A2 Hosting Review

A2 Hosting Review
Plan in review: Swift
Reviewed by:
Rating:
Review Last Updated: May 02, 2018
Summary
The best thing about A2 Hosting is speed. By introducing SSD storage, Railgun Optimizer, and pre-configured server caching to its shared hosting users, A2 is raising the speed standard of the entire shared hosting industry.

The company A2 Hosting has been around since 2001. When it first hit the scene, it was known as Iniquinet. It was then renamed as A2 Hosting in 2003 as a tribute to the founder’s home town – Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The company has data centers in three locations, with the primary data center in Michigan and additional servers in Amsterdam and Singapore, Asia.

My experience with A2 Hosting

I’ve been using A2 Hosting platform, under A2 Prime (old shared hosting plan, similar to Swift plan today), since 2013.

In this page, you will see exactly what A2 Hosting has to offer based on my experience and server test report.

About A2 Hosting

  • Head quarter: Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • Established: 2001, previously named as Iniquinet
  • Services: Shared, VPS, cloud, dedicated, and reseller hosting

 


 

What’s in this A2 Hosting review

A2 Hosting Plans & Pricing

A2 Hosting Peers Comparison

Verdict 

 


 

Special Discount: A2Hosting Promo Code

A2 Hosting shared plans are originally priced at $7.99/9.99/18.99/mo for Lite, Swift, and Turbo.

If you apply our promo code “WHSR”, you’ll save up to 51% on your first bill.

* Click to enlarge image.

Save 57% on your first A2 Hosting bill  (order here): Discounted price for shared plans: $3.92, $4.90, and $9.31/mo.

Click here to order A2 Hosting at discounted price.

 

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Pros of A2 Hosting

1- Excellent server speed performance – TTFB below 550 ms

Overall speed performance for A2 Hosting was impressive to say the least. Results for the test site on WebPage Test consistently gets an A rating with TTFB (Time-To-First-Byte) scoring below 550ms.

 

Test Result with WebpageTest.org

Time to first byte (TTFB) for my A2-hosted site at 538ms in recent speed test.

Test Result #1 (2018): Rated “A”

The most recent speed test I conducted managed to score an A rating and yield impressive response times.
Test date: March 6th, 2018. Test site hosted at Michigan; longest response time (Bangalore): 279 ms.

Test Result #2 (2016): Rated “A”

The speed test for A2 Hosting I conducted in 2016 also yield impressive response times and was scored an A rating.

a2hosting test site
Test date: June 23, 2016. Test site scored A and is loading faster than 86% of 10 million tested websites.

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2- Well-optimized for best speed performance

A2 kills when it comes to hosting server speed optimization.

Their shared hosting plans store everything in SSD; and come with fixed physical memory (guaranteed 1GB RAM, 2.1 gHz CPU Cores for each Swift account) and pre-configured CloudFlare CDN.

Also – users can choose their server location from different continents: Michigan – United States, Amsterdam – Netherland, and Singapore.

In October 2014, A2 Hosting released A2 Optimized – a plugin that combines custom host settings and third-party functions to provide speed and security optimizations.

* Click to enlarge image. 

The plugin is pre-configured into all A2 shared hosting. Meaning – the plugin will be installed automatically when you setup your WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, OpenCart, or PrestaShop at A2.

If that’s not enough, you can still upgrade to Turbo Server – where you get reallocated to servers with less users and free access to Railgun Optimizer (which gives 143% faster HTML load time).

Railgun accelerates the connection between each proxy and an origin server so that users can load HTML 143% faster (based on CloudFlare study).

Quick glance: Key server speed features at A2 Hosting

Performance of A2 shared hosting are backed by 12 core servers with SSD storage, 16 GB RAM and 10 GB/s redundant network. Other key speed features are as below:

Features Lite Swift Turbo
Complete SSD solution
Turbo server (20x faster page loads)
US, EU, and Asia server locations
CloudFlare Basic
CloudFlare Plus
HTTP/2 (deliver files 20-30% faster)
RailGun Optimizer (143% faster) Add $0.98mo Add $0.98/mo Free
Starting price $3.92/mo $4.90/mo $9.31/mo

 

Note: Why focus so much on server speed? Because speed kills.

According to web performance case studies, just 1 second decrease in site load time offers a 7% improvement in conversion rate and 11% bump in page views. If your host is not speeding fast enough, it is killing your business.

 

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3- Hosting uptime scores meet expectations

In terms of uptime rate, A2 Hosting definitely meets my expectations. On average, you can expect uptime scores to hover within the 99.98% range, which is above the industry standard.

A2 Hosting Uptime (February, 2018): 99.98%

Three minutes connection timeout recorded in February 11th and 19th. Test site uptime score = 99.98%.

A2 Hosting Uptime (June, 2017): 99.99%

A2 Hosting uptime (June 2017): 99.99%. Site went down for a minute on June 21st.

Previous Uptime Data (2013 – 2016)

* Click to enlarge image.

Jul, 2016: 100%

A2 Hosting uptime for June and July 2016

Mar, 2016: 99.84%

a2 - 201603

Feb, 2016: 99.88%

a2 feb 2016 uptime

Aug 2015: 100%

a2hosting uptime august 2015

Apr 2015: 99.98%

a2hosting uptime score (apr 2015)

Oct 2014: 99.98%

a2hosting september uptime

Aug 2014: 99.7%

A2 Hosting Past 30 Days Uptime (July - August, 2014)

Sep 2013: 99.98%a2hosting uptime score

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4- Discount at Signups + Reasonable renewal rate

Like most budget hosting providers, A2 Hosting jack up their fees during renewal. Undoubtedly, a 50% price jump sucks; but I think A2 Hosting’s price increase is at least fair and reasonable (Swift plan renews at $9.99/mo for 2-year.).

New users get an one-time discounts when they first signup to A2 Hosting. The hosting price will fall back to the “standard” rate when you renew your account, which is $9.99/mo for 2-year renewal on Swift Plan.

The pricing details are published clearly on A2 Hosting offer page.

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5- Risk free – Anytime Money Back Guarantee

A2 Hosting is quite good with their money back guarantees in that customers can apply for it anytime and that it’s “Risk Free, Hassle Free, Worry Free”.

In terms of refunds, they offer the standard “full refund within 30-days” and also a prorated refund if you have unused services after the 30-day period.

anytime money back

 

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6- Free sites migration for new customers

If you’re transferring your site from another host, A2 Hosting offers free site migration services for customers who just signed up.

The process itself is simple enough, just contact any of their support crew and they’ll help you with the entire process.

free site migration new customers

 

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7- Choice of 4 different server locations

A2 Hosting has a number of data centers around the world. When you order your hosting plan, you have the option of choosing which server location you want your website to be hosted at.

This is great if you want to target specific regions, such as Asia or Europe.

A2 Hosting operates their data centers in United States, Amsterdam, and Singapore.

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8- Upgrade to VPS, cloud, and dedicated hosting

There are various options when it comes to hosting plans at A2 Hosting. You can choose between VPS, cloud, or even dedicated hosting when you sign up. Having all these options is great for any website as it allows more room for growth down the line.

Plenty of room to grow

 

 

 

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9- A2 Hosting Special Discount: Save 51%

A2 Hosting shared plans are originally priced at $7.99/9.99/18.99/mo for Lite, Swift, and Turbo.

If you apply our promo code “WHSR”, you’ll save up to 51% on your first bill.

* Click to enlarge image.

Save 57% on your first A2 Hosting bill  (order here): Discounted price for shared plans: $3.92, $4.90, and $9.31/mo.

Click here to order A2 Hosting at discounted price.

 

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Cons of A2 Hosting

1- Site migration is chargeable when downgrading

When you downgrade your account in A2 Hosting, services such as site migrations will become chargeable.

If downgrading to a lower-priced hosting plan, you may be subject to a $25 downgrade charge.

However, changing to another data center without an upgrade will cost you $25 in fees.

Possible fee (source)

 

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2- Live chat support not 24×7 based on my test

One of the major drawbacks for A2 Hosting is that their live chat support is not available 24×7. When I conducted my survey on hosting companies live chat support, A2 Hosting support was unreachable via live chat and I was advised to contact them via email instead.

A2 Hosting live chat

 

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3- Turbo server does not support Ruby or Python application

From a user perspective, A2 Hosting’s Turbo Web Hosting servers behave almost identically to our Swift Web Hosting servers. There are, however, a few differences that impact web developers:

Turbo server (source)

 

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A2 Hosting’s Shared, Managed VPS, and Cloud Plans

I spent most of my time testing and studying A2 Hosting’s Shared Plans.

It offers three options for shared hosting: 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.

A2 Shared Hosting Plans

Features Lite Swift Turbo
Websites 1 Unlimited Unlimited
Databases 5  Unlimited Unlimited
SSD Speed Boost Yes Yes Yes
Turbo Server No No Yes
Pre-configured Site Caching No No Yes
Price /mo $3.92/mo $4.90/mo $9.31/mo

Tip: 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 Managed VPS Hosting Plans

Features Power Prestige Pinnacle
RAM 4 GB 6 GB 8 GB
SSD Storage 75 GB 100 GB 150 GB
CPU Cores 4 6 8
cPanel Control Panel
Price $32.99/mo $46.19/mo $65.99/mo

 

Tip: The plans listed above are managed VPS – this means A2 Hosting will provide assistance in setting up and managing your servers. For experienced developers – you might want to check out A2’s Unmanaged VPS plans – they are dead cheap; Basic plan starts at $5/mo and come with 20 GB SSD storage, 1 CPU core, and 512 MB RAM. 

 

A2 Cloud Hosting Plans

Features Start Median Ace
RAM 512 MB 1 GB 1 GB
HDD Storage 10 GB  10 GB 25 GB
CPU Cores 2 2 2
Price $15/mo $20/mo $25/mo

 

Tip: A2 Hosting Cloud Plans are very basic. If you are considering this – you might want to check out their VPS plans or Hostgator Cloud (powerful and cheaper) instead. 

 

 

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A2 Hosting Peers Comparison

A2 Hosting vs SiteGround

SiteGround first came under WHSR’s radar in late 2013. The company is founded by a group of university friends and currently host more than 1,000,000 domains at this time of writing.

I was given the opportunity to interview SiteGround CEO, Tenko Nikolov and got a free hosting account during the same period. My SiteGround review is published here.

Both A2 Hosting and SiteGround are outstanding in my opinion. A2 Hosting has an advantage over SiteGround in term of long term cost; SiteGround, on the other hand, has a much better live chat support system compare to A2.

Features A2 Hosting SiteGround
Plan in Review Swift GrowBig
Websites Unlimited Unlimited
Storage Unlimited 20 GB
Free Domain
In-house Server Optimization
Server Locations United States, Europe, Asia. United States, Europe, Asia.
Money Back Guarantee Anytime 30 Days
Signup Price (36-mo subscription) $4.90/mo $5.95/mo
Renewal Price $9.99/mo $14.95/mo
Order / Learn More A2Hosting.com SiteGround.com

 

A2 Hosting vs BlueHost

BlueHost is founded by Matt Heaton and Danny Ashworth in 2003. The company is then sold to Endurance International Group (EIG). The company is officially recommended by WordPress.org and hosts more than 1,000,000 domain names.

Features A2 Hosting Bluehost
Plan in Review Swift Plus
Websites Unlimited Unlimited
Storage Unlimited Unlimited
SSD?
Free Domain
In-house Server Optimization
Server Locations United States, Europe, Asia. No Choice
Money Back Guarantee Anytime 30 Days
Signup Price (36-mo subscription) $4.90/mo $5.95/mo
Renewal Price $9.99/mo $10.99/mo
Order / Learn More A2Hosting.com Bluehost.com

 

 

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Verdict: Should you go with A2 Hosting

By all accounts, A2 Hosting is definitely worth signing up if you don’t have a web host.

Given that you’ll get a very powerful hosting plan at a very decent price, it’s hard to argue against using A2 Hosting. Whether it’s high-performing servers, pricing that’s reasonable, and the ability to grow, A2 Hosting checks all the right boxes.

So yes, you should  go with A2 Hosting.

Quick recap: A2 Hosting Pros & Cons

 

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Order A2 Hosting at Special Rate

Promo code: WHSR

A2 Hosting shared plans are originally priced at $7.99/9.99/18.99/mo for Lite, Swift, and Turbo.

If you apply our promo code “WHSR”, you’ll save up to 51% on your first bill.

Save 57% on your first A2 Hosting bill  (order here): Discounted price for shared plans: $3.92, $4.90, and $9.31/mo.

Click here to order A2 Hosting at discounted price.

 

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P/S: Is this review helpful?

Links pointing to A2 Hosting website are affiliate links. If you purchase via this link, it will credit me as your referrer. This is how I keep this site alive for 8+ years and add more free hosting reviews based on real test accounts – your support is highly appreciated. Buying via my link doesn’t cost you more – in fact, I can guarantee that you’ll get the lowest possible price for A2 Hosting. )