A2 Hosting Review - The Fastest Shared Hosting Around?

Unlike a lot of shared hosts (such as HostGator) A2 limit the number of users that can be assigned to any one shared host at a time - This balances out resources across multiple users, helps prevent slowdowns at peak times and vastly improves the performance of each indiviual shared server.

They have a highly rated support system that covers live chat, phone and a ticketing system - With trained, US based support agents.

They also offer very competitive pricing, which can get you unlimited domains, bandwith and disk space for under $5 per month.​

To top it all off? A2 offer a 30 day back money guarantee if you aren't completely happy with the service you got.

A2 Hosting Review 2017

A2 came into the industry swinging, claiming load times up to 20x faster than other shared hosting providers due to their clever server infrastructure and custom developed software.

They quickly made a name for themselves with load time tests showing speeds of under 1/4 of a second.. Yes, you heard right, under 250ms.

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Key Features

It's important to know what some of the key features are of any host before looking to purchase hosting for your site, so that being said, what are some of the features of A2 Hosting?

Performance & Speed

We decided to test A2 Hosting in the best way possible, and temporarily move this site from our usual host over to A2. We actually saw a faster load time even without the Turbo Boost enabled on the site -

​This speed improvement, mixed with a close to 1s load time has to be one of THE FASTEST web hosts we have ever tested on this site.

99.99% UpTime

A2 Hosting have one of the highest uptimes we have ever recorded.. With a 0% downtime over a 6 month testing period we ran.

That being said, it's pretty much impossible to have a 100% uptime all of the time, so 99.99% is the highest possible.. Which A2 have managed to achieve, which is very impressive for a medium sized company.


Customer Support

In actual fact, A2 are one of the only companies on the market that offer 4 different layers of support communication:

  • 24/7 Phone
  • Ticket System
  • Live Chat
  • Direct Email​

There team is also made up of very technically knowledge people - Which shows when you go with some of the trickier questions we tested them on. They replied to all 4 levels of communication within a 15 minute window, and quickly resolved server side issues.

Free Manual Site Migrations

A good added bonus for anyone thinking about moving a site to A2 ​is that there support team offers free, manual migration - This means your site migration will be handled by someone who's done hundreds (if not thousands) of them before.. Leaving little to no risk of anything going wrong during the site migration.


Data Center Locations

A2 have 3 different data centers, based over 3 continents.. Which allows them to cover hosting for any number of nationally targeted sites.

The data center options are:

  • Michigan, USA (North America)
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands (Europe)
  • Singapore (Asia)

Security

Alongside a number of other hosts, A2 uses unique kernel instances for each of there shared hosting accounts - This essentially splits a server into hundreds of smaller servers to prevent malicious activity from being able to compromise multiple accounts if one of the accounts on the server is also compromised.

Free HackScan Bonus

The only host that gives you free access to a paid service called "HackScan" - Which is an addon for your installation that includes 24 hour scanning, extra firewall protection, 24 hour monitoring and brute force defense. 


A2 Hosting Alternative

What's a good alternative to A2?

Hawkhost: Hawkhost are a popular alternative to A2. Both offer great speeds for your site, however with Hawkhost you pay very little for what you get.

The animated hawk mascot of HawkHost.

Read the review here

Conclusion

​The only reason we didn't give A2 a complete 5 star rating is due to the plans they do have being a bit more expensive than the standard in the industry - That being said, you are essentially paying to get access to more resources on a server than you would normally get from other shared hosting providers.

Pricing For Shared Hosting Packs​

Here is the indiviual pricing for each of the shared hosting plans:​

  • Lite Plan, From $3.92/Mo - One domain, unlimited storage on a solid state drive, unlimited bandwith and up to 5 database installations.​
  • Swift Plan, From $4.90/Mo - Unlimited domains, unlimited bandwith, unlimited storage but does not include the Turbo Boost software feature which allows for up to 20x faster load times.
  • Turbo Plan, From $9.31/Mo - Exactly the same spec as the swift plan but with the "Turbo Boost" and "A2 Site Accelerator" software enabled to help achieve faster load times.

Overall Summary​

If you're looking for an extremely fast host with great customer support, a number of different package options and your site isn't going to be getting millions of hits per month, then A2 is the host for you.

We'd also like to re-iterate how impressed we were with the speed tests we ran on this host, and they're our #1 most recommended host when it comes to loading times on any platform, aside from WordPress - The crown for that goes over to WPEngine.​

Like I said at the top as well, if you're not happy with the service after 30 days then they offer a money back guarantee which should ​let you sleep a lot easier at night after investing in a hosting pack with them.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
A2 Shared Hosting
Author Rating
4

About the Author

Though I don't like to reveal my personal identity, I've been a sysadmin for the better part of a decade. Those days however, are now behind me, as I run my own consultancy firm, specializing in speed optimization, penetration testing and system management. This blog is a personal project of mine, so that I can share my own opinions, feelings etc.. without ever having clients phoning me up screaming down the phone. Enjoy!