2021 January 8
A2 Hosting is a speed-focused web hosting service. While they have some cheap shared hosting options, the brand new Turbo plans are offering the best value for business websites that need speed and power.
High-level tier. Top 10% providers are ranked here
High-level tier. Top 10% providers are ranked here
SPEED — 209ms
Great speed result. Faster than 90% of competitors
UPTIME — 99.99%
Superb, highest reliability score for shared hosting
PRICING — 7.6/10
Premium, the provider prices are above average
A2 Hosting underwent some major changes this year but one thing did not change. They still claim to offer the fastest web hosting service in the industry.
In my 2019 A2 Hosting review, it was very true. Will that be the same this year?
It better be. A2 Hosting introduced some new plans. As a rule, the prices did not go down. Fortunately, that came together with brand new servers – and boy, these are some serious hardware.
So naturally, I bought the most expensive Turbo MAX plan and put it to the test. Let’s see if A2 Hosting can handle my evaluation and what is there to know before buying their plan.
A2 Hosting has 2 pricing ranges for their shared hosting. Startup for $2.99 a month and Drive for $4.99 a month are cheap options. Meanwhile, Turbo Boost for $9.99 a month and Turbo MAX for $14.99 a month are the premium high-performance plans with the new servers.
In my honest opinion, going to A2 Hosting for their cheap plans is a waste. You can get the same performance twice as cheap from InterServer or Hostinger.
However, Turbo Boost and Turbo MAX is another talk. The best value lays with them because of the premium features included.
These plans are hosted on the brand new AMD EPYC NVMe servers. They came out in late 2019 and are pretty much the best servers you can get at the moment. Per-server cost is around $4k and they are designed for enterprise use. So you get the big boy toys for a really low price here. Well, starting at just $9.99 a month.
I had to go all in to get the best deal. What’s that?
The cheapest price on the most expensive shared hosting server is $540 for 3 years with a domain name. You have to go and pre-pay 3 years in advance or the pricing will be higher.
Most of the providers use the same strategy – they simply appreciate the clients that are willing to stay longer rewarding them with discounts.
So, from what I see now, A2 Hosting with the pricing changes are turning towards the premium side of things. Fortunately, the features included are very well worth it.
Let’s now unpack my premium purchase to see what’s inside.
A2 Hosting interface is less than fancy – old-school, to be honest. It uses a user management area as well as a classic cPanel with the default skin. Might not look pretty, but it is easy to create a website.
From the dashboard, you’ll be able to easily access cPanel. It’s actually one of the very few things you’ll ever need in this interface.
That’s because everything you need to manage your site will be found by clicking the “cPanel Login” button.
A2 does not use any custom skins so every option should be familiar if you’ve used cPanel before.
Even if you didn’t everything’s really simple. For example, you can create custom email addresses by clicking on the “Email Accounts” button. All the necessary information will be provided. The same goes for databases, subdomains, file manager, and every other management option for your site.
Now, if you want to install WordPress:
In the cPanel, scroll down to the “Software” section and locate Softaculous Apps Installer.
Once there, “A2 Optimized WordPress” should be the first option, so click on it. Alternatively, A2 can install WordPress with WooCommerce or a ton of other apps. A2 Hosting focuses mostly on WordPress but also has optimizations for other popular content management systems like Joomla and Drupal.
The installation window is very simple; all you need to do is select a domain and fill in the details (or click” Quick Install” for the software to pre-fill them). Once done, hit the “Install” button and everything will be done for you.
The installation should be complete in a minute or so. And then, your site is live. Well, a default version of it which is ready for customization.
All in all, cPanel and A2 Hosting interface are very default and easy to use. So it’s a win, I’d say.
But now is the time to see if the performance is as promised – the fastest.
To put my Turbo MAX plan to its limits, I did 3 tests – speed, stress, and stability. The regular stuff. Not to spoil much, I just have to say that A2 Hosting handled it all pretty darn well.
For the first test, I had to set a benchmark. A simple WordPress installation with a default theme. I tested it with GTMetrix.
And damn, A2 Hosting loaded this site in 0.6 seconds. That’s the fastest loading time I’ve seen out of all the web hosting providers that I tested.
Sure, it’s an empty website with not much on it.
To see a more realistic view, I’ve used an Astra theme and set up a real design. Something you would come across on the internet and would say… hey, that’s a nice website! So images and various design elements are included.
The newly designed website loads in just 1.8 seconds. Once again, incredible speed. I’ve seen such a result with a similar-sized website only on SiteGround, another premium provider.
So far, this looks really great. But GTMetrix shows the speed of the website when there’s only one visitor on it.
You’ll expect someone to be on your site, won’t you?
I don’t have a lot of people to go and test my site so I’ll use the next best thing – bots. Using K6 Cloud software, I sent 50 virtual users over 5 minutes to try and break the website.
To no success. See, the green line shows how the number of visitors increases. The blue line represents performance. As you can see, it’s completely stable. Even 50 users are not enough to make the slightest dent.
A2 Hosting performs with 50 visitors similarly well as it does with 0. I have to rate the performance 10 out of 10.
Does it stay as reliable for the longer term?
Using Pingdom, I monitored A2 Hosting for over 6 months to see whether I was just in luck with my performance tests, or is it actually good all the time.
Aaaaand, it’s okay. During all this time, the uptime stands at 99.97% which is almost perfect.
There were some problems with response time for a couple of months but it seems fixed now.
Overall, A2 Hosting is even better than last year and it proves to really focus on performance. At least with the Turbo plans.
If you’re looking for the fastest possible performance with shared hosting, A2 Hosting is the way to go.
But if you want to no more, no problem. Next up, I’ll cover the support.
A2 Hosting has 24/7 live chat, ticket, and even phone support options. For this part of the A2 Hosting review, I decided to put on some stress testing on the live chat agents as well.
I seen some A2 Hosting reviews and comments about how bad their support was. Sooo, I was quite nervous to start the chat. But what has to be done has to be done.
Firstly, I purposely chose the wrong category of support to see their reaction.
They responded almost immediately. Not even a minute had to pass. But, they quickly transferred me to the SALES department.
At this point, I’m thinking “How will they weasel their way into selling me the plan I don’t need this time?”
I even set up the bait. I told them that I am ready to buy the most expensive plan even the specs I listed would say that the cheaper ones are more than enough. I expected the support agent to go full-on greed mode and just sell me the plan knowing it was overkill.
Surprise surprise, the agent actually explained that the plan was overkill for me and recommended a way cheaper option. I just had to thank and rate the agent with 5 stars
Really, people, don’t forget to rate your support agents. Your rating might be a deciding factor to get a raise or a bonus. We’re all humans, so helping everyone succeed is a nice thing to do.
Overall, I admire how A2 support worked this time. They efficiently transferred me to the correct department and did not use the opportunity to trick me into buying something I really don’t need. I can now safely recommend A2 Hosting support as fast, accurate, and trustworthy as far as my experience goes.
Up to this point, the road was really smooth sailing. But A2 Hosting can’t be perfect, can they? And while it is hard to pinpoint any solid cons, there is some small stuff that can be annoying.
There are no “introductory” set-up steps highlighted like with the majority of modern providers and you just get thrown into this all cPanel thing. Not experienced users might get lost.
You will have to go to cPanel and then to Softaculous to find them. That’s tiresome if you manage several sites.
So this is not huge but rather annoying. I just think that A2 Hosting needs some updates to its interface to be flawless.
While in this A2 Hosting review I mostly found good stuff, I left out my favorites for the end. These are the pros I find the most useful:
If you have a website with another provider, you can ask A2 Hosting technicians to transfer the site for you. It’s as simple as filling in the form on the dashboard.
A2 Hosting labels this as ANY-TIME money-back guarantee. But technically speaking, you get a full refund for 30 days. After that, you can cancel any time and get the money back for unused services. Still amazing!
First things first, I do not recommend A2 Hosting if you only have 1 website that takes barely any space. You can get wayyy cheaper plan with Hostinger or InterServer that will perform equally well. And the interface will be nicer too.
You see, A2 is a premium product and works best for high profile projects. So if you’re noticing that your current provider can’t keep up with your growth or you are building a site that’s bound to be an instant success – A2 Hosting will be perfect.
If you think this A2 Hosting review was helpful, leave a comment down below. Maybe even tell me what provider are you using right now and if you’re planning to switch? I really want to know about your experiences!