A2 Hosting has been helping customers with all their web hosting needs since August of 2001, though at that time they were known as, “Iniquinet.” Over the first couple years, the company grew quite well, which prompted the owners to choose a new name that would be more memorable and easier to spell. They went with A2 Hosting (in honor of the owner’s home town of Ann Arbor, MI).
This A2 hosting review looks at all the pro, the cons, introduction to the company and general services offered.
From the very beginning the goal of this company has really been quite simple. They want to provide high performance hosting with friendly support (both sales and technical) and they want to do it all at an excellent price. They have done a great job at meeting all of these goals, and many others, to become one of the best known hosting companies in the industry.
Reading through the ‘mission statement’ and company history on their website, you might get the idea that the company doesn’t take itself seriously enough (they jokingly say that the CEO survived Y2K by stocking up on creamed corn, among other comical statements). The fact is, however, that they seem to do an excellent job at keeping up with the latest technologies in web hosting. In fact, they were the first web hosting company to support PHP5 way back in June of 2004, well before most others adopted it.
Hosting Options Available
No matter what type of hosting you need for your website, A2 Hosting almost certainly has it available. They offer a variety of choices in each of the following categories of hosting:
- Shared Hosting – The most common option, and the one used for most entry level websites.
- VPS Hosting – Virtual Private Servers are great for medium to large sites. They provide many of the best benefits of dedicated hosting, but at a fraction of the cost.
- Managed VPS ostHosHosting – This is just like normal VPS, but with added technical support.
- Dedicated Hosting – Ideal for any site that needs complete control over everything on the server, and is willing to pay a premium for it.
- Reseller Hosting – This is the only option for people who are looking to offer web hosting as a product or service.
- Cloud Hosting – Cloud hosting is one of the latest options to hit the market. It effectively spreads your hosting over multiple servers, providing faster responses and more reliable service.
No matter which of these options you choose, you’ll have a number of different packages available to consider. For those who are newer to managing websites, this initial process of selecting the specific hosting package can be a little bit confusing. Since A2 Hosting offers so many choices, it can be hard for many people to make a decision.
To help with that problem, however, their sales team is well trained and able to offer great advice to those who need it. At first I wondered if the sales team would just try to push new customers toward more expensive packages, but that did not happen.
Using their live chat feature, I contacted their sales team to ask for help picking a hosting package. They asked a series of questions, and then recommended that I select the higher end package in their shared hosting category. As someone with years of experience with web hosting, this is the exact package I would have chosen for myself (even though some may have tried to sell me on the more expensive VPS options). It is nice to see that this company has integrity and is willing to put their customers’ needs first.
Before making any decisions, take a moment to look at some of the key pieces of information about each of the packages within their hosting categories.
Quick Post Navigation
- 1 A2 Hosting Shared Hosting Review
- 2 A2 Hosting VPS Hosting Review
- 3 A2 Hosting Cloud VPS Hosting Review
- 4 A2 Hosting Dedicated Servers Review
- 5 A2 Hosting Review Conclusion
In the shared hosting category you can select from three different packages. The entry level package is just $3.92 per month, the midlevel is $4.90 and the high end (called ‘Turbo’) is $9.31. These are all very affordable options, especially when you look at what you’re getting.
Some key features that you get with A2Hosting (and won’t likely find with many other companies) include RAID-10 storage for all shared hosting packages (this allows for faster site loading speeds and more reliable hosting), unlimited data transfer and access to their proprietary ‘Blazing Fast SwiftServer’ platform. You can see additional details about what you get here;
A2 Hosting VPS Hosting Review
-Managed and Unmanaged
If you opt to go with their VPS hosting package the biggest decision you need to make is whether you want to go with the managed option or the unmanaged one. Unmanaged is slightly cheaper, but is really only recommended for experienced webmasters. You won’t have access to free technical support to fix user issues or to answer general questions. Of course, they will always be there with technical support problems related to hardware or connectivity.
The entry level unmanaged VPS hosting starts at $9.89 per month. For a managed option, the entry level is $32.99 per month. You do get some additional software, but the main thing you are paying for is the high end support. For higher end websites, the ‘Pinnacle+’ managed VPS package is an excellent deal at $65.99 per month. It includes their “TURBO” hosting, which has solid state drives for extremely fast load times. You can see some of the additional features of the managed VPS packages here:
A2 Hosting Cloud VPS Hosting Review
A2Hosting has been offering cloud hosting options for much longer than most other companies, and they seem to have done a great job offering customized setups. They don’t offer specific packages at this level, but instead allow you to choose the exact features you desire.
This is a great way to buy hosting because you can select the features that you need, and leave the others off. If you’re running a video site, for example, you may want a higher level CPU and lower memory. Using their nice, “Design Your Custom Server” page (seen below) you can select exactly what you need, and it will automatically display the price you’ll pay.
A2 Hosting Dedicated Servers Review
Finally, their high end dedicated servers are perfect for anyone who needs the most control and power for their websites. They have two categories of dedicated servers. The first one allows you to choose the specific configuration of the server, and control absolutely every aspect of it. You’ll have full root access and can have any type of Linux OS installed. To put it simply, A2Hosting is basically just providing the data center and hardware support, you do the rest.
The second option is a pre-built machine that will allow you to get up and running right away. This choice also comes with full technical support and assistance from the A2Hosting staff. This is a better option for those who don’t like to worry about the details of the hosting and would rather leave that to the professionals.
A2 Hosting Data Centers
A2Hosting operates out of two datacenters. Their primary data center is located in Southfield, MI. The secondary option is in Reykjavik, Iceland. Whenever selecting a data center location, you want to make sure your site is hosted as close to your target audience as possible. With this in mind, if your audience is anywhere in North America, the Southfield location is ideal. For those targeting a European audience, the Reykjavik location is best.
Both data centers are extremely reliable and staffed by their team of engineers 24/7/365. The data centers are equipped with redundant network connections, linking to multiple major data communications networks to avoid potential outages. They also have redundant power supplies, and on site generators to ensure the data centers never lose power.
Physical security is also taken seriously with a gated parking lot, security key requirements to get into the building and much more. Once in the building, security keys are needed to enter the data center as well as any of the locked server racks. Both centers are under constant video surveillance. The bottom line here is that these are high end data centers that are designed to provide top notch hosting solutions.
A2 Hosting Control Panel
When it comes to actually managing your websites, you will need to use the control panel provided by A2Hosting. A2Hosting offers cPanel, which is the most popular option on the market today. This control panel solution is popular for a reason, it really is the best.
Through the cPanel you can create, edit and delete domains, software, databases, custom email and much more. In addition, you’re provided with the Softaculous software installer, for one click installation of top software including WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
A2Hosting doesn’t have a customized version of cPanel, so it will look basically the same as most other hosting companies. Personally, I don’t think this is a bad thing as it still provides you with all the convenience and ease of use that you would expect from this top software.
A2 Hosting Customer Service (Sales)
Most people won’t actually need to deal with the sales staff at A2Hosting because you can sign up and get everything up and running without any direct interaction. If you have any questions, or you would just feel more comfortable with an actual person there to help you, however, they really do offer great support.
As a test, I contacted their sales team to ask them a question about one of their shared hosting packages. From the time I clicked on the ‘Live Chat’ button until I had a live person there to help me was under 60 seconds. This is quite impressive, especially given the fact that I was doing this at nearly midnight. Once they were on, they quickly replied to my inquiries and were very polite throughout the experience.
A2 Hosting Customer Service (Technical Support)
The best thing about A2Hosting’s technical support is that you aren’t going to need to use it very often. In the event that you do run into problems, however, they are very easy to get ahold of. You can contact them using a ticketing system, which they monitor 24/7/365. You can also call them on the phone or use their live chat feature.
No matter which option you go with, you’ll find that they are quite knowledgeable about not only their own specific hosting features, but websites and hosting in general. After signing up for a trial hosting package with this company, I reached out to their tech support with a few questions to see how they answered. I was pleasantly surprised that these individuals were not just reading off of a ‘how to’ script that they have been given.
They walked me through a few issues that I asked them about, and were patient with me when I asked questions that were quite simple. Overall, I was very impressed with the entire experience I had with the technical support team.
A2 Hosting Features Review
As mentioned earlier in the review, the specific features that are available are quite impressive. A2Hosting offers all the traditional options that you can expect to find anywhere, but they really go above and beyond in a few places. Rather than touching on things like domains and email addresses, I want to specifically comment on some of the areas that set this company apart:
- Solid State Drives – Many of the packages from this company come with solid state drives. SSD’s are FAR faster than traditional hard drives, especially when making frequent read/write requests as is common with web hosting. SSD’s will make a noticeable difference in your site’s load time.
- Cloud Hosting Solutions – Their cloud hosting solutions provide you with a service that is going to be exceedingly reliable. Due to the advanced technologies that are used, your site will likely never go down. It will also be very responsive for your visitors.
- RAID-10 Storage – If you’re not familiar with RAID-10, it is a storage (hard drive) configuration that allows your data to be stored on multiple different hard drives. If one drive fails, all the data is stored on the others, so there won’t be any outage. Technicians can replace the failed drive, and it will automatically restore the data. This is a great technology for added redundancy and reliability.
A2 Hosting Speed & Uptime Review
Of course, there are few things as important as the speed and uptime of a website. If people have to wait for more than 3-4 seconds for your site to load, they will browse away to find something else. I’ve already mentioned a number of things, like the solid state drives and RAID-10 configuration, which help to address both the speed and the reliability questions about this company.
In addition to those things, it is also good to note that they offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee. This is fairly standard in the hosting industry, but A2Hosting really seems to meet or beat this level of uptime on a consistent basis. They do mention a few types of outages that are not covered, however. Things like DDoS attacks on your site, and problems with the ISP, network connection or DNS on the user’s end. Of course, none of these things are caused by the hosting company, so it makes sense that they can’t make guarantees about them. Here are some features of their SwiftServers;
- Turbo Server Option – 20X Faster
- SwiftCache – Powered by APC/OPcache
- Solid State Drives (SSDs)
- Fine-Tuned By Our Guru Crew
- Quadruple Redundant Network
- No Server Overloading
- US & European Server Locations
- Free CloudFlare Content Delivery Network
- CloudLinux OS
- Instant Account Activation
- 10 Gb/s Redundant Network
- 12 Core Server Minimum
- 64 GB RAM Server Minimum
Overall Pros & Cons of A2Hosting
As you have likely gathered from the review so far, A2Hosting is one of the better options on the market today. Of course, there are many factors that one needs to consider before making a final decision about where they will host their websites. The following pros and cons may help you with that choice:
- Very Fast Load Speeds – Thanks to their solid state drives and high end network connections, your web pages will load very quickly.
- Excellent Support – Both sales and technical support teams impressed me with their knowledge and willingness to put the customer first.
- Many Hosting Options – You can choose from a wide range of different hosting packages.
- Certain Price Points – The extra cost associated with a managed system (either VPS or Dedicated) seems a little bit high. Most price points, however, are very fair.
- Data Center Locations – They only offer two locations for their data centers. If you aren’t targeting either North America or Europe, you may want to choose a company with a local data center.
A2 Hosting Review Conclusion
When all is said and done, this is truly one of the best hosting companies on the market today. They have impressed me with virtually every aspect of their service, which is not easy to do. If you are looking for a high quality hosting solution, A2Hosting should definitely be on your ‘short list’ to consider. If you want to learn more about their services, or sign up with them today, please click the following link, which will take you directly to their site.