In-Depth A2 Hosting Review: An Affordable, High Speed Web Hosting Solution
What was the last slow-loading website you visited? How would you describe the experience? I know, cringe-worthy, right? Now, imagine if you experience the same thing with your website. The feeling of frustration isn’t something you and your visitors should have.
The speed and performance of your website greatly impacts your SEO rankings, bounce rate, and visitor satisfaction. And if your visitors aren’t happy, it will most definitely affect your conversion rate! Given this fact, you need to look for a fast and reliable web hosting provider. That’s where A2 Hosting comes into play.
A2 Hosting may be a hosting company that flies under the radar for many (which strikes me as odd), but they actually have quite a lot of impressive plans and features to offer, at very competitive prices. I bet you’ve never even heard of these guys before, right? They’re an underrated bunch that actually deserves more – and better – recognition. But the question remains: Should you consider hosting with A2 Hosting or just move on and go for a more popular option?
Read on as we share with you an in-depth, unbiased A2 Hosting review and find out whether or not their high speed web hosting solution does the cut for you.
Why Choose A2 Hosting?
A2 Hosting has been in the web hosting industry since 2001, although it was originally known as Iniquinet. It was later in 2003 when they changed their name to A2 Hosting. The name of the company may have changed, but they still offer the same amazing hosting solutions and features.
A2 Hosting is known for providing lightning-fast speed, top-notch uptime, and premium customer service. In fact, despite being an underrated web host, they offer some of the best hosting solutions around. They manage to achieve these by being a privately owned company that owns all of its web servers. The company is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan (which explains the ‘A2’); with data centers located within Michigan, as well as in Amsterdam and Singapore.
For individuals and companies that love to be part of the “green initiative”, you’ll be more happy to know that A2 Hosting is one of the very few green hosting companies that contribute to the fight against global warming. Through their FutureServe Green Hosting initiative, A2 Hosting aims to protect Mother Earth for future generations. The company is a proud partner of CarbonFund.org, a powerful organization that aims to protect the environment and fight against climate change. For nearly a decade, A2 Hosting has supported the organization’s reforestation efforts and continued development of renewable energy. Apart from being 100% carbon neutral, A2 Hosting also carries out their own set of green policies such as their employee telecommuting practices, reuse of older hardware, and many more.
Reliable, affordable, and eco-friendly to boot. What more could you ask for from a web hosting provider? If you’re looking for more web hosting options that are similar to A2 Hosting, consider checking out iPage and eHost, as well.
A2 Hosting Plans
A2 Hosting is proud to offer a variety of web hosting packages to suit any budget and purpose. They’re known for their powerful and user-friendly hosting services, and their Turbo Servers promise up to 20 times faster page loads compared to your standard, run-of-the-mill hosting. The company’s goal is to be able to maintain a good reputation of being a web host that the staff want to use themselves. At the time of writing, they offer four main categories: Shared web hosting, reseller hosting, Virtual Private (VPS) hosting, and dedicated server hosting. They even offer managed WordPress hosting that’s tailored for web developers who love the said platform.
Now, let’s check out the different hosting plans that you can get if you choose to host your site with A2 Hosting. Let’s take a closer look at each of them, starting with the shared web hosting plans.
Shared Web Hosting
Who likes slow-loading websites? Nobody, right? If your site is slow, your visitors will end up finding a different site to buy from or get the info they need. If you’re looking to build a simple website for your brand or business, then you can’t go wrong with A2 Hosting’s shared hosting packages. They offer 3 different plans, namely Lite, Swift, and Turbo. Like most web hosting companies out there, they focus on providing unlimited options with their shared hosting plans.
At the time of this review, A2 Hosting is offering a limited-time discount on all their shared hosting plans, so the monthly price for the plans range from $3.92 to $9.31. Simply use the code FLEET51 and you can avail their special discount. Each plan comes with unlimited disk space and bandwidth, including free SSD. The Swift and Turbo plans also come with unlimited websites and databases.
Regardless of the plan you choose, you can easily integrate your account with popular open source applications like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. You can also add basic shopping cart applications which will come in handy for those who are planning to build an eCommerce site. But what really makes A2 Hosting’s plans unique is that your site will be hosted on their exclusive SwiftServer platform. Their high-powered, super-reliable hosting makes them faster than the competition; ultimately helping you succeed online. And if you choose the high-tier Turbo plan, you can take advantage of the exclusive A2 Optimized Site Accelerator which promises you faster page load speeds compared to competing hosts.
Also, take note that A2 Hosting offers CloudLinux-only plans, which means that if you want your site to support ASP.NET, MS SQL, or any other Windows-specific frameworks for building an application, A2 Hosting may not be the best option for you. Therefore, you need to look for a different web host that offers Windows hosting. iPage is a fine example of a web hosting provider that offers reliable Windows hosting solutions, at budget-friendly prices.
Don’t know which shared hosting plan to choose? Let the comparison chart below help you out:
|Solid State Drive (SSD) Speed Boost||FREE||FREE||FREE|
|Turbo Server (20x faster page loads)|
|A2 Optimized Site Accelerator|
|Cores||1 x 2.1 GHz||2 x 2.1 GHz||2 x 2.1 GHz|
|Physical Memory||.5 GB||1 GB||2 GB|
|Virtual Memory||4 GB||8 GB||8 GB|
|CloudFlare PLUS (faster mobile speed, SSL, and more)|
|Server Rewind Backups|
|Patchman Enhanced Security Tool||FREE||FREE||FREE|
|cPanel Control Panel|
|1-Click Setup with Popular Applications|
|SSL Certificates Available|
Shared web hosting is perfect for those who have modest hosting needs such as small businesses, bloggers, and hobbyists. If you’re new to web hosting, A2 Hosting is also an ideal learning environment to get your “feet wet”, with minimal investment. It’s also a good starting point if you’re planning to launch a brand-new site or project and are not sure how much space/traffic it will need. This web host won’t even charge you for upgrade fees so if you outgrow a shared environment, you can easily scale up to a VPS or dedicated server. A2 Hosting will gladly assist you if you discover you need more server resources than what’s found with your shared hosting account.
Take note, however, that all shared hosting plans do not include root access. If you need this particular feature for administrative level access, you will have to upgrade to their VPS hosting plan, which is what we’re going to talk about next.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
You’ll do just fine with shared web hosting if you’re running a small website with fewer pages and page views. However, if you’re looking to build a larger site and are expecting it to have hundreds of pages and thousands (even millions) of page views, you definitely need to scale up and get the features you need from a dedicated server. On the other hand, VPS hosting is perfect for medium-sized websites that need a decent amount of traffic. No matter what your requirements, A2 Hosting definitely has a hosting solution for you with their fast, reliable, and affordable VPS hosting plans.
The great thing about VPS hosting is its virtualization capabilities. With a VPS plan, a site owner has a more isolated hosting environment free of disruptions from other clients sharing the same server space (as in the case of shared web hosting).
A2 Hosting offers 3 VPS management level options: Unmanaged VPS, Managed VPS, and Core VPS. The regular price for these plans ranges from $5 a month to $49.99 a month. Right now, however, A2 Hosting is offering a discount on their Managed VPS and Core VPS hosting plans. By using the code MANVPS, you can get either plans for as low as $32.99 per month. That’s about 35% off from the regular price, so hurry and get an account with A2 Hosting today!
Managed VPS is a good choice if you choose to upgrade from a shared hosting plan. It offers the same ease of use of a shared web hosting account, but with the power of a VPS. Unmanaged VPS is ideal for experienced developers who can easily work with a command line. On the other hand, the high-tier Core VPS plan combines all the features and services that come with the Managed VPS plan, but with the addition of full root access for complete control. Compare these three plans with the help of the comparison chart below:
|UNMANAGED VPS||MANAGED VPS||CORE VPS|
|Monthly Pricing||$5||$32.99 (from $49.99)||$32.99 (from $49.99)|
|Ideal For||Experienced developers||More support and power than shared hosting||Managed VPS with root access|
|Disk Space||From 20 GB||From 75 GB||From 75 GB|
|Bandwidth||From 2 TB||From 2 TB||From 2 TB|
|RAM (Memory)||From 512 MB||From 4 GB||From 4 GB|
|Choice of Linux OS|
|Full HostGuard Management|
Take note that each of these plans are multi-tiered, which means that once you pick a plan, you’ll still have to pick a specific hosting management level, which are as follows:
Managed VPS / Core VPS:
A2 Hosting’s VPS hosting packages can be customized to fit the client’s needs and preferences. They also include a choice of Linux OS, as well as A2 Hosting’s very own QuickInstaller, a handy tool that installs popular scripts and applications with a single click. As you’d expect, the Managed VPS plans can be a bit expensive as it includes management of hardware, software, network, and security. If you don’t mind paying for it, the added features that come with a VPS plan will give you more peace of mind knowing that your website is in good hands and will not be affected by others in a shared hosting environment.
Cloud VPS Hosting
“Cloud” has become a buzzword, there’s probably never a day that you won’t hear or read about it when you watch TV, tune in to the radio, or go online. But while it’s become popular, it seemed to have lost its true meaning. Well, A2 Hosting is here to put the meaning back into Cloud.
A2 Hosting is proud to offer a high-powered, developer-friendly, and scalable Cloud hosting solution that’s not just reliable but affordable, as well. A2 Hosting makes it easy for you to set up a hosting account. And compared to other hosting providers where you have to go through confusing price guides and instructions, this web host provides a handy configurator tool so you can easily choose the resources you need to set up a Cloud hosting account. That’s right, it only takes a few minutes to choose your preferred RAM, cores, CPU speed, storage, and even the OS template! Simply tailor your own perfect Cloud VPS hosting account and resize it as resource needs fluctuate. You even have the option to turn your Cloud VPS on or off. Whatever your choice, you’ll only pay for the resources you use. Pretty awesome, right?
A2 Hosting lets you choose from three different Cloud VPS Hosting plans: Start, Median, and Ace. The price for these plans starts at $15 per month, and will vary depending on the resources you choose for your hosting account. Here’s a comparison chart to help you out:
|Monthly Pricing||Starts at $15||Starts at $20||Starts at $25|
|RAM||512 MB||1 GB||1 GB|
|RAID-1 Storage||10 GB HDD||10 GB HDD||25 GB HDD|
|Outbound Transfer||2 TB FREE; $0.12/Outbound Data||2 TB FREE; $0.12/Outbound Data||2 TB FREE; $0.12/Outbound Data|
|CPU Speed||600 MHz||600 MHz||600 MHz|
|Choice of Linux OS|
|Available SSD Speed Boost (up to 300% faster page loads)|
|Pay Only for What You Use|
|Dedicated IP Address||1||1||1|
|cPanel License (1 GB RAM minimum required)||Available||Available||Available|
Once you choose A2 Hosting’s Cloud plan, you’ll immediately see how they do things differently compare to other hosting providers. For example, with their high-performance SwiftServer Platform in tow, you can experience blazing fast SSDs up to 300% faster than regular drives. A2 Hosting understands how page load speeds greatly affect your website, from your conversion rate to your bounce rate to your SEO rankings. So don’t just settle for merely a “popular” Cloud hosting provider; pick A2 Hosting and experience what it’s like to use one of the best Cloud VPS hosting around.
Planning to launch your very own web hosting company? No problem. A2 Hosting offers reseller web hosting accounts that come with extensive hosting resources which can easily be divided into several smaller hosting accounts. It’s the perfect solution for those who want to offer web services to their clients for a profit.
With A2 Hosting, your reseller hosting account is completely white-labeled so you can easily promote your services to your own clients. This includes their server rewind backups, speed boosting SSDs, CloudFlare CDN, and more. Just imagine how these can help you attract more customers and boost your sales!
Not planning to provide services to various clients? That won’t be a problem either, because A2 Hosting’s reseller hosting accounts is also designed for personal use. Having separate cPanel accounts for each of the sites you’re managing is easy. So whether you’re running a business or launching a personal project, reseller hosting can be your ultimate solution.
A2 Hosting offers four different reseller hosting plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Right now, they’re offering special promotional prices for each of their reseller hosting plans – up to 40% off from the regular price. So if I were you, I’d take advantage of this limited-time discount ASAP.
Below is a comparison chart for the four different reseller hosting packages:
|Disk Space||30 GB||75 GB||150 GB||200 GB|
|Bandwidth||400 GB||600 GB||1000 GB||2000 GB|
|eNom Reseller Account||FREE||FREE||FREE||FREE|
|Dedicated IP Address||FREE||FREE||FREE||FREE|
|WHMCS Client Management, Billing, and Support||Available||FREE||FREE||FREE|
|SSD Speed Boost||FREE||FREE||FREE||FREE|
|12 Core Server Minimum|
|Cores per cPanel User||2||2||2||2|
|Server Location Options (USA, Europe, or Singapore)|
|Server Rewind Backups|
A2 Hosting understands how important uptime and performance is to you and your clients, which is why they provide the Turbo Servers option so your clients’ websites have up to 20x faster page loads compared to the competition. If you’re looking for other web hosts that offer similar features at the same budget-friendly prices, consider checking out iPage and eHost.
Dedicated Server Hosting
Is your business growing at a fast pace? Expecting huge amounts of traffic to your site? Maybe it’s time to upgrade to a more powerful, more feature-rich dedicated server hosting account.
A2 Hosting has three management levels for high-performance dedicated hosting: Unmanaged Flex, Managed Flex, and Core Flex. These plans are designed to meet the needs of two different users. The Unmanaged Flex plan is perfect for developers or system administrators who are comfortable developing command line. On the other hand, the fully managed, completely worry-free Managed Flex plan gives you access to an easy-to-use cPanel control panel. In need of a managed server with root access? Then, the Core Flex plan is the one for you.
Just like A2 Hosting’s VPS plans, you will also have to choose one of the three different tiers that come with each management level, which are as follows:
Unmanaged Flex Server
Managed Flex Server
Core Flex Server
Refer to the comparison chart below to see which one suits your needs best:
|UNMANAGED FLEX SERVER||MANAGED FLEX SERVER||CORE FLEX SERVER|
|Fully customizable; ideal for developers||Fully managed||Fully managed with root access|
|Monthly Pricing||Starting at $99.59||Starting at $141.09||Starting at $141.09|
|Choice of Linux OS|
|Disk Space||From 2×500 GB||From 2×500 GB||From 2×500 GB|
|Bandwidth||From 10 TB||From 10 TB||From 10 TB|
|RAM (Memory)||8 GB||8 GB||8 GB|
We all know that businesses and websites come in all shapes and sizes, which is why A2 Hosting offers a one-size-fits-all server hosting option that you can customize to fit your needs. Whether you want more RAM, storage or configuration, this web host has got you covered. And with their Flex Server Deployment, you even have access to your server in 30 minutes or less. Naturally, you’ll have to spend more for a dedicated server but with A2 Hosting, it’ll be well worth the investment!
If you’ve had previous experience managing a website, chances are you’re already familiar with the cPanel control panel. It’s probably the most popular and most used control panel right now, and is considered the industry-standard. It’s a feature-rich, web-based control panel that allows you to manage your website through an extremely user-friendly interface that both beginners and professionals will surely love. It lets you manage all aspects of your website such as emails, files, FTP, backups, CGI scripts, site statistics, and even billing and support – all in one location.
The good news is that, instead of offering their own custom-designed control panel, A2 Hosting chose to provide cPanel for all hosting plans. Those who choose a shared web hosting plan will have access to the standard cPanel 11, while potential resellers will get the standard combination of cPanel and WHM. Users who have a managed VPS or dedicated server hosting account will get cPanel for free. Unmanaged servers, on the other hand, don’t come with any software installed, as one would expect.
Uptime and Performance
Reliability is an important factor when it comes to choosing a web host. After all, if your site is down for long periods of time, your visitors can’t access the information they need or purchase products from you. Downtime means lost opportunity and revenue. A2 Hosting understands this perfectly.
Like most reliable web hosts, A2 Hosting offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and is even very transparent about its past performance. No matter what hosting plan you choose, it comes with its own uptime figure that’s updated in real time on a stats page. Figures cover the last 30 days, and each server uptime is published individually. Not all web hosting providers can be this transparent about their uptime performance, right?
A2 Hosting’s team of expert system admins will keep your server running at peak performance. The company uses industry best practices, top-notch data centers, and ensures that your server is equipped with the latest security patches. In some cases, servers and related hardware need to be brought down, but only for upgrades and regular maintenance. This ensures that the network is secure, up-to-date, and performing at its best. A2 Hosting does it best to keep these incidents to a minimum, and will usually notify clients ahead of the scheduled maintenance. These scheduled outages do not qualify for the uptime guarantee.
Take note that the uptime guarantee is only applicable for any unscheduled downtime that’s more than 0.1% of the total time per month. A2 Hosting provides a service credit equivalent to 5% of the paid monthly fee, for every hour that your site is down due to an internal network or equipment failure. The downtime must first be confirmed by the support team. The maximum service credit given will be for the total amount paid for the month of outage, not including the paid fees for extra services. Simply request a credit by submitting a ticket here.This web host claims to have privately owned servers and only their own technical team have access to them. They have data centers located in Michigan, Amsterdam, and Singapore; each boasting a redundant network, uninterrupted power, diesel generators, AC units, and SSAE16 certified security that includes a gated parking lot, surveillance cameras, and key-operated entry to the data centers and servers.
Anytime Money-Back Guarantee
A2 Hosting is one of the very few web hosts that offer an amazing Anytime Money-Back Guarantee. So if you want to try out their high-powered tools and features, you can do so without the risk! I doubt you’ll be cancelling anytime soon but if you do decide to switch to a different web host, A2 Hosting will give you a hassle-free refund. You’ll get a full refund if you wish to cancel without your first 30 days, or get a prorated refund any time after the first 30 days. It’s that simple.
Take note, however, that clients who wish to get a refund on a prepaid account after the 30-day period will be re-billed at the regular price instead of the discounted price from using a special promo code. This means that only the difference between the prepaid amount and the re-billed standard price will be refunded. On the other hand, refund requests received after 120 days since the original payment transaction will be sent via PayPal. Take note as well that add-on services such as domain registrations, setup fees, and migrations fees are not included in the money-back guarantee. You can, however, get a refund for SSL certificates, but only within the first 7 days from the time of purchase.
Other web hosts that offer Anytime Money-Back Guarantee include iPage and BlueHost.
24/7/365 Customer Support – Prompt and Professional
If you ever need help or have a question that needs to be answered fast, you can rely on A2 Hosting’s round-the-clock, premium customer support. The company has a Guru Crew support staff that’s standing by to give you REAL support. They’ve carefully handpicked their team so it’s composed of the best, most knowledgeable, and most friendly technicians.
A2 Hosting’s technical support department is stationed in the US, with a team of developers who are available 24/7 and tend to work from home as part of the company’s green initiatives. There are various ways for you to get support, including via telephone, live chat, and email. The company also has a Twitter account, although this is mainly used for service updates. Customers who need assistance will be directed back to the ticketing system.
Pros and Cons
Here are the things you need to take into account before you open a hosting account with A2 Hosting:
- Green hosting
- Offers a variety of budget-friendly and flexible web hosting plans, including WordPress and eCommerce hosting
- Offers managed and unmanaged hosting plans, with a great variety of options
- Offers reseller hosting for hosting startups and developers/designers
- VPS and dedicated server hosting plans can be customized to suit the customer’s needs
- Lightning-fast web hosting optimized for faster page loads
- Ideal choice for advanced developers
- Uses cPanel control panel
- Does not charge upgrade fees
- Lets customers choose from various server locations (USA, Europe, or Asia)
- SSDs are included for free
- 9% uptime guarantee
- Offers Anytime Money-Back Guarantee
- Support is available 24/7 via phone, live chat, and email
- Some plans are more expensive than the competition
- Requires a special promo/coupon code before receiving the advertised discount price
- Not the best choice for beginners
- Offers only Linux hosting (no Windows hosting)
- Multi-tiered hosting plans can be confusing
Final Verdict – A Dark Horse in the Web Hosting Industry
A2 Hosting is a high-quality web hosting provider that offers reliable hosting solutions for individuals, businesses, and companies. It may not be as popular as other web hosts, but I found them to be one of the fastest and most powerful web hosts in the market – even outperforming some bigger, more popular choices. I love them for their speed and reliability, top-notch customer support, and the multitude of highly scalable hosting plans they offer. Developers should also look into their unmanaged servers, as they’re some of the best you can find in the market. This hosting company also helps you grow your business or brand online, all while becoming a part of the “green revolution”. The company finds it essential to help protect the environment not just on a local level, but on a global level as well. They continue to work hand-in-hand with CarbonFund.org to fully offset their servers’ carbon dioxide emissions.
The bottom line is that we highly recommend A2 Hosting as their hosting packages work perfectly for just about any purpose. Some of the prices may be more expensive than the competition but overall, paying for a higher price for premium hosting is well worth it with A2 Hosting. Truly, it’s a dark horse in the web hosting industry – one that deserves to be in the spotlight for its amazing hosting services. So again, if you’re looking for a high speed hosting solution, you can never go wrong with A2 Hosting!