A2 Hosting Review September 2018: 20X FASTER

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A2 Hosting stakes its reputation on “high powered hosting” making speed and reliability their top priority. A2 calls its SSDs “Turbo Servers” that can load pages up to 20 times faster than a typical non-SSD server

With shared hosting plans starting from just a few dollars a month, right up to top end dedicated servers and highly scalable cloud hosting services, you can start out small with A2 Hosting and then move through the levels as your needs grow.

In this article, we provide you with an honest review of A2 hosting and its features. This will help you understand whether the A2 hosting provider is the right fit for you.

1A2 Hosting Company Background

This web hosting company has been around for longer than you may think. It was launched in 2001 as Iniquinet, a web hosting startup. The business was based in Ann Arbor, MI. As the startup picked up a good pace, they changed the company’s name to A2 as a tribute to their base location.

It has always been supportive of the latest technology, which is a major reason for its ever growing success. For example, A2 became one of the first web hosting providers to support PHP5 in 2004.

In 2013, A2 introduced Solid State Drive (SSD) hosting to support its SwiftServer platform. By adopting SSDs for shared hosting as well, A2 managed to raise the speed for all other shared hosting providers.

This company then started making use of turbo servers towards the end of 2014 to offer much quicker page load speeds than several other web hosts.

In a nutshell, A2 has grown into a reliable and high-speed web hosting company.

A further validation of its trustworthiness comes from the fact that A2 has received a rating of “A+” (on a scale of A+ to F, with A+ being the highest) from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

2A2 Hosting Features

Now that you know a little bit about the company’s history and how it has evolved, it is time to take an in-depth look at the various hosting features offered by A2. You can pay special attention to the features that matter most to you when selecting your ideal web host.

Performance – Speed and Uptime

Well, one of the prime areas of focus when selecting a web host should definitely be the uptime of the host. Irrespective of the type of your website or your business, you would definitely want your site to be available to your visitors for the vast majority of the time, with as little disruption as possible.

This is where A2 offers you what you want! It claims to provide a 99.9% uptime guarantee and most of the existing customers confirm this (if the reviews are anything to go by). In fact, one of our websites run on this host and it has been offering 100% uptime for the last six months.

One of the ways that A2 Hosting ensures that uptime is maximised, is by taking measures to limit the amount of people on a shared hosting server. Taking steps to prevent overstuffing reduces the demand placed on a server with any spikes in traffic or resource requirement. This is further enhanced through caching to store information in people’s browsers so they don’t have to pull information from your website every time they visit, some of the resources are saved in the browser cache.

Apart from the considerably high uptime, the good part about A2 is that the company has been completely transparent about it. Their server uptime statistics is publicly revealed as they are being tracked by a third-party, such as WebsitePulse.

As far as website performance and speed is concerned, it is one of their biggest USP. A2 loves speed which explains the use of SSDs and turbo servers (up to 20x faster) to maintain extremely high page load speeds at all times.

The SwiftServer platform of A2 also ensures the smooth functioning of your site, irrespective of a heavy traffic load.

Data Centres

Another reason for the solid performance of sites with A2 hosting is that their data centres are spread across three continents. A2 has data centres located in Michigan (USA), Singapore (Asia) and Amsterdam (Europe). You thus get access to the server that is located closest to your location. This enhances the speed and performance of your site.

These servers are furthermore monitored round the clock. Also, since these servers are exclusively owned by A2, you can rely on their security.

Security and Backup

A2’s data centres are SSAE16 certified. It involves a gated parking lot with security key entry. Also, a security key is required to enter the data centres. The physical security is further enhanced with video surveillance.

A2 also offers a server rewind backup facility, which allows you to recover data from (automatic) saved account backup snapshots.

A2 provides a few key security tools, one of which is called HackScan which is part of their Perpetual Security initiative. Another is their dual web hosting firewall, complemented by virus scanning, security monitoring and a brute force defence mechanism.

These are not just optional addons, where you have to set everything up, bolt it on and manage them yourself as you find with some hosts. A2 manage these seamlessly in the background for you so can have peace of mind and get on with running your site knowing that they are managing security in the background.

It also uses CloudFlare for many of their hosting packages which has a multitude of performance and security protection elements to help you deliver content at a fast pace without the worry of malicious threats reaching your site. You can see all the properties of what CloudFare offers on A2’s CloudFare hosting page.

In addition, A2 offers a security solution labelled “Patchman” for all shared SSD accounts and some HDD servers.

This security tool helps to detect out-of-date software versions, infected files (which is quarantines) and so on. It even helps to patch any security issues with Drupal, WordPress and Joomla.

Customer Support

A2 has a reliable customer support team labelled “Guru Crew Support”. They are extremely good because they do not outsource their support facility to save money, instead they provide you ‘in-house’ knowledge and expertise.

They have also formed their support team with the best professionals who have good technical knowledge. That is the reason why the A2 support team is able to not only answer your basic hosting queries with ease, but also able to answer any advanced technical queries.

If you are a developer, you would still receive good support from the A2 support team for trying out advanced features on your site. The name “Guru Crew” is clearly apt for this team!

Their support team is furthermore there for you whenever you need as they are available 24×7 and 365 days a year!

You can connect with them via chat, phone calls, and emails or by simply submitting a ticket! Their response time when compared to other hosts, is impressively quick as they do not believe in keeping their customer waiting for long.

Control Panel

A2 will suit both the experienced and the newbie webmaster who knows nothing about web hosting. To make matters easy for you, it offers the industry standard control panel in the form of cPanel.

This control panel is extremely easy to use, even for first-time users, and you can easily navigate through all the elements to manage and control your website completely.

With options like Softaculous, you can install WordPress script or scripts of other CMS with just a few clicks. You can also easily access Joomla, Drupal and many other applications from the control panel.

It further offers you a shopping cart for your eCommerce platform, if you have any requirement for this. A2 offers support for some highly effective eCommerce tools, including PrestaShop and Magenta. Also, the one-click cart set up functionality does not involve in any complex coding.

If you wish to get a hosting account with root access, then A2 even allows you to install open source control panels, such as ZPanel, Ajenti and ISPConfig. There are both managed VPS and Dedicated hosting core packages that offer root access.

Developer Features

The A2 hosting provider is unique as it offers a lot for developers as well. So, if you are a programmer or like coding, you will enjoy the kind of support that A2 offers for various programming languages or tools.

Your A2 account will always be loaded with the current versions of the most popular developer software.

For example, A2 was also one of the first PHP7 hosting providers (apart from the PHP5 one in 2004). Moreover, you get performance tuned databases, such as MySQL, along with several hosting frameworks for Perl, Ruby and Python.

Tools with a Linux based solution:

  • PHP 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 7.0 or 7.1,
  • MySQL 5.6,
  • PostgreSQL 9.4,
  • Python 2.6, 2.7 or 3.2,
  • PERL 5.10, Apache 2.2,
  • js,
  • FTP / SFTP,
  • Free SSH Access,
  • SSL & Free SSL

This is just a sample of the key tools and languages available for use in the developer suite for Linux packages as published by A2.

Tools with a Windows based solution:

  • NET 2.x, 3.x & 4.x,
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014,
  • Windows Server 2012,
  • Access Database,
  • MVC 4 or 5,
  • Classic ASP,
  • .NET Core 1.1,
  • Silverlight 4 or 5,
  • FTP / SFTP,
  • SSL & Free SSL,
  • MySQL 5.6,
  • PHP 5.6, 7.0 or 7.1

This is just a sample of the key tools available for use in the developer suite for Windows packages as published by A2.

Satisfaction Guarantee

A2 offers you a risk-free trial accompanied by an anytime money back guarantee. You will get a hassle-free refund from A2, and if you cancel your account within 30 days, you will get a full refund. You can always tell how much a company believes in their products by how much they are willing to ‘bet their own money on it’ so to speak.

You can even get some pro-rated refunds based on your usage if you cancel your A2 hosting account after the initial 30 days. This is something you won’t find often at all with other hosting companies. In fact, even the SSL certificates that have to be purchased enjoy a seven-day refund cycle from the date of purchase.

Clearly, A2 believes in offering the maximum convenience to you! They believe in their products and they believe you will too.

Various Plans and Pricing

A2 offers a variety which is evident in the types of hosting plans that it provides. Based on your requirements, you can select a hosting plan that suits your needs best.

Below, we go through the various A2 hosting plan categories. Before we go into this, let’s be clear that all discounts mentioned or offered apply to your first term only. If you choose to take out a monthly plan, then your discount is for the first month only, as this is your first term. However, if you take a biennially term, then your discount applies for the first two years, as this is the period of your first term. Prices after the first term revert back to standard prices. All prices correct at time of publishing.

Shared Hosting

There are both Linux and Windows server packages available for shared hosting.

All the A2 shared hosting plans offer the following common features:

  • Unlimited RAID 10 storage
  • Unlimited transfer
  • A2 optimised software
  • SSD speed boost
  • Free CloudFare CDN
  • Free site migration by A2
  • The Patchman security tool
  • WordPress features, including integrated ManageWP account and optional WP-CLI (Command Line Interface)
  • Free magazine subscriptions

There is little difference between the offering of a Linux and Windows based solution, other than the Windows packages are slightly more expensive, and the cPanel is different depending on which you choose.

The price range for A2’s Linux shared hosting solutions is as follows:

Lite

  • $4.90 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $4.41 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $3.92 per month on a Biennial term (24 Months)

Swift

  • $6.37 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $5.39 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $4.90 per month on a Biennial term (24 Months)

Turbo

  • $12.25 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $10.29 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $9.31 per month on a Biennial term (24 Months

The price range for A2’s Windows shared hosting solutions is as follows:

Lite

  • $6.37 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $5.39 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $4.90 per month on a Biennial term (24 Months)

Swift

  • $7.35 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $6.37 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $5.88 per month on a Biennial term (24 Months)

Turbo

  • $12.25 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $11.27 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $10.78 per month on a Biennial term (24 Months)

VPS Hosting

If you are not into the technical stuff, you can go for the A2 Managed VPS hosting options or for the A2 Dynamic VPS hosting plans. With the dynamic VPS plans, you can get a fully customisable account, while the Managed VPS plans offer you full HostGuard management. VPS hosting is for those that need more than a shared plan can offer, but not really to the scale of requiring your own dedicated server.

Managed VPS Hosting

There are two kinds of Managed VPS Hosting plans available. You can choose Managed VPS or Core VPS Managed hosting with Root Access. Each of these offers three different plans and the price is the same for either Managed or Core.

The price range for A2’s Managed VPS and Core VPS hosting solutions is as follows:

Power+

  • $40.25 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $35.63 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $32.99 per month on a Biennial term (24 Months)

Prestige+

  • $60.05 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $52.13 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $46.19 per month on a Biennial term (24 Months)

Pinnacle+

  • $76.55 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $68.63 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $65.99 per month on a Biennial term (24 Months)

There are Quarterly and Semi-Annually pricing plans available too, check the A2 site (put in hyperlink) for details of these.

Unmanaged VPS Hosting

The A2 Unmanaged VPS hosting packages start at the prices shown above. However, each of these packages is configurable and customizable, so it is pointless to go into pricing beyond this. It will vary depending on how you customize your package.

When you click to configure the VPS package, you are presented with the following screen where you can easily select what you want:

This interactive page allows you to change the sliding scales, chose your server location, cPanel, Turbo boost and operating system requirement. The price will change accordingly for your customized plan.

Dedicated Server Hosting

A2 also offers you Flex dedicated server hosting options if you like control and are excited about developing the command line. It further provides Managed flex dedicated server hosting options, if you like a completely managed hosting solution. Under both categories, three different plans are offered: Sprint, Exceed and Mach.

Dedicated Unmanaged Hosting Plans

Each of the Unmanaged Dedicated Server Hosting Plans is customizable. You can choose between 8GB up to 32GB RAM, add Turbo Boost as well as a number of licence and backup packages that can be added on. Thus, price will vary again greatly from user to user depending on your personalized configuration and length of term that you decide to take.

The starting price for A2’s Dedicated Server Unmanaged hosting solutions is as follows:

  • Sprint – Starting at $99.59 for the ‘on the shelf’ package.
  • Exceed – Starting at $165.99 for the ‘on the shelf’ package.
  • Mach – Starting at $248.99 for the ‘on the shelf’ package.

Dedicated Server Managed Hosting

As with the VPS hosting, there are two kinds of Dedicated Server Managed Hosting plans available. You can choose Managed Dedicated Server or Core Managed Dedicated Server with Root Access. Each of these offers three different plans and the price is the same for either Managed or Core with root access.

Trying not to sound like a broken record, but again the pricing can vary widely depending on how you chose to customize your hosting. There are lots of ‘froms’ here, you can select your RAM, storage and transfer speed requirements as well as additional licences and bolt-on products. For the ‘Vanilla – off the shelf products’ though, pricing starts at:

  • Sprint – Starting at $141.09 for the ‘on the shelf’ package.
  • Exceed – Starting at $207.49 for the ‘on the shelf’ package.
  • Mach – Starting at $290.49 for the ‘on the shelf’ package.

Cloud Hosting

The Cloud Hosting plans are all Linux server based, there is no Windows option. You can however choose your Linux Operating System as well as which type of storage you want in your plan – HDD or SSD.

Much like the VPS Unmanaged plans, the Cloud Hosting plans are customizable so the pricing will vary depending on how you configure your server. The ‘vanilla’ packages start from $15 monthly for the START plan, $20 monthly for the MEDIAN plan and $25 for the ACE plan.

Reseller Hosting

A2 offer a variety of Reseller hosting plans on both Windows and Linux servers.

The price range for A2’s Linux Reseller hosting solutions is as follows:

Bronze

  • $19.79 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $16.49 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $13.19 per month on a Triennial term (36 Months)

Silver

  • $23.09 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $19.79 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $18.47 per month on a Triennial term (36 Months)

Gold

  • $29.69 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $26.39 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $24.41 per month on a Triennial term (36 Months)

Platinum

  • $46.19 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $42.89 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $40.91 per month on a Triennial term (36 Months)

The price range for A2’s Linux Reseller hosting solutions is as follows:

Bronze

  • $21.11 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $17.81 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $14.51 per month on a Triennial term (36 Months)

Silver

  • $24.41 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $21.11 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $19.79 per month on a Triennial term (36 Months)

Gold

  • $31.01 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $27.71 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $25.73 per month on a Triennial term (36 Months)

Platinum

  • $47.51 per month on a Monthly Term (1 Month)
  • $44.21 per month on an Annual Term (12 Months)
  • $42.23 per month on a Triennial term (36 Months)

There are Quarterly and Biennially pricing plans available for all of these packages too. Check the A2 site for details of these.

3Advantages of A2 Hosting

  • It provides top speeds due to its use of SSDs even for the shared hosting environment. The turbo servers further boost the speed of your website.
  • It offers comprehensive support for developer features, especially for the adoption of the latest versions of most programming software.
  • The best thing about A2 is its transparency and confidence in its server performance. This enables it to share its server uptime statistics on the official A2 host website. This transparency is also evident when it comes to checking the prices. Rather than having to start the sales process as with a lot of hosts, when you click to see full details of a plan there is a table on the respective page that shows you the pricing for each plan and for each of the payment terms. Nice.
  • The A2 hosting plans offer a lot of quality features for free in the form of server rewind backup, CloudFare CDN, hack scans and so on.

4Disadvantages of A2 Hosting

The only disadvantage one can possibly point out for the A2 hosting provider is the prices of certain plans. You cannot consider them to be cheap hosting plans, but then as with a lot of things in life, you get what you pay for.

5The Final Verdict

Very rarely have we come across a web host that has something for everyone: a newbie webmaster, a developer, an administrator and so on. You can start with A2 hosting at a lower level and then eventually scale up as your site requires more resources.

Overall A2 Hosting is a solid choice for your website, no matter how big, how resource hungry, and what software it is powered by. Whether you are just starting out or want to move to different web host, A2 Hosting has competitive pricing plans to meet a wide range of needs.

6Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q) about A2 Hosting:

#1. Which A2 Hosting plan will be better for me?
Depending on the traffic size of your website you can either go for shared hosting or VPS hosting. If you have less than or around 50K monthly unique traffic then it’s safe to go with shared hosting (I recommend to start with Swift). On the other hand, if your website has 100K+ monthly traffic then VPS server will be the perfect solution for you.

#2. What payment methods does A2 Hosting accept?
A2 Hosting accepts several common and easy payment methods including Paypal, Skrill, MasterCard, VisaCard, Bank transfer, Checks, 2CheckOut and more. You must keep in mind that payment that made via check is non-refundable. I recommend to use Paypal or Debit card for ease and fast payment.

#3. Is there any money-back guarantee from A2 Hosting?
Yap, A2 Hosting is one of those rare hosting companies who provide life-time money back guarantee. Let me share with you my personal experience, I shifted my sites from Swift to Turbo hosting and created a ticket to cancel my Swift hosting plan. They not on closed that plan but also refunded my money for rest for the 3 months that I paid, even without asking for any refund.

#4. What billing plans does A2 Hosting has?
You can go with monthly, half-yearly (6 months), 12 months, 24 months or 36 months plan. Although it’s safe to go with any plan you want as you are having any time money back guarantee, I recommend to go with at least 12 months plan as paying every single month may seem pain to some people including me.

Hope you have made a very effective decision of buying you next or very first hosting plan with A2 Hosting. I will be glad to know your experience with A2 Hosting in future, so keep in touch and make sure you use all the extra features of A2 Hosting including free SSL certificate which I loved the most.

 

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