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A2 Hosting web hosting review 2021

Attractive hosting solutions let down by poor performance

A2 Hosting logo
(Image: © A2 Hosting)

Our Verdict

A2 Hosting offers a selection of hosting products backed by various data center locations, competitive introductory prices, and features including free site migrations and advanced security.

Pros

  • Competitive introductory prices
  • Free WordPress website migrations
  • American, European, and Asian data center locations

Cons

  • Substandard performance numbers
  • No Windows hosting options

ITProPortal Verdict

A2 Hosting offers a selection of hosting products backed by various data center locations, competitive introductory prices, and features including free site migrations and advanced security.

Pros

  • + Competitive introductory prices
  • + Free WordPress website migrations
  • + American, European, and Asian data center locations

Cons

  • - Substandard performance numbers
  • - No Windows hosting options

A2 Hosting is regularly listed among the best web hosting services due to its focus on performance, competitive prices, and versatile selection of hosting solutions. However, our A2 Hosting review revealed some interesting and unexpected facts about this provider, showing that it’s not quite as good as it may appear.

A2 Hosting review: Snapshot

A2 Hosting is a well-known web hosting provider that offers everything from basic shared hosting to fully managed dedicated servers. Its prices are competitive, though expensive on renewal, and it has one of the best customer service teams we’ve seen. 

Creating a new website with A2 Hosting is extremely straightforward due to the inclusion of the Softaculous one-click installer. However, it doesn’t live up to its reputation as a high-performing host. During testing, both its uptime and its average server response time fell well below the thresholds we would expect for a reliable shared host.

At the end of the day, A2 Hosting is a viable option that’s far from exceptional. It’s certainly better than overly simplistic hosts such as HostGator and Bluehost because of the number of features it includes. But if you’re looking for a more advanced option, we’d recommend paying slightly more for a high-end provider like Hostwinds or SiteGround

Score: 3.5/5

Read on for the full review. 


A2 Hosting’s competitors

How does A2 Hosting compare to its main competitors?
A2 HostingSiteGroundHostwinds
Score3.5/54/54.5/5
Pros- Competitive introductory prices - Free WordPress website migrations - American, European, and Asian data center locations- Advanced hosting solutions - Fast, knowledgeable support team - A selection of data center locations - Industry-leading performance - Excellent 99.9999% uptime guarantee - One-click software installations through Softaculous
Cons- Substandard performance numbers - No Windows hosting options- Can be a little expensive - Storage and other server resources are limited- Not a great option for budget-conscious developers - Installing an SSL certificate is difficult
VerdictA2 Hosting offers a selection of hosting products backed by various data center locations, competitive introductory prices, and features including free site migrations and advanced security.SiteGround is a little expensive, but it offers excellent value for money through its advanced hosting solutions. Hostwinds is a high-end web hosting provider offering high-performance solutions for sites of all shapes and sizes.
View dealsA2 HostingSiteGroundHostwinds

A2 Hosting: Key features

A2 Hosting offers great transparency, outlining everything you can expect from its services in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. One thing that stands out is the company’s anytime money-back guarantee. 

With this, you can essentially request a refund if, at any point during your subscription, you’re not happy with the service you’re receiving. Unless you cancel in the first 30 days, you will only receive a refund for the remainder of your subscription, but it’s still a neat little feature.  

Another attractive tool is A2’s free site migration service. With this, you can bring an existing WordPress website to your new A2 hosting account with a minimum amount of fuss. Simply fill in the provided migration request form, and your site will be transferred within 48 hours. 

To keep its clients happy and protected from malicious third parties, A2 Hosting uses a suite of security tools. For starters, it uses the HackScan tool to proactively monitor all accounts, detecting and blocking attacks before they can have negative impacts. DDoS protection is available, and you will even benefit from a dual firewall and an on-demand virus scanner.

A2 Hosting: Key features and highlights

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A2 Hosting's money-back guarantee

A2 Hosting offers an attractive anytime money-back guarantee (Image credit: A2 Hosting)
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A2 Hosting's WordPress migration

A2 Hosting provides a free WordPress website migration service (Image credit: A2 Hosting)
Image 3 of 5

A2 Hosting's on-demand virus scanner

There’s an on-demand virus scanner that you can use at any time (Image credit: A2 Hosting)
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A2 Hosting's client area

Various data collection and analysis tools are available (Image credit: A2 Hosting)
Image 5 of 5

A2 Hosting's site visitor info

Submitting a new support ticket is a great way to get the answers you need (Image credit: A2 Hosting)

There’s also a suite of data collection and analysis tools available through the A2 Hosting cPanel. You can monitor things like bandwidth usage and site errors, while keeping track of visitor numbers and various other audience statistics. 

Last but not least is A2’s customer service, which stands out as excellent. All users will have access to 24/7 phone, email, and live chat support. The team prides itself on rapid, knowledgeable responses, and you shouldn’t have to wait more than a few seconds for a live chat reply.

A2 Hosting: What’s new?

A2 Hosting does a great job of keeping its customers up to date with new developments. In fact, it has an entire section of its blog dedicated to product updates, and you can expect at least a couple of posts a month. 

As recently as September 2021, A2 Hosting added the WordPress Toolkit to the cPanel control panel. This comes in Deluxe and Standard form, and includes a suite of management tools to help you get the most out of your WordPress site. 

In August 2021, the AlmaLinux operating system was made available for new customers due to the upcoming retirement of CentOS. Support for the Magento ecommerce CMS was also added to A2’s managed hosting solutions, and there are loads of other small updates that you can check out.

A2 Hosting: Pricing

A2 Hosting offers four shared hosting plans, with prices ranging from $2.99 to $12.99 a month with an initial three-year subscription. These prices increase significantly after your initial term, and you can expect to pay $10.99 to $25.99 on renewal. You will pay the equivalent to the renewal price if you would like to subscribe on a month-to-month basis rather than for a longer term upfront. 

Along with its shared hosting solutions, A2 Hosting offers a number of other options. These include managed WordPress (from $12.99 a month), managed and unmanaged VPS (from $4.99 a month), and unmanaged and managed dedicated server hosting ($129.99 a month) options.

A2 Hosting’s pricing plans
Plan type/featureStartupDriveTurbo BoostTurbo MaxSiteGround - Basic PlanHostwinds - Basic Plan
Cost per month$10.99$12.99$15.99$22.09$19.99$6.74
Cost per year$83.88$119.88$131.88$203.88$47.88$62.88
Unlimited site connectionsX (One)X (One)X (One)
Unlimited storageX (100GB)X (10GB)
Staging environmentXXX
Server rewind backupsXX

Testing A2 Hosting

To determine how easy A2 Hosting is to use, and how well it performs, we undertook two separate tests. First, we created a simple WordPress website linked to our hosting account. Performance was monitored using Pingdom’s uptime monitoring tools over a two-week period.

How easy is it to create a WordPress website with A2 Hosting?

Softaculous WordPress installer

Softaculous makes it extremely to start a new WordPress website (Image credit: A2 Hosting)

Creating a new A2 Hosting account is a straightforward process. The checkout is tidy, providing clear information about the company’s price structure and any introductory/long-term discounts. There are a number of payment methods available, including credit/debit card, PayPal, PayULatam, and bank transfer. 

When you log in to your A2 Hosting account, you will be taken to the account management dashboard. This is intuitive, though it has a slightly dated appearance. Here, you will find links to both your cPanel control panel and the Softaculous one-click installer. 

To get started with a WordPress website, simply click on the Softaculous button. You will see WordPress as one of the first available scripts to install. Follow the prompts, and you should have your site up and running in minutes. No special technical or web development knowledge is required, and we had no issues whatsoever.

How well does A2 Hosting perform?

A2 Hosting uptime and server response times

A2 Hosting’s performance was extremely disappointing (Image credit: Pingdom)

After creating a small WordPress website and monitoring it with Pingdom’s uptime-monitoring tools, we were very surprised with the results. Nearly everything A2 Hosting does is done with performance in mind, and it heavily advertises its “turbo” servers.

This made us even more surprised to see A2 Hosting’s average server response time come in at 822ms, which is well outside of the 200–400ms range we expect from shared hosting. With slow servers like this, you will have a lot of trouble achieving a decent page load time, and the user experience will suffer. 

A2’s uptime didn’t live up to expectations either. Despite offering a 99.9% uptime guarantee, we were left with a sub-standard 99.42% uptime figure after two weeks of testing. Our server experienced two outages for a total of two hours down. This isn’t a be-all and end-all test due to the short time period, but it certainly raises questions about A2 Hosting’s long-term reliability.

Alternatives to A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting is a popular option that has built a reputation for performance and feature-rich hosting packages. However, it just didn’t stand up to our expectations, and we’d recommend considering a few alternatives. 

For example, Hostwinds boasts excellent performance across the board. With its cheapest plan starting at $5.24 a month, it is a little more expensive than A2 Hosting. But it’s known for its feature-rich solutions ideal for larger websites and businesses. 

Like A2 Hosting, Hostwinds comes with the Softaculous one-click script installer, making it extremely easy to start a new WordPress website. It also boasts 24/7 live chat, email, and online ticketing support. You will even get a free domain name with all subscriptions. Read our full Hostwinds review to find out more.

SiteGround is another excellent option for those looking for a high-end host with a focus on performance. It boasts a tidy native control panel, rather than the cPanel dashboard most hosts go with. You will be able to select from various data center locations.

In addition, SiteGround’s 24/7 support team is known to be knowledgeable and responsive. Prices start at a competitive $3.99 a month, although you will need a long-term subscription to access the best prices.

A2 Hosting’s features compared to the competition
ProductA2 HostingSiteGroundHostwinds
Uptime guarantee99.9%99.9%99.9999%
Free domain nameNoNoYes
One-click installationsYes, hundreds available through SoftaculousYes, hundreds available through SoftaculousYes, hundreds available through Softaculous
Support24/7 live chat, phone, email, online ticketing24/7 live chat, phone, online ticketing24/7 live chat, email, online ticketing
Basic plan$2.99 a month*$3.99 a month*$5.24 a month*

*These represent the lowest introductory prices for each provider. Expect to pay more on renewal and for short-term subscriptions

A2 Hosting: The verdict

All things considered, A2 Hosting offers decent hosting solutions that are let down by one simple thing—its poor performance. Its prices are competitive, it’s backed by a suite of excellent features, and its customer service is among the best we’ve seen. If only its uptime and server response times came in a little better, A2 Hosting would be up there with the best hosts we’ve used. 

All A2 Hosting plans do come with a suite of attractive features. Those with an existing website will love the free site migration service, the anytime money-back guarantee is the best we’ve seen, and there’s a neat set of security tools to keep your site protected. 

In addition, you will be able to choose from a selection of shared, VPS, WordPress, and dedicated server plans. Shared hosting starts at just $2.99 a month for an initial subscription, which is up there with some of the more affordable options we’ve seen. 

Creating a new WordPress website is a very straightforward process. A2 Hosting uses a cPanel control panel coupled with the Softaculous one-click installer, enabling you to install a new WordPress site in just a few minutes. 

The bottom line: If you can look past A2 Hosting’s poor performance, everything else about it is great. There are options for businesses of all sizes, and there’s every chance that you will experience better performance than us if you have a high-end shared plan or a VPS server.

Further reading on web hosting

Check out our guides to the best VPS hosting, the best cloud hosting, and the best unlimited hosting available today. Or, you might like to read more about the ideal traits of a web hosting service provider and the ways hosting impacts web security.

The Verdict
3.5

out of 5

A2 Hosting web hosting review 2021

A2 Hosting offers a selection of hosting products backed by various data center locations, competitive introductory prices, and features including free site migrations and advanced security.

Daniel Blechynden

Daniel is a freelance copywriter with over six years experience writing for publications such as TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, and Hosting Review. He specializes in tech and finance, with a particular focus on website building, web hosting, and related fields.