A2 Web Hosting Review

A Better Overall Value Than SiteGround, GoDaddy, or WPEngine?

First launched in 2001, A2 Hosting has become an established favorite. Compared to some other big-name hosts, you don’t see as many high profile advertising campaigns, but they also provided some of the fastest network speeds we’ve seen in the past 12 months.

Their customer support is effective, the hosting packages are developer-friendly, and they have a special money-back “anytime” promise to get any unused portion of your plan back. Most of the packages also include SSL and backups.

Over the past few months, though, Uptime has fallen. And the renewal rates will increase quickly after the completion of your first sales cycle.

Here’s an in-depth look at the Pros vs. Cons of A2 Hosting after signing up, subscribing, and exploring.

What We Love About A2 Hosting…

A2 Hosting is one of the best hosting providers out there, in spite of the fact that most people have never even heard about them.

Their performance is great, customer service is professional, there are plenty of security features, refund plan is liberal and they take great strides towards being environmentally-conscious. Let’s go through them one by one…

Overall fastest that we’ve tested in the Shared Hosting category (346ms).

You’ll notice a common advantage when you go to A2Hosting.com: speed.

On the homepage, they talk about speed. Both apps are designed to make your website “A2 Optimized” (aka: super freaking quick). And even all of their pricing plan names (“swift” “turbo” etc) are related to how fast they are.

It should come as no surprise that, in fact, A2 Hosting is fast. They are the best shared hosting service that we’ve tested and have been the fastest hosting company we’ve personally used for years now.

In a world where page loading times might be the difference between keeping a website user around or losing them to the market, that’s no small feat.

Customer Service Agents Who Aren’t Robots.

A2 Hosting provides hundreds of support documents in their knowledge base that are pretty easy to navigate and find what you’re looking for.

They offer everything from chat to mobile and ticket-based support if you prefer to talk to a person.

While generally good at getting what you need accomplished, the live chat feature can take a little time to get on.

Hackscan Keeps Your Site Safe.

Free ‘HackScan‘ Keeps Your Web Safe Online, in spite of the fact that speed and security do not always go together. This is because extra screening, firewalls, or authentication layers can often slow down users.

A2 Hosting managed to be camera-fast while also not dropping the ball on security.

“HackScan,” a 24/7 monitoring service that checks for ransomware and other day-in, day-out attacks, protects their servers.

Avoiding problems before they break out is the best way to keep the site secure.

Its data centers are also scalable, so if a denial of service attack (DDoS) breaks out, you will be safe. These attacks attempt to overwhelm traffic on your servers and knock off-line on your page. And A2 has your back to deal with sudden, unpredictable surges.

Site Migration Included In Packages.

With Free Site Migrations (1–25 Depending on the plan), A2 Hosting can directly move your current website to their servers without any additional charge on all plans.

All you need to do is reach out with your cPanel account credentials to their customer support team, any day or night, and they will take the burden off your back.

The only catch, based on the plan you purchased, is the number of sites included that you can migrate, which is explained in their terms.

On the Lite, Swift, and Turbo plans, shared hosting customers will be free to move a single site. But if you buy the reseller, dedicated, or managed VPS hosting, you’re going to get 25 free migrations.

Again, this assumes you can provide your existing sites with cPanel access. Otherwise, for the extra work, A2 could take a small fee.

Content Management Systems, Developer Tools, & Website Builders.

A2 Hosting works with all major content management systems seamlessly. With just a few clicks, you can install a site for WordPress, OpenCart, Drupal, Joomla, or Magento. No need to hire a developer.

For these sites, they have some special features, such as the A2 Optimized WordPress plugin that comes with Turbo plans to keep your site fast.

A2 Hosting also has its own website builder, called SiteBuilder appropriately. These are perfect if you’re searching for something a little more user-friendly to configure your page on your own without a single HTML tag from Google. Only bear in mind that for A2’s SiteBuilder (than the usual shared hosting services) pricing and policies are a little different.

A2 Hosting plans are compatible with a Cloudflare CDN account to keep your site fast, repeat after me (by loading separate images and other large files from your server).

A2 Hosting comes with developer-friendly software if you’re a webmaster or company looking to host dozens of sites under one roof. Admin-level database access, free archive backups to load old versions of a page, and multiple versions of everything from PHP to MySQL, PostgreSQL, Python, and ASP.NET are accessible.

Generous Money Back Guarantees.

Like most other hosts we’ve checked, A2 Hosting used to have the default 30-day money-back guarantee.

With these, you know the drill. In the first 30 days run into any problems or problems, and you can get a full refund. There were no questions asked.

Nonetheless, over the past few years, A2 Hosting has changed this approach a little. And it is the consumers who benefit. A2 is now giving a money-back guarantee “anytime.”

Within the first 30 days, you will still receive a full refund. But what if you prepay for three years to get the best deal (more on that later), and after the first year you’re unhappy?

You can still ask for a refund and for the remaining time earn a prorated amount back (so the last two years of your deal).

There are, however, a few caveats.

The first is that any application for reimbursement will be made by PayPal after the first 120 days. Like other hosts, there is no reimbursement for’ additional’ services such as domain registration, setup or migration fees.

Although, like your domain name, you will be able to keep anything that is not refunded.

Absolutely. For the past several years, A2 Hosting has consistently delivered top-in-class pace. Their customer support is helpful and friendly. A free SSL certificate and one free migration are included in all shared plans.

And if you run into problems whilst being a customer at any time, you can ask for a refund on the unused time prorated balance.

The only drawback is that the uptime has fallen in recent months, and renewal rates are high (and the strict terms aren’t great).

However, when you opt for the most expensive shared plan to host unlimited websites (“Turbo”), only one free site migration will still be provided to you.

What Bugs Us About A2 Hosting…

A2 Hosting has a lot of great things going for it. Quick speeds and friendly support, however, can not compensate for everything.

We have found a few recent issues, such as dropping uptime and high retention rates that you may want to double-check before you sign up.

Uptime Isn’t What It Once Was.

Uptime Has slipped to 99.92 percent. The fastest page loading times can not compensate for an offline site.

That may sound obvious, but that’s a critical point. The uptime of A2 Hosting has notoriously been excellent over the last few years. But we’ve  a slight decline in performance over the past 16 months or so.

This is quite frustrating as uptime is the main ingredient in the success of a host. The 99.83 percent last month is more than an hour’s downtime in March. Not good when you try to visit customers and give you money.

Renewal Rates Get Pricey

A2 Hosting offers on long-term plans a slight price break. So the three-year prepayment can knock a few bucks off the monthly price, which can add up over 36 months.

A2 then sweetened the deal with exclusive promotional offers for new customers, which effectively reduced the total price by half.

The problem is that automatic renewal would kick in at the “normal” rate when your initial term expires (almost double what you paid for the first time).

Many web hosts in one way or another pull the same stunt. I know if you’re happy with the overall product, it’ll probably be a huge pain to push the site back before the price rise kicks in.

But here’s the part that’s not sitting well.

You must send a written request for cancelation “15 days before the start of the Renewal Period” through your customer portal or by emailing them to billing@a2hosting.com, according to their terms.

What if you skip this opportunity of 15 days? You will be on the hook to pay the next installment package, which will immediately be extended, and you will not be entitled for any refund.

They are betting on you, in other words, failing to interrupt your account before it’s too late.

Limits On Low End Accounts

At present, the promotional price for the cheapest shared hosting option of A2 Hosting (“Lite”) is $3.92/month (51 percent off the regular price). It’s not the lowest price we’ve ever seen, but it’s pretty good.

But when you start to equate the price point with what you get (compared to the competition), there are some problems.

This package also provides you with a single website with unlimited storage, free SSL, page conversion, and assured Anytime Money-Back.

You don’t get many great benefits to make A2 a good choice, such as Turbo Servers that provide “up to 20X quicker page loads,” server rewind, or even offsite backups.

The same issue applies to their proposal for the design of their website. The cheapest option priced at ~$4/month only gets you one page— not nearly enough to create a real website.

Do We Recommend A2 Hosting?

Absolutely. For the past several years, A2 Hosting has consistently delivered top-in-class pace. Their customer support is helpful and friendly. A free SSL certificate and one free migration are included in all shared plans.

And if you run into problems whilst being a customer at any time, you can ask for a refund on the unused time prorated balance.

The only drawback is that the uptime has fallen in recent months, and renewal rates are high (and the strict terms aren’t great).

However, when you opt for the most expensive shared plan to host unlimited websites (“Turbo”), only one free site migration will still be provided to you.