A2 Hosting Review
A2 Hosting Pros and Cons:
- Fastest Provider (336ms)
- Good Customer Support
- Free Site Migrations
- Compatible CMS’s
We’re all looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint, but when it comes to day-to-day technology, there aren’t that many green alternatives out there. Or at least you’d think. A2 Hosting has been providing 100% carbon-neutral hosting since 2007, with a variety of shared hosting, VPS hosting, Cloud hosting, and managed WordPress plans to choose from. But can a hosting provider that’s fully carbon-neutral still offer the same levels of service as other hosting providers?
There’s a lot of positive A2 Hosting reviews out there, but we wanted to put A2 Hosting to the test to see if its performance and features live up to its name. A2 Hosting may be one of the oldest providers around, but it certainly isn’t one of the biggest. Our hosting experts have spent the last few months vigorously testing a variety of its plans and features to provide you with a comprehensive analysis of its pros and cons. Read on for our full A2 Hosting Review.
A2 Hosting Features
There are lots of cloud hosting providers out there and they all vary significantly in size and scale. Depending on which hosting provider you choose to manage your website, you’ll have a wide variety of different features at your disposal, from bespoke performance and security plug-ins and enhancements to how easy the user interface is to manage.
Because these features can vary so greatly from provider to provider, we want our A2 Hosting review to give you a full rundown of the biggest benefits that are available to users. A2’s hosting plans offer many speed-boosting features and there’s a wide variety of highly configurable server plans to choose from. But before we dive into all of that, let’s take a look at how easy the user interface is to navigate by starting our A2 Hosting review with a focus on usability.
Managing a website – or even multiple websites – doesn’t need to be as complicated as it sounds. Creating an account with A2 Hosting was a relatively straightforward process that didn’t take long at all. To purchase a plan, all you need to do is visit the pricing page and decide which package you want. Once you’ve purchased a plan, you’ll need to register your domain name. You can enter a new domain name to check if it’s available or links an existing domain by moving your DNS management to A2 Hosting, or keeping your name at your registrar but updating your nameservers to point to A2 Hosting’s nameservers.
After that, you’ll be guided through the next steps by A2 Hosting, but don’t get overly tempted by any of the additional features it’s trying to sell you if you don’t recognize them. These attempts to upsell were one of the biggest gripes highlighted by other A2 Hosting reviews and sadly we agree with them. If you’ve only got basic hosting requirements for a single website, don’t spend over double digits on extras because you won’t need them. Finally, you’ll be asked to install WordPress.
In terms of generally finding your way around A2 Hosting’s interface, our hosting experts found it really easy to navigate. This is because A2 Hosting uses cPanel, which we believe is one of the best hosting panels out there. cPanel is fully integrated into A2 Hosting’s own dashboard, with everything you need to find clearly laid out and easily discoverable. There’s no holding your mouse to find a secret drop down here! Registering a new domain or adding new plug-ins to your website is an absolute breeze.
A2 Hosting has a one-click installer that means installing WordPress and other content management systems such as Magneto and CMSimple is really easy. There are lots of different applications to choose from and they’ve all been perfectly integrated with A2 Hosting’s platform; our hosting experts didn’t encounter any compatibility issues or crashes. Overall, A2 Hosting is a stress-free experience and whenever you need to make adjustments to your website or hosting, all of the editing options are easily discoverable and even easier to implement.
Can carbon-neutral processing power really compete with the strength offered by major hosting providers? A lot of the A2 Hosting reviews we’ve read all have something different to say when it comes to performance, but after our web hosting experts put A2 Hosting’s servers to the test to check page load times and uptime, they were unanimously impressed. If you started this A2 Hosting review with concerns about the potential performance of carbon-neutral servers, you can put those concerns to bed!
A2 Hosting operates with a 99% uptime commitment and while we didn’t encounter a single outage after one week of testing, some A2 Hosting reviews have said they experienced rare outages, although even these still put A2 Hosting on-target with its 99% uptime commitment. If your website(s) ever gets downed, you’ll get 0.1% of your monthly payment for every hour this happens. There’s no wonder A2 Hosting wants to ensure the best performance.
When our hosting experts tested response times, they got an average 300ms, which wasn’t amazing but is still impressive. Our hosting experts also tested various loading times by moving their hosting data centers to different locations and were impressed by the results. The average load time for pages was just 0.73 seconds!
A2 Hosting’s cPanel is packed full of security features to keep your website(s) safe. Your cPanel-enabled account can be configured to automatically generate, install, and renew SSL certificates, which means you’ll never have to stress out again over manually renewing these certificates. There’s a massive selection of SSL certificate solutions to choose from with A2 Hosting directly, with basic options for smaller websites up to premium SSL options for busy e-commerce websites.
There’s an IP blocker to prevent specific addresses from accessing your website(s) and you can set-up two-factor authentication for added reassurance that no one will be able to jump into your account. Leech protection is also available from A2 Hosting, helping to prevent users from publicly posting their usernames and passwords; great for websites that have busy comment sections where people could be easily taken advantage of. One of the coolest features we wanted to point out in our A2 Hosting Review is hotlink protection, which lets website admins prevent other sites from using their website’s bandwidth.
Integrations and Add-Ons
All of A2 Hosting’s add-ons and plug-ins are displayed and even if you don’t recognize many of their names, you’ll have probably used them before on other websites! We wouldn’t be able to fit all of these additional features in this A2 Hosting review, but here are some of the most popular ones with the biggest benefits.
Ultimately, once you’ve hosted your website with A2 hosting, you’ll be able to easily enhance your website(s) to deliver the very best experience for your visitors.
Have we saved the best feature for last in our A2 Hosting Review? Customer service should never really be seen as a ‘feature’, but A2 Hosting’s customer service is so fantastic that we couldn’t help but draw attention to it. You can contact the A2 Hosting customer service team (AKA the Guru Crew) 24/7 through live chat, email, ticket, phone, and even Skype if you’d prefer a video call! There are plenty of local numbers that you can call too. We tried numbers in the United States and the United Kingdom and had our questions quickly resolved by friendly staff.
To say that A2 Hosting staff are knowledgeable would be an understatement. We started by asking basic questions about locating certain features in the cPanel and the A2 Hosting team was eager to direct us to the provider’s Knowledge Base, which is full of useful resources that explain all of the most important things regarding web hosting, whether it’s shared hosting or VPS hosting.
The only thing that did let us down slightly was the wait times in the A2 Hosting Live Chat section. Although our hosting experts only experienced queues during peak times, other A2 Hosting reviews highlighted that it can take up to 15 minutes to finally reach someone. While we didn’t encounter such long waiting times, we did want to draw your attention to it so you can see for yourself.
Types of Hosting
A2 Hosting offers more hosting plans than most hosting providers, with shared hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and even reseller hosting all available.
Shared hosting is your basic hosting package, ideal for anyone with a small website that might need to upscale it at some point in the future. WordPress hosting is essentially shared hosting but with a more recognizable name, although the WordPress hosting plans also include managed hosting options too.
The VPS hosting plans are the one up from that, offering managed and unmanaged VPS for developers, with and without root access, while the dedicated hosting plans cover unmanaged servers, core servers, and managed servers. Finally, A2 Hosting’s reseller hosting is perfect for digital web agencies looking for shared hosting with a bit more oomph. Ultimately, no matter what your hosting requirements are, A2 Hosting will have a solution for you. The only thing we should point out is there’s so much information listed for A2 Hosting’s plans, it can get a bit confusing, so we’ve made sure to only list the key bits.
Plans and Pricing
Let’s start the pricing section of our A2 Hosting review with the most common and go-to hosting option for most people: shared hosting.
There are four Shared hosting plans to choose from: Start-up ($2.99 per month), Drive ($4.99 per month), Turbo Boost ($9.99 per month), and Turbo Max ($14.99 per month). A2 Hosting’s Start-up plan does as the name suggests and covers the hosting basics for a single website. The Drive plan includes unlimited websites and has more resources, while the Turbo Boost and Turbo Max plans offer much faster ‘turbo’ servers with more power and unlimited storage. While all plans share the same basic features, you won’t find the turbo speed features in the basic plans.
Here’s how A2 Hosting’s shared hosting plans are split:
RAM: .7GB / 1GB / 2GB / 4GB
Processor: 1 Core / 2 Cores / 2 Cores / 4 Cores
RAID-10 SSD Storage: 100GB / Unlimited / Unlimited / Unlimited
Bandwidth: Not started in the shared hosting plans (they are basic, after all).
A2 Hosting’s WordPress hosting plans offer the exact same benefits but with fully-managed plans available too.
VPS hosting with A2 Hosting is actually surprisingly cheap, especially in comparison to other hosting providers. Unmanaged VPS hosting plans for an experienced developer start at $6.71 per month, while more support and power can be gained from managed VPS, and Core VPS plans both starts at $31 per month. As there’s so much variation and additional plans available depending on whether you choose managed or unmanaged VPS, it’s best to visit the A2 Hosting website for a full comparison of features.
It’s a lot easier to compare what’s on offer with A2 Hosting’s reseller hosting. There are four main plans to choose from: bronze ($133.65 per month), silver ($173.53 per month), gold ($189.35 per month), and platinum ($189.35 per month). Bronze is the perfect entry-level choice for small web agencies, while the silver plan provides more resources with free WHMCS. The silver plan is A2 Hosting’s most popular reseller hosting plan while the platinum plan is its most powerful, with 200GB SSD Storage.
Here’s how the four A2 Hosting reseller plans compare. For additional features, check out the A2 Hosting website.
SSD Storage: 30GB / 75GB / 150GB / 250GB
Data Transfer: 400GB / 600GB / 1000GB / 2000GB
Before we close our A2 Hosting Review with a final word from our hosting experts, let’s take a quick look at dedicated hosting plans. There are four to choose from: Unmanaged Server, Discount SSD Server, Managed Flex Server, and Core Flex Server. Prices and features vary significantly between the four but most of the differences will ultimately be determined by the Operating Systems you’re using. You can see a more detailed rundown of the features here.
Regardless of how environmentally conscious you are about your carbon impact on the planet, A2 Hosting is a reliable hosting provider that offers a far greater variety of hosting options and plans than most other hosting providers. While its speeds and performance lag behind some of the bigger hosting providers, we can’t argue with the prices that are on offer, especially when you consider all of the main features that are included. A2 Hosting is a fantastic choice whether you’re a small business owner or an experienced web developer.