A2 hosting has been taunted for quite a long time now as the very fastest one can get – so far as the whole hosting world is concerned.
Powered by turbo’ed servers, this hosting service claims to be 20x faster than the competition!
As if this is not enough, persons hosting with A2 have also corroborated the speed of the service and for all such, there is nothing better online in comparison.
Today, here at Hosting Versus, we’ve decided to take a long and hard look at the reality of A2 Hosting and see if it truly posses the speed everyone claims it does.
Importantly, we’re also going to see if this hosting service is the very fastest 2021 affords.
This review is thus going to be long – but thorough as we’re not going to leave any stone unturned.
If you’re ready, we also are…let the review begin!
A2 Hosting Support: How Does It Measure Up?
In the dynamic world of hosting, support is one of the most crucial matrix used to judge a company offering hosting services.
The reasons, of course, are not far fetched.
Irrespective of your skills in the hosting world, you could run into a challenge with your blog or website, hosted online: without a dedicated and fast group of professionals to help you out, you could lose your site, earnings and reputation in a sweep!
Sadly, many hosting companies today do not care (in the strictest sense).
The reason for this is simple: keeping up support staff round the clock costs money – and most hosting companies today would rather save that money (at the detriment of the services rendered to you) than expend it to make things better at your end – at the end of all of their clients.
As expected, we were curious how A2 stalks up in this regard; and we got busy, getting to the root of the company’s support reality.
A2, we discovered, offers 3 methods of contact, should there be need for a client to get across to them:
- Live chats and
We called on a weekend as a way of testing how efficient (or otherwise) the support team was; we were surprised that on the very first ring, someone picked up!
The support rep spoke flawless English – an indication she was a native speaker of the language and an assurance that support is not sublet to a foreign, third-world country.
When we tried chat, someone joined us approximately after a two minutes window.
Though not the fastest in the industry, this is a decent time and we were happy that our queries were answered with passion, knowledge, courtesy and importantly, utmost professionalism.
Finally, we also sent in a mail to see how fast we’ll get a response on a Sunday.
To our utmost surprise, the ticket was updated right after 15 minutes. We all agreed, in house, that this is awesome and something to be proud of.
Overall thus, the house agreed that the support of this hosting company is top notch and one of the very best the hosting world affords today.
A2 Support Score: 10/10.
Want To See The Power Of A2’s Support Directly? Sign Up & Test Things Yourself 🙂
Price For Services: Does A2 Offer A Fair Deal To Clients By Way Of Price?
It is only the super wealthy that don’t bother about the price tag of things: for the rest of us normal folks, the quality of something is one thing; the price tag is usually another.
With this reality, no matter how awesome something is, it is important to first, check the price tag attached to it and see if it is within affordable means.
This is especially true for newbies or folks who have just come online and have not started earning yet: why invest so much into just hosting when you’re not even sure if the site will wind up productive?
This is a real challenge for many and yet still, a deal breaker for many more.
A quick look at the price offer for A2’s hosting plans shows that the very base plan, Lite, starts at $3.92 a month.
With this plan comes a variety of goodies including the much sought after free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt.
On the other hand, A2’s closest competitor by way of product offering, SiteGround, offers its base plan, the Startup plan, for $3.95 a month.
In the world of dedicated servers, a fully managed server comes at the price tag of only $141.09 (for the Sprint plan) a month, when opting for A2.
On the other hand, SiteGround’s offer starts at a hefty $269 a month for its entry level server.
This is a difference of over $100 saved monthly should one choose to go with A2 (as against close competitors, like SiteGround, offering similar services).
At this rate, it can be seen that A2 is on top of its game and is serious about offering services at a cost effective price point.
That is, if you are considering the company vis a vis other companies or services with similar services.
However, if you’re simply looking at something cheap – and would truly want to save, a cheaper option like BlueHost would do the trick – starting at only $3.95 a month.
However, that said, folks who opt for A2 are those who are looking for power – and would appreciate the equivalent of a V8 or V12, were they to pick vehicles based on engine power.
If this is you, nothing beats A2 – you should sign up with the company directly by clicking here.
A2 Price Point Score: 8/10.
Data Centers: How Does This Hosting Company Address Latency?
Latency, in simple lay man terms, is the time it typically takes a web hosting server to serve a web page after the request for such a web page has been made by a visitor.
This time varies from visitor to visitor and increases as the physical location of a visitor increases from the server hosting the website in question.
To tackle this and ensure that (the majority of) visitors to a site get the site to load super fast for them, hosting companies deploy data centers around the world, majorly, on a continent basis.
However, it is not unusual to see a hosting company deploying more than one data center on a continent, especially the European and North American continents.
For this metric, the more data centers a hosting company has, the better. This way, you get to choose where your website is hosted so that your site comfortably ‘sits’ close to either your actual or expected audience.
For A2, this is how the data center stats look like:
- USA – Michigan
- USA – Arizona
- Europe – Amsterdam
- Asia – Singapore
Looking at the above, it is easy to see that North America is covered – it has 2 data centers; Europe is covered with a data center in Amsterdam and Asia is not left out with a representation in Singapore.
This is well more than the industry standard of 2 continents. From this, it is clear that A2 means business and latency is something it is prepared to tackle, head-on.
We thus have no choice but to score the company the highest available score on this.
A2 Data Center(s) Score: 10/10.
Speed: How Fast Is A2 Really? Is The Company The Fastest Option Today?!
Online, speed rules. It’s that simple, straightforward and short.
However, to give you perspective on this, Google, the number 1 search engine in the world currently uses speed as a ranking factor!
The implication of this is stark and straight to the face: all other things being equal, a site that loads super fast will outrank a slower one in the battle of the SERPs, any time, any day.
For slow websites, this is not good at all. This is not good on all fronts, as a matter of fact, whether one looks at it from the point of view of the end users or the search bots.
This is where the appeal of A2 as a hosting company is strongest: the company promises a turbo fast experience for its users across the world.
The company even makes bold by saying that it is about 20x faster than the competition!
To see if this is true, we had to use a web hosting speed test service that tests the actual speed of hosting companies in an objective and impartial manner.
Here’s what the results look like, when the tests where simulated from an European location.
As can be seen above, if you’re accessing a site hosted by A2 from Europe, the average time it will take the site to load, all other things being equal, is a mere 6ms!
This is a speed range it is virtually impossible to beat today, factoring in the reality that 50ms is still in the turbo range as indicated by the key above.
Accessing a site from the US, hosted on A2, the stats look like this:
As can be seen here too, if you’re in the US, a site hosted on A2’s servers will, on the average, load for you in a mere 17ms – which is still very much in the turbo range.
Now, let’s compare these speeds with A2’s closest competitor, SiteGround.
The screenshot below shows how fast SiteGround hosted sites load for Europe domiciled visitors.
From the screenshot above, it is clear that, on the average, sites hosted on SiteGround load in about 174ms for Europeans – when accessing sites hosted on SiteGround from their own continent, Europe.
This, according to the grading above, is not in the turbo range; it is also not in the super fast range. It is simply in the realm of a mere good.
Let’s now look at how things are for the American continent, when attempting to load sites hosted by A2’s main competitor, SiteGround:
For Americans, a site hosted on SiteGround, all other things being equal, will load in about 77ms – which though is still quite slower than A2, is in the realm of super fast – according to our speed guide above.
In summary, here’s is how these two hosting companies perform, speed wise:
|European Server Speed||American Server Speed|
|A2 Hosting:||6ms – Turbo||17ms – Turbo|
|SiteGround Hosting:||174ms – Good||77ms – Super Fast|
As can be seen clearly in the table above, the conclusions are clear and objective for all to see. A2 is not just fast, it is 2900% faster than its closest competitor, SiteGround for Europeans and 452% faster than its closest competition, SiteGround, for Americans!
The main essence of this post (and review) was to find out if A2 is still the very fastest hosting company in 2021.
Now, the answer is clear for all to see: if you’re interested in speed – and the very best it offers in terms of audience retention, lowering bounce rates and importantly, improving conversions and pleasing the search engines, you should sign up with A2 without further wasting time.
A2 Speed Score: 10/10.
Security: How Does The Company Measure Up?
In the online world, the security of your online real estate is one of the most important things you ought to take super serious.
This is because, a compromise in this realm means a compromise of your income, reputation and all other sad things, too numerous to mention.
However, many persons hosting their sites today do not bother with this fact – or are completely ignorant of its reality.
The reality, however, is that, sooner than later, hackers exploit a vulnerability in such a site to the detriment of their respective webmasters.
When contacted in such situations, many of the hosting companies, hosting such sites simply blame the webmasters and bring in all manner of reasons why they are not at fault or are not to blame in the first place.
For persons who are not trained or experienced with hosting, they believe such falsehood – hook, line and sinker.
However, for the professional and those who have years of experience in the world of hosting (like the Hosting Versus Team here), the truth is always self evident.
The truth is that, the bulk of the compromise(s) that a site faces (or may face) is as a result of the unprofessional conduct or practice of a web hosting company or its staff.
To examine A2 in this regard and see if it is different or simply like the rest, we looked at its security practices and reviewed the measures it has in place to ensure that sites hosted on its servers are not compromised.
Here’s what we found:
- DDoS Protection: A2 has an elaborate Reinforced Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Protection that is included with all hosting plans. This proactive measure ensures that irrespective of the severity of a DDoS attack, a site hosted on its servers (will) always remain(s) online.
- Free SSL Provision: The provision of encryption, for free, across all account types ensures that passwords and other sensitive information are kept encrypted and away from prying and snooping eyes. This minimizes, to the barest minimum, the chances of a password (or other sensitive data) compromise or breach.
- Clef Enabled: Clef is a service that affords 2FA for all A2 hosting accounts. When enabled, it adds a second (and more secured) layer of security to hosting accounts on the A2 platform. It ensures that your account remains safe and sound from the bad guys even when you sleep.
- Brute Force Detection: One of the ways intruders get into a site is by brute, raw force; the unhealthy and criminal act of trying (random) login and security credentials with the hope that one eventually works out. To avoid this ugly situation, all accounts hosted on A2’s servers are powered, by default, with a brute force detection capability. This capability blocks attackers via a number of smart methods including IP route, Shorewall and custom commands.
Other security measures include Linux Malware Detection and Linux Environment Security.
With this array of security measures, a site hosted on A2’s servers is reasonably protected to ensure that you actually sleep and close two eyes – when you go to bed at night.
Further, many customers who have decided to opt in with A2 do not bother with any other secondary security measure like a plugin or third party service.
The amazing and interesting part is that, they are fine 100% of the time. This should tell you something!
A2 Security Score: 10/10.
Uptime Commitment & Reality: How Long Are You Sure Of Being Online?!
Uptime, in typical and simple layman terms is the percentage of time a site is online.
An uptime guarantee on the other hand is thus a written commitment by a hosting company that your site will be online, at least, for the time expressly indicated.
Thus, a hosting company with a 100% uptime guarantee by implication, is one where you are assured that throughout the month or year, your dear site, hosted on such a server that guarantees such a percent of assurance, will always be available to visitors who decide to visit.
The uptime of a site is important on many fronts: search engines, naturally, rank sites that are always online ahead of those that struggle to maintain uptime (all other things being equal), visitors to the site have a positive experience and are much more likely to visit again and finally, if you’re selling anything either directly or as an affiliate, the likelihood of sales soars up.
Sadly, as important as uptime is in the web hosting world, many hosting companies do not take it serious.
For those that claim they do, many more simply slap figures that wind up confusing than helping out; figures that are truly misleading.
A2, on its own part, offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Frankly, this is not the most strongest uptime guarantee in the industry – as some hosting companies proudly offer an impressive 100% uptime guarantee.
However, during our test period (a period which spanned a little over a year), we discovered that, all through that time, we experienced downtime only on 2 occasions – and these occasions were more than 8 months apart and the downtime itself did not last more than 5 minutes, during either occasions.
A2 Uptime Commitment & Reality Score: 8/10.
Money Back Guarantee: What Does A2 Do In Case You Don’t Like Them After Testing?
In the real, offline world, not every relationship ends in ‘happily ever after’. Online is no different: sometimes, you see a service, love the features attached to the service and are inspired to give it a try.
Good companies understand this fact and will gladly allow you time enough for a test ride – a period within which, if you’re not satisfied, you get a full refund of what you paid, initially.
For A2, that period is 30 days or if you prefer, a month.
During this time, you’re expected to try the services of the hosting company and see if you’re comfortable with it. During this time too, you’re expected to request for a refund if you’re not satisfied.
30 days, in our professional opinion, is long enough time to decide if A2 is not the deal for you.
However, this is where it gets really interesting and different: other hosting companies will NEVER offer you a refund after the initial money back period has elapsed!
A2 has a very different approach: the company offers refunds, after the first 30 days on a prorated basis.
What this means is quite simple: if after the official 30 days, one is not satisfied with the services of the company, one can still ask for cancellation and a refund.
This refund will not be however exactly the amount paid initially but the ‘balance’ of what is left after the days or months service was provided are subtracted out.
The hosting company in question is one of the very few companies today online to adapt this policy of prorated refunds.
It is our sincere belief that this is because of the awesomeness of its service – something it is very much aware of.
Or, who in his or her right senses will opt to offer back refunds for something that isn’t truly the best?
A2 Money Back Guarantee Score: 10/10.
Free Website Migration Policy
In the online world, it is always not true that one needs hosting fresh from start for a brand new blog or website.
Sometimes, it is an old blog that needs a new home – by way of transfer. Usually, the reasons for such are legion.
Sadly, inspite of the fact that you’re bringing business to a web host, some companies, like BlueHost, still charge you up to $149.99 for a service that should be free, completely, with the company extremely happy to carry it out.
Curiously, we were interested to see if A2 is like BlueHost and the rest and whether they, as a matter of business, also have this sad fee, called transfer or migration fee imposed on those who bring business to their table.
Luckily, we moved in 3 websites (all on one account) within a 45 minutes interval and the tech support was more than happy to help us with this for FREE.
The amazing part of this is that, there was no downtime experience and all sites (and associated emails) looked like they should; they worked like they had hitherto worked on the servers of the hosting company we were coming from.
Please, kindly note however that, the host we transferred from deployed cPanel – the industry standard software the majority of hosting companies today use in making certain that they serve their customers in the smartest of manners.
Great chances are that, we’re positive, the hosting company you’re interested in moving from will also deploy this cPanel option.
A2 Free Website Migration Policy Score: 10/10.
Thinking Of Moving From Another Host But Reluctant About Paying The ‘Moving Fees’? Switch To A2 And Get Your Site Moved Over For FREE 🙂
Is A2 A Member Of The EIG?
The Endurance International Group, EIG, is a web hosting company founded in 1997.
This large, hosting company has a simple, yet effective strategy: the reality of acquiring (smaller) web hosting companies and operating them centrally – under their initial names and brand.
However, as glamorous and business minded as this appears, EIG has mastered the art of ruining hitherto awesome brands after acquisition. Usually, it does not take up to a year before its sad economics of profit hold sway and quality, together with client dedicated, take a deep slip.
The recent stories of Arvixe and a Small Orange (both fine hosting companies before being acquired) is still quite fresh in memory.
Naturally thus, the EIG brand (and all it represents) is hated by many hosting veterans and all that have an idea of what the company is or what it represents.
For every web hosting company we review hence, it is very much in order to take a look and see if it is owned by this giant cooperation.
For A2, we were pleased to see that the company is not owned by EIG. As expressed on the hosting company’s page directly, A2 is “an independent and founder-owned company”.
A2’s Non-EIG Subsidiary Score: 10/10.
A2’s Constant, Automated Back Up Policy
The online world is quite an interesting world – but, do not get carried away: it could also be super scary and full of dark parts!
One of the darkest parts that no one ever wishes even to his or her worst enemy is the reality of waking up and seeing that your online real estate, your dear site, has totally vanished into thin air!
This type of scenario might be as a result of the activities of malicious players – like hackers. Or, it could be an honest mistake. Either way – losing a site (in this manner – or any other manner at all) is no fun at all!
To mitigate against this, website owners use all sort of third party plugins or backup solutions to save copies of their website, remotely so that a clean, working copy can be uploaded, should something go wrong.
This, however, is costly – and often, requires some setup that may not be newbie friendly. Besides this fact, many of the third party backup models are subscription options that require money to keeping flowing in for sustainability to occur.
This, in our professional estimation, is not the best that can be got; a hosting company ought to keep daily, automated backup of EVERY WEBSITE on its servers, offsite so that in the event of a mishap, they’ll not be looking stupid.
In this regard, A2 does not live up to our standard as the backup process is not automated.
Instead, for the shared hosting account option for example, a webmaster needs to log in manually to effect either a complete or partial backup solution.
This failure, ordinarily, merits a complete zero. However, because the option is actually there to effect a partial or full backup (whenever one likes) and restore same from the remote location where it was saved to, we’ll give A2 a score of 5 (as against an outright 0).
A2’s Constant, Automated Back Up Policy Score: 5/10.
cPanel Availability: Does A2 Deploy This?
cPanel refers to an online Linux-based control panel that allows website owners to manage their sites, usually, on shared hosting environments in a manner that is newbie and beginner friendly.
This software has been universally accepted in the hosting world with only a very few hosting companies deploying something else.
The implication of this is that, since the cPanel option is universally deployed amongst hosting companies, newbies (and even the not so new) will have time getting to master the in-house option, some of the hosting companies may opt for.
Further, the fact that almost all hosting companies (especially those offering shared hosting service) today provide cPanel as ‘standard issue’, hosting with a site that does not provide this will certainly pose difficulties when the time comes to transfer away – especially to an option that uses cPanel.
As expected, we took this metric into consideration for the purpose of this review. The good thing is that, we’re glad to report that A2 indeed, uses cPanel.
A whole knowledge base article, as a matter of fact, is dedicated to this.
A2’s cPanel Availability & Deployment Score: 10/10.
Everyday, beginners come online; everyday too, the world witnesses newbies who are interested in the online reality. This makes the hosting world one where there are ‘freshers’ all year round.
To ensure that these ‘freshers’ have an awesome time online, it is important to make certain that a hosting company is friendly for beginners by way of its offers or web interface.
It is important to also structure a web hosting site in such a manner that, beginners, on the average, have no challenge buying the services advertised and setting up their new estates online, with as little help as possible.
In this final metric, we asked a newbie who has not had any experience with web hosting to set up an account on A2’s servers.
The task we gave this newbie was completed in less than a day – and the site was up and running!
Personally, as professionals, we also believe that A2 has simplified this process (thanks to an active cPanel deployment) and the desire to make things simple and seamless.
A2’s Beginner Friendliness Score: 9/10.
Conclusion & Our Take
With a straight ‘A’ from our own hosting rating here at Hosting Versus, it does not take genius to figure out that, A2 hosting is still one of the very best hosting companies online today.
As regards its greatest claim to fame, speed, we have also confirmed above that the company is not just 20x faster than the competition; it is much more than that. As a matter of fact, as much as 2900% faster!
Simple, straight-forward and to the point: if you need speed and want great security and support for your site, options better than A2 are few to non-existent!
Simply hop up to A2 and sign up. This we did and never regretted; we’re positive you won’t too.