The best thing about A2 Hosting is speed. By introducing SSD storage, Railgun Optimizer, and pre-configured server caching to its customers, A2 is raising the speed standard of the entire shared hosting industry.
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. For those interested in the why of it, Ann Arbour is the hometown of the founder of A2 Hosting.
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.
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 offer under the Swift Plan today.
With this review, I will share with you my experience with them as a customer as well as the data I’ve collected on their server performance over the years.
About A2 Hosting
Company HQ: Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Established: 2001 (formerly known as Iniquinet)
Services: Shared, VPS, cloud, dedicated, and reseller hosting
1- Great performance with typical TTFB below 550 ms
For me, speed is one of the key performance indicators and I was impressed with A2 Hosting servers. Overall speed results consistently showed an A rating on WebPage Speedtest. Notably, Time-To-First-Byte (TTFB) was below 550ms.
WebpageTest.org Test Result #1 (2018)
WebpageTest.org Test Result #2 (2016)
Bitcatcha Test Result #1 (2018): Rated “A”
The most recent trials I ran with A2 Hosting on the Bitcatcha proprietary speed test system also managed to gain impressive timings that led to an average A rating thanks to impressive response times.
Bitcatcha Test Result #2 (2016): Rated “A”
Back in 2016 the test was also scoring an A rating, also due to the great server speeds that A2 Hosting has.
2- Well-optimized for best performance
Of course, 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.
Full SSD storage + fat server resources
A2 Swift Plans offer full SSD storage along with a guaranteed 1GB RAM and 2.1 GHz CPU Cores. It also has pre-configured Cloudflare CDN.
Even better, in October 2014 A2 Hosting came out with a stunning new feature – A2 Optimized.
This specialized plugin helps tweak custom host settings and third-party functions so that your hosting account gains greater speed and security optimizations.
* Click to enlarge image.
If you’re one of those who demands the best of the best, there’s more. Upgrading your account with their Turbo Server option moves you onto less populated servers (hence leaving you with more access to resources) and allows free access to Railgun Optimizer.
If you’re not sure what that means, Railgun Optimizer speeds up your HTML loading time by as much as 143%.
At a glance: What makes A2 Hosting servers so fast?
Each A2 Hosting server features pure SSD storage, 12 Core processors, 16 GB RAM coupled to a 10 GB/s network with redundancy. You also get:
Complete SSD solution
Turbo server (20x faster page loads)
US, EU, and Asia server locations
HTTP/2 (deliver files 20-30% faster)
RailGun Optimizer (143% faster)
Note: 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.
3- Strong server uptime record
Aside from speed, availability is also important. There’s no pint 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 99.98% availability, way above the industry standard.
A2 Hosting Uptime (September, 2018): 100%
A2 Hosting Uptime (February, 2018): 99.98%
A2 Hosting Uptime (June, 2017): 99.99%
Previous Uptime Data (2013 – 2016)
* Click to enlarge image.
Jul, 2016: 100%
Mar, 2016: 99.84%
Feb, 2016: 99.88%
Aug 2015: 100%
Apr 2015: 99.98%
Oct 2014: 99.98%
Aug 2014: 99.7%
Sep 2013: 99.98%
4- Reasonable rates and sign-up discounts
It is usual that 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. Their Swift Plan renews at $9.99 per month on a 2-year contract.
A2 Hosting Sign-up Discounts
For those who are just joining them, you will get a one-time discount before having to pay standard rates upon renewal.
5- Try A2Hosting out for free!
Try it before you buy it! Well, not exactly, but thanks to a 30-day money back guarantee, at least you can change your mind if you’re unhappy with what you’ve bought into.
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.
6- A2 will help migrate your websites
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 do it for you!
Free site migration
All you need to do once you sign up is to get in touch with the company customer support and they will help you along, just like that.
7- Choice of 4 different server locations
Four server locations to choose from
Options are always good, and A2 Hosting lets you choose from any of their data centres around the world to be hosted on. This step kicks in when you place your order, so choose wisely beforehand!
I find that this is great for those who are targeting website traffic from specific countries or zones, e.g. Asia or Europe.
8- Even more options: Upgrade to VPS, cloud, and dedicated hosting
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
I think that the key operative here is scalability. If you’re concerned that your site will outgrow your host’s capabilities, don’t be. There’s lots of room to expand at A2 Hosting.
9- Get your 51% special discount here
As I mentioned earlier, A2 Hosting shared plans are priced at $7.99/9.99/18.99 per month for their Lite, Swift, and Turbo Plans respectively.
If you sign up with our special “WHSR” promo code, you’ll get a 51% discount on your first bill.
3- 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.
A2 Hosting’s Shared, Managed VPS, and Cloud Plans
Having had an account with them for so long, I’ve spent A LOT of time testing and dissecting their shared hosting plans.
Three options in shared hosting offers potential customers just enough choices to make things interesting, but not enough to confuse. This is especially true since A2 Hosting focusses on unlimited options in its shared plans.
The cost range stretches a bit from $3.92 to $9.31 a month, yet all shared plans 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.
A2 Shared Hosting Service
Features / Plans
SSD Speed Boost
Pre-configured Site Caching
Tip: 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.
A2 Managed VPS Hosting Service
Features / Plans
cPanel Control Panel
Tip: VPS on A2 Hosting are all manged – 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 also has unmanaged VPS hosting plans which are dirt cheap. At the lowest tier, they start at a mere $5 per month and come with 20 GB SSD storage, 1 CPU core, and 512 MB RAM.
A2 Cloud Hosting Service
Features / Plans
Tip: 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 or take a look at Hostgator Cloud (which are comparably much more powerful and cheaper) instead.
With over a million domains under management and in the business since 2013, SiteGround has grown and grown and … well, simply grown. I have both tested their plans (read my review here) as well as interviewed SiteGround CEO, Tenko Nikolov before.
In my humble opinion, both A2 Hosting and SiteGround are ranked in the top tier of their industry. There are slight differences, such as that A2 Hosting has an advantage in terms of long term cost. Alternatively, SiteGround offers better customer support thanks to 24×7 live chat sales support.
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 service and they have become a force to be reckoned with in the web hosting business.
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.
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 have kept my site alive for 8+ years and continually 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.
About Jerry Low
Founder of WebHostingSecretRevealed.net (WHSR) - a hosting review trusted and used by 100,000's users. More than 15 years experience in web hosting, affiliate marketing, and SEO. Contributor to ProBlogger.net, Business.com, SocialMediaToday.com, and more.
WHSR receives referral fees from hosting companies listed on this website. Our opinions are
based on real experience and actual server data. Please read
our review policy page to understand how our host rating system works.
Managed Cloud Hosting
Extra Domain Reg.
$14.95/yr for .com domain; prices vary for different TLDs.
Private Domain Reg.
Auto Script Installer
Custom Cron Jobs
Built-in Site Builder
A2 Website Builder
No. of Email Accounts
Zen Shopping Cart
Customer Care Policy
Server Usage Limitation
300,000 inodes and 35 concurrent HTTP connections to the server.