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Medium Size Business
Beginner to advanced
Average page loading time 376ms
Average uptime (99.91%)
Free Website Transfers, CDN and SSL Certificate
Managed WordPress Hosting
Fastest Web Host
- Quality of Service
- Features and Services
- Value for Money
A2 Hosting provides excellent service in almost every area we have looked in. If you are looking for speed, look no further. They also provide you with a high-spec infrastructure with many extra features bundled into the contract such as automatic server-based backup and anti-virus protection. They also have superb (and quick to access to) technical support and support staff who are responsive, knowledgeable and patient. As a whole, they provide good value for money and generally good and reliable service. In fact, we would honestly say the price/quality ratio is truly remarkable.
User Review( votes)
A2 Hosting review – 2020
Founded in 2001 and formerly known as Iniquinet before, rightly so, changing their name an brand, A2 Hosting has data centres around the world in the US (Michigan) where the headquarters are, Europe (Amsterdam) and Asia (Singapore).
A2 Hosting stands behind their product and claims, offering a complete 30-day refund if for whatever reason you are not happy with the service. Do note that domain registrations, setup fees, SSL certificate, and other migration fees are not refundable (which is pretty common with other companies as well).
While not as a recognisable brand as Bluehost or HostGator, they claim to boast speeds of up to 20X faster. In addition, they make claims of ‘99.9% uptime’ and ‘guru support’. Is this simply showing off for marketing purposes or based on actual verifiable data? A2 hosting says their speeds and customer support are great. To our surprise, it turns out that they are right.
Fastest shared hosting provider
Some of the top online brands load in under a second. It is widely accepted that taking even 3 seconds to load can cost you up to 50% of your traffic. So the big question is… just how did they fare in our own tests?
In short, extremely well actually, to our amazement their loading times are instant. Yes, you read it right, lighting fast. A2 Hosting page loading times came in with an average of 376ms over a period of TEN months, by far the highest of every web host we have reviewed and 50+ per cent faster than the industry average (890ms). Eye-watering numbers, to be frank.
They offer 24/7 customer support for all subscribers, ultra-reliable servers and free website migration. All shared plans come standard with free SSD storage to ensure top-notch performance. To achieve these amazing results, A2 Hosting takes extra precautions to limit the number of people on ‘shared’ hosting servers and implements additional functionality like caching which stores information in people’s browsers.
Other features of A2 Hosting’s shared plans include:
- Support for PHP (5.x and 7.x)
- MySQL 5.6 databases
- Support for PostgreSQL 9.4
- Support for Python (2.6, 2.7, and 3.2)
- Support for PERL 5.10
- Support for Apache 2.2
- Support for Node.js
- FTP/SFTP access to your server environment
- Free SSH access
- Shared SSL certificate.
Last 10-month average loading time for A2 hosting:
- March 2018 average speed: 411ms
- April 2018 average speed: 371ms
- May 2018 average speed: 372ms
- June 2018 average speed: 390ms
- July 2018 average speed: 377ms
- August 2018 average speed: 395ms
- September 2018 average speed: 364ms
- October 2018 average speed: 344ms
- November 2018 average speed: 355ms
- December 2018 average speed: 385ms
A2 Hosting pricing, plans and facts
Shared Hosting: They have three main shared hosting plans:
- Lite plan: This plan starts at $3.92 per month. It supports 1 domain name, 5 subdomains, 5 databases and 25 email accounts.
- Swift plan: This plan starts at $4.90 per month. It supports unlimited domain names, databases and email accounts.
- Turbo plan: This plan starts at $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 steps 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 centre or to downgrade your hosting plan.
- Upsells: Very few upsells.
- 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 are available at checkout.
Quick & Efficient customer support
Fast load times are nice but none of that matters if your experience with customer support is horrendous. A2 Hosting 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). We tried reaching out to their support and verify whether what we read and hear is true and were connected to a person almost instantly. Their support rep was also quite responsive, answering our queries within a minute. We were impressed by it, we just didn’t expect it to be this quick.
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 and it really is as simple as that. As a matter of fact, your A2 account will come with the A2 Optimized WordPress plugin pre-installed if you choose the Turbo package.
A2 Optimized is designed to make it quick and easy to speed up and secure your website by installing and configuring several well-known, stable plugins with the click of a few buttons.
Free ‘HackScan’ – Keeps your site safe
Some hosts simply provide safety tools to use but unless you know what you’re doing, they’re useless. A2 hosting goes beyond this by providing you with ‘peace of mind’ so you can just worry about running the site. They provide you with measures to keep hackers out of your site with what they call, HackScan, a free service including dual web hosting firewall, virus scanning, 24/7 security monitoring, and a brute force defence.
There are two different ways you can get private SSL certificates from A2 Hosting. The first option, if you have purchased a shared or reseller hosting package, you can opt for Let’s Encrypt, an SSL solution applied to your site that provides you with enhanced security. Users with Managed VPS Plans and Managed Dedicated Servers can also use Let’s Encrypt, but they will have to have a dedicated IP address as well.
The other option is to purchase an SSL certificate from A2 Hosting. It offers three types of SSL certificates for sale:
- Single Site: works on a single site with one domain name
- Wildcard: works on all pages of a given site, including sub-domains
- Advanced: works across multiple websites, each with its own domain name.
Free site migrations
A2 will help you to relocate from another hosting provider free of charge as long as your site uses cPanel, which most professional sites do. Transferring the site yourself can be a huge hassle unless you are tech-savvy and know what you are doing. Without mention the time consuming, menial task (if you have a large site with many pages, images, etc.) of moving data across and testing that it has migrated correctly. Other web hosts like Bluehost, charge you big bucks for this privilege.
Free CDN (content delivery network)
In addition to free virus scanning, you’ll also be able to use Cloudflare’s Content Delivery Network (CDN). Cloudflare will route traffic to your site to take the path of least resistance. This means that you’ll get even faster site speeds, enhanced security (Cloudflare CDN will block malicious threats), one-click setup, increased uptime, and more. A2 Hosting claims that a website using CloudFlare sees 200% faster page loads, uses 60% less bandwidth, and is more secure.
The best part of this is that they give it to you totally free. Pretty amazing. There are two ways to activate your CloudFlare CDN:
- Using the CloudFlare cPanel plugin
- Signing up on CloudFlare’s website.
If you decide to use CloudFlare’s cPanel plugin, you can easily enable and disable CloudFlare for your domains and subdomains using your A2 Hosting cPanel environment.
To activate using CloudFlare’s website, you will need to use the CloudFlare site to manage all of your settings. With this option, you cannot use the A2 Hosting cPanel to manage your CDN.
Green web hosting
Since 2007, the company has partnered with Carbonfund.org to battle climate change. A2 Hosting takes its duty and commitment to the environment seriously. In addition to being 100% carbon neutral in its day-to-day operations. If caring for the environment is something you’re passionate about, you can save the planet just by having an A2 Hosting account as all of their servers are “carbon neutral”.
For every amount of energy A2 Hosting uses, they’re buying carbon offsets to make the world a greener, cleaner place. These kinds of projects are responsible for restoring forests, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings or transportation, or upgrading power plants to create less pollution.
A2 Hosting does not offer its own website builder, but it offers shared hosting packages that come with support for a wide variety of website builders that you can purchase from the distributors and use.
Areas we would like A2 Hosting to improve on
We are really impressed with A2 hosting what they do they do it really well. Great speed and support go a long way towards making them one of our favourite hosting providers. Plus, they are not penny-pinching with small things like migrations. But like everything in life, there is room for improvements in certain areas.
More Expensive than Average
All those fancy benefits such as lighting fast speed, come at a price. You get what you pay for and never been so true as here. A2 hosting tends to be more expensive than the average web host. Like other web hosts, they use a widely spread marketing strategy 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 36 months.
If you want the flashy features, you will have to pay for them, there is no way around it. As an example, their cheapest plan, the Lite plan, has restrictions on the number of websites (1, as opposed to unlimited) or databases (5, as opposed to unlimited) that you get. And despite all of this, we have found that their cheapest plan is still much, much faster than most other web hosts. So you’re probably still OK but you need to know what the limitations are and aren’t so you don’t get disappointed with their service when they are not actually at fault.
In order to achieve turbo fast speeds, you’ll have to sign up for the turbo plan. The Turbo and Swift plans are similar, but the Turbo server is full-stacked with extra perks that will make a noticeable difference to your website. The Turbo server has PHP API. APC is enabled with the Turbo plan, and the server features a built-in caching engine. Because of this, the speeds are lightning fast and take it from us, we mean this, literally.
APC is enabled by default, and accounts get 256 MB of APC memory.
It’s important to note that if you want to change how PHP is configured on the Turbo Server, you’ll have to use the cPanel rather than the php.ini files.
The Turbo plan compiles .htaccess files to boost speeds, too. Turbo web hosting servers don’t support Ruby-based or Python-based web applications. This includes Rails and Django.
Uptime Has Slipped to 99.91% Over the Last 10 Months. Uptime is critical because the opposite can cost you and cost you real money/ sales. Based on studies, up to an average of $7,900 per minute can be lost due to downtime. When you read that a company boasts of having 100% uptime, you shouldn’t believe the hype. Although technically possible, this is very rare as no hosting provider has ever achieved that
Over the last few months, their uptime has dropped out to 99.91%, well below the industry average we’ve seen.
Last 10-month average uptime for A2 hosting:
- March 2018 average uptime: 99.89%
- April 2018 average uptime: 99.98%
- May 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- June 2018 average uptime: 99.98%
- July 2018 average uptime: 99.60%
- August 2018 average uptime: 99.98%
- September 2018 average uptime: 99.89%
- October 2018 average uptime: 99.98%
- November 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- December 2018 average uptime: 99.78%
Would we recommend A2 Hosting?
Without a shadow of a doubt. Other web hosts might have the big, flashy advertising campaigns but A2 hosting delivers where others fail, where it matters most, performance.
Despite flying under the radar of the major web hosting companies for years, they offer some of the best speed results we’ve seen. Add to this the fact that their customer support is quick to access, friendly and attentive, we couldn’t be recommending A2 Hosting more highly. If you need a fast, reliable, and helpful web host for almost any type of website? Try A2 Hosting, you shouldn’t be disappointed.
To see more web hosting options, visit our best web hosting companies of 2020