What is A2 Hosting?
Founded in 2001 as Iniquinet, in 2003 the hosting provider became A2, named after their hometown of Ann Arbor, MI. The privately owned company touts themselves as providing hosting services “by developers, for developers.” They specialize in multiple version of PHP and allow for easy switching. A2 Hosting partners with Carbonfund.org to promote remote working, carsharing, and recycling.
How Good is A2 Web Hosting?
A2 is favored by many for its very fast technical support, superior uptime, and competitive prices for the amount of features. Something that sets A2 Hosting apart from their competitors is that they actually own all of their own servers – this means that your experiences as a customer is less susceptible to issues that are out of their control. Downsides to A2 web hosting include limited shopping cart options and hidden costs that can make it pricier than expected to host multiple domains.
- Knowledgeable customer support
- Fastest speeds on the market
- Automatic and Flexible Backups
- Excellent Server Uptime
- Exclusive Security Solutions
- Limited Shopping Cart Options
- No Managed Software Upgrades
- No Unlimited Domains
- No free domain with sign up
Our Official A2 Hosting Review
A2 is a web hosting company that really gives the impression that they know what they are doing, leaving virtually no stone unturned when it comes to features and customer experience. Compared to many of the largest hosting providers on the web, A2 has a modern look and feel that their competitors lack. While they have room for improvement in terms of some hidden costs, their upsides are numerous and convincing. Especially if you prioritize speed and scaleability, A2 web hosting is definitely a company to look into.
Best Features of A2 Hosting
Superior Speed & Uptime
While most web hosts advertise a 99.99% uptime guarantee (translating to 8 hours of downtime per year), A2 Hosting actually delivers. In 2015 they had only 2 hours of downtime, the only other webhost that comes close to this figure is Dreamhost and they are twice the price of A2. A2 also claims to have speeds twenty times faster than their competitors, which all evidence points to being mostly true. The secret here is that A2 owns each and every one of their servers. This means that they have more direct control over keeping their servers up and running, and that when something does go wrong, they don’t need to wait on a middle man to fix it. If every second matters for your business, there is simply no better host than A2 in this regard.
Robust Email Features
A2 provides an array of high quality email features for their subscribers, such as SquirrelMail, Barracuda, Pommo, Horde, and RoundCube. Not only do they allow an unlimited amount of registered email addresses with your domain, but each of these features are also available for each one of your email addresses. Plenty of other competitors, such as HostGator, some of their plans offer unlimited email addresses. But many are seriously lacking in the mail features and spam protection department. The A2 inboxes, on the other hand, are built for the modern email workflow.
A2 Hosting Support – “by Developers, for Developers”
A2 proudly claims that all of their customer service reps are based in the USA and that each and every one of them is his or herself a developer. This insider knowledge really shows, as their answers are thoughtful and comprehensive and they always seem to be able to meet you where you’re at. They offer speedy live chat support, and their email ticketing system isn’t half bad either. Most support ticket inquiries received responses within two hours. On the whole, there is little to complain about with A2 hosting support. A rival in this department would be SiteGround hosting, where support reps are just as knowledgeable as their A2 counterparts, but are even quicker to respond.
Automatic and Flexible Backups
A2 cares about your data and is careful to automatically back it up daily. This is a big advantage over the many other low cost hosts who only back up your site once a week. They also have flexible restoration features that make it easy for you to undo what you just did without losing hours of work. If you find that only one file is corrupt, then you can restore just that one file instead of your entire website. Access the Server Rewind feature from your cPanel.
A2 Hosting WordPress Optimization
A2 Hosting WordPress integration is available as part of all of their hosting plans. WordPress can come pre-installed and optimized to work with A2 Hosting specifically, but you could also choose to use other web building platforms like Joomla and Drupal. They also provide auto-configuration so that your settings load seamlessly.
Exclusive Security Solutions
A2 has exclusive security solutions such as their Patchman release. Patchman will have the system automatically notify you if your software version is outdated or susceptible to security vulnerabilities. If Patchman finds an infected file, it will automatically quarantine it for 24 hours. On top of that, if there are any security vulnerabilities on your Joomla, Drupal or your WordPress software installation, Patchman will update it within two days after its discovery. Another feature they have is what they call Hack Scan – it is continually monitoring your account for unauthorized access attempts. A2 also provides one-click installs for SSL certificates.
Downsides of A2 Hosting
As difficult as it was to find things we didn’t like about A2 hosting, there is always room for improvement. Here’s what we think A2 could do better:
Limited Shopping Cart Options
Out of the four different shopping cart software options that are available for website owners to choose from, A2 only offers support for two of them. If you have a Cube or Zen shopping cart, you’re good to go. However, if you have a ShopSite shopping cart or an Abante shopping cart, you can’t count on A2 to help you troubleshoot any issues.
No Managed Software Upgrades
Many web hosting companies offer the option of managed software upgrades for your website building platform of choice. A2 does not offer this. If any upgrades are being pushed out by WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, you’ll need to stay top of it yourself.
No Unlimited Domains
A2 does not offer unlimited domains with their most basic plan, and you do not get a free domain name with sign up. However for just a few dollars more per month, you can upgrade to their next level where unlimited domains come standard. Look at bigger brand name hosts like GoDaddy and HostGator for super cheap shared hosting plans that allow for unlimited domains.
A2 is a modern company with a modern customer base. Their website may not seem especially accessible to novice web masters, but to those with more experience on the web, its clear that A2 web hosting knows their stuff. And while A2 may not market to newbies, they are more than happy to support them every step of the way. They offer great email tools, blazing speeds, high-quality customer support, and integrate seamlessly with all of your favorite site building software. If you’re looking to extensively experiment with scripting, you will no doubt be grateful for the Server Rewind feature. Folks looking to manage multiple sites should pay close attention to the additional domain charges, but we maintain that the services are well worth it. Advanced webmasters might also want to explore competitor SiteGround’s packages, as they offer a similarly development-focused plan for around the same price.
A2 Hosting FAQs
Who is A2 Hosting best suited for?
A2 Hosting works for anyone who needs any level of IT services. People who want a basic WordPress site can have A2 Hosting serve as the host for one website, five databases and unlimited storage. On the higher end of the spectrum, dedicated hosting allows businesses to have complete control over the web server, website and data management. Most of this work happens remotely as opposed to in person. Companies pay monthly fees for A2 Hosting’s services.
What is A2 Hosting pricing like?
The most basic WordPress hosting starts at $3.92 per month. For this price, customers get one website, five databases, unlimited storage, a money-back guarantee, unlimited transfer and free SSD. The highest WordPress hosting gives users unlimited websites, databases, storage and transfer alongside a money-back guarantee, a turbo website that’s 20 times faster than A2 Hosting’s basic offerings, free SSD and A2’s site accelerator for $9.31 per month.
On the higher end, A2 Hosting has dedicated hosting that starts at $99.59 per month. For that price, consumers get to customize a server’s needs, have complete isolation from other servers and choose a management level. The most expensive plan the company offers is a managed server for $290.49 every month. This gives a customer 16 GB of RAM for the server’s use, 20 TB of transfer, 2×1000 GB of storage, access to an Intel Xeon core server, free cPanel access, root access and the money-back guarantee. These levels of access give firms and companies complete control over their web server.
Does A2 offer discounts for returning customers?
A2 Hosting does not offer discounts for recurring customers, although some customers may be eligible for free upgrades within the same server package. Downgrading to a lesser package costs $25 for a data transfer fee. A2 Hosting does give nonprofit organizations a discount, which they must prove by contacting the company through a support ticket.
What are A2 Hosting's key features?
A2 Hosting touts developer-friendly hosting so people can create and manage their own websites, domain registration for when someone wants to own a domain name, domain transfer from another host, SSL certificates for verifying website security, a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee, an anytime money-back guarantee and SwiftServers fast hosting.
Potential customers can search A2 Hosting’s website to see if a domain name is owned by another host through the domain checker. Users simply enter up to 20 website names into the box, go through the simple security protocol and click Search Availability to see if A2 Hosting can keep the domain name for a customer.
The 99.9 percent uptime guarantee reflects A2 Hosting’s reliability promise. The company uses industry best practices, security patches and alternate data centers to ensure a website stays active as much as possible. The web host recognizes that when a website goes down, a customer loses money.
The anytime money-back guarantee goes into effect for the first 30 days of service. In essence, it’s a free 30-day trial. If a user wants to cancel the service for any reason during the first 30 days, the person may do so without penalty.
What level of web hosting does my company need?
The level of web hosting a website needs depends on the amount of information stored on the server. A simple website that just lists a company’s services might need the lowest-priced plans available, while e-commerce sites could use mid-level plans. If a firm needs to deliver video streaming to customers, the fastest and highest-priced plans are the way to go.
How does a customer store a backup website?
A2 Hosting allows for backups less than 30 days old and up to 50 GB of data per the company’s terms of service. The complementary Server Rewind service stops backing up any websites if the customer exceeds 30 days on backups and 50 GB of storage.
What are the basic services that A2 Hosting covers in every plan?
A2 Hosting has a bevy of services for anyone who wants to host or own a website. Choices include ad management, wikis, blogs, e-commerce, forums and social networks.
The ad management portion features several types of ad management software, all of which allow businesses to create targeted advertising campaigns from the ground-up. These services are some of the lowest-price package A2 Hosting uses.
Hosting a forum means A2 Hosting provides a platform for people to share ideas, post thoughts and freely exchange ideas. Wikis refer to encyclopedia-type informational entries that provide user-created ways to edit individual entries into the wiki.
How do I contact A2 Hosting?
A2 Hosting has a live chat feature, a support ticket function, a toll-free number for American and Canadian customers and form for contacting sales. Customers in Europe, Brazil, Australia and India have separate phone numbers to call. The company also has social media channels for Twitter and Facebook
What payment options does A2 provide?
Customers can pay for services via PayPal, American Express, Visa, Mastercard and a Discover card. Customers can set up automatic payments every month.
What is the A2 Hosting affiliate program like?
A2 Hosting gives customers money for successful referrals who register through an affiliate link. Clients earn $85 per new customer, and then $5 for every new customer that the original new customer brings into the fold. Companies make money for every new customer that purchases a hosting package.
Customers earn $10 just for signing up for the affiliate program. The top affiliate earned more than $100,000 in 2015. In essence, the affiliate program is a marketing push made by A2 Hosting as a way to get more customers, but it’s very easy to host the affiliate program.
Where is A2 located?
A2 Hosting’s main office is in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A second data center is in Singapore, and a third one is in Amsterdam.
What is A2 Hosting customer support like?
A2 Hosting touts 24/7/365 customer support. That means customers have access to technical support at any time.
How does a customer test its server speeds?
A customer downloads speed test files for any of the three data centers through A2 Hosting’s website. The zip file is 100MB. A third-party speed test verifies the speed of data center independently.
In which countries is A2 most popular?
Most of A2 Hosting’s customers come from all over the world. The most popular countries are the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, India and France. The company lists 26 countries where customers can learn more about A2 Hosting’s services.
What security measures does the Ann Arbor data center contain?
The Ann Arbor data center touts static-free flooring, climate controls of 68 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity levels between 30 and 40 percent. The redundant power supply includes a diesel generator in case primary power options fail. Physical security measures include a gated parking lot accessible to employees only, security key access to the building, a separate security key needed to access the server vault and video surveillance.
What cloud-based services does A2 Hosting offer?
Cloud hosting services start at $15 per month for up to 10 GB of data storage, and the high-end choice is $25 per month with 25 GB of storage. A2 Hosting touts cloud services at 300 percent faster than other drives.
Does A2 Hosting offer VPS?
A2 Hosting sells virtual private server (VPS) hosting up to 75 GB of storage and 2 TB of transfer. These types of servers are ideal for developers and IT experts.