A2 Hosting is popularly known for having some of the fastest hosting services in the industry – it’s their major selling point – with which they’ve managed to sustain their fast growth level.
But what else are they doing right?
It’s time to find out below in this in-depth A2 Hosting Review.
Founded and started in 2001 by Bryan Muthig, they were initially known as Inquinet. Their inception was in only a two-room office in Ann Arbor (Michigan), and it’s incredible how far they’ve come.
Their headquarters remain to be in Michigan, but they’ve expanded and established data centers in Amsterdam and Singapore for a global reach.
Where did they get their name from?
A2 – got derived from their founding town Ann Arbour, the two A’s form A2. Cool, right? A company with roots they are proud of.
Unlike major hosting providers who are owned by big brands like EIG, A2 hosting remains privately owned, which in my opinion, is generally a good thing.
How? You may ask
Well, they can offer extra custom features; private hosts rarely outsource their support services, and it’s generally good for the industry to have this competition.
With 20 years in the industry, they’ve grown to be a full-service web hosting provider offering shared, VPS, dedicated, and also Reseller hosting packages. They now power over 500 thousand sites and have Better Business Bureau A rating.
What more, they are a brand committed to green hosting. They’ve been offering environmentally friendly hosting since 2007.
This extensive review on A2 Hosting covers their pros and cons, services offered, and information on their data centers, customer support services, and more.
We aim to equip you with all the information you need to know about them before you take out your wallet. With the points given below, trust me, you will be the most informed buyer on A2 hosting.
A bold claim, right? It’s not unfounded, read on for more..
We’ve not held back on the advantages and disadvantages of A2 Hosting. Here’s everything.
Table of Contents
As discussed above, A2 Hosting offers extensive hosting packages. All the plans below get free SSL and free website migration.
But there is a catch on the migration part. More on that later.
When it comes to shared hosting, A2 plans perform well as they use expertly tuned servers that use a supercharged CentOS version for allocating resources. Also, each server has a balanced capacity of users to ensure your plan’s performance doesn’t get hampered by other sites.
- Lite– 500MB RAM and1 CPU core (2.1 GHz),
- Swift -1GB RAM and 2 cores (2.1 GHz),
- Turbo -2GB RAM and 2 cores (2.1 GHz),
The free SSL type you get is a shared SSL certificate, which is enough if you aren’t running an e-commerce store. Other standard features across the plans include free cPanel, Anycast DNS, Cloudflare integration, and unlimited storage and transfers. To get unlimited websites, email accounts, databases, domains, subdomains, add-on domains, you have to upgrade to either Swift or Turbo plans.
WordPress optimization and relevant features:
- A2 optimized WordPress Plugin with auto-optimizations and configurations (compression and caching).
- A2 Optimized Enhanced Security with a ReCaptcha for your WordPress login page, unique WordPress login URL as well as automatic WordPress security updates.
- Either getting WordPress pre-installed –by selecting this option on your form – or getting 1-click install through Softaculous.
- Website site staging support
Unlike the Lite and Swift plan, you get Cloudflare plus CDN with Turbo plan, which has faster optimization on mobile devices.
Automatic backups are enabled so you can have peace of mind knowing if you didn’t manually do it, you’re covered. Only Swift and Turbo get free Server Data Rewind Protection.
Best shared plan? The Turbo plan, it comes with turbo boost enabled, which gives you around 20X performance.
With A2 Hosting WordPress hosting, you’ve got two options
First, get the normal shared plans and install WordPress with a single click, you’ll get the WordPress optimizations discussed just above. You’ll be performing WordPress management for your site.
Second, you can get their Managed WordPress Plans, where A2 experts help you in management. You get additional exclusive features such as daily automated WordPress backups, pre-installed WordPress, RAID-10 storage, 1-click staging, WP-CLI support, and managed WordPress software patching and updating.
Unlimited features include databases, transfers, and emails,
But that’s not all. You can host Maria DB Databases (MySQL Compatible), which are about 5% better in terms of speed.
- Plesk panel
- Pre-configured Let’s Encrypt SSL
- Anycast DNS
- Jetpack Personal license
- Cloudflare ServerShield and CDN integrated.
With the managed option, your WordPress is faster because it comes with the Turbo boost (20X) enabled. There are 3 plans where the number of sites each supports correspond to their names.
- 1-Site – 2 cores at 2.4 GHz, 2GB memory and 10GB SSD storage
- 1-Site – 3 cores at 2.4 GHz, 3GB memory and 25 GB SSD storage
- Unlimited – 4 cores at 2.4 GHz, 4GB memory and 40GB SSD storage
Unlike other hosts who put restrictions on their managed WordPress plan on plugins, with A2, you can install any plugin.
How much faster can your WordPress site get?
Well, you’ll be glad to know they’ve got SPDY enabled. It a protocol from Google developed and designed to cache your site’s content and provide faster and also more secure acess.
The main downside? You don’t get a free domain.
If your hosting needs stretch a little further than shared hosting, there are 3 types of VPS plans available: managed, core, and unmanaged.
What’s the difference?
For managed VPS, you get full management called HostGuard. (Benefits included in the Ease of Use section). For Core VPS, you get HostGuard but also full root access.
Unmanaged plans have root access, but you get no control panel.
All their VPS benefit from their high-speed SwiftServer optimization for speed improvements.
Standard VPS features include free transfers, automatic backups with Server Rewind File Backups protection, free SSL, RAID-10 Storage, 2 dedicated IPs, and a free cPanel.
Unlimited features include websites, domains, subdomains and add-on domains
To simply everything, core and managed plans have the same pricing with the following similar resources
- Power+ 4 Cores, 4 GB of memory, 75 SSD GB storage, 2 TB transfer limit
- Prestige+ 6 Cores, 6 GB RAM, 100 SSD GB storage, 3 TB transfer cap
- Pinnacle+ 8 Cores, 4 GB of RAM, 150 SSD GB storage, 4 TB transfer limit
On top of HostGuard, features to help you find management and the platform easy to use include getting a free New Relic Server Monitoring (for usage stats), and you also get Boot Shutdown & Reboot Control.
Unmanaged plans are much cheaper but also include reduced resources.
- Entry – 1 Core, 512 GB RAM, 20 SSD GB storage, 2 TB transfer limit
- Mid – 1 Cores, 1 GB RAM, 30 SSD GB storage, 3 TB transfer cap
- Elite – 4 Cores, 1 GB of RAM, 50 SSD GB storage, 4 TB transfer limit
Apart from getting full root access, you benefit from a Webuzo 1-click installer, and you can install an operating system of your choice.
Cloud hosting plans are available if you are looking for better reliability and speeds than traditional hosting. They are VPS based. You get similar resources and pricing as the unmanaged VPS plans above. A2 Hosting offers easy scaling of resources where you can re-size your account, depending on your resource needs.
While niche in nature, A2 hosting also caters for the dedicated server hosting market. Similar to their VPS plans, the servers can either be managed, core or unmanaged and use either a Windows or Linux OS.
You get fast provisioning (30 minutes) and light speed account activation with no setup fees charged to hit the ground running.
Features provided across the plans include free site migration, 2 dedicated IPs, and SSD storage with RAID 1 redundancy.
Core Flex and Managed Dedicated Servers
Core and managed dedicated servers get the same resources and features; unlimited websites, domains, subdomains, and add on domains.
- Sprint – 2 Intel processor cores (3.1GHz), 8 GB RAM, 2X500 GB SSD Storage and 10 TB Transfer
- Exceed – 4 Intel Xeon processor cores (2.4GHz), 8 GB RAM, 2X500 GB SSD Storage, and 15 TB Transfer
- Mach – Dual CPU 8 core Intel Xeon processor (2.1GHz), 16 GB RAM, 2X1000 GB SSD Storage and 20 TB Transfer
Prices for core and managed plans are identical, with the only difference being root access for core flex servers.
Managed servers benefit from swift server speed up package for a speed boost and also get the HostGuard managed service.
Who doesn’t like freebies? You’re offered
- Free SSL certificate
- Free Cloudflare CDN.
Unmanaged Dedicated Servers
Notably, there is no free cPanel and SSL certificate provided, but don’t despair. Hardware & Network are managed by their team and a Cloudflare Firewall is included. It has integrated features that make up for some of the missing freebies:
- Auto-Configured Cloudflare Firewall
- Free Universal SSL – help to keep your visitors safe
- Mobile Optimization enabled by Mirage & Polish
- SPDY Support for over 64% content loading
If you’ve got the resources, expertise, or ability to run unmanaged servers, Sprint and Mach plan have lower pricing, which you should consider.
You can choose your Operating System from CentOS, Debain, Fedora, Gentoo, Slackware, and Ubuntu options. Installation can get done with the Free SolusVM Control Panel provided. Extra functionality includes helping you control network IPTables.
Command Line Management is available, and you’ll have full root access to your server, and you can install or get to compile custom software.
The unique features for unmanaged plans include:
- Webuzo installer with 1-click install for server software such as Nginx, Mean, Node.js, MongoDB, Lighttpd, JasDB and Xcache
- Xen virtualization for better stability
- Boot Shutdown & Reboot Control
- Changing & re-loading your OS on demand
When it comes to application hosting, A2 hosting supports a wide range of open-source apps. They enable hosting of software and apps in different categories such as podcasts, Analytics, forums, Auction Commerce, ERP, calendar, billing, chat, CRM, CMSs, education, dating apps, and more at no extra cost.
Even better? You can host on the entry-level shared plans, but for some apps which require more resources such as PHP Pro Bid Hosting, you are provided with only VPS and above options.
All you have to do is install the specific software using their 1-click installer, and immediately a new version of the software gets released, you will get an email notification. You can then log into your hosting account and use your control panel to perform a single click update.
A2 have attractive reseller hosting plans, and they provide you with one of the best support and features. Reseller hosting plans get
- Cloud Linux OS hosting
- Free Cloudflare CDN integration
- Free Shared SSL certificate
- Multilingual Support
For Free Custom nameservers and single dedicated IPs, you’ve got to make a request, so why not?
Unlimited features include emails, sub-domains, parked, and add-on domains.
For agencies, you get a WHMCS (Web Hosting Billing & Automation Platform). It is only free for the silver, gold, and platinum plans.
For the entry-level bronze plan, you’ve got to pay $10.00/month to get WHMCS. The Silver Plan, which has it for free only costs $13.72. The logical choice if you want a WHMCS, is to pay for the Silver plan.
Other features provided for agency hosting include a free eNom reseller account, a user-friendly WHM control panel, free Lets Encrypt SSL and Turbo boost.
WHM Hosting Solution
This package comes with the first three plans in reseller hosting: bronze, silver, and gold. The WHMCS is available for all plans.
You get support for Basic WebHost Manager Server Setup from A2’s team, and your customers benefit from free plugins such as Barracauda Spam Filter, Softaculous installer, and LiteSpeed Web Server
With A2 hosting you get the following freebies enabled to help you kickstart your marketing and site optimization:
- Statistics tools for monitoring your hosting
- Free Bing/Yahoo Ad Credits
- Attracta SEO tool – its helps your site to get listed on Search engines within only 24 hours
For all of the A2 hosting plans, except;
- Lite shared plan
- Managed WordPress
- Unmanaged VPS and dedicated servers
You get free unlimited email hosting.
Supported email features include POP3 / POP3 and SMTP. The IMAP protocol, which enables you to access your emails even on mobile devices securely, is also enabled.
Email security and filtering are taken care of through Spam Protection while some plans get the Barracuda Advanced Spam Filtering, which you’ve got to enable on your cPanel.
An email freebie that remains consistent on all plans is the iContact Email Marketing Trial. It enables you to craft, send, and track your marketing emails as well as newsletters easily.
You’re not going to be able to host a website without a domain, A2 Hosting has made themselves a one-stop-shop to get you started fast with their domains service.
First, there’s a tool to search for domain availability on their website. Once you buy a domain, it easily gets transferred to their platform through the free migration service. A2 Hosting control panel has tools that you will use for domain management.
Different domain extensions are available, and each has a different price. You can either get a TLD extension e.g. (.com, .net, .biz,), or a ccTLD extension, which signifies that the domain is located in or associated with a specific territory or country.
- Custom nameservers – it helps resellers to set up a custom name server as part of their branding
- Updating of contact information– it helps you to edit both registrant and admin contact information and also determine how both get displayed on domain search platforms such as “WhoIs”.
- Free DNS management
- Domain theft protection
- Auto-Renewal – it helps to prevent your domain from becoming available when you forget to renew.
- ID Protection Option on select TLDs
- Email Forwarding – It enables you to forward your emails to another email address so that monitoring can get done from that specific email account.
If you are looking for a platform that you can comfortably run e-commerce software such as Magento, OpenCart, Presta shop, and AbanteCart, A2 Hosting is perfect. They allow you to do 1-click installations for these apps. WooCommerce, Joomla, and Drupal are also supported. When compared to other hosts like InMotion Hosting and HostGator, they offer a better hosting environment and features for online shops.
They take their e-commerce support a step further with the provision of perks like:
- Free SSL Certificates
- Instant Merchant Account ID (US only) – it helps in Credit Card Processing and Payment Gateway services. You’ll get instant activation of your Merchant ID once you finish your account sign in.
- PayPal Merchant accounts help you to accept online store payments through PayPal.
For marketing and optimizing your store, you get free Bing/Yahoo Ad Credits, the Attracta SEO tool, and the iContact Email Marketing Trial mentioned earlier.
So which plan should you start with for e-commerce?
The Turbo plan strikes the perfect balance in terms of features, speed, and price. Also, it includes better optimization for e-commerce software.
The significant drawbacks for hosting an online store using A2 Hosting are that they aren’t PCI compliant yet, and the Turbo plan lacks a free dedicated IP.
A2 Hosting uses high-powered, ultra-reliable, expertly tuned servers. They have 4 data centers spread in three continents around the world. Locations include USA Michigan, USA Arizona, Singapore (Asia), and Amsterdam (Europe).
They use Redundant Power Supplies (UPS/Diesel Generator) and have SSAE16 Data Center Security certification for all their data centers.
You can choose your preferred data center location depending on the concentration of your clients to enable them enjoy less latency. They have 35 country optimized server location hosting options you can choose. A2 Hosting even has a Speed Test on their website where you get to download 100MB from their different data centers to see which is faster.
To ensure reliability, redundancy, and uptime, they use Up-to 10 Gb/s Redundant Networks with Dual Fiber Entrance. For VPS and Managed WordPress, they’ve implemented RAID 10 redundancy in their SSD hosting, while dedicated servers get RAID 1 SSD storage.
Shared plans get expertly tuned servers with a balanced number of accounts on each server, as mentioned earlier, to give you “assured” performance. All their servers feature a minimum of 64GB of memory and 12 CPU cores.
All their servers benefit from A2 SwiftServer optimization technology, get 24/7 expert Network Monitoring by their experts to ensure minimal downtime.
Despite A2 Hosting being considered too geeky by most, they’ve made their platform very easy to use for beginner webmasters. They have a 3 step account sign up process, and activation is instant.
To help you hit the ground running, they provide a free migration service (number of sites allowed depends on your plan).
You get Softaculuous – a 1-click installer – for apps, scripts, and CMSs such as WordPress, Drupal, Magento, plus more. Remember, unmanaged VPS, and dedicated servers only get the Webuzo auto-installer for CMSs and plugins installation. The integration of Google apps only takes a few clicks. To create your website, there’s a drag & drop editing website builder, plus themes and templates you can choose from.
There no free website builder, and the cheapest at $3.93/month is only limited to 1 page.
For your file management needs, you get a straightforward, web-based File Manager. Dedicated servers and VPS have live stats of your resource usage. Additionally, you can also install Statistics apps like Webalizer if you want to monitor your site’s visitors’ stats.
When it comes to panels, the My A2 Hosting control dashboard you get has clean and simple interfaces. You can use it for DNS management.
Below are the panels and dashboards you get with each plan to easily manage your files, sites, email addresses and more
- Resellers get an easy-to-use WHM control with their hosting company management. It can be used to create new accounts, modify, upgrade, downgrade, suspend, or even terminate clients’ accounts, force password change or implement changes on behalf of clients. Furthermore, it can be used for updating or changing the WHM theme as well as creation deletion and modification of features for different client packages e.g., bandwidth.
- A WHMCS dashboard for Agency hosting to help with billing
- Excluding Windows, unmanaged VPS, and dedicated server, all other plans get a free cPanel. Resellers also get cPanels for their clients, which they can rebrand with their company information.
- A free Plesk Onyx panel is provided for Windows and Managed WordPress plans.
- Unmanaged VPS and dedicated servers get a free SolusVM Control Panel.
Do you remember HostGuard, the managed service from A2 Hosting we mentioned above for their dedicated and VPS plans?
Its benefits include
- Managed plugin, software updates, and upgrades
- Smart system notification
- Managed server security
- Free New Relic Server Monitoring Setup
- managed security patches
- Kernelcare Daily with automatic updates which do not require any rebooting
A2 Hosting provides web developers and system admins with powerful tools, developer environments, and freedom to code in different languages on their platform.
The supported latest versions include PHP 7.4, MySQL 5.6/MariaDB, PERL 5.10, PostgreSQL 9.6, Python 3., Ruby 1.8, Node.js Curl, ASP.NET, Apache server 2.4, LAMP stack, Apache Tomcat, Git, CVS, Subversion, Mercurial and more
Unfortunately, ColdFusion Plexum, HTMLDoc, Mod_perl, PDFLib, and MS SQL are not supported.
Developers should note the Turbo boost improvements do not apply to Ruby or Python-based applications as well as those using Rails and Django
VPS plans get pre-Installed phpMyAdmin & phpPgAdmin. For unmanaged dedicated and VPS plans, there are over 13 OS options you can install, and you get full root access.
All plans give developers SSH access and a WP-CLI environment for managing multiple sites. There is also a site staging environment – even for shared plans for safe testing of site changes.
This is the section where A2 Hosting excels at, and it couldn’t miss in such a comprehensive A2 hosting review. A2 Hosting offers some of the fastest site loading speeds if not the fastest.
The Turbo Feature –advertised as 20X speed boosts vs competitors – has the following optimizations enabled
- WordPress LiteSpeed Cache for caching your site pages and reducing loading time. It works magic for Magento, PrestaShop, XenForo, and Woocommerce sites.
- A2 optimized site accelerator which has turbo cache, APC/OPcache, Memcached enhancements.
- SPDY– a Google-developed content delivery standard for faster site content through caching, HTTP/2, and ESI (for customized page caching).
- LiteMage (Magento Cache).
- PHP 7 API for providing speed improvements over FastCGI and PHP-FPM.
- Enhanced Speed vs Apache.
- IIS output caching for Windows Turbo.
- Turbo plans get double RAM allocated.
All plans benefit from A2’s Anycast DNS solution, where DNS records get duplicated in their global network to increase performance, reduce latency, and increase redundancy.
Speed enhancements that most of the other plans get for free with the Swift Server feature include:
- Memcached for boosting MySQL databases storage
- HTTP/2 enabled
- Cloudflare CDN integration with switching between different CDN servers when one goes down.
- Mod_pagespeed speed filter.
- Increased resource allocation per account
- Fewer customers on each shared server
When it comes to uptime, A2 Hosting could do better, they boast 99.9% uptime but don’t back it up with a guarantee. Tests on the internet show they don’t have major uptime problems.
How does the credit system work?
For each hour, your server has got downtime after the first 0.1%, you get reimbursed with 5% of your monthly payment, up to the full amount with increasing percentages.
A2 Hosting offers enough security features for free through their Perpetual Security initiative. You don’t even need to purchase security add-ons.
- Server Rewind Backups – excluding Lite shared plan
- Patchman enhanced tool with free HackSacn protection
- DDoS Protection( with Virus Scanner, Dual Firewall, Brute Force Defense)
- Automatic & Rebootless Kernel Updates (dedicated servers and VPS)
- Two-factor authentication
- Resellers get Managed External Authentications where they can set their authenticated users
- Free SSL certificates
Even A2 Hosting experts who help manage and troubleshoot the servers get limited server access. They use keys to access servers instead of passwords as keys are more secure
A2 Hosting’s support staff –The Guru Crew- are available 24/7 through live chat, support tickets, and phone. If you’re more of the self-help type, there is a searchable Knowledgebase with a wealth of information.
The only cons with their support are:
- Queue-based Live chat where you get to wait in line
- No video tutorials
- The articles are too technical
A2 Hosting pricing is neither cheap nor too expensive. Similar to most web-hosting providers, there are price hikes with renewals, and you’ve got to commit for over 1 year to get significant discounts.
For all their plans, we’ve included pictures with pricing information.
Your plan gets automatically renewed if you fail to get in contact with their team through email ([email protected]) or their customer portal and submit a written cancellation request at least 15 days before the renewal date
They have an anytime money-back guarantee with full refunds for up to 30 days with no-questions-asked. After your initial 30 days of hosting, the refund gets issued using a pro-rating system.
But there are there’s are catches;
- If you cancel your hosting after 120 days, refunds will be sent only through PayPal.
- Only Windows plans have a 25-day refund window for any SSL certificates purchased, no other add on is covered for all the other plans
- Any setup fees, domain registration fees, and migration fees also aren’t covered by the refund policy
The even sadder news is that for the automatic renewal we mentioned above, if you fail to cancel it, you’ll get automatically renewed and won’t be eligible for refunds.
Having reached this point in this long A2 hosting review, I am sure you are now familiar with every facet of A2 Hosting.
If you’re on the lookout for fast hosting, excellent developer feature support, excellent and affordable e-commerce hosting,top security, good customer support, highly optimized WordPress plans and the best reseller hosting plans, A2 hosting is your perfect choice.
Do you agree with our A2 Hosting review? Drop us some of your thoughts in the comments section below!