A2 Hosting is one of the most popular hosting companies in the web hosting industry. They have been around in the web-hosting industry since 2001.
However, experience and popularity doesn't always mean quality. So, is A2 Hosting really a good host. Are they really 20x faster?
Let's find out in this A2 Hosting Review for 2023.
In this A2 Hosting Review, I will be sharing with you my experience of Hosting Blogging Ocean on A2 Hosting servers as well as test driving their multiple hosting plans. I currently have access to their Turbo Hosting plan which I use mainly for testing purposes.
So, let's get right into it.
A2 Hosting Review 2023
A2 Hosting Overall Rating
TL;DR A2 Review Summary
A2 Hosting is a great hosting that is available at affordable pricing. It's non-turbo plans are quick, but the difference is not much when you compare it head-on-head with other hosting companies.
However. it's their Turbo Servers that are insanely quick without a single tweak or cache plugins. The speed of their Turbo server combined with rock-solid uptime and good customer support is the reason I chose to host Blogging Ocean on A2 Hosting.
Pros Of A2 Hosting
Cons of Nexcess
A2 Hosting Review 2023: Is It The Fastest Web Host?
A2 Hosting's prime focus is on server optimization and speed. So is it really fast or is it just another company claiming to be fast? Let us find out the same in this A2 Hosting Review for 2023.
A2 Hosting Review: What I Like About A2 Hosting
1. Affordably Priced Plans
A2 Hosting is not exactly cheap, but it's plans are very much affordable and rightly priced when you take into account the server resources and quality of support that you get.
2. Turbo Servers Are Real Quick
If you are planning to get A2 Hosting's Turbo servers, there no reason for you to think twice. While they aren't 20x faster, but the LiteSpeed Webserver and NVMe storage makes sure your website loads in no time without any manual tweaks.
3. Good Decent Uptime With 99.9% Uptime SLA
I have used A2 Hosting for more than a year, and I really did not had any major downtime issues. The uptime of A2 Hosting was rock solid throughout.
However, in rare case your unscheduled uptime is more than 0.1% of total monthly time, as per A2 Hosting's SLA, for every hour of downtime, A2 Hosting will pay you 5% of the paid fee for the month.
4. Good Customer Support
A2 Hosting has both the chat and ticket options. For some reason, A2 Hosting has made it difficult to find the chat option. However, with hosting creating a ticket isn't really a bad option as in most cases you can expect a response from A2 Hosting support team within a few minutes.
5. Datacenter Locations
A2 Hosting has a total of four datacenters that are strategically placed across three continents. Out of the four datacenters, 2 are in the US, 1 in Amsterdam and 1 in Singapore.
6. Free Website Migration
A2 Hosting offers free migration if you are moving your website from another hosting company. As per their policies page, they offer 1 free migration for all Shared Hosting plans including Startup, Drive, Turbo and Turbo Max.
For Reseller Hosting, VPS Hosting and Dedicated Servers, the number of migrations are up to 25. While their policy page does mention that a charge may be levied for transferring website from non-cPanel host, A2 Hosting customer support agent offered me to provide the same for free using FTP.
A2 Hosting Review: What Could Be Better
1. No Free Domain Name
No matter what plan you choose, A2 Hosting does not offer a free domain name. The cost of a .com domain at A2 Hosting is $14.95. Domain privacy is charged extra at $9.95 per month.
This is significantly high compared to Namecheap, who usually offers domain name under $10. Domain privacy is free. The renewal cost too is cheaper at $13.98/month including free domain privacy.
2. Non-Turbo Plans Are Not As Quick
While A2 Hosting's Turbo Servers can make your website load in time, their non-turbo servers aren't as quick. Not that they are too slow. But their performance is just about average.
About A2 Hosting
A2 Hosting is one of the oldest hosting company that started it's operation way back in 2001. It was founded by Bryan Muthig and is headquarted in Ann Arbor, United States.
However, the company has gone more recently in the year 2015. And ever since then it has grown exponentially to become one of the largest hosting company in the industry.
A2 Hosting's primary focus is to provide servers optimized for speed so that its users can have fast loading website.
Plans And Pricing
A2 Hosting offers several web hosting plans including Shared Hosting, Managed WordPress Hosting, Managed & Unmanaged VPS, Managed Dedicated Servers as well as Reseller Hosting. So let us go through the plans available at A2 Hosting.
A2 Hosting offers a total of 4 Shared Hosting plans. All the shared hosting plans are powered by cPanel, which as such has become an industry standard.
Their base plan, the Startup plan and the Drive Plan are powered by Apache WebServer which even though an industry standard is the slowest when compared to NGINX and LiteSpeed WebServer.
My tests on their Startup Plan has revealed the same. The hosting all though not pathetic, it's not the quickest in the town. Very mediocre performance I would say.
However, A2 Hosting's full potential is unlocked with their Turbo Boost and Turbo Max plan that uses LiteSpeed Webserver. Even for storage it uses the quickest NVMe SSD which can significantly speed up your website when compared to traditional Sata Hard drives or even Sata SSD.
Blogging Ocean was earlier hosted on A2 Hosting's Turbo Boost plan before I decided to switch to Cloudways for leveraging the performance of a VPS.
So, if you are looking to go for A2 Hosting's Shared Hosting, I highly recommend going with their Turbo Boost or Turbo Max plan.
Managed WordPress Hosting
For Managed WordPress again, A2 Hosting offers 4 different plans. Unlike Shared Hosting, the Managed WordPress Hosting plans use Plesk Control Panel.
Although Plesk is a very capable control panel, some cPanel lovers might be slightly disappointed here. The great thing though is that the LiteSpeed WebServer and NVMe storage is available with all the 4 plans.
The main difference between the four plans is the number of websites hosted as well as NVMe Storage space. Also there's a difference between the resources you get with each plan as well as the version of Jetpack,
Managed And Unmanaged VPS
A2 hosting also offers both Managed and Unmanaged VPS plans. For Unmanaged VPS, the pricing for a 1 GB RAM VPS starts at $4.99/month.
The pricing is higher for monthly plans starting at $6.99/month. Most Cloud Hosting providers offer 1GB RAM server with a monthly pricing of $5/month. Though you can save a few bucks with the triennial plan of 2GB RAM and higher servers.
However, here again, the true potential of A2 Hosting is unlocked with their Supersonic plans that uses Turbo servers. The basic Supersonic plan starts at $34.99/month which is quite affordable even for an unmanaged VPS as it comes with 8GB RAM.
As for Managed VPS, A2 Hosting offers VPS with up to 16GB RAM for their Lift VPS without Turbo Servers and up to 32 GB RAM for their Mach Plans that comes with Turbo Servers.
Managed And Unmanaged Dedicated Server
For Managed as well as Unmanaged Dedicated Servers, A2 Hosting offers both Intel and AMD servers. Some of these plans come with Turbo Boost.
I would prefer not writing about the model and configurations of the Dedicated Servers here as the servers offered with each plan changes frequently as new servers are introduced.
A2 Hosting Registration And Onboarding
Registering with A2 Hosting is a quick process, though not as quick as Hostinger that allows you to checkout in a 3-4 clicks. To get started you can visit their home page of A2 Hosting using the below link
Their Home page display all their Managed plans including Shared Hosting, Managed WordPress, Managed VPS and Managed Dedicated Servers. You can check the plans included in each of this hosting type by navigating to the desired Tab as shown below. You can also navigate between the duration of plan to check the pricing per month for each of these plans.
Apart from above plans, A2 Hosting also offers Unmanaged VPS, Unmanaged Dedicated Servers and Reseller Hosting. You can select these plans from Hosting Menu option at the top.
Clicking on the orange button below each plan will take you to the Domain page where you can either choose to an existing domain, Transfer your domain to A2 Hosting, buy a new domain or use temporary A2 Hosted domains.
A2 Hosting does not offer free domains with any of their plans. Also, their pricing is certainly not the cheapest. So, unless you are starter and don't want to get into any technical hassles, I recommend buying domain name from Namecheap. That's where most of my domains are including Blogging Ocean
Irrespective of what you choose, clicking on Continue will take you to the below page where you can adjust the duration of your plan if you've not done already while choosing the plan. You can also compare the final web hosting pricing you would pay for each duration so that you can choose the best plan as per your needs and budget. Though, their 36 months plan turn out to be the most cost effective and by far.
And this is the page where you will also come across several upsells from A2 Hosting. The first upsell is of RapidSSL Certificate followed by one more for upgrading to immediate best plan.
Below that you can choose your hosting location. This is again followed by two more upsells, one for Dedicated IP and the next one for A2 Website Builder, if by any rare chance you aren't going to use a CMS.
On the same page, A2 Hosting lets you select an application to install on your hosting. That's part of their limited user onboarding.
However, I highly recommend against selecting your app, especially if you are going to use WordPress. That's mainly because for some unknown reason A2 Hosting won't let you choose your username and password. While the password they use is a strong one, the username Admin is not-recommended for security purpose.
If you've selected to buy a domain name from A2 Hosting, you will now see the Domain Configuration page where you'll see one more upsell, ID protection. While some domain registrars like GoDaddy do charge for Privacy Protection, the amount charged by A2 Hosting is insane. You can get a domain name plus free ID protection often for price cheaper than A2 Hosting's ID protection price at Namecheap and even Dynadot
Next, you can review your cart items before finally making the payment on the next page.
A2 Hosting Control Panel (cPanel)
A2 Hosting uses a cPanel for their Shared Hosting. The cPanel software at A2 Hosting is mostly standard with only a few customizations. So, I'll quickly walk you through the cPanel options
As you can see below, the first section of A2 Hosting cPanel let's you manage your Email accounts. This is followed by the Softaculous Installer section which is slightly customized to fit in more WordPress options including WordPress A2 Optimized, WooCommerce, WP Toastmasters, WP Beginner, and WordPress + Weglot
The next 5 sections are standard cPanel options with no customizations. You can check the same below.
In the Software section you will find A2 Website Builder as an option. But not sure how many people will opt to go for it anyway.
In the next section, you will find the Litespeed Web Cache Manager option. As the name suggests, it allows you to enable, disable as well as flush LiteSpeed Cache.
In the advanced section, you will also find A2 Optimized option. Clicking on it will take you to the below page
Clicking on the Install A New App option will take you the Softaculous installer, although with only A2 Optimized App installation options as shown below
As I said earlier, the whole cPanel is more or less stock cPanel with a few customizations here and there. So if you are someone who doesn't like the heavily customized cPanel of Bluehost, you'd be pretty happy to use this one.
A2 Performance Testing
A2 Hosting is one web hosting company that claims to provide fast and optimized servers. So is it really fast, we will find out with a few tests.
A2 Hosting Speed Test
For the test, I used two websites, one on their Startup plan and another one on their Turbo Hosting plan. The website was created using Starter Templates plugin so both the installations were identical.
To brief you about the website, it is a WooCommerce website that is built using a page builder. The page is approximately 1.8 MB as per Pingdom and 1.66 MB as per GTMetrix. The page on Startup plan generates 61 requests according to GTMetrix and 71 requests according to Pingdom. The corresponding values on the Turbo plan were strangely higher at 66 requests and 77 requests respectively.
I have willingly refrained from optimizing either of the websites as I wanted to test the performance of both the websites right out of the box. Both the website uses Cloudflare DNS, but with Cloudflare paused on both the accounts.
Below is the GTMetrix Result for Startup Plan. The Largest contentful paint (LCP) was 1.6 sec while the fully loaded time was 2.3 seconds.
As you can see this page generates 61 requests with a total size of 1.66 MB.
Next, we checked the Startup plan with Pingdom. The page took 3.78 seconds to load. The total size of the page was 1.8 MB and total number of requests generated were 71.
Next comes the Turbo Boost Plan. This is a big test for A2 Hosting claim of being a fast host. So, let's check out how the Turbo Boost plan performs.
You can see the screenshot of the GTMetrix test. The LCP recorded was 1.3 seconds with only a slight improvement over the startup plan. However, the Fully Loaded Time saw a huge improvement from 2.3 seconds to 1.5 seconds
You can also see that the Turbo plan generated more requests at 66 while the page size remained almost same at 1.63MB
Overall, the Startup Plan faired decently given that no optimizations was done on the website. However, it's the Turbo plan that raised the bar and reduced page load time by more than half as recorded by Pingdom.
A2 Hosting Load Test
I also carried out Load Test on my A2 Hosting Test Website hosted on the Turbo plan. Please note, I did not use any WordPress Optimization or Caching or CDN to provide you with the raw results for the test.
I sent 300 virtual users per minute to the homepage of the test website. You can see in the screenshot below how A2 Hosting performed
As you can see, throughout the test, the client load was maintained at 5 visitors per second. There were zero errors and the Response time too was quite stable recording values between 654 ms and 974 ms throughout the test.
For the test with 400 virtual users per minute, you can find the results in the screenshot below
As you can see, A2 Hosting started struggling a bit with this traffic. Although the test completed successfully, there were 3 timeouts.
Of course, if you optimize the WordPress website and use caching, your website should be able to handle more requests. CDN can further boost the load handling capacity of your website.
My View On A2 Hosting Performance
A2 Hosting's Startup and Drive plan are mediocre, when it comes to performance testing. The Apache WebServer and traditional SATA SSDs are to be blamed for these average results.
As for the Turbo Boost plan powered by LiteSpeed WebServer and NVMe SSD Storage, A2 Hosting was quick as expected. The load handling capacity of the Turbo Boost plan that I load tested was also great for a shared hosting easily negotiating about 6 VUs per second.
Uptime is critical for any website. If your website gets down frequently, visitors will see an error page. This not only results in bad user-experience, it also leads to loss of Business.
However, A2 Hosting won't disappoint you with Uptime. Although, I have used A2 Hosting in the past for Blogging Ocean, I moved out to WPX Hosting. However, I switched back to A2 Hosting as I am getting similar to better speed with A2 Hosting and that too at a fraction of WPX Hosting's cost.
During my previous stint with A2 Hosting, it was rock-solid with uptime. Even after switching back, thus far the uptime has been really good for me. You can check out Blogging Ocean's current uptime as monitored by Uptime Robot.
So, if uptime is one of your priority, you should have no reason for not choosing A2 Hosting
Customer Support is one crucial aspect you cannot ignore while choosing a web host. And A2 hosting makes sure you won't be disappointed with their Guru Support Team.
A2 Hosting offers support through all the three channels; Ticket, Chat and Call. Talking about call, it seems their contact number for reaching their support team in India is incorrect. I was unable to reach them on the given number.
Anyway, even though I had hands on experience interacting with A2 Hosting customer support team during my previous stint with A2 Hosting, and I knew they are very much capable, I still wanted to put the Guru Support Crew through a test.
The chat support team of most companies are usually the least experienced. They are there to address the basic queries, but fail to answer even queries that are moderately difficult. That's the reason I decided to ask their chat support team about a way to activate and enable Redis Cache with LiteSpeed Plugin.
As soon as I filled up the chat form, I saw a huge wait time of 22 minutes even though it stated that I was first in the queue.
Even though I was expecting the executive to join in lesser time, I was pleasantly surprised when the executive turned up in 2-3 minutes time. The response time from the executive wasn't the best and it was clearly visible she was multi-tasking with 2-3 more clients.
However, when she responded she accurately claimed that A2 Hosting Shared Hosting plans do not offer Redis Cache (I had no idea back then).
Upon asking if I she is sure, she even provided a link to a A2 Hosting Knowledgbase Page which clearly stated that the Redis Cache is only available for Unmanaged VPS and Unmanaged Dedicated Server as claimed by the executive. That was impressive.
Overall the chat lasted for 12 odd minutes apart from the initial 2-3 minutes wait time. Full marks to A2 Hosting on that. Below is the complete chat transcript
Next, I decided to create a ticket asking for the Host Name and Port Number for activating Memcached. In this case, I already knew the answer. I got a reply to my ticket in about 19 minutes which I feel is great
More importantly, the executive came up with the correct answer for the same. Again a thumbs up to A2 Hosting Guru Crew.
Overall, the support time was decent, especially considering that their Black Friday Deal ended 3 days ago and so their support team might be more busy than usual. Their support team too seemed to be knowledgeable.
I'd rate A2 Hosting support 4.5/5 with 0.5 stars deducted for providing the incorrect calling numbers.
Alternatives To A2 Hosting
A2 Hosting is a great option. However, if for some reason, you are looking for alternative options, below are some of them you can consider.
Hostinger is super-affordable hosting company with their plans starting at just $1.39/month. But what sets Hostinger apart from other Shared Hosting companies is the fact that Hostinger provides LiteSpeed WebServer even for their cheapest plan.
Hostinger's on-boarding too is near-perfect. So if you are just starting out, Hostinger won't just save you few bucks but also help you to get started with a beautiful website. Find Out More About Hostinger
Exclusive Discount For Hostinger
Blogging Ocean Readers get an additional discount of 10% on Hostinger with out exclusive Hostinger Coupon Code. So, if you are looking to buy Hostinger, you can save a few bucks with our promo code.
ChemiCloud isn't as cheap as Hostinger or even A2 Hosting. However, on the positive side, it's even better than A2 Hosting.
Like Hostinger, even the entry-level plan of ChemiCloud is powered by LiteSpeed WebServer and delivers great performance. But, ChemiCloud wins on the support front too which is great.
So, if you don't mind paying more for a quality shared hosting with fast page load times backed by good customer support, ChemiCloud should be a great option for you.
3. Liquid Web
A2 Hosting's Managed VPS start at $39.99/month. And that's when you pay for 36 months in advance. So, your initial investment turns out to be over $1400.
So, if you'd like to cut down your initial investment, you consider going with Liquid Web. Their 2GB RAM plan will cost you just $15/month while the 4GB RAM VPS plan is priced at $25/month when paid in advance for 24 months. Each of the plan comes with 5-site cPanel License.
And if you go with their VPS Bundle plans, apart from cPanel license you will get access to CloudFlare Pro Plan, Web Protection package and 100GB Acronis backup for just $20 and $30 for 2GB and 4GB Ram server respectively.
However, if you don't like paying in advance, Cloudways is another option you can consider
Final Words On A2 Hosting Review 2023
A2 Hosting is a great option for Shared Hosting. While their non-turbo shared hosting plans are pretty average when it comes to site speed, it's their Turbo plans that will make your website fly.
Their uptime is at par with industry standards. In this A2 Hosting Review, we also tested their customer support which turned out to be excellent. So, if you are looking for a good host that comes at an affordable pricing, there's no reason you should not go with A2 Hosting.
Is A2 Hosting the fastest hosting company? Does it have good customer support? Find it out in this A2 Hosting Review 2023.
Product Brand: A2 Hosting
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