Established in 2001, the shared web hosting company is certainly not lacking experience in the industry. A2 hosting offers different arrays of web hosting services of which our focus is the shared hosting service. We look at A2 shared hosting services and what it has to offers. The features, plans and price, server speed and many more. For a web host that prides itself on efficiency and speed, we explore if truly it does live up to the set standard through this comprehensive review.
A2 Shared Hosting Features
Basically, shared hosting is a cheaper means of hosting your website especially if you don’t expect or design it for heavy traffic. This type of web hosting has you sharing your website server with several other users, which is why is mostly affordable. Though different plans will get different features, here are the common features you will get with all shared hosting plans.
- Unlimited SSD storage with free website transfer
- cPanel hosting with auto installed WordPress
- A2 website builder with free themes to choose from
- Free SSL with option to Cloudflare CDN
- Staging to clone your entire website
- Anytime money back guarantee
- Free email hosting
- Support for different PHP versions
Related: Review of Bluehost shared hosting plans.
Shared Hosting Plans
A2 shared hosting offers three types of plans namely lite, swift and turbo of which swift is the most popular among its users. Each plan has its own features, benefits and disadvantage as well as price.
The three plans are as follows:
This is the most basic plan of the three and it is ideal for someone that has just one blog or site to host. As the plan is limited to just one website, however, it comes with unlimited SSD storage as well as transfer. You are afforded free migration from your old server onto the A2 shared hosting server and entitled to 25 email accounts under the Lite plan. You don’t have to worry about the SSL certificate too as it comes with the plan free along with easy cPanel control panel. Presently the lite plan costs $3.92 (USD) per month down from the initial $7.99.
The swift plan has different features to the lite plan and unlike the lite plan that is limited to one website. The swift plan allows for an unlimited number of sites as well as unlimited storage and transfer. Another feature that the swift plan has that differs from the lite plan is the unlimited number of email accounts you can have with the plan along with free auto backups. The swift package is priced at $4.90 (USD) per month currently.
This is the highest-priced plan for the shared host service with considerably faster speed than the remaining plans. Among its features are also unlimited storage and transfer, website and email accounts. Just like the swift plan, the plan offers free auto backups, free website migration along with free SSL certificate. The standout feature of the turbo plan is the speed promising 20 times the speed. Currently, the turbo plan goes for $9.31 (USD) per month.
Overall, the plans are features rich with the turbo plan packing the most features. However, even with the basic plan, there are enough features to cater sufficiently for a single blog or site of less traffic. As you can see the lowest level “Lite” plan will cost you $3.92. This is similar to Bluehost’s Basic plan or SiteGround’s StartUp plan available for $3.95. However, you may miss options like free domain with Bluehost or daily backup from SiteGround. Therefore, in our opinion $.392 is at higher end for a shared hosting plan with limited features.
In order to cater for page speed, A2 hosting stores all of your files on a Solid State Drive (SSDs) to give your site effortless performance and faster loading speed. There are also four different server locations to choose. They have locations in Michigan and Arizona in US, Amsterdam in Europe and Singapore in Asia. This allows you to choose the server closer to the majority of your site visitors.
Another function added to allow for faster speed is the HTTP/2 function that loads page faster than the conventional HTTP. However, this function is only available to the turbo plan. Additional functions available across the three plans for faster speed include Anycast DNS solution, a premium hardware configuration of at least 12 Core and 64 GB RAM Server.
If you are focusing on site speed then look for the turbo plan with caching and turbo servers.
Server and Bandwidth
All servers come with 2.1GHz processor, minimum of 12 cores and minimum of 64GB RAM. A2 shared hosting offers unlimited bandwidth for all plans. However, you have to understand this clearly.
- You can only have 35 simultaneous HTTP connections with A2 shared hosting.
- Each plan use different server configuration like below.
|CPU / RAM||Lift||Swift||Turbo|
|CPU||1 core||2 cores||2 cores|
35 HTTP connections with 0.5GB for hosting a website is not sufficient for many websites. Exceeding the allowable server limits will result in 503 service unavailable. This means, you have to upgrade to higher plans to run WooCommerce or any other stores.
After deciding to purchase, you will be taken to the page where you have to choose the domain. There is an option for choosing subdomain which never works as far as we have tested. Therefore, you have to choose your own domain or register a new one with A2 hosting for additional price.
You will see a long checkout page that will show you a list options to choose. You can choose server location, additional services like backup and choose the auto-install application.
However, there are some items on the checkout page that will confuse new users.
- It will show you Cloudflare basic plan needs $3 per month and the total price will never change regardless of you select or deselect this option. On the next checkout screen, you will the Cloudflare price will get added separately. This is utter confusion and also the hosting fee itself is $3.92 while you have to pay $3 for Cloudflare.
- You will see the plan includes 1 domain; however, you have to pay for the domain registration. That should be 1 website allowed for using the service.
- A2 Website Builder is free; however, you have to select this option to include it in your plan.
- Auto-install will show the username and password on the screen, you have to manually go to cPanel and change the password later. This is lengthier process than using one-click installation with Softaculous installer.
Overall, you have to be careful in choosing the options before checking out. The payment option available is diverse with popular options like PayPal, Debit/Credit Card, Skrill and wire transfer.
Related: Review of InterServer hosting plans.
A2 Shared Hosting Support
A2 shared hosting support is committed to ensuring you enjoy 99.9% uptime. Its backend support team make sure the servers are at their optimum performance. In case of technical issues, the support team operates all round the clock all through the week and all year round. The handpicked technical team provides answers to your various questions and issues. Additionally, there is a priority support to provide urgent responses.
The support team also provides all round the clock security monitoring with several security measures like Reinforced DDoS Protection, scanning for viruses, Dual Web Hosting Firewall, security updates, etc.
Like any shared hosting service, you will have to share the server with several users at a time. You should prepare for a jump in price in the second year or month upon renewal after you have exhausted the current promo price. Although the shared hosting service offers four server locations, you can be at a disadvantage if the majority of your site visitors are not close to any of the four server locations. Though these are not specific to A2 hosting, there are few downsides with buying the lowest “Lite” plan.
- Caching features to speed up your website are mostly exclusive to the turbo plan leaving the two other plans inadequately equipped.
- No HTTP/2 and backup plan is available for “Lite” plan, you have to upgrade to next level.
- The checkout process is of much confusion.
Overall, the A2 shared hosting is a good fit if you are looking for a medium-priced shared hosting service that offers speed and reliability. There is also a catch to their service with the anytime money back if you are not satisfied with their offering. The security and support system also makes the shared hosting service a good buy for the money and up there with the industry best. Additionally, you can choose between Linux based or Windows based hosting services depending on your needs. However, you have to choose the higher plan to get backup and caching features.
- High speed hosting with reliable support.
- Free site transfer, SSL with staging option.
- Anytime money back guarantee.
- Higher pricing for no free domain.
- Backup and caching features are available only for higher level plans.
- Confusing checkout process.
- Severe limitations on HTTP connections, CPU and RAM.