Welcome to our A2 Hosting review, in which we evaluate this web hosting service. If you want a website to showcase your creative skills or sell your merchandise, you’ll have to choose a web hosting company. These service providers store your website files on fast servers so people can visit your website 24/7.
A2 Hosting is a high-end website hosting provider with a focus on providing a platform for speedy websites. Should it be considered one of the best web hosting providers for creatives? In our A2 Hosting review, we consider the pros and cons of this Michigan-based web host.
A2 Hosting review: Plans and pricing
Though A2 Hosting offers expensive dedicated servers and virtual private servers, it also has cheaper shared hosting plans. As the name implies, with shared hosting, your website is hosted on a server with other websites. You share resources such as CPU, bandwidth, and memory. Though this has practical limitations if your website balloons in size or popularity, shared hosting is perfectly fine for most websites and is certainly the cheapest.
A2 hosting has four shared hosting plans from which to choose. These primarily differ in speed, with the more expensive choices getting more CPU resources and faster disk drives.
Each plan also has three different ways to pay: monthly, annually, and triennially. Paying for three years in advance can net you a significant discount of up to 72 per cent off the monthly price. However, this is only for the first term. When the plan renews, you’ll be paying the full price.
While the Startup plan’s $2.99/month for the first three years sounds tempting, consider that you’ll soon be paying $10.99/month for a single website, limited physical memory, and just 100GB of storage. The other plans are similarly priced on the high end of the market.
A2 Hosting review: Features
A2 Hosting’s premium prices are based on its turbo features, which are meant to offer a faster website experience for your visitors. It also offers a managed WordPress solution, in which the hosting company will take care of the day-to-day management of your WordPress site.
Speed and Optimisation
A2 Hosting is a high-performance web host that attempts to deliver web pages faster than the competition. Websites are hosted on servers with 12 CPU cores or more and at least 64GB of memory. Sites are sped up with various caching technologies that A2 Hosting says can make certain functions up to 11 times faster than other hosts.
Unfortunately, most of these performance tweaks are only included on more expensive plans, starting at $20.99 before discount.
We tested the speeds of the introductory Startup plan. The average response time was around 260 milliseconds (ms), which is a little faster than the average. However, we occasionally saw spikes up to 750ms, suggesting that the performance is inconsistent. You may need to pay for the more expensive plans to see the true benefits of all A2 Hosting’s speed tweaks.
Managed WordPress Hosting
WordPress is available on all shared hosting plans at no extra cost, but A2 Hosting also offers a managed WordPress hosting service starting at $32.59/month for one website before discount. This nets you an optimised WordPress installation, free SSL certificate, and automated backups. You also get a staging environment, which means you can test changes to your website on a second WordPress installation before making them live.
Softaculous One-Click Installer
With your own web hosting, you’re free to choose your preferred software to run your website. A2 Hosting makes this easy by including Softaculous with all plans. It’s a one-click installer for over 400 popular web applications, so you can get your website up and running in a matter of minutes. From micro-blogging tools and e-commerce platforms to image galleries and podcasting software, Softaculous has everything you need for a creative website.
A2 Hosting review: Interface
Most of the administration of your website will be performed through cPanel, the industry-standard website admin panel that A2 Hosting includes on all plans. It is essentially a bundle of web-based tools that you use to manage your website files, databases, email, security, and software. While it can look daunting at first, it’s handy to have everything in a single, unified interface.
A2 Hosting review: Support
A2 Hosting offers excellent support regardless of the plan you choose. General support is available 24/7/365. Phone support is available in over 50 countries, with a toll-free number in many locations. You can also contact A2 Hosting’s “Guru Crew” via live chat, email, or ticket through the administration console.
A2 Hosting also has an in-depth knowledge base if you prefer to search for solutions yourself. With a long list of articles for beginners and experts alike, it’s arranged in a sensible, navigable way, and complex subjects are broken down in plain English.
A2 Hosting review: Fast websites at a premium price
A2 Hosting’s focus on high-performance websites could be a draw if you want the best user experience for your visitors, but it comes at a price. Many of the best performance features are only included in the most expensive shared hosting plans, and introductory prices quickly look less appealing when you factor in the big jump after your first term.
If you’re willing to pay for the higher-tier plans and you have prior experience with web hosting, you get plenty for your money. But A2 Web Hosting is unlikely to be a top choice for creative professionals building their first websites due to its relatively high price.
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