A warm welcome to this review on A2 Hosting, where we will discuss our experiences from the multiple tests that we have conducted. A2 Hosting is not very popular among Australian entrepreneurs, but they are well known in America and Canada. A2 Hosting focuses on performance and quality.
A2 Hosting is considered as a premium web hosting provider by many, and some of their pricey dedicated hosting options will be discussed in this article. A2 Hosting also claim to offer impressive support and uptime. Their support service is also famously known as “Guru”. It sounds a bit cheesy, right?
At the moment, we have hosted 12 websites on A2 Hosting, and we did this with the intent of verifying their claims, and you will soon find out if what they claim is true or not.
If you are wondering about these speeds, if you plan to work with them from Australia, then read on to learn more about their speeds as we tested the servers from Brisbane, Bendigo, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.
A2 Hosting has multiple data centres situated in the areas below;
- Singapore – Asia
- Amsterdam – Europe
- Michigan – America
During our testing, we tested the data centre in Singapore, and I must say they are faster than the data centres you could find in Australia. This might come as a surprise to you, but you will learn more about it as you keep reading. So let’s get to it.
- A2 Hosting Speed
- Caching or CDN
- Customer Support Service
- Hack Prevention and Free Security
- Site Migrations
- SSL Certificate
- Various Web Hosting Plans
- Quick Facts
- Should Australian users host their site with A2 Hosting?
- Which plan should you select?
A2 Hosting Speed
A2 Hosting is fast. They also claim to have speeds that are 20 times more than the average web hosts. The reason A2 Hosting offer quick loading times is due to the huge demand for extremely quick Internet results across the globe.
A web visitor is a predominant decision-maker of whether they have the patients to wait for a page to load, even if it is just for a couple of seconds.
If the page takes very long and is slow, you can be sure that you have lost this visitor. All thanks to Facebook and Google sites for their high standards and speeds that are extremely quick and have set very high standards for web surfers.
Huge brands and massive online stores spend millions on optimizing their websites, ensuring their web page loads within a second. So this means that if your website takes 4 seconds or more, they will definitely lose more than 50% of their visitors.
Luckily for us, A2 Hosting has some of the big brands offering them high speeds, so you can now use these similar speeds for your small business site or your blog.
Our test revealed that the data centre in Singapore offers loading times of 222 ms making their way to the top of the list in terms of loading speeds.
Their pages offered quick load times, consistent speed and also across multiple cities all the way from Brisbane to Perth to Adelaide.
We also wanted to see if A2 Hosting’s servers were well equipped to handle some larger files, so we put it to the test with a file of 100 MB through different locations.
We used an ISP that is located in Sydney. The test was conducted on 25th April 2021. The results were amazing as the speed for the file of 100 MB was 1.7 seconds.
Why are they so fast?
A2 Hosting does well in comparison to their competitors as the approach to the resources of shared Hosting is handled in a different way; here’s how they go about it;
- A2 Hosting utilize location-specific caching – CDN.
- A2 Hosting also limit the resources on shared.
A2 Hosting’s shared hosting has things like many computers utilizing a similar IP and server resources. The reason A2 Hosting have such an arrangement is because a single website may not require many resources so that they can share resources.
So when they limit the people on the host or IP, customers will receive faster speeds. The fewer the people on the web server, the fewer the resources are used and faster speeds. A2 Hosting always has the number of customers and web server ratio well balanced, hence the fast speeds.
Caching or CDN
This keeps the data on servers that are distributed all around the world. So, no matter where your visitor is located, when they try to access your data, they will receive a copy of the data from the server that is closest to them.
When a server is close to your visitor, they experience fast load times. This method is a major reason for A2 Hosting’s fast services in comparison to their competitors.
Over a period of time, we have tried and tested A2 Hosting, collected and analyzed this data only to discover their average speeds are above average.
A2 Hosting’s Average Load Time from January to June 2021
- Average speed for June: 209 ms
- Average speed for May: 218 ms
- Average speed for April: 199 ms
- Average speed for March: 211 ms
- Average speed for February: 224 ms
- Average speed for January: 276 ms
Let me give you a short summary of what is uptime. Uptime is the total number of hours your website is online and available for your visitors to access.
Downtime is the total number of hours your website is unavailable to your visitor.
For many people, these two factors are never a concern, especially for people that have a blog; however, if your site accesses payment or is an E-commerce website, then these factors are vital, and you must pay close attention to them.
A website that cannot be reached or is extremely slow comes across as an unprofessional website.
Today, people lack the patience and time to wait on a website, hoping it will load soon. And the ongoing pandemic hasn’t made life easier. We’ve been waiting for the pandemic to end, and many seem to lack the patience to wait on a slow website. At least they can do something about it, leave the page! and trust me, you don’t want that page to be yours.
As an artist, we used a percentage that helped us decide the uptime and the downtime of the website. We have tested multiple web hosting solutions, and I can see that A2 Hosting servers offer exceptional uptime and the only host that comes close to them is SiteGround.
No server can offer an uptime of 100%; however, uptimes that are 99.5% and above is considered to be strong.
A2 Hosting overall has a strong uptime of 99.8%; that’s very impressive!
The results of the test that we conducted earlier this year are as follows;
A2 Hosting Test results for 2021
- Uptime for June: 99.9%
- Uptime for May: 99.9%
- Uptime for April: 99.98%
- Uptime for March: 99.96%
- Uptime for February: 99.99%
- Uptime for January: 98.92%
Customer Support Service
Today in the web hosting service market, there are not many web hosts that offer excellent customer service.
We know of a few huge hosts who don’t even train their staff and totally rely on their ticketing system. They do not even have 24/7 support team.
The ticketing system is very helpful and effective to a great extent; however, there are times that you would prefer to speak to someone in the flesh to explain the ongoing issue that could be of urgency. Having to connect with a robot all the time can get frustrating; sometimes, we need someone to give us immediate answers, and a bit of empathy hasn’t hurt anyone.
Luckily for us, A2 Hosting does not depend on their ticketing system alone and helps their customers to sort their issues out as soon as possible. With A2 Hosting, you will receive;
- Ticket and email support
- Phone support
- 24/7 live support
Hack Prevention and Free Security
In terms of web security, A2 Hosting provides a few add-ons that is very cool! Hackers are always on the lookout for the back door that involves software that is outdated and not updated. A2 Hosting assures us that the software, WordPress files and plugins are always in good shape and regularly updated.
This is an amazing feature to have as the most common issue that users face is forgetting to upgrade a plugin or even update your software.
In addition, they monitor the DNS and check for malicious hackers or attempts made by them in order to gain access to the website or even utilize the IP for malicious purposes.
If you own a website, then migrating your site for free seems like a big bonus, especially when you plan to move your website from one host to another.
If the host does not offer free website transfer, then you would have just two options;
1. You can transfer your site on your own. This generally involves losing pages and data if the transfer is not correctly done through the FTP and cPanel.
2. You could either outsource this work to a host. There are various hosts in the market that would help you with the task; however, this will include a charge of $50 and above. In my personal opinion, I don’t think it’s worth it.
For our readers who are not aware of what an SSL is, the full form of an SSL is Secure Socket Layer. Notice that a legit website will always have an SSL.
If you’re planning on getting a simple website or even maybe an E-Commerce one, either way, you will require an SSL.
Today this is a standard norm for all websites, especially if having a good Google ranking is at the top of the list. Many posts will make this available for you at an annual charge of $70; however, A2 Hosting is very generous with their customers and offers the let’s encrypt SSL certification absolutely free.
A2 Hosting provides free backups on their pilot hosting plans. Backups are for WP based hosts where the users with much ease can add, delete their data and it even asks for their preferences. We have noticed that sometimes a new user could accidentally damage the site data.
You can safeguard everything by utilizing a couple of free plugins; however, having the backups created systematically by the host is easier as they make sure that all the information is backed up and kept safe. That way, you don’t need to worry about it.
If you don’t back up your data, then I must say that this is a very good solution as it will help you to keep all your data safe.
A2 Hosting Web hosting plans, features and prices – 2021
Various Web Hosting Plans
|Plan name||Price Aus$||# Of Sites||Panel||Bandwidth||Space||Score|
|Start up||$2.79||1||cPanel||unlimited||100 GB||9.4|
VPS Hosting Plans
|Plan name||Price Aus$||RAM||CPU||Space||Score|
|Runway 1 Unmanaged||$6.99||1 GB||1 Core||150 GB||9.1|
|Runway 2 Unmanaged||$11.18||2 GB||2 Cores||250 GB||9.8|
|Runway 4 Unmanaged||$13.98||4 GB||4 Cores||450 GB||9.7|
|SuperSonic 8||$48.98||8 GB||2 Cores||250 GB||9.3|
|SuperSonic 16||$76.98||16 GB||6 Cores||250 GB||10|
|SuperSonic 32||$104.97||32 GB||8 Cores||450 GB||9.3|
|Lift 4||$41.98||4 GB||4 Cores||150 GB||8.9|
|Lift 8||$65.78||8 GB||6 Cores||250 GB||9.3|
|Lift 16||$81.17||16 GB||8 Cores||450 GB||8.7|
|Mach 8||$83.97||8 GB||2 Cores||150 GB||9.3|
|Mach 16||$125.97||16 GB||6 Cores||250 GB||9.3|
|Mach 32||$139.97||32 GB||8 Cores||450 GB||9.2|
Dedicated Server Packages
|Plan name||Price||RAM||CPU (GHz)||Space||Score|
|Hyper 1 Unmanaged||$139.97||16 GB||4 X 4.60||2 TB||9.3|
|Hyper 3 Unmanaged||$223.95||32 GB||10 X 2.60||2 TB||9.3|
|Hyper 4 Unmanaged||$204.36||32 GB||8 X 3.20||2 TB||9.3|
|Hyper 8 Unmanaged||$580.92||64 GB||10 X 2.40||1.88 TB||9.3|
|Hypo 3 turbo Unmanaged||$321.94||48 GB||10 X 2.40||2 TB||9.3|
|Hyper 4 turbo Unmanaged||$293.95||64 GB||8 X 3.20||2 TB||9.3|
|Hypo 8 turbo Unmanaged||$708.29||96 GB||10 X 2.40||1.88 TB||9.3|
|Hyper 9 turbo Unmanaged||$643.90||128 GB||8 X 3.20||1.88 TB||9.3|
|Warp 1 Managed||$223.95||16 GB||4 X 4.60||2 TB||9.3|
|Warp 3 Managed||$279.95||32 GB||10 X 2.40||2 TB||9.3|
|Warp 4 Managed||$279.95||32 GB||8 X 3.20||2 TB||9.3|
|Warp 8 Managed||$638.30||64 GB||10 X 2.40||1.88 TB||9.3|
|Warp 9 Managed||$575.31||64 GB||16 X 3.10||1.88 TB||9.3|
|Warp turbo 3 Managed||$377.93||64 GB||10 X 2.40||2 TB||9.3|
|Warp turbo 4 Managed||$377.93||64 GB||8 X 3.20||2 TB||10|
|Warp turbo 8 Managed||$769.88||96 GB||20 X 2.40||1.88 TB||9.3|
|Warp turbo 9 Managed||$699.89||128 GB||16 X 3.10||1.88 TB||9.3|
Cloud Hosting Plans
|Runway 1||$6.99||2 TB||1 GB||2 X 0.60||150 GB||10|
|Runway 2||$11.18||3 TB||2 GB||2 X 0.60||250 GB||9.8|
|Runway 4||$13.98||4 TB||4 GB||2 X 0.60||450 GB||9.3|
|SuperSonic 8||$48.98||2 TB||8 GB||2 Cores||150 GB||9.3|
|SuperSonic 16||$76.98||3 TB||16 GB||6 Cores||250 GB||9.3|
|SuperSonic 32||$97.97||4 TB||32 GB||8 Cores||450 GB||9.3|
A2 Hosting is among the best web hosting companies that you will come across in the market. The reason that A2 Hosting have made it to the top of the list is because of their excellent speeds, reliable uptime, extremely friendly customer service, plenty of security features and a very liberal refund policy. In addition, they are also very environmentally conscious people.
Let’s take a look at some of the features that we like about them and have made a list of pros;
Fast Loading Speed
Whenever you read about A2 Hosting, be it if you call their web page, the most common theme you would find is speed.
A2 Hosting is very fast. Over the past couple of months, A2 Hosting have offered us an average load speed of 286 Ms. That’s not all, the best part is, they don’t stop here, A2 Hosting continuously work on improving the results. Therefore A2 Hosting has secured the second position on our list of fast loading speeds. The Digital Ocean is a step ahead of them.
Apart from being extremely fast, they are also very reliable.
A couple of years ago, A2 Hosting used to face issues with regard to uptime, and they would struggle to keep up with the industry standards. But today, things have changed; they are able to achieve an average uptime of 99.97%. The total downtime on A2 Hosting servers that we had calculated was approximately 2 hours.
Take a look at the average up times that A2 Hosting has offered over the last one year;
- June 2021: 99.98%
- May 2021: 100%
- April 2021: 99.85%
- March 2021: 100%
- February 2021: 100%
- January 2021: 99.99%
- December 2020: 100%
- November 2020: 99.99%
- October 2020: 100%
- September 2020: 99.84%
- August 2020: 100%
- July 2020: 100%
Malware Scanning and Server Monitoring
In order to keep your website safe, you must prevent issues before it actually happens. It’s just like the famous saying, prevention is better than cure.
However, all the extra scanning, encryption layers and firewalls make the servers slow. This doesn’t happen with A2 Hosting. They perform with exceptional speeds, offering you plenty of extra features.
A2 Hosting protects their server with HackScan, and it is a monitoring service that monitors the server 24/7 and also scans it to check for malware and various other malicious attacks.
But A2 Hosting claim to have servers that are extremely scalable, which means that even if there is a DDoS attack, your website will be protected. The goal of these attacks are usually to flood the servers with a large amount of traffic and knock the site offline. Therefore, you can be rest assured that the two have your back and can handle unexpected, sudden surges.
As we mentioned earlier, if you plan to move your website from your current web host onto the servers of A2 Hosting, then upon request, it will be taken care of for you at no additional charges.
The shared hosting service packages offer an opportunity that; suppose you have various sites that you would like to migrate, it would be chargeable, $10 all site. But, if you have chosen managed VPS hosting, dedicated hosting or the reseller plan, you will be offered 25 site migrations for free. You can go through the terms and conditions to learn more about this.
To avail of this offer, you will have to get in touch with the customer support team of A2 Hosting and make a request. And it also gives them all the cPanel account details.
If your site has a control panel that is not a cPanel, then an extra fee will be applicable for the same.
User Friendly Tools and CMS
A2 Hosting works with all the major CMS seamlessly. You can with much easy install Magento WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and OpenCart. They can be installed with a couple of clicks without the help of a developer.
A2 Hosting has plugins that help to enhance the performance and make your CMS faster, beginning with the Turbo Boost package. You will also receive Cloudflare CDN absolutely free with all the A2 Hosting web hosting service plans that help to speed things up.
Suppose you are an agency or a Webmaster in search of a reliable web host for web hosting multiple websites below a single roof. A2 Hosting offers tools that are developer-friendly. These tools allow you access at an admin level to the servers, and you will also receive free server backups along with various versions of MY SQL, PHP, Ruby, Python, Apache etc.
A2 Hosting has a very popular website builder that is known as SiteBuilder. But this site builder is not offered with the Standard Web Hosting service packages and is available at an additional fee.
Money Back Guarantee
Today, various hosts in the market offer a money back guarantee of 30 days; in fact, it’s kind of the industry standard. But A2 Hosting is above it all. They are absolutely confident about their services and offer a money back guarantee that can be claimed anytime. Yes, you read it right, anytime. This is amazing!
This guarantee only goes to show the level of confidence that A2 Hosting has in their service. With that being said, if at any time you feel that A2 Hosting service doesn’t sit right with your business requirements, you can cancel your subscription anytime, and you will receive your money back on a prorated basis.
But we noticed a couple of snags.
If the refund request is made after 120 days of the initial subscription, then the payment will be issued via PayPal. Also, additional services are not refundable; they include migration fees, set up and domain registrations. Any service that is non-refundable you are allowed to keep, like the domain name.
A2 Hosting’s hometown is Michigan, Ann Arbor and this city is called as the “Tree Town”. It is said that they have over 50,000 trees as well as more than 150 parks. This shows that A2 Hosting exercises their moral obligation in order to protect our planet from the crisis of global warming.
Their partners carbonfund.org support them with reforestation and renewable energies. They have an initiative called FutureServe that is beneficial to offset all the missions from the servers.
They’re all a few users that are very keen on using green web hosting; however, even if you are not in that category, it is just nice to know that the web host you are working with is concerned about global warming and through the initiative of Green Web Hosting they take care of the environment, this is definitely an additional perk.
Customer Support Assistance
A2 Hosting offers support team that is available 24/7 throughout the year. You can connect with their customer support through phone, ticketing, email and live chat. A2 Hosting also offer their customers a knowledge base that is vast and extensive. This knowledge base is particularly helpful if you wish to seek quick answers or even learn more about your web hosting company.
But, of all these, we are particularly fond of the live chat support, and so we tested them.
We contacted them and asked simple questions that will work regarding our shared hosting package. We did not have to wait for a long time. We were connected to an executive almost immediately.
The executive was extremely knowledgeable, very polite, and answered a query very quickly. We were also glad to find out that A2 Hosting offers live chat support to everyone. Some time ago, live chat was made available only to the registered user.
While there are plenty of things that we are fond of, there are a few areas that they could work on. Let’s take a look at those areas;
A2 Hosting does not offer domain names for free with any of the shared web hosting packages. This is something that is not very common with other hosts, as many of these hosts that we have reviewed offered a domain name for free, at least for 12 months.
So if you wish to transfer your domain name or register one with A2 Hosting, you will have to incur additional charges for the same. For example, a .com extension would be available at an annual cost of $14.95. After one year, the renewal charges remain the same.
Renewal Rates are High
With A2 Hosting, you can avail a package at a lower cost provided you commit for the long term. They offer introductory and promotional prices with all their packages for the initial term, and this can be availed on signup. The prices are extremely low, and they are almost half the original price.
Seems like a sweet deal until the end of the promotional term. As soon as the automatic renewal happens, you will find yourself paying the original price, which is twice the promotional rate.
That’s not all; it worsens. Their terms and conditions have a clause that you need to make a cancellation request in writing before the renewal term. This can be done by email or the customer portal.
Now there is a 15-day window, and if you miss the window, you will find yourself paying the renewal plan as the plan renews automatically. Hence, you will not be eligible for a refund.
Cheapest Plan Restrictions
The starter plan that A2 Hosting offers is the cheapest that is available at a monthly charge of $1.99. I wouldn’t say they are the cheapest in the market, but the price is pretty good.
However, there are various restrictions to the low web hosting package. You will receive one website, SSD storage of 100 GB, and you will notice there are a couple of features missing, like server rewind and automatic backups. The upgraded tier will offer you unlimited SSD storage and websites, automatic backups will be free, and the resources will be two times more than the Starter plan. The plan is available at a monthly charge of $3.99.
So, we wonder if the cheap package is there to just simply promote a cheap price plan when if you look at it, the beneficial and useful features that help you in creating a website are available with the expensive plan.
A2 Hosting is a company that has stayed true to its ideals and has offered exceptional services at a very economical price. They haven’t been like most companies using the mainstream methodology just to try and get many customers.
We definitely recommend A2 Hosting on account of their consistent delivery in terms of speed and performance. Yes, over time they have improved over the last couple of years, making them extremely reliable. In addition, the Shared hosting plans offer free website migration and SSL certificate.
If you face any issues at any hour, you can reach out to their customer support that is available 24/7, all through the year. If you are unhappy with their service, or you feel it doesn’t sit right with your business requirements you could make a request to cancel your subscription and expect a refund for your money. The anytime money back is very reassuring, because you do not feel like you are stuck in a bad relationship for a long time. You could walk out anytime you want.
Yes, we are not very happy with the renewal rates, and as discussed earlier, they are pretty high, and the rigid terms of cancelling within a stipulated time is not very generous. Also, if you take a turbo Max that is the most expensive plan, they offer you just a single site migration for free, and that’s not all; the domain name is not offered for free with any of the shared hosting plans.
But, all said and done, every host has its pros and cons, and as a user, you must get your priorities in place. This one helps you pick the right host for your business. Excellent customer support, fast servers and strong uptimes have made A2 Hosting a good choice for Australian users that live in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. You can also check our article on Hostinger review.
If you are currently using A2 Hosting, do share your experience with us; if not do let us know what you think about their service.
- Free features: DNS, CDN and SSL.
- Domain name: It is not available with any of the shared web hosting packages.
- Payment methods: PayU, Latam, Union pay, Skrill, Bank transfer, Money order or Check, PayPal and credit card.
- Easy sign up: It is not very difficult with the three-step signup process.
- Upsells: During the signup process, you will experience certain subtle upsells.
- Hidden Clauses and Fees: High renewal rates, in comparison to the promotional rate. You are required to cancel your subscription before 15 days of the renewal time, or else you will be charged automatically. The purchase of your domain name is not refundable.
- Account Activation: Your account will be activated instantly.
- Dashboard experience and control panel: They offered the cPanel.
- Installation of CMS and apps: You can install WordPress and various other popular CMSs like Drupal, Joomla and more at the time of checkout.
Should Australian users host their site with A2 Hosting?
They also do have a couple of advantages over their competitors, let’s take a quick look at them;
- They also offer an SSD storage absolutely free with all their hosting plans.
- Their clients are given an option to select from either Windows or Linux web hosting.
- They offer a guarantee of anytime money back.
- You can expect consistency and strong uptime of 99.9%.
- They also offer their customers site migration for free.
Which plan should you select?
The correct answer to this will depend on your web hosting requirement. If you are just starting out with a new website, we suggest you begin with their shared hosting plans. As in when your requirements evolve, you can always upgrade to their higher plans.