Company: A2 Hosting
Background: Having been around since 2001 and originally known as Iniquinet, the company “A2 Hosting” was reborn in 2003 with the new name being in recognition of Ann Arbour, Michigan – A2 Hosting founder’s hometown. The company’s data centres are located strategically in Amsterdam, Singapore and, of course, Michigan. This gives them a good global spread covering all equal segments of the globe.
Starting Price: $2.99
Visit Online: https://www.a2hosting.com
Review Summary & Ratings
Reasonable pricing, excellent server performance, and powerful hosting features – A2 check all the right boxes that are necessary for a stable and fast website. I do think A2 Hosting is a great choice for most users who are looking for a mid-range web hosting solution.
My Experience with A2 Hosting
I first started off on A2 Hosting in 2013 with what was then known as the A2 Prime Plan. This would be the rough equivalent of what that’s offered under A2’s Drive Plan today.
With this A2 Hosting review, I will take you to the backstage and see how things work at A2 Hosting. I will share with you my experience with them as a customer as well as the data I’ve collected (from this test site) on their server performance over the years.
1. Excellent Hosting Performance
Typical TTFB below 400 ms, rated A in various tests
Speed is one of the key performance indicators. To determine A2Hosting’s speed, we host a simple website at A2 Hosting and run regular speed tests on different tools – and I was impressed with A2 Hosting servers. Overall speed results consistently showed outstanding ratings on both Bitcatcha and WebPageTest.org.
Below are screenshots of our most recent test results.
A2Hosting Speed test at Bitcatcha
A2Hosting Speed tests at WebpageTest.org
2. Well-optimized Shared Plans
Server speed is a key point in web hosting. Slow servers can kill your site traffic faster than you can say “uh-oh”.
There have been web performance case studies indicating that just a 1 second decrease in site load time can lead to a 7% improvement in conversion rate and 11% increase in page views. Hosting your site on a slow server turns this around and your traffic is likely to nosedive.
This explains why my hosting review emphasizes a lot on server performance.
A2 Hosting “Speed Features”
The fantastic speeds I’ve shown you would not likely be possible if not for a combination of first-class infrastructure along with specialized server optimization.
In a glance, here are the “speed features” A2 covered in their shared server hosting plans.
Speed features on all shared plans
A2 Drive Plans offer full SSD storage along with a guaranteed 1GB RAM and 2 x 2.1 GHz CPU Cores. It also has pre-configured Cloudflare CDN – which helps load your webpage 200% faster.
Speed features on Turbo plans
3. Highly Reliable
Aside from speed, availability is also important. There’s no point in having the fastest servers in the world if your servers are down half the time. In this aspect A2 Hosting also performs brilliantly. Mostly you can expect more than 99.99% availability, way above the industry standard.
To monitor hosting performance, our team has built a system named HostScore. Image below shows A2 Hosting uptime stats we gathered in January and February 2020. For latest A2 Hosting uptime, visit this page.
Recent A2 Hosting uptime review
4. Anytime Money Back Guarantee
Thanks to a 30-day money back guarantee, you can signup to A2 Hosting and change your mind if you’re unhappy with what you’ve bought into. Furthermore – I’ve found that A2 Hosting does make good on their money back guarantees, so you can feel secure in their promise that it’s “Risk Free, Hassle Free, Worry Free”.
In the case that you change your mind after the 30-day honeymoon period lapses, you can still get a prorated refund from the company on unused services.
5. Free Website Migration
Not all of us are just starting out with our first site and if you’re one of those with an existing site, you may dread having to move it. No worries, with A2 Hosting, once you sign up, they’ll help migrate your websites for free!
How to ask for free migration assistance
6. Four Server Locations
For those who know their target audience, you can enhance speed slightly more since you can select your server location. The closer your server is to your target audience, the better your site speed will be for them, typically. A2 Hosting servers are in Michigan and Arizona – United States, Amsterdam – Europe, and Singapore – Asia.
I find that this is great for those who are targeting website traffic from specific countries or zones, e.g. Asia or Europe.
How to choose your server location
7. All Rounded Hosting Solutions
For those who need something more powerful and comprehensive than standard shared web hosting plans, A2 Hosting has something for you as well. Whether you need VPS, cloud, or even dedicated hosting, the sky is the limit in catering to your needs.
A2 Hosting Plans
8. Specialized Developer Environments
A2 Hosting is one of the extremely rare hosting providers that offer some very specialized developer environments on their shared plans. Examples of this include node.js, a Java-based open source server environment.
A2 Hosting = Cheapest Python and Node.js hosting
These specialized environments can allow a wide variety of features such as the generation of dynamic page content. Although open-source and can be installed in almost all environments, it is extremely unusual to find a host which allows installation and configuration on shared environments. In fact, to the best of our knowledge, the only place that allows this is A2 Hosting.
1. Site Migration is Chargeable if You Downgrade
Unfortunately, while moving to A2 Hosting gets you free site migration, if you scale down your hosting plan for any reason, they’ll charge you for migration support services.
If you opt to move to another data center location, you’ll also be charged. The fee in both cases is a nominal $25.
Quoting A2Hosting’s Terms of Service (June 2021):
Downgrades. When downgrading to a lower-priced plan, the difference between the amount of the current package price already paid over the new package price will be placed on the billing account as a service credit. Refunds will not be issued and a twenty-five dollar ($25) downgrade migration fee may be charged. Please contact the sales or billing department if considering an upgrade or downgrade to determine what options are suitable and to discuss pricing.
2. Turbo Plan does not apply to Ruby or Python application
If you’re a regular site user, this probably won’t apply to you since their Turbo and standard plans show and act with the same characteristics. However, web developers might not be so pleased.
Turbo Boost and Turbo Max Web Hosting servers do not support Ruby-based or Python-based web applications, including Rails and Django.
A2 Hosting Pricing & Plans Review
Having had an account with them for so long, I’ve spent A LOT of time testing and dissecting their shared hosting plans.
Four options in shared server hosting offers potential customers just enough choices to make things interesting, but not enough to confuse. This is especially true since A2 Hosting focuses on unlimited options in its shared plans.
The cost range stretches a bit from $2.99 to $12.99 a month, yet all shared plans (excluded the Startup plan) have unlimited storage and data transfer, plus free SSD. Unless you’re opting for the cheapest plan, the rest also cater for unlimited websites, email accounts, and databases.
Reasonable Renewal Costs
It is usual that cheap hosting providers offer discounted sign-up rates and then increases fees during renewal. I like A2 Hosting because although it follows this stereotype, their renewal rates are at least reasonable. The pinch can’t really be avoided at renewal time, but I think what A2 Hosting charges is fair.
For those who are just joining A2, you will get a one-time discount before having to pay standard rates upon renewal. Their shared server plans renew at $8.99, $11.99, $19.99, $24.99 per month on a 2-year contract for Startup, Drive, Turbo Boost, and Turbo Max respectively.
Shared Server Hosting Plans & Pricing
No matter which plan you choose, you can opt for Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress as your platform. These options allow you to easily integrate basic shopping cart applications, so you can create online stores if that’s what you need.
Unmanaged VPS Hosting Plans & Pricing
VPS on A2 Hosting come in three different packages – Core VPS, Managed VPS, and Unmanaged VPS – For the first two packages (Core and Managed), the company provides you with help in setting up and managing your VPS servers. If you’re already experienced at this, it’s a bonus because A2 Unmanaged VPS hosting plans are dirt cheap. At the lowest tier, they start at a mere $5 per month and come with 150 GB SSD storage, 1 CPU core, and 1 GB RAM.
Also, although Cloud hosting is scalable, I find the plans offered by A2 Hosting in this respect very basic. Much rather you consider their VPS plans instead.
WordPress Hosting Plans & Pricing
A2 Managed WordPress Hosting plans are similar to their Turbo Shared Plans. A2 Accelerator is an in-house built cPanel plugin that provides pre-configured caching for Faster WordPress page loads. Caching options include Memcached, OPcache, and Turbo Cache (for static HTML content).
Alterantives to A2Hosting
Compare A2 Hosting vs Hostinger
With over a million domains under management and in the business since 2004, Hostinger has grown and grown and … well, simply grown. In my humble opinion, both A2 Hosting and Hostinger are ranked in the top tier of their industry. There are slight differences, such as that A2 Hosting has an advantage in terms of server performance and customer support. Alternatively, Hostigner offers cheaper plans and Google.
Compare A2 Hosting vs BlueHost
BlueHost is the baby of Matt Heaton and Danny Ashworth who founded the company early in 2003. Later, they sold it Endurance International Group (EIG). Still, WordPress.org officially recommends BlueHost Hosting and they have become a force to be reckoned with in the web hosting business.
Final Thoughts: Should You Pay for A2Hosting?
If you don’t already have a hosting provider, there’s little to consider here. A2 offers powerful features and great customer experience at responsible prices – which is by any account good for both host and customer.
Their high-performance servers, impressive uptimes and good spread of plans make them easily palatable no matter what your needs. I’d say firmly that they check all the right boxes that are necessary for a stable and fast website.
So yes, A2 Hosting is a good choice.
A2 Hosting Frequent Asked Questions
A2 Hosting has servers in three key regions – United States, the Netherlands, and Singapore.
A2 Hosting’s cost range stretches a bit from $2.99 to $12.99 a month, yet all shared hosting plans (excluded the Startup plan) have unlimited storage and data transfer, plus free SSD. Unless you’re opting for the cheapest plan, the rest also cater for unlimited websites, email accounts, and databases.
You can access your A2 hosting cPanel account either via your client dashboard or directly through the cPanel address of your site. The latter should have been provided to you as part of your onboarding package.
There are many good providers of WordPress hosting around. Some such as A2 Hosting offer special optimizations, while others like Kinsta have built their entire business based on WordPress hosting.
Generally, shared hosting servers usually house more customers per server which increases the chance of performance degradation. Comparatively, VPS hosting would be faster since fewer users share each server and resources are guaranteed. However, the quality of the hosting servers also should be taken into account.
Shared hosting is less safe in comparison with other types of hosting since the environment and resources are shared. An infection on one site may spread and involve other websites housed on the same server.
To cancel a your account or a product with A2 Hosting:
1. Login to your A2 Hosting Customer Portal
2. Click “My Services”
3. Under “My Products & Services”, locate the product you wish to cancel and click “Manage”
4. Click “Request Cancellation”. Note that after cancellations, you will have 14-day of grace period after the final billing period. If you change your mind during this period you can still reactivate your account with all of your data intact.
Expect 5 – 10 days of waiting time to get your refund after you cancel your A2 Hosting account. The number of waiting days vary slightly depending on your bank and location. You’ll know that you got your refund when you see it appear on your bank or credit card statement.
Visit A2 Hosting to learn more.