I’ve been a paying customer for A2 Hosting for the last 37 months. During that time, I’ve monitored their performance – avg. load time and uptime.

This review relies strongly on data, such as uptime, load time (speed) and customer support experience.

 

What is A2 Hosting?

You’ve probably never heard of A2 hosting. Neither have I initially.

That’s a shame.

Because while they’re not as ‘internet famous’ as BlueHost or HostGator, they claim to boast speeds of up to 20X faster.

They’ve also been around since 2001, formerly known as Iniquinet (yes – good call on the rebrand). And have data centers around the world in the US (Michigan), Europe (Amsterdam) and Asia (Singapore).

In addition, they make claims of ‘99.9% uptime’ and ‘guru support’. (OK, now it’s just sounding too good to be true.)

So what’s the verdict?

A blazing fast host with amazing uptime and great support? Or another company who’s great with adjectives, but can’t back it up with performance (hint: iPage & Arvixe)?

To test for ourselves and provide an unbiased a2 hosting review, we bought their cheapest “Shared Plan” back in 2015 and set up a basic WordPress website.

Keep reading to discover the results.

 

Pros of using A2 Hosting

A2 hosting says their uptime, speeds and customer support are great. But just how great are they?

Well, pretty great, it turns out.

Here’s why.

 

1. Stable and Reliable Uptime of 99.92% (last 12 months)

‘Uptime’ is critical because the opposite – downtime – can cost you $7,900 per minute (depending on how valuable the site is).

However, when someone tells you that they have 100% uptime – don’t believe the hype.

While 100% can be achievable, it’s VERY rare. We’ve tested ~30+ hosting providers and none of them have managed to get an uptime of 100% over a period of 12 months.

Over the last 12-month period, A2 Hosting came out with an uptime of 99.92% – .13 better than the industry standard of 99.79%.

Here are the detailed findings:

2017:

  • January average uptime: 99.97%
  • February average uptime: 100%
  • March average uptime: 99.98%
  • April average uptime: 99.99%
  • May average uptime: 100%
  • June average uptime: 100%
  • July average uptime: 100%
  • August average uptime: 99.94%
  • September average uptime: 99.93%
  • October average uptime: 99.97%
  • November average uptime: 99.90%
  • December average uptime: 99.89%

a2hosting uptime performance

A2Hosting Load Time and Uptime: Last 12 months, data can be found here.

2. Fastest Shared Hosting provider? Yep – 200% faster than the industry average.

A2 earlier claimed speeds of up to 20x faster than competitors, remember?

Anything close to that would be impressive. And lucrative.

Some of the top online brands load in under a second because taking even 3 seconds to load can cause you to lose 50% your traffic.

So… just how did they fare in our own tests?

The short answer: extremely well (basically INSTANT).

A2 Hosting page loading times came in with an average of 392ms over a period of TWELVE months – the highest of every web host we have reviewed – and 200% faster than the industry average (1059ms). 

Best of all, their page load speed was also consistent and stable:

a2 hosting speed

 

But how do they do it?

A2 hosting is taking extra precautions to limit the number of people on ‘shared’ hosting servers and implementing additional functionality like caching which stores information in people’s browsers (thereby limiting the number of times they have to go back and request information from your website over and over and over again).

Last 12 month average load time

2017:

  • January average speed: 514ms
  • February average speed: 532ms
  • March average speed: 509ms
  • April average speed: 490ms
  • May average speed: 439ms
  • June average speed: 435ms
  • July average speed: 449ms
  • August average speed: 508ms
  • September average speed: 444ms
  • October average speed: 497ms
  • November average speed: 439ms
  • December average speed: 411ms

3. Fast & efficient customer support, 10 out of 10

Great uptime and fast load times are nice.

But none of that matters if your experience – the help you do (or don’t) receive when issues pop up – comes out lackluster.

A2 follows their string of impressive performance with friendly, helpful, US-based support. They’re available 24/7/365 through email, chat, phone or ticket submission.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given their A+ rating with the BBB (which is impressive considering they’ve been doing this for 15+ years already).

We tried reaching out to their support to provide a fair, unbiased review and were connected instantly. Their support representative was also incredibly responsive, answering our queries within a minute:

A2 Hosting review: Customer support agent

A2 Hosting customer support agent

4. Free ‘HackScan’ Keeps Your Site Safe

A2 provides a few helpful, preventative measures to keep hackers out of your site with HackScan; a free service including dual web hosting firewall, virus scanning, 24/7 security monitoring and brute force defense.

Some hosts simply provide similar tools to use if you’re so inclined. But unless you know what you’re doing, they’re useless. A2 hosting goes above and beyond by providing this preventative service for you, providing that whole ‘peace of mind’ thing so you can just worry about running the site (and NOT constantly performing technical maintenance).

5. Free Site Migrations (!)

A2 will move help you relocate from another hosting provider – gratis! – if your site currently uses cPanel (which most professional site’s do).

Moving the site yourself can be a huge hassle otherwise (if you’re not the most tech-savvy) or a time consuming, menial task (if you have a large site with many pages, images, etc.). And some other web hosts, {cough} BlueHost {cough}, charge you big bucks for this privilege.

6. Compatible with Common Content Management Systems (CMS)

Installing popular content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, OpenCart, and Magento is a simple, ‘1-click’ setup. Pretty simple and painless. ‘Nuff said.

In fact, your A2 account will come with the A2 Optimized WordPress plugin pre-installed if you choose the Turbo package.

a2 optimization plugin

7. Money Back Guarantee – 30 Days

A2 stands behind their product, offering a complete refund if you don’t like your experience for any reason (within 30 days).

Please note that domain registrations, setup fees, SSL certificate, and other migration fees are not refundable (which is pretty common with other companies as well).

8. Free Content Delivery Network

In addition to free virus scanning, you’ll also be able to use Cloudflare’s Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Cloudflare will route traffic to your site to take the path of least resistance.

This means that you’ll get even faster site speeds, enhanced security (Cloudflare CDN will block malicious threats), one-click setup, increased uptime, and more.

The best part? It’s all free.

9. Green Web Hosting

A2 Hosting supports the environment, so you can feel good about choosing them as a web host.

Since 2007, the company has partnered with Carbonfund.org to battle climate change.

carbonfund logo

If caring for the environment is something you’re passionate about, you can save the planet just by having an A2 Hosting account.

All of their servers are “carbon neutral” because they purchase carbon offsets.

When you purchase carbon offsets, you’re funding projects that reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

These kinds of projects are responsible for restoring forests, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings or transportation, or upgrading power plants to create less pollution.

For every amount of energy A2 Hosting uses, they’re buying carbon offsets to make the world a greener, cleaner place.

In addition to fighting climate change, the company also allows employees to telecommute to prevent unnecessary CO2 emissions.

They also recycle older servers rather than throwing out old hardware, plant trees during special promotions, and reduce trash by using coffee mugs instead of disposable coffee cups.

The company was also one of the first providers that offered Solid State Disk Drives (SSDs). These drives use much less energy than traditional HDDs.

 

Some minor cons of using A2 Hosting

Our affection for A2 hosting should be obvious by now. Great uptime, speed, and support go a long way in our books. Plus, they don’t nickel-and-dime you for things like migrations.

However, nobody’s perfect. Here are a few of A2’s flaws.

 

1. More Expensive than Average

The old adage, “You get what you pay for”, rings true here. All those fancy benefits come at a price.

A2 hosting tends to be more expensive than the average web host (coming in around the middle of the pack).

Like other web hosts, they also employ a common procedure of providing the lowest possible price if you sign up for a longer term. Traditionally their cheapest shared hosting plan advertised at $3.92 meant you needed to sign up for 24 months.

However, the great news is that currently, they’re providing a one-time discount code that will give you that low price for a short term as well (like 12 months).

Since we’re giving so much credit to A2 Hosting (we’re still unbiased, tho). I personally got in touch with A2 Hosting Marketing Manager Brad Litwin and managed to negotiate a cheaper price of $3.77 (instead of $3.92). It’s not much, but something, right?

When signing up with A2 Hosting, use this coupon: ‘HOSTINGFACTS‘ – Worked perfectly fine when I checked it last time.

2. Restrictions on Cheapest Plan

If you want the flashy features, you gotta pony up some more dough.

For example, their Lite plan (the cheapest one) has restrictions on the number of websites (1, as opposed to unlimited) or databases (5, as opposed to unlimited) you get.

But it’s worth noting that in our experience, the cheapest plan is still much, much faster than most other web hosts. So you’re probably OK still.

If you want turbo fast speeds, though, you’ll have to sign up for the turbo plan. The Turbo and Swift plans are similar, but the Turbo server is stacked full of extra perks.

For example, the Turbo server has PHP API. APC is enabled with the Turbo plan, and the server features a built-in caching engine.

Because of this, the speeds are lightning fast.

a2 hosting turbo

APC is enabled by default, and accounts get 256 MB of APC memory.

It’s important to note that if you want to change how PHP is configured on the Turbo Server, you’ll have to use the cPanel rather than the php.ini files.

The Turbo plan compiles .htaccess files to boost speeds, too.

Turbo web hosting servers don’t support Ruby-based or Python-based web applications. This includes Rails and Django.

 

A2 Hosting Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts

Shared Hosting: They have three main shared hosting plans:

A2 Hosting plans and pricing

  • Lite plan: This plan starts from $3.92 per month. It supports 1 domain name, 5 subdomains, 5 databases and 25 email accounts.
  • Swift plan: This plan starts from $4.90 per month. It supports unlimited domain names, databases and email accounts.
  • Turbo plan: This plan starts from $9.31 per month. It supports unlimited domain names, databases and email accounts. It also comes with HTTP/2 and SPDY support for improved website speed.

Remember, if you use ‘HOSTINGFACTS’ coupon on the last checkout page, you’ll be able to get it notably cheaper :).

  • Ease of Signup: Three step sign up. Not too difficult.
  • Payment Methods: Credit Card, PayPal, Check or Money Order, Bank Transfer, Skrill and PayULatam.
  • Hidden Fees and Clauses: Payments made by check are not refundable. But honestly, who pays by check anymore?! There’s also a $25 fee to move your account to another data center or to downgrade your hosting plan.
  • Upsells: Very few upsells. Thank the Lord!
  • Account Activation: Instant Activation.
  • Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: cPanel.
  • Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): Option to install WordPress and other popular CMSs available on the checkout page.

 

Do We Recommend A2 Hosting?

Yes. Undoubtedly.

Other web hosts might have the big, flashy advertising campaigns. Or the entire blogosphere singing their praises. But A2 hosting delivers where it matters most: performance.

Despite flying under the radar for all these years, they offer some of the best uptime and speed results we’ve seen (and we’ve seen A LOT). Their customer support is also friendly, attentive and couldn’t be recommended more highly.

Need a fast, reliable, and helpful web host for almost any type of website? Give A2 hosting a try. You shouldn’t be disappointed. After all, they’ve been one of our top web host for the past 8 months.

What’s good about A2 Hosting?

  • Very stable uptime (99.94%)
  • 200% faster loading page speeds than the industry average (392ms)
  • Lightning fast customer support
  • HackScan secures your site for free
  • Site migrations are free
  • Compatible with most CMSs
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Access to free Cloudflare Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • Green web host that purchases carbon offsets, reduces waste, and cuts down on emissions by allowing employees to telecommute

What’s bad about A2 Hosting?

  • Pricier than the average web host
  • The most affordable plan has restrictions