A2 Web Hosting Review
A2 Hosting is the new kid on the block – as far as web hosts go. Getting their original start in 2001 as “Iniquinet”, they rebranded in 2003 to become A2 Hosting. They are privately owned and based out of Michigan with their data center located nearby. Today, A2 Hosting caters to private individuals, businesses and enterprises. They offer a variety of hosting plans – ranging from dedicated to VPS and cloud – to suit just about any need.
- WordPress ready
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Affordable pricing
- Limited storage space
- Confusing website and services
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A2 Scoring and Rating
Hosting Package: (Rating: 6/10)
A2 Hosting doesn’t take the normal approach to hosting. Instead, they offer a variety of versions of the same hosting and they are big on “going green.” They too have taken the approach of offering more plans than necessary (in our opinion) and making it difficult to decipher just what they truly offer. Their hosting can be broken down into four categories and all of them are Linux-based:
Shared hosting, which is based on the unlimited resource model. They offer low monthly prices, but some are with contracts – if you want to take advantage of the low price. The shared hosting relies on Linux only and they use website building tools. They do say they will help those that outgrow the shared environment transfer over to a VPS – but they tend to promote their VPS plans more than anything.
Reseller hosting is available in a few plans and resellers can host unlimited client accounts within the A2 network.
VPS hosting is split into their managed and unmanaged options. Packages can be tailor made to the customer, which is a unique approach that most hosting companies do not take.
The dedicated hosting also comes in two categories, flexible and managed. Flex plans are more for developers and web experts, while managed are for those looking for hassle-free, user-friendly hosting.
At first glance their hosting packages and prices look great, but once you see the amount of bandwidth, storage space, etc. included, you may consider going elsewhere. Some plans have 0.5 storage capacity – which wouldn’t accommodate much of anything. While they have some generous unlimited offerings, most of these are on the higher paid plans. We recommend really reading into the features of each individual plan before signing up – that way you aren’t disappointed in the low storage or features for the price.
One big drawback we need to point out is that domains are not included in the price. Instead, you will pay extra to add on the domain – something other companies give you for free.
Features and Functionality: (Rating: 8/10)
A2 Hosting boasts about their hassle-free hosting. Just some of the features you get from this high-powered host include up to 20 times faster speeds, SSDs, 350 instant applications, WordPress hosting features, website transfers, PHP, MySQL, cPanel, Linux, Perl, file manager, email support and forwarding, dedicated IP addresses, Joomla, PayPal integrations, zPanel, SSL certificates, SSH access, Softaculous for website building and more.
While impressive, they don’t have the longest list of features and there are companies out there with similar plans and pricing that still can offer more.
Security: (Rating: 9/10)
Security is okay with A2 Hosting. They do use HackScan, which is an exclusive hack protection security scanning tool employed by A2 Hosting. It helps block hack attacks before they can invade and damage a website.
The company has experienced a DDoS attack in the past – as most hosts have – however they are quick to update their customers and correct the issues.
WordPress: (Rating: 8/10)
Their WordPress hosting plans are the same as their shared hosting plans. They currently offer three plans that range from one to unlimited domains. They also include five to unlimited MySQL databases and SSD drives for faster recovery. Unlimited transfers and RAID-10 storage is available and you can migrate your existing WordPress site for free. They claim to be faster than the default WordPress hosting provider and state their page load times to be 0.33 seconds compared to the industry standard of 2.1 seconds.
Some exclusive features for WordPress members include their A2 optimized pre-installed WordPress, command line interface, ManageWP Account, enhanced security and six times faster load speeds. They also offer built-in caching, unique login URLs, plugins, recaptcha and unlimited WordPress installs. They also have automatic updates of their A2 optimized, but not WordPress – something to consider if you want a set it and forget it site.
Useability/Ease of Use: (Rating: 7/10)
Most users find A2 Hosting to be relatively easy, but they are definitely not for beginners. They do have cPanel, which is a well-known, reliable dashboard to work from. If you haven’t used cPanel before, there will be a bit of a learning curve. There are tutorials and guides in their knowledgebase, but these could be beefed up a bit for the extremely green web hosting user.
Reliability: (Rating: 10/10)
A2 Hosting boasts about their 99.9% uptime guarantee. They also offer access to their Server Rewind service for free. This is a customized backup tool that lets customers access via their cPanel restore points for their files and databases.
They have privately owned data centers that use the latest security, redundant networks, uninterrupted power, generators, static-free flooring, air conditioning and SSAE16 certified security.
Their Terms of Service is part of their SLA (Service Level Agreement).
Help and Support: (Rating: 8/10)
A2 Hosting does offer 24/7 customer support through their online ticket system, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will get a response at 3:00am. After that, you can contact them via email, live chat or phone (both USA and UK numbers are provided). You can also reach technical support via Skype, but there is a long wait. They also have a knowledgebase and blog, though both are not as in-depth as other hosts.
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WordPress and Shared Hosting
Lite: 1 domain, 5 databases, unlimited transfer and storage, SSD drive, free site migration, a2 optimized software, .5GB physical memrory, 2GB virtual memory, 25 email addresses, CDN. Starts at $3.92 per month.
Swift: Unlimited domains, databases, transfers and RAID-10 storage. Unlimited email addresses, 1GB physical memory, 8GB virtual memory, CDN. Starts at $4.90 per month.
Turbo: Unlimited transfers, domains, databases, RAID-10 storage and email addresses. Starts at $9.31 per month.
Dynamic VPS: 20GB storage, 1 core, 2TB bandwidth, 512MB memory. Starts at $5.00 per month.
Managed VPS: 75GB storage, 4 vCPUs, 2 TB bandwidth, 4GB memory. Starts at $32.99 per month.
Prestige: 6GB RAM, 100GB storage, 3TB data transfer, 2 dedicated IPs, 6 vCPUs, free backups, cPanel, unlimited domains. Starts at $46.19 per month.
Pinnacle: 8GB RAM, 150GB storage, 4TB data transfer, 2 dedicated IPs, 8 vCPUs, free backups, cPanel, unlimited domains. Starts at $65.99 per month.
Cloud VPS Hosting: Starts with 512MB memory, 2 CPU cores, 600 MHz speed, 10GB SSD storage, 2TB outbound data, and free inbound data. Starting at $15 per month.
Dedicated Server: 2x500GB storage, 8GB RAM, 10TB transfer, 2 cores, cPanel, and your choice of operating system. Starts at $99.59 per month.
Managed Dedicated Server: 2x500GB storage, 8GB RAM, 10TB transfer, 2 cores, cPanel, full hostguard management. Cannot choose your operating system. Starts at $141.09 per month.
Produce: Unlimited client accounts, 60GB RAID-10 storage, 600GB data transfer, 1 dedicated IP, cPanel. Starts at $13.19 per month.
Progress: Unlimited client accounts, 130GB RAID-10 storage, 1000GB data transfer, 1 dedicated IP, cPanel. Starts at $19.79 per month.
Prosper: Unlimited client accounts, 200GB RAID-10 storage, 2000GB data transfer, 1 dedicated IP, cPanel. Starts at $36.29 per month.
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Starting Monthly Price: $3.92 to $141.09
# of Domains: 1 to Unlimited
Money Back Guarantee: 30 Days
Bandwidth: 2TB - Unlimited
Disk Space: .5 to unlimited
# of MySQL Databases: 1 to unlimited
Data Backups: Daily
Unique IP Address
Optimized Wordpress Hosting
# of Email Addresses: 1 to Unlimited
Email Storage: Unlimited
1-Click App Installs
Custom Cron Jobs
Dedicated SSL Certificate
Shared SSL Certificates
Help and Support
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What we Like About A2
Affordable Hosting Options: a2 Hosting does have a few affordable hosting options for resellers, those in need of VPS and even those that want to use a2 for their WordPress blog. While they are not the cheapest, they do have quite a few plans that offer great features, reliability and are not going to break the bank.
WordPress Ready: We do like that A2 Hosting is WordPress-friendly. WordPress is definitely a growing trend and hosts need to be more accommodating. But, their plans are the same as their cloud hosting – hopefully they add more WordPress features in the future.
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What we Don’t Like About A2
Dizzying Array of Choices: A2 really needs to work on plan presentation. It is confusing to see what plans/options they have and some overlap between categories. While this is a common issue among most web hosts these days, we hope to see them take the effort to correct it.
Costly Addons: A lot of the better features for A2 are not included, but instead added on later for anywhere from $3 to over $10 per month. So, while they’re affordable at first glance, they actually become expensive when you add optimization or even boost your speeds.
Confusing Storage: One moment they will say they offer “unlimited” storage, but then in the next say that you are limited to .5GB – barely enough storage to house a few photos on your site. They need to correct these issues, but also be a little more generous with their space. After all, the price doesn’t become worth it when you’re barely getting any storage for your site to function.
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Who Is This Web Hosting Company Best For
A2 Hosting is ideal for startup websites and those that want to host a WordPress site or blog.
If you are looking for a host to start out with on your new site, A2 Hosting may be the right choice. With their cheaper plans and entry-level managed options, you can get a site up and running in just a day without breaking the bank.