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A2 Hosting: An Old Dog With New(ish) Tricks [2024]

Suzanne Stewart Suzanne Stewart Web Hosting Expert

Unlike some older hosting providers whose glory days are long past, A2 Hosting still performs better than a lot of the newer, flashier providers out there. You can trust your site will offer your visitors a fast, reliable browsing experience on every visit. The only downside was a lack of service from the customer service and support teams.

Overview

A2 Still Has What It Takes to Make It Worth a Look

A2 Hosting homepage promises unbelievable speeds
A2 Hosting promises unbelievable speed, and it can still deliver on that promise.

When seeking a new hosting provider for your site, you may be tempted to go with one of the newer companies that pop up in ads on YouTube and search engines. Or even worse, you may consider going for one of the older, past-its-prime hosting providers who rely on brand names rather than quality and reliability to win customers. You may be thinking that A2 Hosting is one of those old dogs, too.

Frankly, you’d be wrong.

After signing up and testing A2 Hosting personally, I can tell you that it still delivers impeccable performance scores. It’s still incredibly easy to use, even for beginners and non-techy people like me.

A2 Hosting offers shared, managed WordPress, VPS, dedicated, and reseller hosting. Its A2 Optimized plugin for WordPress offers more speed and security for your site to take advantage of its Turbo Servers’ capabilities (more on those later). And for all the value A2 Hosting has to offer, its plans are still reasonably priced.

Is A2 Hosting perfect? No. It has its pitfalls and disappointing moments. Very few hosting providers reach the pinnacle of perfection in performance and service. Read on to find out if what A2 Hosting does get right, however, is right enough for you.

4.8

Features

Excellent Features, but a Somewhat Confusing Website

First-time visitors to A2 Hosting’s website may find themselves a bit confused by some of the terms they’re confronted with. That’s because A2 Hosting’s website uses some non-industry-standard language to describe its plans’ features. It makes it difficult to discern just what features are offered in some cases and whether or not they’re anything special in others.

A2 does offer some excellent features, such as 100 GB of SSD storage on its entry-level Startup plan, and unlimited NVMe storage on the Turbo plans like the one I used for this review. You get unlimited bandwidth on all plans and from 1 GB to 4 GB of RAM, depending on your plan. Those are all pretty easy to understand and make sense of, even for beginners.

But then there are other excellent features that aren’t as easy to decipher. One example is the Perpetual Security set of features, which includes security essentials such as virus scanning, DDoS protection, firewall, brute force defense, and 24/7/365 monitoring. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the A2 Optimized plugin, a feature developed exclusively for A2 Hosting. The plan descriptions don’t do it justice, and a beginner may not realize just how special it is.

And then there are the Turbo Servers. What the heck is a Turbo Server anyway? We’ll cover that in more detail in a bit, but let’s just say it uses well-established, time-proven speed and performance-increasing technology, and that A2 Hosting has given it a clever name.

For the new website owner, all of this may leave them confused. For the experienced hosting customer, it can be a bit annoying. Please don’t let either reaction stop you from choosing an excellent host for your site.

Those Turbo Servers, Explained

A2 Hosting’s Turbo Servers are marketed as being “up to 20X faster” than other providers’ servers. (Your site probably won’t be. Mine wasn’t.) Turbo Servers are LiteSpeed-powered servers with several performance enhancements added on. With LiteSpeed technology,  these servers offer increased speed for your website by, among other things:

  • Allocating double the physical memory of a standard server
  • Having their own PHP API to provide more speed
  • Utilizing LSCache, which caches both mobile and desktop views of your site for faster loading times

Now, not every host offers LiteSpeed web server software because it incurs a hefty license fee. And some of the hosts that do offer LiteSpeed limit it to their higher-priced plans. A2 Hosting, however, offers LiteSpeed-based servers, umm excuse me, Turbo Servers, in its modestly priced shared hosting plans. Not entry-level plans, mind you, but reasonably affordable plans nevertheless.

A2 Optimized Plugin for WordPress, and Other CMSs

A2 Optimized WordPress plugin dashboard
The A2 Optimized WordPress plugin helps you get the most out of your WordPress site.

A2 Hosting’s A2 Optimized WordPress plugin is an easy-to-use and beginner-friendly tool that analyzes your site’s performance, security, installed theme, and other plugins. It then gives you suggestions to improve your site’s “scores” to what it considers optimal.

The A2 Optimized plugin suggests optimizations newbies and experienced WordPress admins may find useful, such as page caching, image compression, and using system cron vs. WordPress cron. It also explains the various performance and security elements and why you should consider each important.

I’ve been admin for many a WordPress site in my day and yet found using the plugin on our test site useful. One of the A2 Optimized plugin’s site security suggestions for me was something I always meant to do but never remembered to do until it was too late: set up CAPTCHA for comments on blog posts to avoid spam bot infestation.

I didn’t pay any attention to the speed and performance scores, as we use other tools, but again, for someone less experienced, I can see the benefit of having those tools available right in your WordPress dashboard. Knowing what your Time to First Byte or First Contentful Paint are and how they can affect your site’s performance can be enlightening.

A2 Hosting didn’t stop at WordPress, however, when it came to developing its A2 Optimized platforms. There’s an A2 Optimized version for Drupal, OpenCart, Joomla, and Magento, too. Each one works with its platform to improve your overall website performance. You can optimize your UNIX socket files, autoconfigure HTML, CSS, and JS files, and store static pages, all to increase your site’s loading and download speeds.

Patch and Update Testing

A2 Hosting’s tech crew wants to make sure your WordPress site never suffers from one of those “update deaths” that have plagued many a WordPress site owner. To that end, they test all patches and updates before your site is allowed to update.

No more worries about some plugin fouling up the works or crashing your site simply because the good folks at WordPress chose to update something. Likewise, you won’t have to worry if a “fix” doesn’t, in fact, fix something as it should. A2 Hosting’s not going to let your site’s performance slip when it should improve.

Loads of Other Goodies

I set up our test site using the Turbo Boost shared hosting plan with WordPress preinstalled. It’s a plan packed with lots of good stuff, but you don’t have to spend as much as I did to get real value with A2 Hosting.

A2 Hosting’s entry-level Startup shared hosting plan includes 100 GB of SSD storage and 1 website. You also get unlimited email accounts and bandwidth, free SSL, free site migration, and website staging capabilities.

An entry-level WordPress plan includes those Turbo Servers, 50 GB of NVMe storage, 1 website, and all the other goodies included in the shared hosting Startup plan, as well as WordPress-specific items like WP-CLI and WordPress Toolkit. Not bad for an affordable host, huh?

Our WordPress test site came with a free QUIC.cloud CDN offer, but I didn’t go through the hoops of signing up on their site, as we prefer to test default setups. All shared hosting plans are Cloudflare compatible, too.

A2 Hosting’s Features at a Glance

Free domain name?
Free SSL?
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Uptime guarantee 99.9%
Managed hosting features?
Data centers 2 in the US, 1 in Europe, 1 in Asia
4.7

Ease of use

Simple and Easy? Yes. Annoying? A Little Bit.

A2 Hosting is incredibly easy and user-friendly once you have a website up and running. I discussed the issues you might encounter thanks to the strange terminology used by A2 Hosting’s branding department. Now, let’s look at what it’s like to actually sign up and become an A2 Hosting customer.

Creating a New Account with A2 Hosting

The first screen in A2 Hosting's shared hosting plan purchasing process
Your first step in the signup process is to deal with your domain.

I actually went through (most of) the new account setup with A2 Hosting twice. The first time was my actual account setup for our test site. The second time was so I could show you something I feel is important that I neglected to screenshot on my first trip through. (I didn’t actually complete a second full sign-up, just got to the point I needed to and quit.)

After clicking the button for your chosen plan, you need to determine what you’re doing with your domain name. You can use a domain name you already have, register through A2 Hosting for a fee, use a temporary domain name provided by A2, or transfer an existing domain name from another host. I registered our test domain name with a third-party service.

Once you get your domain name squared away, you get to choose some options for your hosting plan. You can pay in either US dollars or Indian rupees. You have a plethora of payment options, too, including PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, UnionPay (through Stripe), Skrill, PayU Latam (for certain South American countries and Mexico), bank transfer, or even by mailing in a paper check or money order.

A2 Hosting asks users to select data center during checkout
A2 Hosting’s choices of data centers let you pick the one closest to your audience

You can also decide which one of four data centers you want to host your site. (As a Mid-Atlantic gal, I picked Michigan.)

If you scroll down the page after you choose your data center, you’re met with two more choices: one for the website builder and another for any auto-installs.

A2 Hosting choices of web builder or CMS during setup
Don’t pass by this box if you choose either a WordPress hosting plan or unmanaged WordPress installation on your shared hosting plan.

If you choose either a WordPress plan or a WordPress auto-install as I did, you’ll get this little pinky-peachy colored popup with your WordPress login credentials. If you don’t write these credentials down, screenshot them, or whatever you do to remember them, you’ll have to go through the extra step in cPanel to reset them. I’m saving you the hassle of that extra step.

It’s really the only thing I found even slightly annoying in all of A2 Hosting’s sign-up and site management. Why not just email them? It could be argued that it is for security reasons, I suppose.

Anyway, click the button to continue to checkout, review your plan details, enter your payment and address info, and you’re the newest A2 Hosting customer.

Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress

Since A2 Hosting uses cPanel, connecting my domain from Namecheap to my new account was pretty straightforward. I simply had to get the domain nameserver info from Namecheap and enter it into my domain name’s settings in cPanel. A2 Hosting even has a tutorial, complete with screenshots, to walk you through the process in case you’re unfamiliar with it.

A2 Hosting's pre-installed WordPress came with a security vulnerability issue
My WordPress installation curiously came with a security vulnerability I had to address via WP Toolkit because WordPress hasn’t released a fix for it yet.

I didn’t have to install WordPress, as it was already preinstalled, which was nice. I did have to update it through Toolkit, as it threw a security vulnerability alert right at the start that WordPress hadn’t yet released a patch for. Once I did that, entered my DNS name server info, and activated my domain, I was ready to set up our little baby test site and start running our performance tests.

Beginner-Friendly and Basic

Your cPanel dashboard with A2 Hosting
A2 Hosting’s cPanel control panel puts everything right where you can find it.

When it comes to using your A2 Hosting account and adminning your site, A2 is very easy to work with. A lot of hosts make things more complicated than they have to be, but not A2.

 You access your website through good old cPanel. Softaculous is there in all its one-click glory. Admin a WordPress site like our test site through the standard WordPress dashboard.

Some might say A2 Hosting’s Customer Portal shows the hosting provider’s age and needs updating to something more hip and modern. I disagree. For me, it keeps things simple and easy to use.

The Customer Portal doesn’t have complicated hoops or proprietary control panels to deal with and learning curve to running and managing your site. You’re even treated to the WordPress and cPanel “get started” popups when you first log in, just to make sure you know what’s what and where.

A2 SiteBuilder Web Page Builder

I didn’t have a chance to play with the A2 SiteBuilder because I chose preinstalled WordPress instead. From the website’s videos and info, it’s a drag-and-drop, template-based web page builder. You have some customization options, like theme colors and fonts, to keep your site from being too formulaic and cookie-cutter looking.

SiteBuilder incurs an extra monthly fee that depends on the size of the site you want to build. It looks to be about as easy to use as any other template-based builder, including WordPress. Again, nothing complicated or dauntingly unfamiliar. And for those not wanting to run WordPress or pay for expensive graphics work for their site, SiteBuilder is a nice, inexpensive, easy-to-use option.

4.7

Performance

Simply Excellent Performance for the Price

Here’s your reminder that while I wasn’t on the entry-level Startup plan, I wasn’t on the top-tier Turbo Max plan, either. I used a middle-of-the-road plan called Turbo Boost. It’s so reasonably priced and filled with features that any small business or professional blogger will find it more than adequately fits your needs.

I wanted to see if the hoopla over those Turbo Servers really held up or if it was just a bunch of hot air and clever branding. We’ve all been overpromised and underdelivered, especially when it comes to online services. I’m pleased to say that A2 Hosting turned in some top-level scores and was closer to a case of underpromising and overdelivering. You can read all the nitty-gritty details on how we conduct our testing here at Website Planet if you’re interested.

An A2-hosted test site's above the fold content
Here’s my little baby test site, a simple one-page, image-heavy WordPress site.
According to UptimeRobot, the uptime during my testing period was a whopping 100%. Using GTmetrix, our page’s typical time to load fully was 590 ms, and the Performance score was another 100%.

Let’s look at things in more detail.

GTmetrix

GTmetrix performance graph results for an A2-hosted test site.
One week in the life of our test site returned some pretty impressive results, with only 3 minor blips

The closest GTmetrix global testing location was in Chicago, Illinois, less than 250 miles from A2 Hosting’s Ann Arbor, Michigan data center and home to my little testing site’s server. I used that for my formal results in this review.

Just to compare, however, I did test the site on several other testing locations. No matter where I chose in the US or Canada, I couldn’t get a GTmetrix Performance score less than 99%. London returned a 93%, and Sao Paulo, Brazil finally brought me my first B at 86%. Again, phenomenal results for a budget-friendly host, though it is one of the upgraded plans.

My fastest loading speed was 0.50 seconds, while my slowest time to fully load the page was 1.12 seconds. GTmetrix says you should aim for a fully loaded speed of less than 1.2 seconds. By those standards, my little site had three little blips over 1 second in the last week of my tests, but other than that, never neared the 1.2s mark.

Here’s proof of my site’s excellent, Grade A performance, from a busy midweek afternoon.

GTmetrix performance results for an A2-hosted website during a busy midweek afternoon
My little A2-hosted WordPress site is at the top of its class according to GTmetrix.

Sucuri Load Time Tester

With Sucuri Load Time Tester, scores remained high, having to go all the way to France to have a complete load time of over 1 second. Then all the way to Tokyo, Japan, it took longer than the 1.2-second goal. These are terrific scores, but could even be improved, as we didn’t enable a CDN for these tests.

Sucuri Load Time Tester results for an A2-hosted website
My Sucuri Load Time Tester scores were also quite good, including those in Europe and Brazil.

A2 Hosting’s choice of data center locations is no surprise, and I’m sure my Asian and European, or South American scores would be different if I were using one of the other geographically closer data centers, or a CDN.

UptimeRobot

Every reputable hosting company generally promises at least 99.9% reliability. A2 Hosting is no exception. So I was expecting at least 99.9% from my UptimeRobot testing. I was in for a surprise.

Uptime Robot test results for an A2-hosted test website.
A2 Hosting never lost a beat, receiving a straight 100% across the board from UptimeRobot.

The surprise was that once again, A2 Hosting had underpromised and overdelivered. Not 99.9%. Not even 99.99%. No. A perfect 100% uptime for the entire testing period. Needless to say, I was impressed.

Now remember, this is a low-cost host, using an upgraded plan, but one that isn’t its top-tier best. Just a shared hosting WordPress site with no really fancy bells or whistles other than the default that was suggested by the A2 Optimized plugin. And yet, it got high scores again and again. Few hosts return such great results on so small an investment.

4.5

Support

All Good Things Must Come to an End

There always seems to be some sort of disappointment involved when testing and reviewing web hosting providers. Some have great performance and lousy user experience. Some offer great features and then charge ridiculously high prices for them. And still other hosting providers – A2 Hosting among them – can’t quite seem to pull it together in the customer service and support arenas.

A2 promises 24/7/365 support from its Guru Crew, and that you can reach them via online chat, support tickets, or phone. Maybe you can, anyway, but I couldn’t. At least not without waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

My first attempt was to contact support via online chat. I will say one thing about A2 Hosting’s online chat: it is actually live, as in a real live agent on the other end. I’ve had more AI chatbot experience advertised as live chat support than I care to think about. Having an actual person should’ve been a pleasant experience – except for the wait.

A2 Hosting's support chat wait time of 33 minutes
My wait time of 33 minutes had visions of that “DMV sloth” meme running through my head.

The promised 33 minutes stretched into 51 in reality, but I had no way to screenshot that. When the agent did finally come online, she was able to answer my question quickly and efficiently. We were online together for maybe all of 2 minutes, and then we’re done. Waiting 51 minutes for a 2-minute conversation, however, didn’t make a good first impression.

So I thought I’d try the phone support next. I like to ask questions I already know the answer to, so I can test the quality of the support agents. Alas, I never got to ask them anything, as the wait time there was another 40 minutes. I was offered a call back by the recording, but it seemed pointless to waste the agents’ time with a question I already knew the answer to.

Lastly, I submitted a ticket. The ticket system is actually only for paying customers, as you have to log in to your account and access it through your cPanel dashboard. Again, I asked a question I had already found the answer to in A2 Hosting’s Knowledge Base. Guess what their answer was? Yep. A link to the article in the Knowledge Base. And it took nearly half a day to get that.

Talking about the Knowledge Base… perhaps A2 recognizes there’s a problem with its support team. The Knowledge Base proves to be very useful and beneficial. You can access it directly from your cPanel dashboard, eliminating the need to log in and out to adjust or repair something. It offers a variety of resources for all, ranging from a Getting Started guide for beginners to support for VPS clients and web development experts.

4.7

Pricing

Still Good Value for the Money

A2 Hosting’s plans place it squarely in the “affordable hosting” category. The shared hosting plans that my Turbo Boost plan is a part of are well within reach of nearly any small business or individual looking to start a site. The managed WordPress plans are also competitively priced. Even A2 Hosting’s VPS plans are reasonably affordable.

And unlike a lot of other “bargain” hosting providers, you really do get a lot for the money. The slow support and sloppy service experiences aside, I was quite pleased with the features and performance of my Turbo Boost plan. From the amount of NVMe storage to the 100% perfect uptime and screaming fast load times, what’s not to enjoy? If this were a real small business website for a side hustle, I’d be thrilled to get all that I got for the low price I paid.

Speaking of low prices, the best way to get the lowest price possible from A2 Hosting is to go with the longest plan possible. When I purchased my hosting account, the price for a 12-month plan and a 3-year plan were the same. I can’t say with any certainty that they will stay that way, though, as it could’ve just been a special offering. In any case, the longer the plan, the lower your total costs will be.

A2 Hosting also offers the occasional coupon, to give you a great deal. You can use the coupon below to receive the same low, budget-friendly price I did.

a2 hosting logo alt

Save up to $72.00 on your A2 Hosting plan!

Limited-time offer - Don't miss it!

85 users used this coupon!

And yes, there’s a money-back guarantee, and all you have to do to get a refund within the 30-day period is send a cancellation notice from your account dashboard. There’s a Request Cancellation link inside the Account Details screen for each service and domain you have. Fill out the form and submit it, and in 1 to 3 business days, you’ll have your money back – or at least I did.

Comparison

How does A2 Hosting match up to the competition?

KamateraCompareOur Score4.8Compare
Liquid WebCompareOur Score4.8Compare
A2 HostingCompareOur Score4.7Compare
Tailor Made ServersCompareOur Score2.9Compare

A2 Hosting REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

A2 Hosting’s site performance and load times are really hard to beat. Its features are also hard to compete with, especially for its wallet-friendly prices. Its old-fashioned, easy-to-use, no-frills-no-fuss cPanel and WordPress dashboards are an admin’s dream, if a bit boring. And signing up and setting up are (almost) foolproof.

The only real black mark on A2 Hosting’s record is the slow and sloppy service from its support and customer service teams. That might make it a poor choice for raw beginners. However, for DIYers with a bit of patience, its Knowledge Base can get you through a lot of rough spots on the road to setting up and managing your site.

FAQs

Who is A2 Hosting good for?

A2 Hosting is best for companies and individuals that want fast, efficient, reliable websites. A2 Hosting’s shared WordPress hosting is best for those who want to set up an e-commerce or WordPress blog site without a lot of hassle or expense. Lastly, A2 Hosting’s security features are perfect for those with customer data to protect.

What does A2 Hosting do?

A2 Hosting offers various hosting plans to cater to different needs. It provides shared hosting for individuals and small businesses, VPS hosting for more control and scalability, dedicated servers for high-traffic websites, and reseller hosting for those who want to start their own hosting business.

Can I host multiple websites on one A2 Hosting account?

Yes, depending on the plan you choose. Entry-level shared and managed WordPress hosting plans only include 1 website. All the other managed WordPress and shared hosting plans allow for more than one. The Turbo Boost plan I used included unlimited websites.

Can I migrate my existing website to A2 Hosting?

Yes, A2 Hosting offers free website migration services for new customers. Its team can assist you in transferring your website from your previous hosting provider to A2 Hosting, ensuring a seamless transition. A2 will migrate your website files, emails, databases, and cPanel settings for those with cPanel-based accounts.
Suzanne Stewart Suzanne Stewart
Suzanne has been a freelance writer and editor for 31 years, and has been writing online content since 2008. She holds professional certifications in editing and SEO strategy. She’s often been in the same desk chair as our Website Planet readers, needing to know what’s best and what’s best avoided. When she’s not testing and reviewing vendors, Suz is a professional artist as well as a volunteer therapy musician, playing the Celtic lap harp. She is a nature-lover who is often found walking the hiking trails near her home. She also enjoys time with her family, her grandchildren, and two cats.
1.7
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99,9% uptime? No way, we are out of mail for 3 days now.

This is the second time that we have a huge interruption in A2 mail, both sending and receiving, for more then 3 days. Web sites, incoming and outgoing mail, nothing is working anymore. A2 is killing my business. Such a poor service, I will move to any other as soon as possible.

avatar
Jos Quirynen, Belgium
June 04, 2020
1
Worse and Worse!

Perhaps at one time, A2 Hosting used to be a good web hosting company, but that time seems to have been long passed. A2 hosting appears to have a larger and larger amount of issues piling up. Not only are they more and more unreliable, but their customer service is slower and slower, almost to the point of being unacceptable! Now the newest issue is that their email filters do not do anything at all that they're designed to do. It's absolute garbage. I set up key words like any email that has the words "sex" and "freespin" in the body of the email message should be discarded... yet I am getting them all the time, every day. It's like the entire business of A2Hosting is a SCAM to get as many people's money as possible... in the meantime they just make it look like (!!!) a serious business... while it's all just a joke, an amateur platform LOOKING LIKE a worthy business. That's where it seems to be heading. Seriously... I would NEVER recommend A2 Hosting to my worst enemies! Like I said, one problem would be understandable and they could fix it... but when you have a constantly mounting amount of issues, I seriously doubt there is any way to save it. Maybe their manager is new or they have hired some people from their competition who are working on DESTROYING A2 Hosting... well, they are doing an excellent job, it's heading to destruction... When I ask them for any compensation, they simply say "Nope..." Once they got your money, you are pretty much screwed. DO NOT TRUST THEM with your hosting!

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Robert Petrik, Canada
May 18, 2020
1
Family sharingMulti User SharingExpert SupportBackupSmart syncPersonal SolutionBusiness SolutionTeams optionsOffline foldersFile history and recovery
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