Recommendations that Rock!

A2 Hosting

a2 hosting - Our Review | www.thehairypotato.com

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Website: www.a2hosting.com

A2 Hosting offers a shared hosting solution with 2 top features that push them above all others: Lightening Fast Speed & Unlimited Storage that comes with even their most basic plans.

Why We Love Them: If you want a VERY fast site, this is the hosting company for you. Bottom line, period. And quite frankly, who doesn’t want a fast site? Speed is why this site is hosted with A2 Hosting, and why you should also consider it.

There were 2 sites that I spent months narrowing down my hosting choices between: SiteGround and A2 Hosting. From everything I read from every site, from all the statistic reports I went through, I know either choice would have been great and I haven’t been let down by A2 – much. When it comes to website speed it has been incredible even before I took extra steps to optimize the site for speed.

If you are just starting to build your site you might question why speed is so important for your website.

There are 2 main reasons to build your site to be speed optimized:

1) People will leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load
2) Search Engine Optimization (meaning Google, Bing, etc.,) all factor in your site’s speed in their algorithm which determines if your site is “high quality” enough to give it higher rankings.

As this is a completely honest review I will go into the bad stuff first, to get it out of the way. I want to make sure I’m not misleading anyone by saying this journey will be all roses – if your experience is like mine it won’t be – but I’m convinced that might be the case with many of the hosting services only you will NOT get the same speed benefits you get with A2.

Where A2 Hosting fell down for me hardest is in regards to their Customer Service. For the last few months I haven’t needed anything from their support team so all of my previous problems seem like a distant memory, but when I did need help in the beginning it was very difficult to come by. I’m not sure what other reviewers experienced, as their claims (on the A2 site and on all other review sites) were that it was the best customer service and the responses were within minutes, but that wasn’t the case for me. I spent about 5 weeks in agony dealing with long wait times of over an hour by phone, delayed responses to emails and tickets by about a day or so, chats that auto-closed after 20 minutes with no response from the agents, no callbacks when I left my number on their callback service, and 9 times out of 10 I had to figure out the answer myself anyways since the techs couldn’t help me.

An example of one of my poorly handled tickets was after getting help with a plugin that was causing issues, the rep had actually locked me out from being able to log into my admin panel – the next ticket I opened up was to request they give me access to get back into it, and paraphrasing the response: “Could you please create us a WordPress account for your site so that we can log in to see what is happening”. Uh, how exactly was I supposed to create another account if I couldn’t get in myself, and if I could get in myself why would I need to create them an account? This is the kind of absurdity I was dealing with and I was definitely frustrated with A2 Hosting early on. To their credit, there were a few reps who were actually VERY good but who you end up with is luck of the draw.

The second disappointment for me was the downtime, which seemed to be a bit excessive. Working in the I.T. world all of my adult life, I’m fairly patient and I understand technical anomalies that bring things down unexpectedly. My site went down a few times in the first few months I was setting it up for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. They missed their SLAs in these months (April and June of 2018) but as of right now their yearly up-time is still sitting at around 99.92%. I did receive an apology and credit from them (but only after identifying the outages via a ticket), and a promise that they are working towards ensuring that their servers are much more stable going forward. I’m willing to give them a few months to see what happens, especially because their super fast speed is worth it. I can bypass a lot of bad for that benefit, knowing that my ranking and customer experiences will be that much better. With that being said, the site needs to be up for people to enjoy it and find it to be fast.

With all of this in mind, I still do recommend them (and would choose them again) – because nothing is perfect and you still get a heck of a good deal as long as you’re able to do some of your own troubleshooting and if the site can stay up. A2 IS honest about their downtime – they actually publish an A2 Hosting Status report so you can see if they’re having an outage. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of service interruptions, these are typically distributed so it may or may not affect you depending on where your server actually sits – for example, with all of the current outages shown this site has not been affected by any of them in the last two months.

One other item that pushed me over the edge towards A2 Hosting was that they actually give you unlimited everything (except sites) even with the lowest entry plan, whereas most other hosting companies will cap you to a monthly limit for storage and bandwidth. I have heard that it’s not “truly” unlimited – meaning if you have hundreds of thousands of visitors each month the shared hosting plan won’t be able to support this, but if you have that much traffic you are doing pretty great and can spring for a VPS or another upgrade.

The pricing for A2 Hosting is competitive, but if you go with the Turbo plan as I did, it will be a little more than some of the competition (at $9.99/month). To me the extra few dollars a month is well worth it, but if you can’t swing that much, their basic plan is $3.92 a month.

Here are some of the perks of using A2 Hosting as your host:

✔ Up to 20X faster sites
✔ UNLIMITED Disk Space
✔ UNLIMITED Bandwidth
✔ 1-CLICK Script Installs
✔ Free Solid State Drives
✔ Free daily backups & restore
✔ Free website transfers
✔ 99.9% Uptime Guarantee
✔ Linux & Windows Hosting
✔ 24/7/365 Guru Crew Support
✔ Anytime Money Back Guarantee
✔ WordPress, Drupal & Joomla optimized

 
They also pride themselves as a Green hosting company, which made me feel good about reducing my carbon footprint. They are partnered with Carbonfund.org and have claimed to be 100% carbon neutral since 2007.

How it Works: A2 Hosting offers a variety of services depending on your business needs.

Their plans include:

  • Shared Hosting
  • Reseller Hosting
  • VPS (or Virtual Private Servers) Hosting
  • Dedicated Servers
    – Managed Dedicated Servers
    – Flex Dedicated Servers (for developers)

 
A2 Hosting offers a variety of CMS choices including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and many, many others. See their CMS options for a full list.

You may contact customer support using their phone number, chat, or by opening a ticket.

All plans come with a free site transfer.

Return Policy: With the exception of purchased domain names, migration fees and SSL purchases, you can request and receive a full refund within 30 days of your purchase of A2’s hosting services. They will actually refund you after this point as well, but they do some calculations so that you’re then switched off of the discounted rate you signed up for before you can get a refund (which turns out to be very little reimbursed). Still, it’s nice they do this.

Tips & Tricks: If you already have a website go to Google Page Speed Insights and check to see if your response comes back with “reduce server load time” which indicates you might have a slow host. If you want to do your own research on sites that have the best speed, start by finding websites that are loading fast, then go to WebsiteHostingHero to see who the site is hosted by.

A2 Shared Hosting Plans

a2 plan options

Alternative Sites – SiteGround Hosting, WPEngine, Bluehost

Our Review

A2 Hosting Review
4.4 / 5 Our Score
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 5 Users (0 votes)
Speed4.9
Reliability4.3
Technology4.8
Customer Service3.5
The Good
– Lightening fast Hosting Speed
– Unlimited Storage for ALL plans
– Unlimited Bandwidth for ALL plans
– Easy Setup
– Security
The Bad
– Turbo Plan is a bit pricey
– Customer Service is Hit or Miss
– Intermittent Downtime (missed SLAs)
– Outdated Knowledge Base