A2 Hosting Review 11 Pros & Cons You Should Consider
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A2 Hosting is one of the oldest providers around. They are originally from Michigan and started in 2001 under another name (Iniquinet). Later on, in 2003, the name was changed to A2 Hosting.
On their website you can read that 97% of their customers are satisfied and that they promise “Up to 20x faster servers” - we’ll see later if their servers are as fast as the Road Runner (meep, meep) or whether A2 is more like the Coyote. On top of that, their (first-term) pricing seems like a bargain, but what about the renewal fees?
That’s exactly why I decided to review A2 Hosting and tell you all about their products, prices, advantages and flaws.
Let’s dive-in and find out if A2 Hosting is the hosting service you were looking for. But if you prefer to watch an overview of A2 Hosting, check the video below:
What Products Does A2 Hosting Offer?
Like many other popular hosting providers, A2 Hosting has a lot to offer. Let me tell you what products you can get from them and when to use them.
Besides hosting plans, at A2 Hosting you can get domain names too, and their prices are fair. Domain name prices vary. For example, a .com domain name will cost you $14.95 per year. Among other extensions, you can purchase: .com, .info, .net and .org domains. Country specific TLDs like .co.uk, .de, .fr, .es or .au aren’t available.
A2 Hosting is very popular for its shared hosting plans. Their renewal cost goes from $10.99 to $25.99 per month. It’s the one that most projects will need - unless you have a site with huge traffic or need a special server setup, that is.
They also offer managed WordPress hosting plans. These are shared hosting packages that are optimized for WordPress, come with some additional WordPress features (e.g. staging) and their support agents are WordPress experts. A2 Hosting WordPress hosting users will also get automated backups and a free Jetpack License. Managed WordPress hosting starts at $23.99 a month at A2 Hosting.
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. It’s a way to divide a server into smaller individual (sub)servers. This means that you can configure it to your needs and you won’t have to share resources with other clients. They are a good match if you need something in between shared hosting and a dedicated server. A VPS at A2 Hosting goes from as little as $7.65 a month to around $200. See our round up of the best VPS web hosting for more details.
But if your site is likely to get hundreds of thousands of visitors per month, you probably need a dedicated hosting package. In other words, a whole server to exclusively host your project. These aren’t cheap, at A2 Hosting they start at $190 a month.
If you have clients of your own who require hosting, you can opt-in for the reseller program where you’ll be able to sell hosting plans (without A2 Hosting branding) to your clients. These plans start at around $35 a month.
But in this A2 Hosting review, I’d like to explore their shared hosting plans, so from now on, I’ll refer to those in my analysis.
A2 Hosting Pricing
What Do Their Shared Plans Include?
|Feature||Startup||Drive||Turbo Boost||Turbo Max|
|Max. number of Inodes
Simultaneous HTTP connections
|Support||24 hours||24 hours||24 hours||24 hours|
|1 GB RAM
|2 GB RAM
|4 GB RAM
|Backup & restore||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|WordPress, Prestashop and Magento caching system||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|First-term prices for 1-year deals||$2.99 a month||$5.99 a month||$6.99 a month||$14.99 a month|
|Renewal price for 1-year deals||$10.99 a month||$12.99 a month||$20.99 a month||$25.99 a month|
* A2 Hosting has an unlimited and unmetered policy, if you use too many resources, you’ll be asked to upgrade or to use fewer resources.
A2 Hosting has monthly, 12, 24 and 36-month deals – the above prices are for a 12-month plan. Obviously, the longer the deal (e.g. 36 months) the cheaper it gets. However, be aware that you’ll be requested to pay the full amount in advance.
But let me tell you what each plan will get you:
Their entry plan, Startup, allows for only 1 website and 100 GB of storage. Sadly, it doesn’t come with the ability to restore the backups that A2 Hosting keeps for you. Bandwidth and storage are unmetered.
With the Drive tier, you are allowed to host as many websites as you want and the storage is unlimited. The backup restore features are enabled too. It also comes with more resources; 1 GB of RAM memory and 2 cores.
The main addition to the Turbo Boost package is its higher performance. Your server will work on HTTP/3, you’ll have fewer server neighbors, and the caching options (A2 Optimized Site Accelerator) are available. Caching plugins for WordPress, Magento and PrestaShop are included too.
The Turbo Max plans have twice as much resources (RAM and cores) than Turbo Boost.
At checkout, they offer a bunch of add-ons that you can purchase separately. For example, if you’d like to create your own backups, you can get 5 GB of backup storage for $1.99 extra a month. Paid SSL certificates, spam filters and Cloudflare (a CDN) are also available.
A2 Hosting Pros & Cons
Even if A2 Hosting wasn’t the fastest provider when I tested them, every year their speed results have always been solid.
Their higher plans come with interesting advanced options like staging areas or a server-side caching system.
Its uptime results are excellent.
You can choose to host your website in America (East or West Coast), Europe or Asia.
Unmetered storage and bandwidth
Your storage is unlimited (for the highest 3 plans), although your total number of files can’t be more than 600,000 (or 300.000 with the cheapest plan). Bandwidth isn’t metered either.
There are some cases where using A2 Hosting will be a smart choice, but other times it may make little sense to use this hosting provider. Let me clarify those for you.
When to Use A2 Hosting
If you are after a medium-priced provider that’s generous with storage and bandwidth, A2 Hosting is a reliable choice.
On top of that, it comes with some features that similar competitors won’t offer, for example, built-in server-side caching, staging areas and speed optimization plugins for CMSs like WordPress, PrestaShop or Magento.
Indeed, despite the fact it’s not the cheapest option, these extra features meant that A2 did very well when we tested the best affordable WordPress hosting providers.
So, I can imagine that A2 Hosting would be a good fit for new bloggers who need a reliable host, for small and medium-sized businesses who are after a serious hosting service, or digital solopreneurs (e.g. SEO consultants or WordPress developers) who need storage for their website and potentially their clients’.
When Not to Use A2 Hosting
However, there are a couple of limitations that make me reluctant to recommend A2 Hosting for larger projects. Having a concurrent HTTP connections limitation may be a deal-breaker for those getting more traffic.
A2 Shared Hosting Details
A2 Performance Tests
Along with support, performance is one of the most important aspects of a hosting provider. Having the most advanced technology and features is pointless if your hosting provider can’t keep up with your website’s needs.
That’s why I’ve intensively tested A2 Hosting’s speed and uptime. Let me show you the results.
A2 Hosting Speed Test
Slow websites aren’t cool, and a fast hosting provider is vital for supporting a quick site. As you can imagine, your site’s speed is crucial for having better user engagement, and many studies have correlated slow sites with lower conversion rates.
On top of that, Google and other search engines dislike slow sites. So even more reasons to have a fast hosting provider.
But the biggest contributor to a fast (or slow) website is your hosting provider.
A2 Hosting performed very well in our tests and was one of the most reliable and fastest web hosts. Its average loading time was 1.30 seconds, (the second fastest out of 15 competitors!).
You can see how their page load time compares to other web hosts in the chart below:
And here’s an overview of their page load speed results over the last three years:
|Page Load Time in Seconds|
If you are worried about speed, A2 Hosting is a trusty provider. Much more Road Runner than Coyote indeed.
Is A2 Hosting’s Uptime Good?
Another point search engines monitor closely is the Uptime – this measures how many interruptions your site had. In other words, how much time your website was offline. If you don’t have a decent uptime (e.g. 99.95% or higher), your organic rankings could suffer.
As you can imagine, projects that highly depend on their site being online all the time (e.g. online stores), can be deeply harmed by a server that has constant periods of downtime.
In the chart below, you can see how their uptime over the last year compares to other web hosts:
Here’s an overview of A2 Hosting’s uptime over the last three years:
A2 Hosting guarantees a 99.9% uptime for all their clients in their Terms of Service. That’s a good start, but competitive projects will need a tiny bit more.
In the past (2019) A2 Hosting has struggled with uptime ratios, but in our last tests, as you can see in the table above, they had outstanding uptime results in recent tests.
A2 Hosting Review: Do I Recommend It?
Even if A2 Hosting is not my absolute favorite web hosting provider, but it’s on the top 5 for sure. It’s true that it has some limitations that can make it not ideal for those looking to host really big projects. For example, the HTTP concurrent connections may not be ideal for some.
But it also comes with a whole bunch of perks for the price you’ll pay:
- Solid speed (e.g. SSD drives and server-side caching system)
- Excellent uptime
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Generous storage
- Reliable support
- WordPress site owners will love their staging and speed optimization options
- You can choose among 4 server locations (in 3 continents)
So if you want to start cheap (and have decent renewal prices), A2 Hosting is a capable provider for those looking for a solid host. But also check out our round up of the best web hosting.
A2 Hosting Alternatives
For many, A2 Hosting will be a good option, but as I mentioned before, some businesses will find it to be limiting. Let me mention a couple of alternatives:
- Check out DreamHost or our guide to cheap web hosts if you are looking for the best bang for the buck
- A2 Hosting offers reliable support, other providers with great customer care are SiteGround, InMotion Hosting and DreamHost
- Along with A2 Hosting, SiteGround, Kinsta and WP Engine has the most advanced WordPress features
> But feel free to test A2 Hosting without any risk for 30 days and decide if it’s a good alternative for your project.
Thanks for reading this A2 review, I hope it helped you get a better idea of what you’ll be getting with A2 Hosting. However, if you have any questions, please leave a message and I’ll try to help you.
We keep our content up to date
17 Sep 2021: New rating
31 Aug 2021: New tests & general update
06 Apr 2021: No Windows-based hosting plans
30 Nov 2020: Concurrent connections update, from 35 to 15 to 50
07 Oct 2020: General review and new rating as the uptime has improved
12 May 2020: New prices and plans in place
14 Jan 2020: Two-factor authentication
25 Jul 2019: First review
THE BEHIND THE SCENES OF THIS REVIEW
This article has been written and researched following a precise methodology.Our methodology