With excellent speed, stability and customer support, A2 Hosting is a highly recommended web hosting provider. It may be especially attractive to people who are devoted to the WordPress platform, though this host offers a wide variety of packages that will cater to almost anyone's needs.
This web host has been in business since 2003, which means that it's already demonstrated some pretty good staying power. It's a privately owned company that was founded by someone in Michigan, many North American customers like being able to deal with a web host that they consider local.
A2 delivers some genuinely robust hosting packages. For this review, we examined all of their offerings as well as their customer support. A better than average refund plan and excellent uptime make A2 a good bet for most clients.
Having a website hosted by A2 features few downsides. You'll see a significant price increase after the initial period, and the most basic hosting packages are pretty limited feature-wise. Nonetheless, many people are likely to be satisfied with A2's services.
What is A2 Hosting?
In 2001, Bryan Muthig, an experienced UNIX systems administrator, started to help out a few of his close friends and family using his skills and decided to host their websites.
A problem solver at heart, what started as a hobby for Bryan from a two-door office in Ann Arbor, Michigan has turned into one of the biggest privately owned web hosting providers in the world when he founded A2 Hosting in 2003.
Capable of going toe to toe with corporate giants, A2 Hosting is known across the globe as one of the most reliable web hosting providers today.
A2 Hosting has Impressive Uptime
A2 aggressively states its 99.9 percent uptime commitment. For the most part, it lives up to this guarantee. That's because most months either meet or exceed this benchmark. However, there are months where the uptime falls to 99.8 or 99.7. This is less than ideal, but remains highly competitive in a crowded field of web host providers.
In fact, over the testing period, A2 was incredibly solid and dependable, keeping a test website up and running 100 percent of the time. This means that you likely can trust A2 to keep your website running like a well-oiled machine.
When it comes to having a successful website, speed matters. It's vital that your website is able to load in just a few milliseconds. Otherwise, your potential customers will assume that there's something wrong with your website before looking to your competition for a solution.
A2 Hosting understands just how critical speed is to website success. Accordingly, they boast on their website that they have servers that are 20 times faster than the competition. Liberal use of the phrase: "Our Speed, Your Success" demonstrates just how singularly focused A2 is on this metric.
A2 Hosting Data Center Speed Test
The websites of all A2 clients are hosted on the company's proprietary SwiftServer platform. Including indispensable tools like solid-state drives, a free CDN and the client's choice of data centers, this platform is designed to impress. Of course, for website owners who are really obsessed with speed, there's the ability to opt into the Turbo Server platform, which is where you get those 20 times faster speeds.
When you choose Turbo Server packages, this means that extra resources are allocated to your website to ensure that it's faster than the competition. Also, fewer websites are hosted on the server that's hosting your site, and you'll gain access to the A2 Optimized Site Accelerator, which means that you can use caching tools like Turbo Cache, Memcached and APC on a shared server plan.
What this all boils down to is some excellent speed performance. Over the course of a year, the average load time of a website that's hosted on A2 is a swift 317 milliseconds. This means that your customers should have little difficulty navigating your website. In fact, they'll probably find it a pleasure.
A2 Hosting's Servers
A2 Hosting boasts two data centers in the U.S. These are in Michigan and Arizona, which gives you two promising options depending upon whether your customers are located closer to the East or West coast.
Other data centers are found in Amsterdam in Europe and in Singapore in Asia. Altogether, this is not the best saturation of data centers, as some web hosts have expanded their presence so that they have servers located in multiple countries on almost every continent. Nonetheless, A2's rather limited data center choices don't appear to have a negative impact on performance.
Ann Arbor Data Center
Though there may not be many data centers, the ones that A2 has boast excellent security and stability measures. These include a redundant network and a redundant power supply.
A2 Hosting's data centers are SSAE16 certified. Moreover, the data centers have gated parking lots that can only be accessed by a security key. Additional security keys are required to enter the data center itself and the fully enclosed and locked server racks. Video surveillance further ensures on-site security.
The amount of data that a website's owner is allowed to transfer to and from their website server each month is known as bandwidth. Typically, both uploads and downloads are included, whether they be HTTP or FTP. The website's bandwidth needs also will vary depending upon the number of visitors the site receives each month and the number of pages that they visit.
Clearly, bandwidth is an important metric for website owners. The great news about A2 Hosting is that they give you unlimited bandwidth with all packages. This means that you are free to upload and download to your heart's content. Moreover, your visitors won't experience sluggish performance because of bandwidth restrictions.
Reliable Customer Support
Over the course of this review, we quickly learned that A2's customer support is among the best in the industry. Customers enjoy 24/7 access to the company's so-called Guru Crew. It's possible to contact them by phone or live chat. You can even make use of the ticket-based system.
In all interactions, members of the Guru Crew were quick to respond and unfailingly friendly. A series of basic questions were asked of each representative, and most could answer these questions without needing to research their responses. In all instances, we were able to connect with a live person within just a few seconds of initiating contact.
If you have a simple, straightforward question, then take a quick trip to the knowledge base. You'll find a wealth of articles here that can help you through the most common troubleshooting issues.
Key A2 Hosting Features
A2 offers a wide range of hosting packages on shared servers. Even the most basic of these packages comes with included website migration and SSD storage. Other key features included in all packages are unlimited email accounts, the 99.9 percent uptime guarantee, a free SSL certificate and free CloudFlare CDN. You even get access to A2's free website builder and their anytime money-back guarantee.
Automatic Backups and Server Rewind
Choosing a more robust package gets you even more features. For instance, you'll be able to manage multiple websites instead of just one, and you'll get automatic backups for free. One of the most attractive features of these larger packages is the free server rewind data backup protection so that your data is protected and accessible no matter what.
Unlimited NVMe storage and AMD EPYC hardware
Spring for an even larger package, and you'll get attractive extras like unlimited NVMe storage and AMD EPYC hardware. With these options, you'll get up to 40 percent faster CPU performance. These shared hosting packages also have fewer websites per server so that you'll enjoy improved speed and stability.
A2 Hosting's Shared Hosting Plans and Pricing
A2 offers a wide variety of packages, so it should be possible to find one that's suitable for your budget. The company's shared hosting plans are among their most popular.
The economical Startup plan starts out at just $2.99 per month for the introductory period. If you have just one website, then this may be the ideal solution for you. The price for the Startup Package jumps to $8.99 per month after the initial period.
People planning to manage more than one website may want to step up to the Drive Package. Starting at just $4.99 per month, this is an affordable choice for the budding entrepreneur. With enhanced physical memory and server rewind backups, this package includes plenty of bang for your buck. The price jumps to $11.99 after the introductory period.
The Turbo Boost package is particularly popular because it gives you access to the host's Turbo Servers, enhanced physical memory and unlimited NVMe. The introductory per-month price is an attractive $9.99, a price that rises to $19.99 after the initial period.
A2's biggest, fastest shared hosting package is known as the Turbo Max. Priced at $14.99 per month for the initial period, this package gets you everything that comes with the Turbo Boost package plus double the physical memory and four cores.
As with most web hosts, you'll save more money if you're willing to commit to a longer term up front. For instance, you can have the Turbo Boost package for $20.99 on a month-to-month basis. However, if you spring for a one-year program, you'll pay $179.88, which translates to $14.99 per month. This gives you a total discount of 28 percent.
Upgrade to a triennial plan, and the total initial price will be $359.64, which translates to a cost of $9.99 per month. That's a 52 percent discount.
Different Types of Hosting Solutions
Whatever your hosting needs may be, it's likely that A2 has you covered. Their shared plans are among their most popular, and this option means that your website will be hosted on a server with many others. Packages such as these are a solid, economical choice as some of them include unlimited websites, plenty of physical memory, access to the Turbo Servers and NVMe AMD EPYC servers.
Of course, sharing server space always means that your website's performance may be affected by the other websites that are housed on the same server. You won't get optimal speed, and performance may dip toward sluggish if another website gets a huge rush in traffic.
On the plus side, sharing a server is far less expensive than the alternatives. Plus, A2 will do a lot of the maintenance for you.
A2's WordPress hosting packages are similar, but they include optimizations for the WordPress platform. This means that there's no need to be concerned about install files, as these are already in place. You can even get improved website speed with LiteSpeed Cache for WordPress.
Further, A2 offers a variety of VPS hosting options. This includes the Core VPS option, which comes with root access on managed VPS. HostGuard Server Management is robust, providing plenty of desirable features such as both managed updates and a cPanel control panel, automatic KernelCare updates, smart system notification system and plenty of RAM and storage, these plans are a huge step up.
SSD VPS Hosting Solutions also include Managed VPS Hosting and Unmanaged VPS Hosting. No root access is included with Managed VPS Hosting, but the Unmanaged VPS Hosting packages are ideal for anyone who really wants to stretch their legs with development.
VPS hosting packages generally are more expensive than shared plans, but with far more robust resources, that expense can be really worthwhile.
Reseller hosting is yet another option that's provided by A2. Four pricing tiers are available, providing opportunities for individuals or entities to rent bandwidth and hard drive space that they in turn rent to third parties. Reseller hosting is one of the best ways for an entrepreneur to start offering web hosting services under their own brand.
What if you need the ultimate in power, selection and flexibility for your websites? In this case, you might want to consider a dedicated hosting package. When you choose dedicated hosting, then you are provided with a server that is solely committed to your website. That means that you'll receive the absolute best in speed and performance.
Under the dedicated hosting umbrella, you have many possible options. Including unmanaged servers, managed servers and core servers, the choice is yours as far as how much help you want as you develop your website. Plenty of dedicated resources ensure that your website will always be secure, stable and available to your customers.
A2 Hosting is absolutely recommended. They've been in business for about two decades, and over that span they have remained committed to bringing the latest and most powerful technology to their customers. This is evidenced by the recent introduction of NVMe storage to many of their packages.
Additionally, A2 has demonstrated an abiding dedication to speed. This is critical because a slow-loading website can be the nail in the coffin for a fledgling business. A2 seems to understand this, and throughout this review, they were able to deliver blistering fast load times.
A2 Hosting further showed that they live up to their uptime guarantee, another critical metric for successful websites. They rarely deviate from their 99.9 percent uptime promise, which means that you can rely on them to keep your website accessible to your customers.
Whether you are developing a new website or need to migrate an existing one, this host has the tools you need.