A2 is a moderately-priced host that puts a lot of effort into its brand, service, and support.
Why Choose A2 Hosting?
A2 specializes in shared, VPS, dedicated, and “reseller” hosting (hosting for those who wish to sell their own shared hosting). It’s well-known for its expert support provided by actual developers and for not off-shoring its operations.
A2 does a great job of securing their servers. They have lots of processes and hosting options that help ensure that!
Lots (and lots) of Features!
The amount of free features, like FREE SSL, A2 offers, is almost unheard of.
Although they have lower intro prices, A2 offers decent pricing after the “trial” is over.
The amount of support offered is almost unbelievable. They have phone numbers all over the world, instant chat, tickets, email, and a huge Knowledge Base!
BBB A+ Rating Since 2005
This is a feat that not many hosts can brag about! Maintaining this rating means they handled customer complaints quickly and have a high satisfaction rate!
There’s a Plan for That!
You can get nearly any type of plan you want, including Shared, Reseller, VPS, Dedicated, and even a WordPress special, and choose your management level!
Maybe a Bit too Technical?
The service is “by developers for developers.” Their site uses a lot of terminology and jargon that only developers would know.
Features Vary by Plan
Although some features come with all plans, some features seem to arbitrarily not be available for cheaper plans.
What is A2 Hosting?
Botton Line: A2 Hosting is a US-based hosting service by developers and largely for developers, though anyone may use their services! The company uses cutting-edge technologies to bolster security, accessibility, and features included with each plan. With dedicated, reseller, shared, VPS, and even more specialized plans, A2 Hosting accommodates any hosting need!
A2 is less popular than most hosts we’ve reviewed. From talking with their customer support, we learned that A2 hosts “over a million” sites. This is less than some of its competitors, but that could be a good sign (as the support team would be able to give more individual attention to customers).
The company, unlike many competitors, is a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This is a private organization that rates businesses based on how ethical they are and the support and quality of service they provide. They have maintained an A+ rating since 2005.
Services Offered by A2 Hosting
Shared Hosting (ranges from $2.96/mo - $7.03/mo)
This is the lowest tier of hosting. People with small sites or blogs could benefit from the compromise between price and level of service. There is no terminal (command-line) access at this level.
Managed WordPress Hosting (ranges from $9.78/mo - $30.19/mo)
Perfect for people with WordPress blogs. They also offer Unmanaged WordPress Hosting for those who would prefer to do it on their own, but this is an excellent opportunity to have developers manage all the “under the hood” stuff WordPress throws at you!
Virtual Private Servers (VPS) (ranges from $25.00/mo - $50.00/mo)
Great for people who need a Windows or Linux Virtual Server without the hassle (or payment) of a dedicated server! If you elect to get Managed VPS Hosting, you will not get terminal access. However, if you select Unmanaged VPS Hosting, that Virtual Server is all yours, and you get complete, administrative terminal access!
Reseller Hosting (ranges from $9.80/mo - $30.38/mo)
A rare offering these days, “Reseller Hosting” allows aspiring webmasters to sell their hosting service under their own brand but use A2 Hosting as their base host. Great if you’re looking to start a business in hosting!
Dedicated Server Hosting (ranges from $99.59/mo - $248.99/mo)
Note that these prices reflect all dedicated server offerings (the ones on the linked page are the cheapest from each “category” of dedicated server). Perfect for high-traffic and high-resource sites that require terminal access. You get your own physical server!
Ease of Use
A2 Hosting is easy to use, all the way from understanding plans, to signing up, to choosing and paying for a plan, even to hosting your first site!
While some may feel at home by A2’s “by developers for developers” motto, that may scare some less-experienced users away. Just how easy is it to use? Here’s the information you’ll need to make your decision!
First, you’ll need to pick a plan. You can do this easily by just browsing their home page and looking at their various offerings. There’s a convenient 24/7 pre-sales chat, located prominently at the bottom-right corner with a green button on their page. Their representatives seem to answer quickly.
After you go through and pick a plan, you’ll need to choose a domain (or pick one to transfer). You’ll need to have this information ready before you can proceed. However, you may also continue by simply supplying a host name and filling in the DNS, or host name, records later. Don’t want to use a domain? You can also select the “A2 Hosting subdomain” button!
You’ll then be presented with lots of options. You’ll get to determine whether you need extra RAM or CPU Cores. A coupon code will be automatically applied that gets you the discounted price. Note that many of their prices are promotional and only last for one month, so be sure you’re comfortable with the full price listed.
Unlike most hosts, you will need to pick your Softaculous “one-click installation” at this page, as well. It defaults to WordPress, but you are free to pick whichever back-end you prefer to use! Make sure you choose this properly the first time to save yourself from heartache later!
Paying Up and Making you First site
All of your administrative information will actually be on the billing page before you submit your payment information. Make sure to store this information securely, as there are limited options for restoring your access. Your credentials will also be emailed to you at the time of purchase.
Like many shared hosts, their only options to pay are PayPal, Credit Card, Check or Money Order, or Wire Transfer. They also support several foreign payment methods, in case you are from a country where these are hard to access or not available. At this time, A2 Hosting does not support cryptocurrency payments.
After payment, you’ll have all your login details, and you’ll receive an email that your site has been set up. You may then access your cPanel and log in to the Site Builder. This will allow you to easily edit all of your sites, and then you’re done! Their helpful 24/7 support team will be there to assist you in case you have any questions during the process.
A2 hosting's Features
Botton Line: A2 Hosting provides the features you would expect from any host, plus a lot of features for free that almost every other host would charge for.
A2 Hosting is, after all, “for developers by developers,” so our expectations for their feature list were pretty high. Indeed, I was blown away by their offerings. Here are some of their core features:
If you’re a PHP developer, chances are that you’re at least looking at migrating over to PHP 7 from PHP 5. You’re in luck! With A2 Hosting, your PHP 7 applications will be ready to go!
Free SSL Certificate
Another great bonus, this is again offered with every plan. You get one free SSL Certificate, helping build trust in your brand and with your clients.
“SSH” means essentially command-line access. Every plan comes with a limited version of SSH (not administrator-level) that allows users to copy files and send commands to their servers, even with Shared Hosting!
Free Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A “Content Delivery Network” (CDN) is provided in order to ensure visitors from all over the world can access your site and to lower the likelihood of outages.
Essentially, a CDN means that all your site’s content is copied over to different servers around the world. If someone from far away tries to access it, they will automatically get it from the server closest to them!
“AnyCast DNS Service”
Domain Name Service (DNS) is what lets people find your website by using a domain name. It resolves the name to an IP address to which your users are directed after hitting [Enter] in their browsers.
This DNS Service works similarly to a CDN; it copies your DNS information (the IP address(es) that correspond to your site) to DNS servers around the world. That way, customers trying to access your site don’t face any delay!
Turbo Server Option
Users (even those using Shared Hosting) are eligible to try out A2’s “Turbo Server” option (Shared Hosting users must have the “Turbo” Plan or higher to qualify).
This essentially means that your data is cached in a way that allows fast access for people visiting commonly accessed information.
For example, “Memcached” is used, which provides a fast-access copy of your MySQL databases for visitors. “Turbo Cache” is used to cache HTML for the same effect. “OPCache” is another proprietary tool that caches PHP so your site loads “up to fifty percent faster” than it normally would!
A common offering in the hosting world, “Softaculous” is a server-side application that allows one-click installs of popular software.
Rather than make you go through all the pain of installing popular applications like Joomla or WordPress, Softaculous will install it for you with one click!
cPanel for All!
cPanel is the web panel that most webmasters are used to. Some hosts tend to cheap out and make their own panels with less features.
However, everyone gets quick access to a cPanel for their site(s), regardless of the plan they choose.
Unique Money-back Guarantee
If A2 Hosting just doesn’t make the cut for you, there’s no need to worry! They have a very unique money-back guarantee.
I have never seen this in any other web host. You receive a prorated refund for any time leftover in your plan whenever you request cancellation.
That means that if you’ve paid for a year of any plan and you decide to cancel halfway through, you would receive a 50% refund! This is a very generous offering!
Unlimited Data Transfer (Bandwidth)
With every plan, you get unlimited traffic in and out of your site, also known as “bandwidth.”
Many hosts limit traffic in and out to save money, but it seems that A2 cuts a lot less corners!
Unlimited SSD Storage
Every Shared plan comes with unlimited SSD storage. SSD means the fastest access to and manipulation of data that’s possible!
As SSD storage is so expensive, most hosts will limit it to something between 10 GB and 50 GB.
However, you can store an unlimited amount of content on any site hosted by A2 on their SSD-based storage!
Free Site Migration
Regardless of whether you use WordPress or a more obscure piece of software, any plan comes with free site migration!
This easily saves most users hours of time or between $50 and $100. This is another very rare offering!
A2 Hosting has its own Site Builder, allowing you to create templates and sites using drag and drop features.
If you are just learning how to code or don’t wish to code, there’s no problem! Between the Site Builder and their Knowledge Base, you’ll do just fine!
“File Recovery Program”
You must have any plan above the “Lite” Shared Hosting one to qualify.
This backs up files, so even if you accidentally delete a file or database, the version from at least the previous day will be available.
This feature requires no setup or configuration!
As an equivalent to a “test server,” their “site staging” feature allows you to experiment with new content on your site before it goes out to the public!
This will save you some time (and possibly embarrassment) when developing and putting your site on your production (primary) server!
Free Security for All!
Regardless of your plan, you can rest assured that your site will be secured!
A2 Hosting advertises that they provide “proactive protection” against threats.
This includes 24/7 network monitoring, “Kernel Care” (low-level hardware protection), Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS) protection, Virus Scanning, Server Hardening (ensuring that there are no vulnerable components on managed servers), and more!
While most of A2 Hosting’s features come with all plans, note that the ones noted do not!
They provide some additional features for their higher-level customers (those who purchase Managed VPS or Dedicated Hosting plans) that will be discussed further down.
A2 hosting's Performance
Botton Line: A2 Hosting offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee and will actually show you the uptime of the server that your shared hosting or VPS is on (or your dedicated server). The company has four high-speed data centers. This is an excellent level of transparency, but it’s not the best uptime guarantee I’ve ever seen.
A2 Hosting’s uptime is guaranteed to be 99.9%, unlike some hosts who guarantee 99.99%, which is considered the “golden standard” in web hosting. Their guarantee does not apply if the downtime is caused by something out of their control, such as an attack on their network. It only applies if it is caused by an internal failure of some sort.
Essentially, for more than 0.1% downtime in a month, users are credited 5% per hour of downtime, so if your site is down for almost a day, you will receive an entire month’s worth of account credits. This “must be confirmed by a staff member” and reported via ticket before anything is paid out. Again, this isn’t the best remedy I’ve ever seen, but it’s far better than some!
A2 Hosting Data Centers
For a “small host,” A2 Hosting has a fair bit of power packed into it. Keep in mind that all of your content will be on their CloudFlare CDN, and it may be on their proprietary “Turbo” service if you have paid for a plan that supports it. However, for local access, you have a few options:
- US – Michigan
- US – Arizona
- Europe – Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Asia – Singapore
Each of their data centers run on a 1000 Mbps ethernet port. Unlike most hosts, they actually provide pictures of their data centers. They also give out information on how their data centers are secured and how they are protected (such as being in a static-free environment). This is definitely the first time I’ve ever seen a host share this much about their data centers!
The page linked above also offers test file downloads so you can see for yourself how long it takes to grab a 100 MB file from each server. While they don’t have the best selection of locations (most hosts have more), the CloudFlare CDN should help customers out who aren’t close to a major data center. However, if you’re very far from all of these data centers, you may wish to check out some other hosts.
A2 hosting's Security
Botton Line: A2 Hosting provides excellent security services, likely because it is run by developers. These services range from the application level to the server level.
In order to keep its customers’ data safe, A2 Hosting takes security very seriously. They allow OpenVPN, a common security protocol for customers to use through their servers. This can protect data in transit.
Additionally, they offer SSL Certificates, as mentioned in the “Features” section, and they provide DDoS protection with a proprietary in-house solution, as well as CloudFlare, so it is unlikely that your site will go down due to an attack.
Other than their “perpetual security” framework that involves 24/7 monitoring, there are other tools that A2 Hosting offers that could help secure your site.
ConfigServer and Firewall is a unique Linux solution that offers “Stateful Packet Inspection.” That means that it will notice if there is anything odd going on, like an influx of packets from a single IP address, indicating an attack, and block the connection for you.
It also utilizes Brute Force Protection tools on each layer to prevent your hosting account from being hacked. Linux Malware Protection is another layer of security, acting as an antimalware solution for their Linux servers, ensuring that malicious actors do not steal your data.
As a free offering, SSH provides a good deal of security, as well. Rather than forcing users to either use a File Manager over an unsecured connection or unencrypted FTP, users can use SSH to transfer files and commands on any plan, giving you peace of mind!
Finally, the host offers WordPress-optimized security solutions. This means that they have a pre-configured “A2-Optimized” WordPress setup that will secure your site. They also use a tool called Akismet, which will help prevent your WordPress site from getting spammed!
Overall, A2 Hosting’s security offerings are excellent! As you can see, they range greatly, but they offer much more security than most hosts do!
A2 hosting's Plans and Services
Botton Line: Whether you’re looking for shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated server hosting, or reseller hosting, you can find it at A2 Hosting! Note that the prices listed are promotional prices and may vary. Remember, all plans come with unlimited SSD storage and unlimited transfer!
For Small Businesses, Blogs, and Forums
Chances are that you would benefit most from Shared Hosting. If you don’t have much traffic but want scalability, Shared Hosting will take the guesswork out of managing a server for you! Here are the Shared Hosting plans currently offered by A2 Hosting:
Lite Plan (currently $2.96/mo, then $7.99/mo after that)
Great if you’re just starting out and need a safe and fast plan for a business or a small blog with little traffic. Comes with 25 email addresses, 5 databases, 1 2.1 Ghz CPU Core and 0.5 GB RAM, and CloudFlare Basic. This is the only plan that does NOT come with automatic backups!
Swift Plan (currently $3.70/mo, then $9.99/mo after that)
Great if you need automatic backups, a bit more power, and have an operation already in place. Comes with unlimited email addresses and databases, 2 2.1 Ghz CPU Cores and 1 GB RAM, and CloudFlare Basic. This plan does have automatic backups!
Turbo Plan (currently $7.03/mo, then $18.99/mo after that)
Great if you’re at the top of the Shared Hosting Tier. Designed for customers with high-traffic sites but are not yet at the level of needing a Virtual Private Server (VPS). It also comes with unlimited email addresses and databases, 2 2.1 Ghz CPU Cores and 2 GB RAM. Also comes with CloudFlare Plus. This plan also has automatic backups!
For WordPress-only Sites
A2 Hosting has a unique offering for WordPress-only sites. If you check out their “WordPress Hosting” page, you’re first just shown all the Shared Hosting deals we just talked about above. However, they also offer “Managed” WordPress Hosting. This means that all the complexity is taken out of your hands (for a nominal fee, of course). Their plan names are quite simple and indicative of what they have to offer. For more information on their Managed WordPress Hosting, click here.
Note that all their Managed WordPress plans come with lots of optimizations for WordPress specifically. These include faster caching, “Turbo” access for every plan, and unlimited databases, data transfer, and email addresses, but not unlimited storage! Note that their physical resources for WordPress plans are a bit stronger than those for Shared plans!
1-Site Plan (currently $9.78/mo, then $24.46/mo after that)
Great if you only have one WordPress site. Of course, this comes with a single site, 10 GB SSD storage, 2 2.4 Ghz CPU Cores, and 2 GB RAM.
3-Site Plan (currently $15.50/mo, then $38.75/mo after that)
Great if you have a few interlinked sites that require intensive resources. Of course, this comes with three sites, 25 GB SSD storage, 3 2.4 Ghz CPU Cores, and 3 GB RAM.
Unlimited Site Plan (currently $30.19/mo, then $75.48/mo after that)
For businesses with lots of WordPress sites that require a ton of resources. Note that you may still wish to check into the VPS Plans if you’re looking at this one! Of course, this comes with unlimited sites, 40 GB SSD storage, 4 2.4 Ghz CPU Cores, and 4 GB RAM.
For Medium-Sized Businesses, Blogs, Forums
Have a business that’s a bit more established with some in-house developers who would appreciate the terminal access, or just need more physical resources than Shared Hosting can offer? Then you should take a look at A2 Hosting’s VPS offerings!
These do not come with unlimited data storage and transfer, but you do get root access to the command line! Here are the specs of each plan. Note that this covers managed VPS Plans. There are also VPS Plans that are meant for completely unmanaged developers. Use great caution with these, as security becomes your responsibility if you purchase one of these. Initial pricing ranges from $5 to $15. Click here for information on unmanaged VPS hosting for developers.
Without further adieu, here is the lineup of Managed VPS Solutions! Please note that the prices listed are promotional. At the moment, the price after the first month is double the price that we list!
Power+ Plan (currently $25.00/mo)
Great for those just venturing into VPS territory for the first time.
It provides enough resources for almost every application, but it isn’t overpriced, so you’ll save money! In addition to all the items listed in the “Features” section, it comes with 4 GB RAM, 75 GB SSD storage, 2 TB data transfer, 4 CPU Cores, and of course, root access!
Prestige+ Plan (currently $35.00/mo)
Great for those in the middle who need more resources for a web application but don’t require those of the “Pinnacle+” Plan!
This one comes with 6 GB RAM, 100 GB SSD storage, 3 TB data transfer, 6 CPU Cores, and of course, root access.
Pinnacle+ Plan (currently $50.00/mo)
The top-tier VPS Plan for those who need a ton of resources but don’t want the hassle of a dedicated server!
This king-sized plan comes with 8 GB RAM, 150 GB SSD storage, 4 TB data transfer, 8 CPU Cores, and of course, root access.
So you need a step up from VPS hosting? Dedicated servers are more expensive, but they guarantee resources just for you! Again, there are unmanaged servers meant for very experienced people.
However, we will be looking at managed servers, as this is the category that’s suitable for most businesses and people. Let’s take a look at A2 Hosting’s Dedicated Server offerings:
Sprint Plan (currently $141.09/mo, then $169.99/mo after that)
Great for people just starting out with dedicated servers.
The offering is customizable, but by default, you get 8 GB RAM, 2 500 GB SSD drives, 10 TB data transfer, 2 CPU Cores (3.1 Ghz), and root access!
Exceed Plan (currently $207.49/mo, then $249.99/mo after that)
Great for someone looking for a “happy medium” between the cheapest and most expensive dedicated server plan.
Again, you may customize it, but the standard offering is 8 GB RAM, 2 500 GB SSD drives, 15 TB data transfer, 4 CPU Cores (Intel Xeon 2.4 Ghz), and root access.
Mach Plan (currently $290.49/mo, then $349.99/mo after that)
If you have a very successful business that needs maximum resources, then this plan is for you!
By default, you get 16 GB RAM, 2 1000 GB SSD drives, 20 TB data transfer, 8 CPU Cores (each is 2x Intel Xeon 2.4 Ghz), and of course, root access.
Just a Domain
Only looking to buy a domain and nothing else? Prices vary for newer top-level domains, like “.xyz,” but the classics like “.com,” “.org,” and “.biz” will run you $14.95 a year. Click here for more information!
A2 hosting's Customer Support
Botton Line: A2 Hosting provides a wide range of customer support options and does not discriminate based on plans, like some other hosts we’ve reviewed!
We all know that customer support is critical when picking a host. We’ll inevitably run into a wall and need help, so it’s better to know beforehand than have buyer’s remorse! Here’s a breakdown of your customer support options. Note that all options are available for customers on all plans unless otherwise noted!
Yep, you read that right! A2 Hosting offers snail mail support. If you wish to send them a letter for some reason, you can! Their address is A2 Hosting, Inc, PO Box 2998, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. I’m not sure why this would be useful, but the opportunity is there!
Like most hosts, A2 Hosting offers a ticket system. This lets you send essentially an internal email stating what’s wrong, and they’ll reply within 24 hours with a resolution
Unlike some hosts that require a plan, phone support is available to everyone, even those who are not yet customers.
If you need phone support, feel free to give A2 Hosting a call (from within the US) at (734) 222-4678. If you’re outside the US, you can call their toll-free number to speak to a customer support agent at 888-546-8946.
They even provide countless global numbers, so wherever you are, you can get phone support.
Live Chat support from their “Guru Team” is available 24/7/365 to all customers. You can ask sales or technical questions.
From our experience with agents, response is usually within under a minute, and the information they provided us was correct.
They have a vast Knowledge Base available to everyone, regardless of whether they have a hosting account.
This includes guides to help customers solve common problems themselves, which will help, especially if you signed up for an unmanaged plan and need help!
A2 hosting is a provider created by developers that keeps a low profile. However, it has an impressive “Turbo” service that guarantees websites load twenty times faster than its competitors.