A2 Hosting Review

 
The team at Michigan-based A2 Hosting has been providing top quality hosting services since 2001, and in that time has done a great job of keeping their customers satisfied. They have an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and they have a 5-star average from Shopper Approved, based on over 500 reviews. And with top of the line hardware and running everything on solid state drives (SSDs), A2 is an A1 hosting company.

Prices starting at $3.92/Month

Shared hosting plans

A2 Hosting has three tiers of shared hosting, and generally speaking the better the plan the faster your website is going to go (A2 Hosting is obsessed with speed). However, unlike other companies, their base line offer is pretty robust. Every single A2 shared hosting plan comes with all your basic hosting stuff like email (POP3, IMAP), free website transfers, 24/7 support, and 99.9% uptime. That’s all standard. But A2 also includes as a matter of course SSD, CloudFlare CDN, HackScan protection, 30 day money back guarantee, RAID-10 storage, WordPress optimization and protection, and Softaculous 1-click installs for a whole bunch of web apps, including:

  • WordPress
  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • CubeCart
  • CMS Made Simple
  • Elgg
  • SMF
  • Piwik
  • PrestaShop
  • Magento
  • OpenCart

A2 Hosting runs their shared servers on CloudLinux, a variation on CentOS that allows them to better manage their shared server resources, guaranteeing that when your neighbour hits the front page of Reddit your customers don’t even notice. Here are their three plans in more detail.

Lite: $7.99

The Lite Plan goes for $7.99 on a 12 month contract or $9.99 month to month. The first month is discounted to $3.92. In addition to everything above, Lite users get:

  • Unlimited RAID-10 storage and transfers
  • 25 email accounts
  • 1 domain, 5 subdomains, and 25 parked ones
  • 5 MySQL databases
  • 2GB virtual memory and 0.5GB physical memory
  • cPanel 11 control
  • Command line access control via WP-CLI
  • $25 in ad credits
  • 60 day email marketing trial with Constant Contact ($20 per month)
  • Email marketing trial with iContact
  • 20% off at TeslaThemes

Swift: $9.99

The Swift Plan is the recommended plan by A2 Hosting for most customers. It’s got the benefits of the Lite plan, but you also get far more unlimited stuff like databases.

The first month of the Swift Plan is $4.90, and after that it’s $9.99 per month on a 24 month contract, $10.99 per month on a 12 month contract, or $12.99 month to month.

The Swift Plan comes with:

  • Unlimited email addresses, and SQL databases
  • Unlimited domains, subdomains, and parked domains, and add-on domains
  • 1GB physical memory and 8GB virtual memory, and dual 2.1Ghz cores
  • Server backups rewinds, an easy way to restore a single file, MySQL database, or your entire account

Add-ons are also available, including Performance Plus ($3 per month), a traffic spike management tool, and Railgun Optimizer ($2 per month).

Turbo: $18.99

The Turbo Plan is A2 Hosting’s top (and fastest) web hosting plan. The first month costs $9.31 and after that its $18.99 per month for 24 months, or $20.99 per month on a 12 month contract, or $24.99 month to month.

The big differences with the Turbo Plan are that you’re on servers carrying less accounts, the servers you’re hosted on use LiteSpeed instead of Apache (for speed), and you get access to SwiftCache. SwiftCache either uses TurboCache to store the entire HTML contents of a page without running PHP, or by using OPcache/APC to speed PHP page response times.

The Turbo Plan includes everything from earlier plans as well as:

  • 2GB physical memory (instead of 1GB)
  • Railgun Optimizer
  • Turbo Server: 20x faster page loads
  • SwiftCache: 20x faster page loads again

For the best possible website experience that can scale with traffic, then the top tier plan is definitely worth looking at (especially if you’re hosting an ecommerce site). If you’re just getting going though, or you’re getting perfectly acceptable site speeds with your current plan with a different provider, then the Swift or Lite Plans are probably more your speed.

VPS Hosting

A2 Hosting, in addition to their shared hosting, have a big range of VPS options as well. Both their dynamic and cloud VSP options are incredibly scalable, and you can simply buy more server space as you need it.

Dynamic VPS

Their Dynamic VPS Plans start a $14.99 per month (naturally, there’s a 34% discount for your first month). That gets you 10GB disk space on hard disks, 4 vCPUs, 512MB memory, and 200GB bandwidth. If you want to host your VPS anywhere other than Michigan, you will have to pay $5.00 more per month for SSD storage. They also offer auto quickinstall for PrestaShop, OwnCloud, LAMP, LAPP, LAPP9, and LAMP Zend Server 6 if you want, and they’ll install the OS of your choice.

Cloud VPS

Cloud VPS starts at $15.00 per month, for 512MB memory, dual cores, 0.6 Ghz CPU speed, 10GB RAID-10 storage on SSD, and 2TB outbound data. All their cloud VPS servers are hosting in Michigan. Again, it’s infinitely scalable and again you can choose whatever OS you want.

Both their dynamic and cloud VPS solutions are self-managed. They do, however, offer a managed VSP solution from $49.99 per month. It’s basically a dynamic VPS package, except with more of a fixed contract approach and you don’t have to manage it yourself. For $49.99 per month, you get 4GB RAM, 75GB RAID-10 SSD storage, 2000GB data transfers, 2 dedicated IPs and 4 vCPUs. More expensive plans, capping at $99.99 per month, get you 8GB RAM, 15GB RAID-10 SSD storage, 4000GB data transfers, and 8 vCPUs.

Dedicated Hosting

A2 Hosting also has dedicated managed and unmanaged hosting options. Their unmanaged hosting starts at $199.99 for 500GB RAID-1 storage, 8GB RAM, 10TB transfers, and dual Intel i3 3.4 Ghz cores. For $299.99 per month, you get 16GB RAM, 20TB transfers, and 12 dual Intel Xeon E5 2.1 Ghz cores.

Their managed option is essentially the same but starts at $169.99 and goes up to $349.99 per month.

Perl

A2 Hosting offers some support for Perl modules and other Perl questions in their knowledgebase, and regardless of what plan you’re on you have the full ability to run whatever Perl modules you want through cPanel. A2 Hosting provides some help for getting Perl modules up and running. That said, PHP is the language of choice for most developers working on their network, and their knowledgebase supports this bias.

A2 Hosting runs Perl 5.10, which is the last stable update and a couple major updates ahead of most of the competition.

Technical details

A2 Hosting has a giant range of technical options for those developmentally inclined.

  • Apache 2.2, Nginx, and Tomcat
  • MySQL 5.5, PostgreSQL 9.4, SQLite 3.3, and MongoDB
  • PHP 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 or 5.5, Python 2.4, 2.6, 2.7, 3.1 or 3.2, Ruby 1.8, and Perl 5.10
  • SSH, Cron, Mantis, Trac, and Remine
  • Node.js (even on shared servers), Django, Grails, symfony, CakePHP, CodeIgniter and Zend Framework
  • Datacentres in Michigan, Amsterdam, and Singapore
  • GlobalSign OneClick Alpha SSL

Conclusion

A2 Hosting offers a lot of services and lot of options. For developers looking to get their hands dirty, then A2 is a great place to get started with their broad base of compatibility and support. A2 should also be short-listed if speed is a major factor in what you look for in a host. They focus almost obsessively on getting their servers as quick as possible, so for ecommerce hosts, then A2 might be worth their higher prices for a top quality customer experience.

Prices starting at $3.92/Month

Comments are closed.