Review of A2 Hosting – High Performance Hosting
A2 Hosting is an independent web hosting company founded in 2003. They are based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but serve hosting markets worldwide. A2 Hosting positions itself as a high-performance, speed-focused hosting company with excellent customer support.
They offer a full range of hosting solutions from shared Linux hosting, to cloud and dedicated server solutions for large and growing websites.
A2 Hosting has datacenters on every continent and in our opinion offers excellent value for money!
About A2 Hosting
When A2 Hosting was first launched in 2003, they were primarily targeting developers. They were actually one of the first companies to offer PHP 5 compatibility, and one of the first hosting companies to offer Ruby on Rails for their shared hosting platform.
As they grew, the focus shifted to performance, especially after an in-house survey asking customers to rank the features they look for in a hosting company revealed that “site load speed and performance” was a top priority, behind support and reliability.
A2 Hosting was also one of the first to offer SSD hosting, and today they remain one of the few SSD hosts. Many hosting companies that try to offer SSDs only include them on the file server and not on the SQL server; therefore, web files can be uploaded, but performance suffers almost immediately.
In the past year, A2 has launched its own Turbo hosting platform, with preconfigured caching options that include OPcache, Memcached, and a custom Turbo Cache product that looks like Varnish, but works with SSL (unlike Varnish). With the Turbo option, A2 optimized caching tools and A2 optimized software available, sites experience page load speeds up to 20 times faster than average.
Whether you want a dedicated server, standard shared hosting with cPanel, VPS, or a hybrid hosting solution in between, A2 can provide you with hosting that meets your needs. With expert servers that host fewer accounts, A2 promises uptime of 99.9% or more, with “Guru Crew” customer support available all day, every day.
Last Video of A2 Hosting on Youtube :
Web applications, e-commerce and marketing
All A2 hosting accounts come with a Cloudflare CDN and the free cPanel, with Softaculous available for easy installation of popular web applications. One-click installations are available for popular CMSs, such as WordPress and Magento, as well as eCommerce applications like PrestaShop.
SSL certificates and PayPal merchant accounts are available. Users can also start driving paid traffic to their site with $50 in free advertising credits from Bing.
Sites hosted on A2’s shared servers will be listed in Google within 24 hours via Attracta, a free SEO tool included in cPanel. Attracta will crawl your site, create an XML sitemap, and submit it immediately to search engines.
Domains, databases and developer benefits
In addition to offering free site transfers and unlimited RAID-10 storage, A2 offers up to an unlimited number of domains, databases, and email accounts. Email is supported via POP3, IMAP and SMTP, with options to enable advanced Barracuda SPAM filtering included.
For advanced users, A2’s dedicated servers offer root access and CloudLinux OS. A2 has three data centers based in the US, Europe and Asia, with a quadruple redundant network.
A2 is supported in multiple languages, with PHP 7, which is now available to Turbo plan customers. MySQL is always up to date, with SSH included and phpMyAdmin preinstalled. For database recovery, A2’s Server Rewind backups are included for free.
A2 takes its duty and commitment to the environment seriously. In addition to being 100% carbon neutral in its daily operations, A2 Hosting is a proud partner of Carbonfund.org, a leading organization dedicated to fighting global climate change.
Since 2007, A2 Hosting has supported Carbonfund.org’s reforestation efforts and the development of clean, renewable energy sources. Click here to learn more about green hosting options.
Performance and Security
Turbo” speed and optimized software
A2’s Turbo servers offer page load speeds up to 20 times faster than standard hosting. Using less CPU and memory, and fewer users per server, the Turbo option efficiently manages connections with improved stability and speed.
Turbo Servers are hosted on SwiftServer SSDs, which perform thousands of I/O operations per second – up to three times faster than standard hard drives.
A2 also provides an A2-optimized cPanel plugin for pre-configured caching, including Turbo Cache, OPcache/APC and Memcached. With their proprietary Site Accelerator, plus SPDY, ESI, and HTTP/2 support, offering more HTTP requests at once, A2 offers optimal page load speed.
When it comes to performance, A2Hosting ranks among the best hosting providers in terms of performance with hosts like PlanetHoster or Hostinger.
A2 Site Accelerator
Caching is a proven method to increase the speed of websites. A2 Site Accelerator is a cPanel plugin available to Turbo subscribers that allows you to use a pre-configured cache for your applications. There are three primary caching options:
Turbo Cache caches all the content of an HTML page so that it can be served without running PHP on the server.
OPcache/APC is designed to cut the response time of PHP pages in half.
Memcached increases the speed of your MySQL databases by keeping your most important and frequently used data in memory for the fastest possible retrieval.
“Perpetual Security” and 24/7 Monitoring
As part of the “Perpetual Security” package, A2 users receive A2’s hacking protection scanner: HackScan. Customers also receive “KernelCare” free of charge, which automatically performs daily kernel updates without rebooting.
A2 has created an A2-optimized plugin for WordPress that automatically strengthens your site’s security to prevent hacks, while including a unique WordPress login URL, automatic WordPress updates and ReCaptcha on the login page.
With 24/7 Guru Crew support and 24/7/365 security monitoring, A2 offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Other components of their proactive protection include protection against brute-force attacks, dual firewalls, and antivirus scanning.
Ease of use
A2 Hosting is committed to building performance-enhancing tools for their platform, while implementing simplistic implementations for their users.
Their A2 optimized installations, auto-configurations and plugins make installing WordPress and other web applications easier than ever.
With their cPanel control panel, users can easily access a multitude of popular products, from SEO tools to security features. A2 offers tons of custom enhancements for caching, security, backups, and more, like HackScan, their hack detection mechanism, or Server Rewind, their database recovery tool.
If you’re looking to get started with the cheapest web hosting plan from A2 Hosting, you’ll start by choosing the operating system for your server environment: Linux or Windows.
Whichever option you choose, you’ll have three different plans, each offering a different allocation of resources (although you’ll receive an unlimited amount, usually) and a set of features, from which you’ll have a choice.
All, however, come standard with at least a few premium offerings, such as SSD storage, as well as an uptime guarantee. Please note, however, that Windows hosting plans are slightly more expensive than Linux hosting plans.
A2 Hosting may not be the cheapest web hosting company on the web, but it is one of the most value-added in its plans.
Shared hosting: StartUp, Drive, Turbo Boost and Turbo Max
It’s hard to put a price on customer service and personalized products. With A2, you get 24/7/365 customer support, including a dedicated support department for WordPress sites, as well as features optimized for the A2 environment.
VPS Hosting: Dynamic, Cloud, & Managed Services
When comparing their VPS services, you can choose between A2’s unmanaged VPS plan for $4.60/month and managed plans without and with Root Access for $22.98/month. A2 offers three managed VPS hosting plans: Power+, Prestige+ and Pinnacle+.
Dedicated hosting: Unmanaged, Managed and Core
Finally, if the reliability of dedicated servers is what you need, A2 offers three solutions: the unmanaged or managed server with or without root access. The first is perfect for developers and experienced system administrators who need to upgrade from their VPS. The other two offer peace of mind as they are fully managed and will therefore suit hosting users who have outgrown their needs from a shared and/or managed VPS.
Reliability and Customer Support
A2 Hosting has built its services on the promise of reliable servers and a qualified support team, and their efforts are reflected in the performance and user experience of the sites hosted at A2.
Software, servers and support team
They offer A2 optimized software, a unique Turbo server designed for optimal page load speeds (up to 20 times faster than average) and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
With 24/7 network monitoring and a US-based support team available all day, every day (including a dedicated WordPress support team), A2 Hosting includes high quality and highly regarded customer and technical support. Their “Guru Crew” consists of hand-picked team members equipped to handle all sorts of hosting-related issues – from first-time blog installation to advanced PHP hosting.
The Perpetual Security Promise: HackScan, KernelCare and more
With their “Perpetual Security” promise, A2 focuses on proactive protection – with their proprietary hack detection and analysis product, HackScan. All A2 plans also benefit from automatic, reboot-free kernel updates performed daily as part of A2’s KernelCare product. Other security benefits include defense against brute force attacks, firewall protection, and an A2-optimized plugin for WordPress that automatically hardens your site to prevent hacker attacks.
A2’s security is relentless and reliable – providing constant and consistent protection for customers, and a safer web space for the sites they have entrusted to A2 Hosting.
A2 Hosting includes free HackScan, 99.9% uptime guarantee, Cloudflare CDN, and “Perpetual Security”, which includes KernelCare (daily, automatic, no reboot kernel updates), dual web hosting firewalls, Brute-Force Defense, automatic hosting protection, antivirus, server hardening and 24/7/365 security monitoring.
Site transfer policy
If your previous host supports cPanel, A2 Hosting can manage the migration on your behalf. Migrations are available for shared, VPS and dedicated accounts, and this process typically takes less than 72 hours.
If your previous host does not use cPanels, A2 Hosting will manually manage a website and database migration for you at no charge.
Our opinion on A2 Hosting
With a total of about 50 employees (30 of which are support-oriented), A2 Hosting strives for optimal performance and original ideas. A2 Hosting’s offering is in our opinion a good balance between speed, reliability, competitiveness and quality support.
They were among the first in their field to offer SSD hosting, PHP 5, as well as Ruby on Rails for shared servers – demonstrating their ongoing commitment to evolve and project into the future as a web hosting company. With custom products like their Turbo Server, and A2 optimized tools for caching, WordPress, PrestaShop, and more (many of which can be installed with a single click), A2 Hosting is on the cutting edge of technology and decidedly user experience focused.
No matter where you fall on the hosting spectrum, A2 has a solution for you that combines speed, security, and customer support for your website. We recommend A2 primarily to webmasters looking for quality hosting for the North American market.
If you are a developer or system administrator comfortable with server management, you will find that A2 Hosting offers excellent solutions, especially when you consider the number of features that come with a typical plan.