Inside this Article
1. Plans and Pricing
A2 Hosting and Bluehost Have Similar Prices, but A2 Hosting Gives You More Value for Your MoneyBoth A2 Hosting and Bluehost offer shared, VPS, dedicated server, and reseller hosting at fairly low prices compared to the market average. To spot the differences between them, let’s take a closer look at some of their shared and managed WordPress plans. Although both services are advertised as excellent WordPress hosts, Bluehost’s WP Pro plans are lackluster, while A2 Hosting has slightly lower prices and throws in extra freebies too. For example, you get a free website migration, a proprietary WordPress optimization plugin, extra security tools, and free CloudFlare ServerShield caching and protection even on A2’s basic, 1-Site managed WordPress plan. None of these are included in Bluehost’s Build WP Pro plan. The two hosts have virtually the same prices for shared hosting, but if we look at their basic plans, it’s easy to see that A2 Hosting gives you more: more storage space, more email addresses, a free website migration, access to the A2 SiteBuilder (for one page), and extra security features like a dual firewall and reinforced DDoS protection. Bluehost’s equivalent plant gives you none of the above, although you do get a free domain for your first year, which is always nice. It’s also worth noting that A2 Hosting gives you the option of a monthly billing cycle, whereas Bluehost doesn’t. For example, if you wanted to buy Bluehost’s basic shared hosting plan at the advertised price, you’d have to pay for three years in advance. You could get it for just one year, but you’d be paying double the monthly cost. A2 Hosting also offers discounts for longer commitments, but the difference in price if you opt for, say, a monthly billing cycle, is much smaller. Plus, you don’t have to worry that A2 will add pricey add-ons to your cart on checkout. Although you can opt for extra paid features, they are not automatically checked like in the case of Bluehost. With Bluehost’s basic shared hosting plan, for example, two addons for site backups and security are added automatically and will effectively triple the cost of the plan itself if you forget to remove them. It’s also worth noting that A2 Hosting has an “anytime money-back guarantee”, so you can get a refund for the remaining period of your initial term even if you decide to cancel your subscription after the first month. With Bluehost, you get a standard, 30-day guarantee.
BlueHost Can Be a Little Slow, but A2 Hosting Is WorseWith web hosting, you know for a fact that you will need the help of customer support at one point or another. Even if you’re an expert developer and you eat Linux code for breakfast, you might still have questions about the host’s proprietary software, billing, or other similar issues. So can you count on Bluehost and A2 Hosting to help you fix a problem quickly and effectively? Both hosts offer 24/7 support through live chat, phone, and email, but I wanted to dig a little deeper and find out whether their customer support teams are actually helpful. My live chat with Guy, one of Bluehost’s support agents, was a bit slow, but went smoothly overall and was fairly informative. For instance, I was happy with the fact that Guy asked me several questions about my specific needs before he recommended a plan. He did “encourage” me to buy the SEO add-on, even though I didn’t necessarily ask for one, but upsells aside, I thought that his advice was spot on. When I asked whether I could use WordPress on the recommended plan, Guy gave me all the details I needed and even offered to accompany me throughout the installation to make sure that I was “settled in.” Even knowing that this was a pre-sales situation, I felt reassured that someone was willing to help me get started with my website. I even asked Guy if he could help me connect my existing domain to the new account and, once again, he offered to walk me through the process. A decent customer support experience if I’ve ever seen one. Having read all about A2 Hosting’s “Guru Crew,” I was actually very disappointed by the brief responses I got from customer support. For instance, I asked Julio, the agent from A2 Hosting, to recommend a plan for me, which he did right away, but without actually taking an interest in what exactly I wanted. He followed up with a link to A2’s plans comparison page and that was it. I also wanted to know if WordPress would come preinstalled on the Lite plan he recommended, but instead of writing back to me, Julio simply pasted a link to A2’s managed WordPress plans. In short, he told me to go figure it out for myself, but doesn’t that defeat the very purpose of customer support? When I asked the agent if he would be able to help me connect my existing domain to A2 Hosting, his answer was a simple “yes” followed by no other explanation. At this point, though, that did not give me any comfort. I couldn’t help but feel that, if I did become a paying customer, the help I would get from A2’s live chat support would consist of more links to articles about how I should fix my own problems. If you don’t mind looking for fixes yourself, both A2 Hosting and Bluehost have extensive knowledge bases with tutorials and guides. When it comes to live customer support, though, Bluehost is definitely in the lead.
Bluehost Covers the Basics, but A2 Hosting Packs Extra Features in Every PlanAt a glance, A2 Hosting vs Bluehost is an even matchup in terms of features, but if you dig beyond resources and basic tools, A2 Hosting offers far more than Bluehost for roughly the same price. If you’re interested in a managed WordPress plan, both hosts have WordPress pre-installed and will take care of updates and website backups for you. However, Bluehost’s Build WP Pro gives you unlimited storage and websites, whereas A2’s equivalent includes only 10 GB of storage and a single website. So far, Bluehost might seem like the better option, but there are important trade-offs. For one, if you go with A2 Hosting’s 1-Site plan, you get the A2 WordPress optimizer – a plugin that helps you easily configure your WordPress setup for the best possible website loading speeds. You also have access to A2’s Turbo servers, which can further increase your site’s performance by up to 20 times. In addition, a Jetpack Personal license is included for free on all A2’s managed WordPress hosting plans, while with Bluehost, you have to upgrade to a higher-tier plan to get the same benefits. Among other things, Jetpack Personal gives you daily automated backups, a CDN (content delivery network), advanced spam filtering, brute force protection, and website stats about your traffic and visitors. A CloudFlare ServerShield license is also included in all A2 WordPress Hosting plans, which means that you have access to CloudFlare’s enhanced security features in addition to the free CDN that you get with Bluehost. If you’re not a fan of WordPress, you’ll be happy to know that A2 Hosting offers its proprietary A2 SiteBuilder on all shared hosting plans. However, you can only use it to build one page unless you upgrade.
|Hosting Type||Shared, Managed WordPress, VPS, Dedicated Servers, Reseller||Shared, Managed WordPress, VPS, Dedicated Servers, Reseller|
|Free SSL Certificate||Yes||Yes|
|Disk Space||Unlimited on shared hosting, 10GB to 40GB on managed WordPress||50 GB to unlimited on shared hosting, unlimited on managed WordPress|
|Automatic Backups||Yes, on all WordPress plans, but only on some shared hosting plans||Yes, on all WordPress plans, but only on some shared hosting plans|
|Control Panel||cPanel on shared hosting, Plesk on managed WordPress||cPanel|
|Email Accounts||25 to Unlimited||5 to Unlimited|
|Free Site Migration||Yes||No|
|Money-Back Guarantee||Anytime||30 Days|
Both Hosts Have Decent Loading Speeds and Uptime, but Bluehost Has Some Big IssuesBoth A2 Hosting and Bluehost offer SSD storage on all plans, which is great news since SSD drives are up to 20 times faster than traditional HDDs. In addition, you get CloudFlare CDN for free with both hosts. When you use a CDN, cached copies of your site are created and stored on servers in different regions around the world. Even if your website is stored in, say, a US-based data center, visitors from Asia or Australia can still load your content quickly because they connect to the CDN server that is closest to them. This actually brings me to one of the major issues with Bluehost, a company that continues to go against common industry practice by refusing to disclose the location of its data centers. With Bluehost, you have no way of knowing where your website is hosted – and of course, you cannot choose your server location. This is not the case with A2 Hosting, which gives you the option to choose between four data centers: two in the US (Michigan and Arizona), one in Europe (Amsterdam), and one in Asia (Singapore). Based on your choice, you can expect faster loading times for site visitors in these regions. Plus, A2 Hosting offers several performance-enhancing features in addition to CloudFlare CDN on all managed WordPress plans. For example, all accounts are hosted on A2’s Turbo servers, which are faster than the Apache servers Bluehost uses. The WordPress LiteSpeed Cache, a built-in server feature that helps cache your website, is also included. Of course, speed is not everything. You want your website to load quickly, but you also want it to stay online at all times. This is where an uptime guarantee comes into play or, rather, where it would come into play if Bluehost had one. While most hosts aim to provide 100% uptime for their users, Bluehost makes no promises in this respect. Compare this to A2 Hosting’s 99.9% uptime guarantee, which is backed by an SLA (service level agreement). If uptime for your website falls below this threshold during the month, you get credit worth 5% of the cost of your hosting plan for every hour of downtime. Both Bluehost and A2 Hosting have good uptime records, but with Bluehost, you have no guarantee that this will stay the same, nor do you get compensated if it doesn’t.
A2 Hosting scored very well in our performance tests. Check out our expert A2 Hosting review for more details. Bluehost, on the other hand, did quite poorly. Find out what went wrong in our in-depth Bluehost review.
A2 Hosting Has Your Back, while Bluehost Makes You Pay for SafetyBoth Bluehost and A2 Hosting offer SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt on all plans, but that’s pretty much everything they have in common. A2 includes extra features even on its most basic plan, while Bluehost makes you pay extra for basic security. Want a spam filter for your email? Bluehost makes you pay for it. How about malware detection and removal? Again, you have to pay an extra fee. If you want to use a firewall, you’ll have to configure it on your own. With A2 Hosting, on the other hand, you get Perpetual Security – the provider’s proprietary security solution – on all plans. This includes a virus scanner, reinforced DDoS protection, a dual web hosting firewall, defense against brute force attacks, HackScan software, which detects and prevents hacks before they affect your website, and the Patchman security tool, which ensures all of your software is up to date and minimizes vulnerabilities. Daily automated backups are not included in A2’s Lite shared hosting plan, but an upgrade to Swift can fix this problem, while with Bluehost, you have to upgrade to the more expensive Choice Plus or Pro. Bluehost offers additional security features – such as Domain Privacy and a malware detection and removal tool – on all of its managed WordPress hosting plans. This is certainly better than what you get with shared hosting, but still not enough to compete with A2. It’s also worth noting that A2 Hosting uses RAID-10 storage on all WordPress plans. RAID-10 redundancy ensures that all the information stored on an SSD is mirrored on other drives, which improves both speed and stability.
A2 Hosting Wins in Pricing, Features, Performance, and SecurityWith better results in four out of five categories, A2 Hosting is the clear winner in this A2 Hosting vs Bluehost comparison. Since the two hosts offer very similar prices, there’s really no reason to settle for Bluehost’s unimpressive set of features and subpar performance. The only real drawback with A2 Hosting is its customer support, which can be disappointing if you expect to interact with an actual “Guru Crew.” At the end of the day, though, A2 Hosting will help you fix your problem, but this might mean simply sending you a link to a tutorial. A2 Hosting is not only my own personal recommendation in this matchup. It also made it into our list of the top 10 best web hosting services, while Bluehost, for obvious reasons, did not. To quickly compare A2 Hosting and Bluehost across all five categories, check out the table below:
Plans and Pricing
Fairly low prices, all plans are packed with generous resources and extra features
Fairly low prices (but only for three-year commitments), fewer features, and addons are automatically added to your cart
Unlimited storage and bandwidth on shared hosting plans, 10-40GB on managed WordPress, free website migration, anytime money-back guarantee
50GB to unlimited storage on shared hosting, unlimited storage on managed WordPress, unmetered bandwidth, free domain for the first year, 30-day money back guarantee
SSD storage, Turbo servers, WordPress optimizer, data centers in US, Europe, and Asia, 99.9% uptime guarantee
SSD storage, undisclosed data center location(s), no uptime guarantee
Free SSL certificates, DDoS protection, dual firewall, virus scanner, hack protection, automatic backups on most plans
Free SSL certificates, automatic backups on all WordPress and some shared hosting plans
24/7 support via email, live chat, and phone; extensive knowledge base
24/7 support via email, live chat, and phone; extensive knowledge base