here’s why.

 

1. Second Best Uptime of 99.99% (last 12 months)

‘Uptime’ is critical because the opposite – downtime – can cost you $7,900 per minute (depending on how valuable the site is).

However, when someone tells you that they have 100% uptime – don’t 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. (HostGator cloud is an exception, though).

Over a 12-month period, A2 hosting came out came out with an uptime of 99.99% – well over the industry standard of 99.90%.

a2-hosting-web-load impact

2. 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: extremely well (basically INSTANT).

Their page loading times came in with an average of 234ms over a period of TWELVE months – the highest of every web host we have reviewed.

Best of all, their page load speed was also consistent and stable:

a2-hosting-speed

But how do they do it?

A2 hosting is taking extra precautions to limit the amount of people on ‘shared’ hosting servers and implementing additional functionality like caching which stores information in people’s browsers (thereby limiting the amount of times they have to go back and request information from your website over and over and over again).

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).

4. Free ‘HackScan’ Keeps Your Site Safe

A2 provides a few helpful, preventative measures to keeping 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.). And some other web hosts, {cough} BlueHost {cough}, charge you big bucks for this privilege.

 

6. 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.

 

7. 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 and other migration fees are not refundable (which is pretty common with other companies as well).

 

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 nickle-and-dime you for things like migrations.

However, nobody’s perfect. Here are a few of A2’s flaws.

 

1. More 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 (coming in around the middle of the pack).

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).

A2 Hosting wordpress hosting packages

2. Restrictions on Cheaper Plans

If you want the flashy features, you gotta pony up some more dough.

A2’s excellent options, like the ‘Turbo Boost’ that ensures incredibly fast site loading times, is only available on more premium (read: expensive) plans. This is also the case for the number of websites (1, as opposed to unlimited) or databases (5, as opposed to unlimited) you get as well.

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.

 

Overview on A2 Hosting shared plans & quick facts

Shared Hosting: They have three main shared hosting plans:

  • Lite plan: This plan starts from $3.92 per month. It supports 1 domain name, 5 subdomains, 5 databases and 25 email accounts.
  • Swift plan: This plan starts from $4.90 per month. It supports unlimited domain names, databases and email accounts.
  • Turbo plan: This plan starts from $9.31 per month. It supports unlimited domain names, databases and email accounts. It also comes with HTTP/2 and SPDY support for improved website speed.
  • 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 CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): Option to install WordPress and other popular CMSs available on checkout page.

 

Do We Recommend A2 Hosting?

Yes. Undoubtedly.

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. 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 host for the past 8 months.

If you’ve used A2 Hosting, please tell us about it below! Good or bad – doesn’t really matter as we’re trying to keep our hosting reviews transparent and honest.

 

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Call Now Button