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Chris Wagner

“We have been a paying customer for A2 Hosting since July 2017.

We are monitoring A2 Hosting’s shared hosting servers for Uptime and Performance through our website hostingpill-a2.website.

This review of A2 Hosting is based on actual testing done on their servers”.

This A2 Hosting Review was revised and updated on February, 2019.

Every now and then I review a company that is simultaneously unknown to most of the public (even on the internet public), and very well-regarded among those who follow hosting.

A2 Hosting is one such company.

Founded in 2001, A2 has gone from hosting a few websites to a few thousand.

That’s great growth, but is a few thousand really something to brag about?

Even the quality hosting providers on the smaller side service hundreds of thousands of sites.

And yet, A2 has managed to stay in the game for 17 years without losing its competitive edge.

As they like to show, A2 has won quite a few hosting awards from popular sites.

It’s natural for you to wonder if A2 is as capable as its reputation suggests.

Are you looking at a hidden gem or a mediocre service that’s fooled a few people into going along with it?

Does its small size mean it lacks features, or that it focuses more on quality—or both?

All these questions and more, I will address in this review.

Using my own experience with A2 Hosting and my general knowledge of the hosting market, I’ll break down how A2 performs and whether it’s worth considering or not.

A2 Hosting: Cons

To give you answers more quickly, I’ll go straight for the pros and cons first.

Except I’ll be starting with the cons: what does A2 Hosting lack, where does it fall short, and what needs improvement?

Luckily, A2 doesn’t have too much going against it.

There are a few small things: starting them off is the pricing of its entry-level web hosting product.

While A2 overall has good pricing, the shared web hosting is on the pricier side. It’s still within the “normal” price range of web hosting products, but on the higher side of average.

There is a cheaper entry-level option with other companies, that offer comparable features (somewhat).

Secondly, A2 does not incorporate a website builder into its hosting products.

They do offer a website builder, but it’s separate; other companies, meanwhile, automatically integrate website builders in most or all of their shared hosting options.

Separate website builder price a2 hosting

The main problem is that they should have a lot more information on their website—an expanded knowledge base, more webinars or video tutorials.

That’s pretty much it though!

Pricier shared web hosting options, the lack of an included/free website builder, iffy customer support, and higher site response times are all unfortunate downsides to A2.

However, they’re far from the crippling. Let’s look at why that is.

A2 Hosting: Pros

I hope those previous points didn’t lower your mood, but if they did, A2 has got a lot to offer as well.

First among them: good pricing. There are two aspects to this: first, A2 has average-low price tags for a lot of its products.

Of course, shared web hosting starts on the pricier side of average, but that’s about it.

The second good thing about their pricing: A2 offers a lot of options. Aside from the usual types of hosting, A2 offers many plans running on either

Linux or Windows—even for the smaller, cheaper products.

Linux and Windows Shared Hosting Plans

They also offer a variety of managed or unmanaged products (such as for VPS or dedicated hosting).

Aside from that, A2 manages to offer pretty well-featured products across the board.

Of course, there are exceptions here and there, points where I think they should add this or that tool/resource. Generally speaking, they’re fine.

And while I wish it were better, A2 is very intuitive and easy to use, which somewhat offsets lack of solid customer support.

To sum it up, A2 has quite a few things going for it.

These things—strong uptime, good features, good pricing, plenty of choice, intuitive user interface make A2 hosting a worthy contender despite its size.

A2 Hosting: Pricing

Now that you’ve heard the overall positives and negatives, let’s take a look at some of the specifics. First up: pricing!

Despite its small size, A2 has a robust pricing system. There are a lot of options at overall pretty reasonable prices.

Shared web hosting was particularly impressive to me.

Though it’s not unheard of, A2 offers you the unique choice of Linux or Windows shared hosting packages. More impressively, the Linux plans are slightly cheaper.

Linux shared hosting has three tiers: Lite, Swift, and Turbo at $3.92, $4.90, and $9.31 a month respectively.

A2 hosting shared hosting plans

Though Lite is about normally priced, Turbo is on the cheaper side for second-tier shared hosting options.

Getting the Windows version of these packages raises the price slightly to $4.90, $5.88, and $10.78 a month.

a2 hosting window shared hosting plans

Nothing huge, and it’s nice to have the options anyway.

A2 also offers reseller hosting. Reseller hosting comes in 4 tiers: for the Linux plans, Bronze starts it off at $13.19 and Platinum ends it at $40.91.

The Windows versions raise the prices only by a dollar or two.

Those prices are pretty normal (though with a pretty cheap entry point), but A2 is especially good with its VPS hosting options.

A2 actually has three types of VPS hosting packages available, in contrast to the typical one.

Unmanaged VPS hosting has three tiers at $5, $10, and $15 a month.

A2 hosting unmanaged vps hosting

Managed VPS hosting, which is closer to what you’d expect with another company, also has Linux and Window options.

Linux options start with $32.99 a month, and the third (and final tier) is $65.99.

managed VPS hosting a2 hosting

The last type of VPS hosting is Managed VPS hosting with root access.

This has about the same prices as managed VPS hosting but is marginally cheaper (both Linux and Windows).

Dedicated hosting also has a few different options: unmanaged, managed, discount SSD, and Core Server.

Dedicated hosting prices range from $99.59 to $141.09.

a2 hosting dedicated hosting plans

Managed dedicated servers start at $141.09, however, and go up to $290.49 a month.

A managed server with root access is about the same price. The discounted servers SSD servers start at $129.30 and the extent to $249.90.

The dedicated hosting options do not have the cheapest entry points, I’m sorry to say.

However, they are still firmly within the normal price range of quality dedicated hosting options.

Finally, although they don’t advertise it as much, A2 offers managed and shared WordPress hosting.

Managed WordPress hosting goes from $12.97 to $37.97.

Shared WordPress plans start at $3.92 and end at $9.31.

a2hosting wphosting

This leaves us in total with a pricing plan that has far more options than most hosting companies.

At such a small size, I am especially impressed. Even better, the prices themselves are pretty solid.

There aren’t many products that have incredibly low prices, but most of the products are in the lower-average to average price range.

I am indeed impressed, but what really matters is what A2 manages to offer for those prices. Let’s take a look.

A2 Hosting: Features

It’s natural to worry a smaller hosting company won’t be able to afford to dole out features, especially to its lower-paying customers.

Luckily, A2 has managed to stay competitive in the features department—the quick takeaway here is that A2’s prices are good because they are on the lower side and offer a lot as well.

Note: I will be focusing mostly on shared web hosting features.

The first tier of shared web hosting on Linux has one website, 5 databases, unlimited storage, unlimited file transfers, 25 email addresses, and free SSL and SSD.

a2hosting lite plan

To get the same package on Windows is the same, but brings 10 databases (5 MySQL and 5 MSSQL).

The second and third tiers naturally have unlimited sites, databases, storage, file transfers, and email addresses.

Pretty much everything else is the same, except for a few odd differences here and there. You can check out the full list here.

I personally like the way features are distributed.

The first tier gets a lot, all things considering—a small site can do plenty with 5 databases, and unlimited storage is not exactly rare, but far from commonplace for entry-point products (and sometimes even for second-tier products).

So in all, shared hosting is very well-featured. It’s not #1, but it’s got a lot going for it.

WordPress hosting is very well featured overall: shared WordPress plans are very close to shared web hosting plans (for obvious reasons).

Managed plans I think could have some better features (the first tier allows only one site and 10GB of storage at nearly $13), but are overall just fine.

VPS hosting is as well-endowed as you’d see with any other hosting company. There are obviously some differences here and there, but the gist is that.

The same is true for dedicated hosting, both managed and unmanaged (though I think the managed dedicated hosting is particularly good for the price).

A2’s reseller hosting is particularly well-endowed in my opinion.

The prices start pretty low; with a range of $13.10 to $40.91, A2 offers a good amount of storage, accounts, transfer space, and so on.

a2 hosting reseller hosting

I do think perhaps A2 could be more generous with the higher tiers, as they still have storage and file transfer caps. Nonetheless, it’s overall pretty good.

The verdict for A2 hosting looks good.

A2 Hosting is not the most generous of all hosting companies, but for a small company, they do great.

As a matter of fact, the prices for their products are better than low: they’re low without sacrificing utility.

Ease of Use

So A2 does well with features. How usable are they? How efficiently can you run your A2 Hosting account?

Ease of use is important, even if you’re not a beginner.

To give you the short answer, A2 is very easy to use.

A2 hosting cpanel-example

file-manager a2 hosting

I worried a little bit that a smaller company would perhaps have a more technical, smaller base.

That’s not inherently bad but might make some of the users interface a little confusing—particularly for those of you without much hosting knowledge.

Surprisingly, A2 looks the way you’d expect a major hosting force to look.

I have very few complaints about A2’s general layout, account settings page, their control panel, or the user interface as a whole.

It’s not exceptional in this regard, but I can’t imagine many people having a tough time navigating A2—in fact, I would imagine most people would find everything about A2 is overall slick and quick.

Customer Support

Of course, ease of use is always affected by customer support.

Does A2 welcome its users, especially the newer ones, with enough resources to not only help with the onboarding process but answer their questions and address technical difficulties?

A2 has some on-site information for people to look at, and representatives available for contact.

Of the latter, A2 has a ticketing system that has been pretty reliable in my experience, and a live chat.

Here’s an example of what happened when I used the live chat recently.

a2 hosting chat 1

a2 hosting chat 2

On the face of it, this was a very responsive live chat experience.

However, while it was quick, it showed the representative in question did not carefully read my question.

I had asked if a website builder was included in any of the shared web hosting packages.

The person replied “yes,” but linked to a website builder that is a different product—sold apart, not included.

This could be a fluke, but I found it irritating.

In any case, I found A2’s on-site information overall solid, but I do think it can be expanded upon.

It might be the best a company of A2’s size can handle, and its small community might mean a little less need to use on-site information so heavily.

Their knowledge base is overall helpful, but compared to some of the larger hosting knowledge bases, it’s lacking.

Extensive Support

The articles it has aren’t bad, but I can’t help but feel that more topics could be covered, and in the greater variety of formats.

They also have a blog, which is pretty typical, but that isn’t exactly an onboarding resource—it could still be pretty useful to loyal customers.

In all that mostly covers it—a ticketing and live chat system for contacting representatives and a knowledge base for on-site material.

It’s not that their customer support is bad, but I do think it needs some improvements.

I would say A2 hosting ranks on the weaker side of customer support—but hey, it should be enough to get you past your problems.

Security and Reliability

After everything else has been said and done, we’ve one last bridge to cross: security and reliability. Is A2 Hosting secure, and are its services (and servers) reliable?

As far as security goes, one nice fact is that A2 owns all of its servers.

This sounds simple but is, in fact, important: no unscrupulous or shady third parties will be handling servers for the company, just the company itself directly.

Every server is monitored 24/7 by the A2 staff, which is a great guarantee to hear. Accordingly, A2 does guarantee 99.9% uptime (more on that in a second).

Additionally, A2 Hosting uses redundant networks, redundant power supplies, and their data center is SSAE16 certified.

And of course, in my own experience, A2 Hosting has been nothing but secure.

Now, as for their performance and reliability, I’ve snagged a screenshot of my site’s uptime stats for you.

a2hosting uptime

Latest Uptime you can see here.

As you can see, our uptime with A2 Hosting has been pretty good.

There have been a few minutes of outages in September and August, but nothing beyond the pale.

The one issue I do have is with our response time.

On their website, A2 Hosting repeatedly emphasizes superior speeds. In fact, they claim to be one of the fastest hosting companies around, if not #1.

Multiple pages on their site claim speed in the 300-400ms response time range.

As you can see, our fastest response time has been about 1,300ms and the longest was nearly 1,800ms.

This isn’t awful, because many other major hosting companies we’ve tried out have had response times in the 1,100-1,500ms range.

However, the response times are disappointing because it runs contrary to what A2 sells you on.

In sum, A2 has great security—perhaps that’s one advantage of being a small company.

They’re not so big that they’ll trust other parties with handling their servers, instead of keeping a tight lid on their operations.

Whatever the reasons, A2 for us has been very consistent and high-performing.

I wish the response times were a little better, but it’s still an overall secure and reliable hosting platform.

Do we recommend A2 Hosting?

When we put everything together, does A2 come out on top?

The short answer is yes.

A2’s pricing is overall very solid. It doesn’t offer the best deals ever, but it is consistently well-priced (though shared hosting could start a little cheaper).

This is compounded by the fact that A2 offers a ton of products and gives its customers much more choice in what they can buy.

Each product is well-featured, or at least they usually are.

An included website builder would be nice for shared web hosting products, but it’s not the end of the world.

A2 is very easy to use. This is especially important when you consider its mediocre customer support.

I do not think many newbies will struggle to acclimate, and I don’t think many experienced users will lose a lot of time with extra steps or confusing UI.

Finally, the A2 is pretty secure. Managing their own servers without using third parties ensures a certain degree of trust its customers can place in them.

Even if their response times could be improved, their uptime has been pretty good in our measurements.

In all A2 is a very solid product despite being one of the smaller hosting companies.

Their products are competitively priced and featured, perform well, and the company offers enough to make your time painless.

If you’re unsure, you can always use their free trial!

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A2 Hosting
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