A2 Hosting Review

A2 Hosting Review

A2 Hosting Reviews – The Fastest Hosting

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 blazing 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.

They are based in Ann Arbor Michigan but serve hosting markets globally. A2 Hosting positions themselves as a high-performance, speed-focused hosting company with excellent support.

The offer a full spectrum of hosting solutions ranging from shared Linux hosting (what most businesses need) all the way to cloud and dedicated server solutions for large, growing websites.

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 most 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.

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.

Score


9.1/10

Starting Price

$7.99/month

Pros

There are a lot of A2 Hosting reviews online – usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach.

Like I mention in all my hosting reviews, there is no such thing as a “best” web host. It’s all about the right fit for your project based on your goals, budget, experience & expertise. Here are the pros (advantages) for considering A2 Hosting:

  • ANYTIME Money Back Guarantee
  • 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 A2Hosting 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 the checkout page.
  • 24/7 Technical support
  • WordPress integration
  • 99.9% Uptime guarantee
  • Free solid state drives

Cons

  • No Windows hosting. Only Linux plans.
  • Mod_perl, Plexum, HTMLDoc, PDFLib, MSSQL or ColdFusion not supported.
  • They only have three data centers. If your target audience is located neither North America nor Europe, you would want to find and choose other nearer service provider.

Speed Test

Our speed test uses the website A2Hosting.com as the target and has been tested with the Bitcatcha server speed checker. Please note that A2 Hosting is offering different servers locations so it is possible that the current speed test could not reflect the exact speed for your location.

A2 Hosting has a total of 3 locations available: North America, Europe and Asia.

Location
Speed
US (West)US (East)LondonSingaporeSao PauloPuneSydneyJapan
78 ms13 ms212 ms485 ms157 ms526 ms446 ms413 ms

Average Load Time / Uptime

Uptime is possibly even more important than speed. After all, if your site isn’t up, it doesn’t matter how fast it is. I am really impressed by A2 Hosting’s uptime. The company has a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and it is able to honor that by having support staff on hand all day and all night. Besides one or two occasions where it went below 99.9%, my test site 30-day uptime scores were constantly above 99.95%. So I have been very pleased with the uptime.

Besides one or two occasions where it went below 99.9%, my test site 30-day uptime scores were constantly above 99.95%. So I have been very pleased with the uptime.

If your site goes down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. It’s in your best interest to find a reliable web host that can keep your site up and running. Otherwise, customers may go elsewhere—and they might never come back.

To evaluate reliability, I use a website-monitoring tool to track my test site’s uptime over a two-week period. Every 10 minutes, the tool pings my website and sends me an email if it is unable to contact the site for at least 1 minute.

The data reveal that A2 was incredibly stable during my testing. In fact, it didn’t go down once! As I’ve learned from my uptime tests, a website is usually down for at least a few brief periods over the course of a month. Based on my testing, you can count on A2 to be a rock-solid foundation for your website.

A2 Hosting was also one of the first to offer SSD hosting, and today, they remain one of only a handful of SSD hosts out there. Many hosting companies that attempt offering SSDs only include them on the file server and not the SQL server; therefore, web files can be uploaded, but performance suffers almost immediately.

A2 Hosting promises a 99.9% uptime guarantee. However, there can be instances like outages and problems beyond their control. They mentioned they are not responsible for instances like Distributed Denial of Services and issues with browser, caching and ISP.

Issues mentioned above are just oftentimes caused by lack of maintenance and upgrades. Before claiming an issue as a part of their shortcoming, professional staffs from A2 Hosting run routine maintenance and installation of upgrades first.

If issues are still present even after performing the said tasks, A2 Hosting will then take full responsibility and will try to work things out again, professionally responding to the promised guarantee.

Moreover, these issues still don’t beat the fact that A2 Hosting really is worth going through. What A2 Hosting lacks in some aspects, they make up with SwiftServer. SwiftServer is the latest advanced technology with the maximum level of specification that ensures indisputable a2 hosting performance.

Here are some of its features:

  • 20x Faster Turbo Server

This special feature from SwiftServer enables a high-speed performance in every user’s server. Driven with Turbo Drives, sites will load 20 times faster. Your great side will finally have a perfect and fast a2hosting match.

  • SwiftCache

The greatest goal of A2 Hosting is to provide the fastest hosting speed performance for all. Because of that, A2 Hosting has been frequently studying on how to make the fastest hosting solutions. Caching, on the other hand, is one of the features A2 Hosting discovered. It involves the use of Ram or any hard disk and works with Turbo Cache, producing a full speed web experience for all users.

  • Quadruple redundant Network

This feature from SwiftServer allows users to still stay connected even when several US A2 Hosting data center links go down.

Hosting Packages

First, though, take a minute to see the different hosting plans that you can get if you use A2 Hosting. Then, I’ll go over the specific features that I like with this company. If you go with A2 Hosting, you can choose from – shared, VPS, reseller, and dedicated server hosting.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these, starting with the shared hosting plans. If you’re just starting out and want to go with a basic shared plan, you can spend a few bucks and get started.

If you want to scale up, you can get a VPS. You can grow as much as you want without having to change hosting companies when you choose A2 Hosting as your hosting company.

Shared Hosting Package

I spent most of my time testing A2 Hosting’s shared hosting plans. 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.

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 website using.

A2 Hosting - SSD Hosting Package

VPS Hosting Package

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 - VPS Hosting Package

Reseller Hosting Package

A2 Hosting has three reseller hosting options available. The Bronze plan starts at $13.19 a month; the Silver plan starts at $18.47 a month, the Gold plan starts at $24.41 and the Platinum plan starts at $40.91 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.

A2 Hosting - Reseller Hosting Package

Dedicated Hosting Package

Finally, you can sign up for dedicated server hosting. Select the Sprint plan, Exceed Plan or the Mach plan. The Sprint plan starts at $141.09 a month; the Managed plan starts at $207.49 a month while the Mach plan starts at $290.49.

The Sprint 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.

A2 Hosting - Dedicated Hosting Package

Hosting Features

A2 Hosting is one of the most reliable fastest web hosting providers available. For more than a decade, this hosting company has primarily promised nothing else but giving people a high-speed performance, top-quality developer tools, reliable uptime, and customer satisfaction.

This company is known to be reputable for its ultimate speed performance. The single most important feature demanded by companies today is super-fast site loading times. A2 Hosting’s SwiftServer platform has been developed over the last 10 years by the company’s IT gurus.

To explain all of the features offered by A2 Hosting would take hours or pages of notes. That’s actually a major feature in itself because it demonstrates that you’ll get a great deal of value for your money.

A2 Hosting has quite a lot of unique and impressive features. They offer both latest and traditional options to balance all the services to perfection. Although they have few features that are also offered by some other internet hosting companies, they still seem to get ahead of the curve.

Fastest Shared Hosting Provider

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.

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

Free ‘HackScan’

A2 provides a few helpful, preventative measures to keep hackers out of your site with HackScan; a free service including dual fastest 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).

Free Site Migrations

A2 will move help you relocate from another hosting provider – gratis! – if your site currently uses cPanel (which most professional sites 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.).

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.

Fast 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.

As they’ve grown, a primary focus has been performance, especially after a survey asking customers to rank the features they look for in a host revealed “site load speed and performance” as a top priority, behind support and reliability.

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 are 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.

Server Rewind and CloudFlare

A2 Hosting’s shared hosting plans have some features you don’t see often in shared hosting deals, including Server Rewind, CloudFlare, and HackScan. Server Rewind is one of the best features available.

This tool backs up your account so you can restore a single file, MySQL database, site, or account if you accidently delete something. The service is:

Automatic – Account backup snapshots are taken regularly.
Flexible – Restore a single file, MySQL database, site or your entire account.
Convenient – Access Server Rewind from your control panel.
Free – Yes, it’s actually 100% free.

CloudFlare is a CDN that is known for its blazing fast speed and cached content. It loads content up to 200X faster than other CDNs. Then, HackScan blocks attacks before they occur. This is another way that A2 Hosting keeps your site secure. All these are available for free at A2 Hosting.

Patchman Enhanced Security

Security is a major concern with fast web hosting. You want your site to be as secure as possible, and A2 Hosting provides an extra layer of security with Patchman. Patchman is a security tool that is available for free when you have the fastest shared hosting account.

Patchman (introduced August 2015) detects out-of-date software; quarantines infected files, and auto-patches security issues in WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. This can prevent your site from getting hacked.

Global Data Centers

On a related but different note than speed & performance, A2 Hosting scores well as a globally focused host that can efficiently serve websites around the world.
While there are lots of factors in website speed (like TTFB), the physical location of your a2 server matters a lot.

Requests for information travel over physical wires to a physical server. Even at light speed, distance matters, especially if you own/maintain a site or if your visitors need to load up many different files. If you and your audience are on one side of the globe, it’s good to host your files near both you and your audience.

*Note – If you are in one country, but your audience is spread out, most sites solve this problem with a CDN. Until recently, most cutting-edge hosting companies were based & focused on the US market. If you were in Asia or Europe -then you might be stuck with lackluster local hosting and/or slow connection times.

A2 Hosting allows you to select your datacenter among the three that they operate in US, Europe or Asia. If you are ex-US or are trying to serve an audience exclusively there – A2 Hosting’s datacenter options are a compelling advantage.

Transparency & Independence

First off, I don’t think that a company is “good” or “bad” simply due to its size. It’s all about tradeoffs. There are a lot of major advantages to using a big company. They usually have the resources to provide big comprehensive solutions. They usually have lower unit costs that can be passed to the customer. They are also usually more stable than small, upstart companies.

That said small companies are usually able to be more agile, closer & more responsive to the customer, and less likely to view customers solely through the lens of a Net Promoter Score. In the world of hosting – it really depends on your goals & preferences.

There is no right answer. That said, it’s a big advantage that A2 Hosting is a founder-owned, independent company – simply because that is so rare in 2017. And not only is A2 Hosting independent, they are stable and growing and really use their independence to promote transparency and accessibility that a big brand simply can’t match.

If you are someone looking for a hosting company rather than a hosting brand – A2 Hosting will tick that box. If not, you can ignore this section and keep focusing on your priorities.

Hosting Customizations & Features

The last major advantage of A2 Hosting that I want to call out is their focus on hosting features and customizations. They are not only a full-spectrum hosting company with products tailored for nearly every need; they also have a focus on the exact features that you get with your plans.

They have everything from Windows hosting to Dedicated and Cloud hosting. All their plans come with up to date versions of software (ie, PHP7, new cPanel, etc). Now – I think some of their “features” are misleading marketing-speak. But, like their speed claims, they do come through with providing the hosting that your project will need.

RAID-10 Storage

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) 10 is a storage configuration that stores all the data in multiple hard drives. This is to ensure zero data loss in case one hard drive fails.

The data lost in the corrupted drive automatically stores to other drives and the corrupted drive will just be replaced. This unique backup feature really makes A2 Hosting reliable amongst the others.

You get the most up-to-date developer tools available. You’ll have instant access to all newer versions as they become available. If you want the latest and best but don’t want to manage it all, choose a plan where A2H looks after everything for you.

Because A2 Hosting don’t want to be seen as “just another hosting company,” you also gain access to their green hosting, a quadruple redundant network and a regular back-up service.

Bonus / Extras

You receive free Website magazine subscription. You get $50 Bing/Yahoo Ad Credits. You get your site listed in Google in 24 hours with Attracta. You get a free iContact email marketing trial. You get discounts on WordPress themes from TeslaThemes.

Support and Customer Service

Like I’ve mentioned in hosting reviews, reviewing customer support is tricky. Just like your local restaurant on Yelp, the most positive and most negative reviews are generally worthless.

You never know when issues are customer-caused or when someone simply encountered that one amazing/horrible employee. I’ve had a good experience with A2 Hosting. But that’s very anecdotal. So, I also like to look at “proxies” for customer support. In other words, things that indicate something about the culture & processes of customer support.

If you’re ever in need of technical assistance, A2’s aptly named Guru Crew is available to lend a helping hand. Available 24/7 via phone or live chat, the Guru Crew is one of the best customer support teams I’ve encountered in the a2 web hosting space.

I contacted the team on a weekday morning to learn which plans offer Windows-based hosting and how to install WordPress. I waited just a few seconds before a Guru Crew member fielded my questions.

First – A2 Hosting provides a lot of different channels for customer support. They have a phone number front and center. They have an extensive knowledgebase, live chat, and even Skype access. They do well-triaging requests via social media.

Second, A2 Hosting’s reps are very “hands-on” – they offer custom installs and plenty of solutions where your rep will go in and fix the issue rather than talking you through the process.

While some customers may or may not like that option, it does signal that they see customer support as an investment rather than a cost. That’s the type of general conclusion that I look for – and the one that I think matters in the long-term over a one-off experience.

Another big plus about A2 Hosting is the customer support. Affordable hosting companies typically have average customer support, but that is far from the case with A2 Hosting.

A2 Hosting’s customer support is a major pro to choosing them over a big brand hosting company that may or may not prioritize support in the same way. This point segues into another big advantage for A2 Hosting.

Refund Policy

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.

A2H uses the most advanced data centers and industry best practices to make sure your site has all the latest security patches.

A2 Hosting moves beyond good customer support by offering an anytime money back guarantee. If you don’t like your a2 web hosting plan, you can get your money back. Cancel within the first 30 days for a full refund, or cancel after 30 days for a pro-rated refund.

That means that A2 Hosting has to work extra hard to keep its customers happy. Otherwise, the company will lose a ton of money.

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).

Try A2 Hosting for yourself. If you decide that, for whatever reason, 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.

Our Conclusion

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 (and we’ve seen A LOT). Their customer support is also friendly, attentive and couldn’t be recommended more highly.

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 a2 hosting reviews 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.