For every Java developer who wants to bring web applications to an entirely different level,…
If you’re looking for a new web host then it’s safe to say that A2 Hosting has plan for you. No matter what type of website you are planning or have built already, there is something for every type of project and perhaps more importantly, every budget.
With shared hosting plans starting from just a few dollars a month, right up to top end dedicated servers and highly scalable cloud hosting services, you can start out small with A2 Hosting and then move through the levels as your needs grow.
However, simply offering a wide range of plans, each with their own tiers, is no longer enough to help a web host stand out in this crowded market. A host needs to offer an impressive uptime guarantee, responsive customer support, and a whole host of other features that make managing a website less time and energy consuming.
In this A2 Hosting review we will take a look at their different plans in more detail to see if they really are as good as they first appear. We’ll also explore the extras that A2 Hosting hope will help separate them from the competition.
But first, for those in a hurry, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of A2 Hosting to help you get a good overall picture of what this web host has to offer.
A2 Hosting Pros:
- Wide array of hosting plans from entry level to enterprise
- Latest hardware used on their servers
- 24/7/365 phone, email, live chat US-based customer support
- Server locations in USA, Europe, and Asia
- One-click installation of many software applications including WordPress
- Services optimized for specific platforms such as WordPress, eCommerce stores, forums, and more
- Independent and founder-owned company
A2 Hosting Cons:
- Lots of competition in the entry level market
- No free AdWords vouchers as can be sometimes found elsewhere
- Lowest tier on the entry level shared hosting plan will be too restrictive for some
A2 Hosting Plans and Packages
The web hosting services from A2 Hosting are split across four main categories and consists of their shared, VPS, cloud, and dedicated hosting plans.
Each type of hosting has multiple tiers, making it easy for you to move up or down through the levels as the needs of your website grows or decreases. To make things easier for you, let’s take a look at the highlights of the different options in more detail to help you decide which one is the best choice for your website.
Shared Web Hosting Plans
The shared plans are the entry level web hosting services from A2 Hosting. They’re a great place to start for new websites or those that aren’t using up much bandwidth in the form of page views, visitor numbers, or files being served.
The shared web hosting service is available across three tiers:
- Lite: from $ 3.92 /mo
- Swift: from $4.90 /mo
- Turbo: from $ 9.31 /mo
To get the best deal, you will need to pay annually, but even if you opt to pay monthly the prices are still very competitive. If you choose one of these shared hosting plans, your website will be hosted on a solid state drive for faster loading times. These servers have also been optimized for the major CMS platforms, making them an good choice for websites powered by WordPress, Prestashop, Drupal, and other popular platforms.
If you are starting a new website then the ability to install popular applications like WordPress, Joomla, and Magento, with just one-click should be of interest. On the other hand, if you already have an existing website, hosted elsewhere, the A2 Hosting support team are happy to migrate it over for you.
While the Lite plan will only allow you to host one website or domain, upgrading to the Swift or Turbo plans means you can host an unlimited amount of domains, databases, and therefore as many websites as you want.
As you move up the shared hosting tiers, you get access to more powerful servers to help your website load faster. Other notable features on offer with the A2 Hosting shared plans include three server location options; US based support; a 99.9% uptime guarantee; email accounts and webmail; and cPanel, to name just a few.
As your needs grow and your website gets more popular or becomes of greater importance to you and your business, it’s time to start thinking of upgrading from entry level shared hosting. In these situations, moving to VPS or virtual private server hosting is the next logical step.
With a good VPS plan, you get access to a larger portion of the server resources, compared to regular shared hosting. This means your website will perform better when under pressure and you are less likely to be at the mercy of the other customer websites hosted on the same server.
This extra performance means higher monthly fees. However at A2 Hosting, the VPS plans are competitively priced:
- Dynamic VPS: from $9.89 /mo
- Managed VPS: from $32.99 /mo
Whether you choose the Dynamic or Managed VPS hosting plan, both options are broken down into separate tiers to ensure you aren’t paying for features and performance extras you don’t need.
With the unmanaged Dynamic VPS option, you are actually free to design the server configuration yourself to ensure it meets your needs. The Managed VPS service, on the other hand, is available on three pricing tiers.
Some of the features offered in the VPS hosting category include dedicated IPs addresses, a choice of server locations, access to the 24/7 US based support team, free site transfer, a 99.9% uptime guarantee, unlimited email accounts, and the ability to host an unlimited number of domains and websites.
Depending on which option you choose, you can either have full root access to your virtual server or let the A2 Hosting team manage it for you.
VPS hosting, whether managed or self-managed, is ideal for users who require more control over their hosting environment, or just want a faster and more stable website.
Cloud hosting is another service on offer and it’s an option that lets you design your custom server. This enables you to set the memory, the number of CPU cores, CPU speed, and disk space available to you.
As your needs change, you can quickly and easily re-size your account accordingly. Maybe you are approaching a busy period and need more server resources to ensure your website can keep up with demand, or perhaps your site has been featured somewhere and is experiencing a spike in traffic, or maybe your site is being redesigned and doesn’t need as much resources while it’s under construction. Whatever the reason, being able to simply re-size your account and the resources you are paying for can be a real comfort.
Cloud hosting prices start from $15 /mo but as you increase the resources on offer to you, the monthly fee goes up accordingly.
Finally, we get to dedicated hosting. With this top level hosting option you get access to your own server – there’s no sharing of resources and hardware here.
If your website is mission critical or you find the lower level options don’t cut it anymore, dedicated hosting is for you. Like VPS hosting, the dedicated plans are available in two types: managed or unmanaged.
If you’re a developer who needs full control over their hosting environment then the self-managed option will appeal. While for those who just want the highest performance available and are happy for someone to take care of their server for them, the managed hosting is the better option.
Both modes of dedicated hosting are available on three tiers each, giving you the option of upgrading to a higher performance server and access to more features as your needs grow.
- Unmanaged dedicated hosting starts from $99.59 /mo
- Managed dedicated hosting starts from $141.09 /mo
Common features of the A2 Hosting dedicated server plans include unlimited domains and website hosting, unlimited emails, 99.9% uptime guarantee, and a whole host of others.
If you’re not sure which type of web hosting you need, there’s a handy guide on the A2 Hosting website that will help you make the right decision.
A Closer Look at the A2 Hosting Key Features
As you can now see, there are plenty of different hosting options available, each with their own individual tiers and packages. While in general the more you pay, the better allocation of hardware resources you will receive access to, there are some common features on offer from A2 Hosting that are worth highlighting.
24/7/365 Guru Custom Support
All A2 Hosting customers get access to the 24/7/365 US based customer support team. This means no matter the time of day or day of the year, you can call, email, live chat, or drop by the support forum to get an answer to your problem or a resolution for your issue.
There’s also a full knowledge base online that will help you carry out many tasks for your account and website. In the online support portal, you’ll find detailed documentation for all the main features and services available from A2 Hosting.
99.9% Uptime Guarantee
As well as access to an always-available support team, there’s also the comfort of an impressive 99.9% guarantee. This means that if your website goes down and is unavailable for all but the briefest of periods, you will get some form of recompense.
High-Performance Swift Servers
As you move up the hosting plans and tiers, you’ll get access to higher performance servers for your website. However, despite this, even websites on the entry level shared plans are hosted on high-performance servers.
Some of the performance enhancing features and technology available to you includes a turbo option for 20x faster site speed, pre-configured caching for your website, and as much bandwidth and storage space as you need.
Free Website Migration Service
One of the biggest drawbacks of moving to a better web host is the hassle of migrating your website. Even if you’ll get a better experience for your website, such as improved performance, less downtime, better customer support, and more features by moving to a new web host, that initial hurdle of migrating your site can be too much for some to even contemplate.
Thankfully A2 Hosting will migrate most websites for free, making it very easy to leave your poor performing host behind and get more for your money.
The A2 Hosting User Experience
So far I’m sure you’ll agree that A2 Hosting looks pretty good on paper. There are plenty of plans to choose from, covering a range of budgets and requirements.
However, that won’t mean much if using their service is difficult or frustrating. So let’s take a look at how easy it is to use A2 Hosting to setup and manage your website.
After logging into your secure client area on the A2 Hosting website, you can see the details of your account and all of the services you are subscribed to.
Checking which optional upgrades are available to you is easy, as is adding new plans to your account, and registering new domains.
With most plans, you will be able to manage your website and the other tools and services available to you through the popular cPanel control panel.
Though the cPanel you can install multiple software applications, including WordPress, Drupal, and PrestaShop, in just a few steps using the Softaculous app installer service.
While you can opt to have most of the available software pre-installed on your behalf when you create your account, doing so yourself at a later date couldn’t be easier.
Through cPanel, you can setup your email accounts, access the webmail services, and configure the auto-responder and forwarder features. There’s also a web-based file manager which makes it easy to upload files to your server and edit them, all without having to install a separate FTP application. This is great for making quick or urgent changes to your website when you don’t have access to a computer equipped with your usual suite of preferred tools.
Most A2 Hosting plans allow you to host multiple domains and websites on a single account. Adding domains, whether registered through A2 Hosting or elsewhere, is again very easy and takes places through a graphical user interface. Once you’ve added another domain, you are free to install any of the available software on it and set up additional email inboxes for yourself or your clients.
A2 Hosting Review Overall Verdict
A2 Hosting offers an impressive array of hosting options, each with their own tiers and variations. This means you can start out on a very inexpensive hosting plan and get your website online almost instantly for very little financial outlay.
With plenty of software options available to you, whether you want to code your site yourself, or harness the power of a CMS like WordPress, you have a wide range of choices.
If your website takes off, or your existing web host is no longer up to the job, getting access to more resources and higher performance hardware is a breeze. The Cloud hosting service is a particular highlight as you get access to a really fluid set of resources that can be resized both up and down as your needs fluctuate.
While most site owners should be happy on one of the multiple tiers of the shared hosting plans, at least to begin with, it’s great to know that upgrading to a more powerful VPS plan or even higher performance dedicated server is just a few clicks away.
Although most top level web hosts do offer 99.9% uptime guarantee, 24/7/365 support from US-based help desk staff isn’t seen too often. Being able to call, live chat, or email the support staff at any time should offer an extra layer of reassurance that your website is in safe hands.
Overall A2 Hosting is a solid choice for your website, no matter how big, how resource hungry, and what software it is powered by. Whether you are just starting out or want to move to different web host, A2 Hosting has competitive pricing plans to meet a wide range of needs.