A2 Hosting Review

Reviewed by: Jerry Low . .
  • Review Updated: Nov 08, 2018
A2 Hosting Review
Plan in review: Swift
Reviewed by:
Rating:
Review Last Updated: November 08, 2018
Summary
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

 


 

What’s in this A2 Hosting review

A2 Hosting Plans & Pricing

A2 Hosting Peers Comparison

Verdict 

 


 

Special Discount: A2 Hosting Promo Code

A2 Hosting has three shared plans; Lite, Swift and Turbo, which go for $7.99/9.99/18.99 per month respectively.

We’ve got a special promo code you can use if you’re interested in signing up with them that will give you up to 51% savings off your first bill. Just quote code “WHSR”.

* Click to enlarge image.

A2 Hosting discount
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.

 


 

Pros of A2 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)

A2 Hosting speed test
A2 Hosting speed test (September 2018) from Dulles, United States: Time to first byte (TTFB) = 545ms.

WebpageTest.org Test Result #2 (2016)

TTFB test for site hosted at A2 Hosting
A2 Hosting speed test (September 2016) from Dulles, United States: Time to first byte (TTFB) = 538ms.

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.
A2 Hosting speed test - March 2018
Test date: March 6th, 2018. Test site hosted at Michigan; longest response time (Bangalore): 279 ms.

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.

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


 

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.

A2 Hosting free cloudflare CDN
For those who know their target audience, you can enhance speed slightly more since you can select your server location. The closer your server is to your target audience, the better your site speed will be for them, typically. A2 Hosting servers are in Michigan – United States, Amsterdam – Europe, and Singapore – Asia.

A2 Optimized 

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. 

A2 Hosting auto optimized for popular CMS, including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Magento.
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.

Railgun Optimizer

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%.

A2 Hosting RailGun Optimizer
Railgun accelerates the connection between each proxy and an origin server so that users can load HTML 143% faster (based on CloudFlare study).

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:

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: 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 - 2018-09
A2Hosting uptime (September 2018): 100%

A2 Hosting Uptime (February, 2018): 99.98%

A2 Hosting Uptime - 2018-02
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 - 2017-06
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


 

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.

A2 Hosting Pricing page - special discount during signup
The pricing details are published clearly on A2 Hosting offer page.


 

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.

A2 Hosting anytime money back guarantee
A2 Hosting’s “Anytime Money Back Guarantee”.

 


 

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.

Free site migration for new A2 Hosting users
A2 Hosting offers free site migration to new customers.

 


 

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.

A2 Hosting server in three different locations
A2 Hosting operates their data centers in United States, Amsterdam, and Singapore.


 

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.

A2 Hosting web hosting plans
A2 web hosting plans.

 

 

 


 

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.

* Click to enlarge image.

A2 Hosting special discounts
Save 51% 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.

 


 

Cons of A2 Hosting

1- Site migration is chargeable if you downgrade

Unfortunately, while moving to A2 Hosting gets you free site migration, if you scale down your hosting plan for any reason, they’ll charge you for migration support services.

If you opt to move to another data centre location, you’ll also be charged. The fee in both cases is a nominal $25.

A2 Hosting site migration fees for downgrade
Possible fee (source)

 


 

2- Live chat support isn’t always available

I’m quite finicky when it comes to customer support – after all, part of our fees should cover that right?

I’ve found that a major drawback with A2 Hosting is that their live chat support has times when it’s not available.

A2 Hosting live chat record
I had to resort to email for assistance during those periods.

 


 

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 support on python and ruby
Turbo server (source)

 


 

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 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: 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 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: 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 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: 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.

 

 


 

A2 Hosting Peers Comparison

A2 Hosting vs SiteGround

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.

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 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.

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

 

 


 

Verdict: Should you go with A2 Hosting service

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.

So yes, A2 Hosting is a good choice.

Quick recap: A2 Hosting Pros & Cons

 


 

Order A2 Hosting at Special Rate

Promo code: WHSR

A2 Hosting has three shared plans; Lite, Swift and Turbo, which go for $7.99/9.99/18.99 per month respectively.

We’ve got a special promo code you can use if you’re interested in signing up with them that will give you up to 51% savings off your first bill. Just quote code “WHSR”.

A2 Hosting discounts
Save 51% 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.

 


 

 

P/S: Did this review help you?

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.