There are certain truths in the world of hosting that you just can’t escape. One of them is the fact that for top of the line servers, you need to dish out a lot of dough, but simple shared hosting is good enough for the vast majority of websites. With inexpensive hosting packages, you’re not going to be getting the most cutting-edge performance or hardware, but you’re going to be getting something at a super reasonable price that performs well enough. However, there’s more to the equation than just that.
Even with the same hardware, there’s more than can be done to squeeze better performance out of it depending on how much effort the host is willing to put into it essentially, and that’s where A2 Hosting comes in. They’re on the less-expensive, more affordable side of the spectrum for people who want great value, but they’re all about optimization so they’ve gone the extra mile to optimize all of their hardware and software configurations to ensure their customers are getting the most out of their servers, even without breaking the bank.
Introduction to A2 Hosting
This company has been around since 2003, which is a very long time in the world of hosting brands. Their plan from the start was to be the hosting company that puts a priority on fast, speedy sites and also makes things as easy as possible for developers, the people who build websites, and they’ve stuck to that plan like glue over the years. You don’t have to be an experienced web developer in order to use A2 hosting, though, they’ve made the whole process, from sign-up to launching your site, as smooth and simple as can be. In addition, they have support docs that you can refer to if you need any extra help, and of course their team of support staff whom we’ll be discussing in a few moments.
Another nice thing is that A2 Hosting is carbon neutral, and they have ‘green’ policies around the office and they are supporters of CarbonFund.org. Being based in Ann Arbor, known as “Tree Town”, really inspires them to do whatever they can to help nature and the environment. In fact, even their name A2 is a tribute to Ann Arbor.
In 2014 they launched their super optimized Turbo Servers upgrade which boast loading times of up to 20x faster than similar-priced WordPress hosting options. Does that mean your site is always going to load 20x fast? No. But does it help speed things up? Yep! Their Turbo plan is definitely worth considering, or at least testing out, to see if it makes a big impact for your site in particular. Some sites will benefit a lot more than others, and the best way to find out just how much faster is to try. You’ve got nothing to lose, so it’s worth seeing! Even if it’s not a 20x improvement, any speed boost at all is very worth it, and will end up paying for itself time and time again because when sites load faster, everybody wins. Imagine an online store where it takes 2 seconds to load a page instead of pages loading instantly, that’s obviously going to have a negative influence on the shopping experience, which will be reflected in sales. So, we if you have a store or any other type of site that makes money, we strongly recommend trying the Turbo shared hosting plan, even though it costs a bit more than the other options from A2.
That was a few years ago, let’s take a look at what A2 Hosting is offering today, who it is useful for, and who might want to look elsewhere instead.
5 Best Things about A2 Hosting in 2018
At the end of the day, a lot of shared hosts are fairly similar, the ones at the top of the hill at least. There are a handful of more popular, more highly-reviewed, and more notable hosting brands out there, and A2 is among them.
They may differ a bit here and there among the top options, but sometimes there are certain features that really stand out and make them one of them a better choice than their competitors. We want to highlight some of the best aspects of A2 Hosting and to really highlight the ways that they shine. They’re not perfect, remember, these are low-cost options so you aren’t always going to have the most blistering-fast hardware, but A2 Hosting makes up for that with excellent optimization, and 4 other traits we’re about to mention…
- Optimization: This is easily one of the very best reasons to get A2, because your site will run nice and fast thanks to their Turbo Servers which you get even with their lowest cost options. They have a Railgun Optimizer and other stuff on the backend that’ll help your site run smoothly, including a ton of redundancy, massive amounts of ram on board, tons of processor cores, and software to make everything load faster. They don’t hold back when it comes to optimizing their servers to really fly. Sometimes, shared hosting can run about as fast as a snail since they have their servers so bogged down with too many users, but A2 doesn’t seem to oversell, which means they have enough server power to handle the amount of customers they have – even when things get busy, and they keep everything running smooth. Solid state drives also make a huge difference to help your sites read and load more quickly for your visitors.
- Tons of options & the ability to grow: With a full suite of hosting options, you can start small when your site is new and you can upgrade your server as your site grows and becomes more popular, requiring more resources. It’s easy to scale up with A2, which is a huge plus! Some people start off by over-paying for a bigger server because they don’t want to go through the hassle of upgrading down the road, but that’s not an issue here, and most sites aren’t getting a ton of visitors in their first weeks or months, so we encourage you to start smaller and then A2’s staff can help you upgrade when its time for something more. It’s free to upgrade to a bigger plan, and you can even downgrade down the road if you decide to (There is a small migration fee for downgrading, but it’s free to upgrade – just pay the difference.)
- Price: Their server packages are all very affordable, which we would expect from any leading shared hosting company, but furthermore even their VPS and Dedicated options offer GREAT value, which isn’t as common among their peers. You’ll save money if you sign up for a longer-term plan, but you can also go month to month as well. The thing is, once you find a great host, you’ll want to stay there forever, so it’s not a bad idea to lock in longer for a better price.
- Stellar support: They’ve got experts working around the clock in order to help you out with any issues that may arise, even though it’s unlikely for anything to go wrong server-wise, they’re also there to help you out with support when you need it.
- Security: This is an extension of their support staff, they work relentlessly to try to catch any security issues or problems before they have an impact. They’re on top of patches and upgrades, and closely monitoring their systems around the clock witha stellar team of webhosting and server admin professionals.
Beyond this, there are some other features and benefits to signing up with A2, here’s a quick rundown of some of the more advanced stuff. If you’re not the most tech-savvy or experienced with hosting, you honestly don’t need to think twice about any of this, so don’t let yourself get overwhelmed or too caught up in what it all means, none of it is stuff you’ll have to actively deal with it, it’ll mostly go on behind the scenes and simply make your site better overall.
A2 Hosting is, as we mentioned, very dev-friendly. They haev a lot of pre-loaded software to choose from, and support for all of the most important languages, not to mention SSL along with free SSL options. Your account will have HackScan protection, KernelCare, defense against brute force attacks, a dual firewall, and a lot of other steps taken to enforce security.
A2 Hosting Packages
Here’s an overview of the different plans you can get from A2, along with a breakdown of which plan is suited for which types of websites.
- Shared Hosting: This is great for smaller blogs and websites, company pages, portfolios, resumes, and other things like that. It works for businesses, but if your site is giong to be getting a ton of traffic, you’ll want to consider a VPS or a dedicated hosting plan.
- Reseller Hosting: If you run a webdesign company or multiple websites for clients or yourself, a reseller hosting account can be a great way to make it a lot easier to organize and keep track of everything, and to save some money in the process. It allows you to setup unique cPanels for each client, rather than having it all under one single account, and you can even bill them directly and earn money for yourself with this plan.
- VPS Hosting: This is a step up from shared hosting, it gives you a more private environment. It’s still shared hardware, but it’s different from typical shared hosting, it basically simulates a dedicated server with the cost-savings of sharing hardware. This is more for advanced users if you go with the unmanaged options starting at $5 per month, managed VPS hosting costs somewhere in between the prices of shared and dedicated hosting.
- Dedicated Hosting: This is the top of the line choice for large, popular websites. A dedicated host has the most power and resources, and you don’t have to share your hardware with anybody else.
For most sites, shared hosting is good enough, and you can always upgrade and climb the ladder towards dedicated as your site grows and requires more.
A2 has optimized their servers for all of the most popular scripts, from Drupal, Joomla, or WordPress when it comes to content management systems, or things like OpenCart and Magento for eCommerce. This optimization means you’ll get the most bang for your buck, and your server will perform a lot better than it would without any such optimizations.
Support at A2 Hosting
They have 24/7 support, which is basically mandatory at this point… what good is support if you can’t get in touch with them when you need them most?
Around the clock support is something you should always look for in a host. Beyond that, you need the support staff to be very knowledgeable and able to help with any issues that may arise, and A2 is perfectly capable of that. They’ve won numerous awards over the years for their customer service and support, along with many other aspects of their business.
You can phone them for support toll-free, and they have a variety of numbers listed on their site so that you can get directly in touch with the correct department which makes things easier.
Whether you prefer support tickets, phone calls, live chat, or email – there’s a lot of ways to get in touch with them for a very fast response.
They have an extensive support area on their site, between numerous ways to get in touch, and their own guides for those who prefer to DIY rather than reaching out for support right away, it’s all there. It’s a great way to learn more about starting a site, especially knowing that they’ve got your back should you run into any hiccups.
Final Verdict: Great Value Hosting with High Speeds
Do we recommend going with A2 for shared hosting?
A2 Hosting is a reasonably priced option for all of their hosting plans, they’re very competitive compared to any other hosts that are similar.
Mixed in with great support, very well optimized servers, every feature you could ever need or the ability to add it, and a slew of extra stuff, they’re definitely a good choice.
- Rated 3.5 stars
- Very Good
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