A2 Hosting review

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A2 Hosting is a leading provider of high-powered web hosting. Every application is personalized to each client’s unique needs. Whether your productions consist of a large business site or a popular blog, A2 Hosting can simplify the process with a seamless web experience.

Hit the Web Running

Under its original name, Iniquinet was launched in 2001. The company became A2 Hosting two years later. Today, they have primary data centers in Michigan and servers in Singapore and Amsterdam.

Since day one, the company offered exceptional high-speed services. They introduced solid date drive (SSD) tech, pre-configured service caching and railgun optimizing. They succeeded in raising the standards in speed throughout the shared hosting community. Alongside its rep for speed, A2 Hosting provided outstanding up-time as well as an exemplary customer experience.

Today, they remain one of the most innovative and reliable web hosting providers in their field.

What do I get from A2 Hosting?

A2 Hosting promotes a broad range of plans that can be tailored to any scale or budget. They have Shared, Reseller, Dedicated Server and VPS hosting.

Shared Hosting

The company has three Lite, Swift and Turbo plans. Each can be modified for the circumstances of clients, all with a focus on unlimited options. You could end up spending as little as $5 to $10 a month. Regardless of any plan, you get unlimited transfer and storage, as well as free SSD. Swift and Turbo come with unlimited databases and websites.

Pound for pound, Shared Hosting is probably the most popular platform as it offers both affordability and functionality for both the novice and professional.

VPS Hosting

VPS stands for virtual private server. Unlike a shared platform where clients are cooperating across aspects of the operation with other parties – which can affect everything from speed to storage – a VPS runs a copy of your unique productions. Employees, customers, and clients can access superuser functionality. You will be able to install any software you need onto a private machine.

A2 Hosting has Managed and Unmanaged hosting. Managed VPS provides a more user-friendly platform. A2 Hosting will closely monitor executions on the VPS, offering a greater level of support and stress-free host guard management. The more experienced operation with skilled developers in their corner can select Unmanaged VPS. They’ll have complete control over the A2 Hosting servers.

Currently, these options can start as low as $5 per month and work up to somewhere in the vicinity of $35.

Reseller Hosting

Reseller hosting is an opportunity for the entrepreneur to build their own web hosting services. A2 Hosting will provide you with an allotted bandwidth and a hard drive. You can then acquire clients for web service hosting. Web designers use these plans to create a full-service web hosting program, adding value to their professional relationships.

A2 Hosting starts Reseller plans at as little as $15 a month with the Produce plan. The Progress and Prosper plans can start in the area of $20 and $38 per month, respectively. You can get storage of up to 200 GB a month with a transfer rate between 600 and 2,000 GB a month. All platforms offer free SSD and unlimited accounts.

Dedicated Server Hosting

Dedicated server hosting is exactly what it sounds like. Upon its execution, clients have a single-computer network reserved for the needs of their network. A network can be unique, such as a set up solely for management communications between computers.

A2 Hosting has Unmanaged Flex and Managed Flex Server plans. The Unmanaged option includes root access and has a fully customizable interface. The Managed plan comes with free cPanel control. Unmanaged options start around $100 a month and the Managed plan begins at a little over $140 a month. A2 Hosting’s dedicated server hosting comes with eight GB of RAM and 10 TB for transfers.

A Real-World A2 Hosting Service Experience

I was approached to write this review of A2 Hosting because I am a technical writer, developer and small business owner. I thought the best route was to not just read about the company and its services but to actually use them. Fortunately, my benefactors agreed. That’s why in 2016 I became an actual client.

What follows are my findings after being an A2 Hosting client.

Customer Support

I found A2 Hosting to be exceptionally supportive. In my experience, this has to be a priority. I’ve been on both sides of the coin: a client looking for support and a developer supplying it. It’s easy for me to imagine how frustrating the process can be. Waiting too long to get needed answers or help, or dealing with one person after another who may very well be related to upper management.

In my own dealings with customers, I strive to give every customer an exemplary support experience. That means less time on the line which means getting answers without taking up a lot of time. I could call A2 Hosting and get someone on the phone, online or by any of their communication channels in reasonable time frames. I am quickly directed to someone that knows what they’re talking about, not someone throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks.

I even called A2 Hosting support when I didn’t need to. I simply wanted to see how rational and practical the support process was. They never disappointed. If one rep didn’t have the answer, they found someone who did – fast. If they didn’t have an immediate answer, they got back to me with one. They understood the customer’s time is limited and they may not have the time to wait while they sort out the issue.

A member of the Better Business Bureau, I believe A2 Hosting’s “A” rating is based largely on the company’s customer support experience.

Customer Support Rating: A+

Railgun Optimizer / Server Resources

A2 Hosting is obsessed with speed and faster speeds. Their servers only utilize SSD. Databases, files, software, OSs, all are compatible on any one of the shared hosting plans that come with redundant network storage capacities. These start at 10 GB, a 12 core server and 64 GB of RAM. There is also free CloudFlare CDN support.

After a few months, I upgraded to Turbo. That gave me full access to the Railgun Optimizer, another complimentary service. This is tech optimized to substantially increase speed delivery of non-cached web pages. It auto-caches about 65 percent of a page’s resources. Generally, 35 percent of connects won’t be cachable as resources can be dynamic or labeled “Do Not Cache.” Usually, this is because initial HTML of those pages are downloaded first.

Railgun speeds up the residual 35 percent by creating a tunneled and secure connection between a network and the origin server. As a site’s HTML markup is unlikely to change noticeably from one request to another, Railgun transfers the markup, reducing bandwidth usage, page load times and transfer times. This is opposed to normal operations where the complete request can hold up the transfer.

My tests showed A2 Hosting had the utility to load my HTML almost 150 percent faster than what I was used to.

Note: You do not have to get a plan that includes these tools. You can purchase them as a separate service and pay a monthly fee. Personally, I preferred the upgrade.

Railgun Optimizer / Server Resources Rating: A+

Multi-Continent Server Locations

A2 Hosting has server locations in Michigan, Amsterdam, and Singapore. While my operation didn’t require global facilities, I can see how beneficial they will be to entities that need to target specific global regions. This is especially true if – like me – you use WordPress.

A2 Hosting has features that WordPress users will appreciate. A2 Optimized loads pages six times faster and gives your sites advanced security. The package includes automatic updating. It’s also an excellent resource if you work with Drupal, Joomla, Magento, PrestaShop or OpenCart. It’s a great tool for auto server configuration for cart application and CMS. From what I can see, it effectively eliminates guessing how to get the fastest page loads.

Multi-Continent Server Locations Rating: A (Based on research and opinion as I never actually used the features.)

Speed Tests

Speed is critical to operations. There are studies that show a single second of speed and load time will improve conversion rates up to seven percent and bump page views by 11 percent

One of the reasons I wanted to directly interact with A2 Hosting is knowing something that looks good on paper may not be impressive in execution. I performed a test on several of my clients’s sites both pre- and post-A2 Hosting implementation. I pinged on as many different locations as I could and compared my results with my own and other third-party tests, many performed by competitive hosting vendors, companies and researchers. (Yeah, I have too much free time.) In the end, I was extremely impressed with the results in even A2 Hosting’s least expensive package, where plans ran for less than $5 a month. A2 Hosting was significantly faster than comparably priced services. In some cases, A2 Hosting loaded over 85 percent faster.

Speed Test Rating: A++

Time to First Byte (TTFB)

WordPress performed a comprehensive study of speed rankings, comparing the load page speeds among leading web hosting services. They used TTFB as a parameter. This is the time required for a browser to receive that first response when a website URL is requested. Factoring in delays between request and receipt, TTFB is measured to ascertain the extent of collective delays.

Determining TTFB was broken into key factors:

  • Latency of network sending requests to servers
  • Length of time servers take to process requests and generate responses
  • Time required for serves to send that first byte of response to a browser

A delay in any of these increased TTFB. It was also discovered there were main reasons why there would be an issue in a delay.

  • Creation of dynamic content
  • Issues with the network
  • Web server configuration

In order to optimize TTFB, we needed to optimize these factors and, in turn, optimize server and latency performance. This was done by improving dynamic content by utilizing cached versions of pages; moving static content into content delivery networks, reducing virtual distance between users and content, automatically replicating content to multiple locations; and reviewing the configuration of your CMS, disabling non-essential operations to increase responses to requests.

With these factors in mind, several top web hosting companies were tested. For TTFB, A2 Hosting showed impressive results in both the “Average Value of All” and “Fastest to Slowest Range” categories.

TTGB Rating: A++

Refund Policy

The following comes directly from A2 Hosting’s “Anytime Money Back Guarantee”. We use the quote because it’s true, it demonstrates the company’s confidence in its wares and because it expresses A2 Hosting’s policy in the best possible language.

“The thing is, we don’t think you’ll be canceling. If you do decide we’re not the right host for you though, we’ll give you a hassle-free refund. We may have to stock up on tissues if you cancel though because we hate break-ups, but we promise, no hard feelings. Just cancel your account within your first 30-days for a full refund, or anytime after for a prorated refund of unused service after 30 days. It’s that easy.”

For us, that says it all. Yo confirm it’s truth, we had no trouble attempting to close out our account – even though we didn’t. A2 Hosting went above and beyond after the first 30 days.

With the finish of my interactive review of the company, my initial plan was always to go back to my original host. But I was so pleased with A2 Hosting, I decided to stay. I still had to test the full refund policy, so I called to cancel and found they were true to their word. I could leave with no problems with a full or pro rata refund.

Refund Policy Rating: A

Scalability Rating: A

Some Final Things to Keep in Mind

  • A2 Hosting generously offers newcomers and existing customers promotional codes, as well as unique pricing. In this article, we attempted to keep pricing general. For specific pricing or codes, always check with the site or keep track of A2 Hosting’s alerts.
  • Turbo Server is a great utility, but you’re only going to find out if you sign up for a Turbo plan. Turbo is not Swift and you – especially web developers – should talk with A2 Hosting techs about the critical differences. It can make a significant difference in your plan choices.
  • For non-upgrading customers, A2 Hosting may charge a small migration fee if there is switching between data center locations. There will also be a server migration fee for customers who downgrade an existing plan. This usually happens when new customers do not start small and find they have features they don’t need.

Conclusion on A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting has the speeds, features like CloudFlare, RailGun, customer experience and scalability. For all your web hosting needs, you are not going to find a solution better than A2 Hosting.

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