A2Hosting Review

Reviewed by: Jerry Low . .
  • Review Updated: Jun 11, 2021
A2Hosting
Plan in review: Drive
Reviewed by: Jerry Low
Rating:
Review Updated: June 11, 2021
Summary
Reasonable pricing, excellent server performance, and powerful features - A2 check all the right boxes that are necessary for a stable and fast website. So yes, A2 Hosting is a good choice.

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.

About A2 Hosting, the Company

  • Company HQ: Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • Established: 2001 (formerly known as Iniquinet)
  • Services: Shared, VPS, cloud, dedicated, and reseller hosting

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's offered under A2's Drive Plan today.

With this A2 Hosting review, I will take you to the backstage and see how things work at A2 Hosting. I will share with you my experience with them as a customer as well as the data I’ve collected (from this test site) on their server performance over the years.

TL;DR

In short – Reasonable pricing, excellent server performance, and powerful features – A2 check all the right boxes that are necessary for a stable and fast website. I do think A2 Hosting is a good choice for most users who are looking for a mid-range hosting solution.

Signup to A2 Hosting now (shared plans start $2.99/mo)

2 Minute Video Review

 

 


 

Pros: What I Like About A2 Hosting

1. Excellent Hosting Performance

Typical TTFB below 400 ms, rated A in various tests

Speed is one of the key performance indicators. To determine A2Hosting's speed, we host a simple website at A2 Hosting and run regular speed tests on different tools – and I was impressed with A2 Hosting servers. Overall speed results consistently showed an outstanding ratings on both Bitcatcha and WebPageTest.org.

Below are screenshots of our most recent test results.

A2Hosting Speed test at Bitcatcha

A2Hosting Speed Tests
Test site at A2Hosting managed to gain impressive timings that led to an average A+ rating. Server response time ranges from 24ms (US East Coast) to 439ms (Singapore). Test date June 11, 2021 – see actual test result here.

A2Hosting Speed tests at WebpageTest.org

A2 Hosting Performance Test Results from WebPageTest.org
A2 Hosting speed performance test from different locations: Singapore (top), United States (mid), United Kingdom (bottom), and Singapore (bottom). Test site's TTFB rated “A” by WebPageTest.org in all results. See actual test results here, here, and here.

 

2. Well-optimized Shared Plans

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.

This explains why my hosting review emphasizes a lot on server performance.

A2 Hosting “Speed Features”

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.

In a glance, here are the “speed features” A2 covered in their shared hosting plans.

FeaturesStartupDriveTurbo BoostTurbo Max
SSD Storage100 GBUnlimitedN/AN/A
NVMe Storage (3x Faster)NoNoUnlimitedUnlimited
Physical Memory700 MB1 GB2 GB4 GB
Server Locations4444
HTTP/3 (30% faster)NoNoYesYes
A2 OptimizedYesYesYesYes
Signup Price$2.99/mo$4.99/mo$9.99/mo$14.99/mo

 

Speed features on all shared plans

A2 Common Speed Features
All A2's shared hosting plans are supported by A2Optimized software – a pre-tuned plugin for sites powered by WordPress, PrestaShop, Magento, OpenCart, and Drupal. Other speed features available for all plans include SSD drives, guaranteed server resources,  and choice of server locations in three continents.

A2 Drive Plans offer full SSD storage along with a guaranteed 1GB RAM and 2 x 2.1 GHz CPU Cores. It also has pre-configured Cloudflare CDN – which helps load your webpage 200% faster.

Speed features on Turbo plans

A2Hosting Turbo Plans
For higher shared hosting plans (named Turbo & Turbo Max) – users get even better speed features with 20x fast server (powerful server with AMD EPYC CPU, NVMe storage, LiteSpeed support, etc).

 

 

3. Highly Reliable

Aside from speed, availability is also important. There’s no point in 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 99.99% availability, way above the industry standard.

To monitor hosting performance, our team has built a system named HostScore. Image below shows A2 Hosting uptime stats we gathered in January and February 2020. For latest A2 Hosting uptime, visit this page.

Recent A2 Hosting uptime review

a2hosting uptime - March, April, May 2021
A2Hosting uptime in March, April, May 2021 – only one outages recorded in three months time.

 

4. Good Pricing Practice

It is usual that cheap 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.

Reasonable Renewal Rates

For those who are just joining A2, you will get a one-time discount before having to pay standard rates upon renewal. Their shared hosting plans renew at $8.99, $11.99, $19.99, $24.99 per month on a 2-year contract for Startup, Drive, Turbo Boost, and Turbo Max respectively.

a2hosting signup vs renewal
The pricing details are published clearly on A2 Hosting offer page. The “Promo Price” is the price you pay when signup; the “Renewal Cost” is the price you pay during renewal. This screenshot is taken on June 2021.

Free Trials & Anytime Money Back

Thanks to a 30-day money back guarantee, you can signup to A2 Hosting and 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's “Anytime Money Back Guarantee”.
A2 Hosting's “Anytime Money Back Guarantee”.

 

5. Free Website Migration

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 help migrate your websites for free!

How to ask for free migration assistance

 

a2hosting free migration
To request a free site migration, Login > Support > Migrations > Create a “migration” ticket.

 

6. Four Server Locations

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 and Arizona – United States, Amsterdam – Europe, and Singapore – Asia.

I find that this is great for those who are targeting website traffic from specific countries or zones, e.g. Asia or Europe.

How to choose your server location

A2 Hosting Server Locations
A2 Hosting lets you choose from any of their data centers around the world to be hosted on. This step kicks in when you place your order, so choose wisely beforehand.

 

7. All Rounded Hosting Solutions

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

A2Hosting - Highly Scalable
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. Screenshot taken on June 2021, note that actual prices may vary.

 

8. Specialized Developer Environments

A2 Hosting is one of the extremely rare service providers that offer some very specialized developer environments on their shared plans. Examples of this include node.js, a Java-based open source server environment.

A2 Hosting = Cheapest Python and Node.js hosting

These specialized environments can allow a wide variety of features such as the generation of dynamic page content. Although open-source and can be installed in almost all environments, it is extremely unusual to find a host which allows installation and configuration on shared environments. In fact, to the best of our knowledge, the only place that allows this is A2 Hosting.

A2Hosting Node Js
A2 Hosting offers wide range of specialized developer environments at affordable prices: Node.js hosting starts at just $4.99/mo. Other supported hosting environments include Apache Tomcat, Nginx, Perl, Python, Ubuntu, and more. For existing A2 Hosting users who wish to setup a new development environment, Login > cPanel > Software > Create and configure new application.

 

Drawbacks and Cons: What I Do Not Like about 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 center location, you’ll also be charged. The fee in both cases is a nominal $25.

Quoting A2Hosting's Terms of Service (June 2021):

Downgrades. When downgrading to a lower-priced plan, the difference between the amount of the current package price already paid over the new package price will be placed on the billing account as a service credit. Refunds will not be issued and a twenty-five dollar ($25) downgrade migration fee may be charged. Please contact the sales or billing department if considering an upgrade or downgrade to determine what options are suitable and to discuss pricing.

 

2. 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.

Quote:

Turbo Boost and Turbo Max Web Hosting servers do not support Ruby-based or Python-based web applications, including Rails and Django.

 

 


 

A2 Hosting Plans & Pricing Review

Having had an account with them for so long, I’ve spent A LOT of time testing and dissecting their shared hosting plans.

Four 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 focuses on unlimited options in its shared plans.

The cost range stretches a bit from $2.99 to $14.99 a month, yet all shared plans (excluded the Startup plan) 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 Plans

Features / PlansStartupDriveTurbo BoostTurbo Max
Websites1UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Storage100 GBUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Databases5UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Rewind BackupsNoYesYesYes
Turbo ServerNoNoYesYes
Free MigrationYesYesYesYes
Free SSLYesYesYesYes
Price /mo$2.99/mo$4.99/mo$9.99/mo$14.99/mo

Choosing 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 Unmanaged VPS Hosting Plans

Features / PlansRunway 1Runway 2Runway 4
RAM1 GB2 GB4 GB
SSD Storage150 GB250 GB450 GB
CPU Cores124
Root AccessYesYesYes
Price$4.99/mo$8.99/mo$11.99/mo

Choosing Tip

VPS on A2 Hosting come in three different packages – Core VPS, Managed VPS, and Unmanaged VPS – For the first two packages (Core and Managed), 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 Unmanaged VPS hosting plans are dirt cheap. At the lowest tier, they start at a mere $5 per month and come with 150 GB SSD storage, 1 CPU core, and 1 GB RAM.

Also, 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.

 

A2 WordPress Hosting Plans

Features / PlansStartupDriveTurbo BoostTurbo Max
Websites1UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Storage100 GBUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Databases5UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
A2 AcceleratorNoNoYesYes
Free MigrationYesYesYesYes
WP Lite SpeedNoYesYesYes
WP CLIYesYesYesYes
Price /mo$2.99/mo$4.99/mo$9.99/mo$14.99/mo

Choosing Tip

A2 WordPress Hosting plans are the same with Shared Plans. A2 Accelerator is an in-house built cPanel plugin that provides pre-configured caching for Faster WordPress page loads. Caching options include Memcached, OPcache, and Turbo Cache (for static HTML content).

 

 

Alterantives to A2Hosting

A2 Hosting vs SiteGround: A2 is Cheaper but SiteGround has better support

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 SiteGround 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.

FeaturesA2 HostingSiteGround
Plan in ReviewDriveGrowBig
WebsitesUnlimitedUnlimited
StorageUnlimited20 GB
Free DomainYesNo
StagingNoYes
Money-Back GuaranteeAnytime30 Days
Signup (3 year)$4.99/mo$17.49/mo
Order / Learn MoreA2Hosting.comSiteGround.com

Learn more

 

Compare 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.

FeaturesA2 HostingBluehost
Plan in ReviewDrivePlus
WebsitesUnlimitedUnlimited
SSD StorageUnlimitedUnlimited
Free DomainYesYes
StagingNoNo
Money-Back GuaranteeAnytime30 Days
Signup (3 year)$4.90/mo$5.45/mo
Order / Learn MoreA2Hosting.comBluehost.com

Learn more

 

Frequently Asked Questions on A2 Hosting

Where is A2 Hosting located?

A2 Hosting has servers in three key regions – United States, the Netherlands, and Singapore.

How do I access cPanel A2 Hosting?

You can access your A2 hosting cPanel account either via your client dashboard or directly through the cPanel address of your site. The latter should have been provided to you as part of your onboarding package.

Which hosting is best for WordPress?

There are many good providers of WordPress hosting around. Some such as A2 Hosting offer special optimizations, while others like Kinsta have built their entire business based on WordPress hosting.

Is shared hosting slow?

Generally, shared hosting servers usually house more customers per server which increases the chance of performance degradation. Comparatively, VPS hosting would be faster since fewer users share each server and resources are guaranteed. However, the quality of the hosting servers also should be taken into account.

Is shared hosting safe?

Shared hosting is less safe in comparison with other types of hosting since the environment and resources are shared. An infection on one site may spread and involve other websites housed on the same server.

 

So…. Is A2 the Right Hosting Solution for Your Site?

Recap: What I Like / Dislike About A2Hosting

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.

 

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.