Entrepreneurs who are starting a new business have plenty of things to occupy them. They need to choose an entity type and submit appropriate paperwork to the state. It also may be necessary to scope out an appropriate brick-and-mortar location, deal with suppliers, locate vendors and try to drum up some customers. As if that’s not enough, it’s also essential for the entrepreneur to design a professional, functional website.
Companies that don’t have a website don’t flourish in the modern economy. People are frequently drawn to a business by the quality and usability of its website. The better the content on the website, the more likely visitors are to click and buy or seek out the company in the real world.Most entrepreneurs are not also web developers, so designing a website can seem incredibly difficult. Fortunately, there’s WordPress. WordPress is a free content management system that’s easy to use and offers tons of functionality. Even someone who has never created a website before can have a custom storefront operating within about a day. However, in addition to needing a place to display products and a shopping cart, websites also need a place to live.
Why You Need a Web Host
That’s where the web host comes in. They provide storage capacity for all of the website’s data. They also make bandwidth available to handle the traffic that comes to the website. A good web host provides excellent security so that the websites don’t get hacked. Moreover, the quality of their hardware largely dictates how quickly and smoothly the websites that they host operate.
WordPress is extremely popular, which is why there are dozens of web hosts that cater specifically to websites made using this content management system. They don’t all have identical offerings, so it’s necessary to compare the competitors to find the one that’s right for your website. Two of the most popular WordPress web hosts, SiteGround and A2 Hosting, are compared here so that consumers can make an informed decision.
Back in 2004, SiteGround was just a project conceived by some friends at a Bulgarian university. What began as a small number of people with some creative ideas has turned into a company with 400 employees living all over the world. They manage more than 500,000 domains on a 24/7 basis, making certain that everything is running and secure at all times. SiteGround does an exceptional job of meeting their 99.9 percent uptime guarantee. With datacenters in Singapore, Amsterdam, London and Chicago, the company’s customers can be certain of quick load times no matter where they are in the world.
Introducing A2 Hosting
Founded as Iniquinet in 2001, the company had just a handful of clients. Thanks to their fast, reliable web hosting, demand quickly caused growth. The company name was changed in 2003 to honor its home base, Ann Arbor, Michigan. A2 Hosting has long been recognized as a leader in the field thanks to their early adoption of PHP 5 in 2004 and MySQL5 in 2006. SSD hosting came in 2013 while the company’s A2 Optimized WordPress Hosting was launched in 2014. Their primary data center is in Michigan, but they have recently expanded to include data centers in Singapore and Amsterdam to bring improved service to customers overseas.
WordPress Web Hosting Features
Either SiteGround or A2 Hosting could be an excellent choice for your website. They both provide services that are tailor-made for WordPress websites. Nonetheless, their features are not identical. Reviewing what each company has to offer is an excellent place to start when it comes to selecting one over the other.
Many technology experts have cited the speed and security of SiteGround’s web hosting services as great reasons to choose this company. They use only solid-state drives, or SSDs, which are now considered the industry standard thanks to their lack of moving, mechanical parts. Simply put, SSDs just deliver better, faster performance and are less likely to break down. SiteGround’s customers also benefit from NGINX technology. NGINX is incredibly stable and is recognized around the world for the quality of its performance. It’s just one more way that people who choose SiteGround for their web host benefit from having access to the best hardware and software available.
Every WordPress package from SiteGround includes a free Content Delivery Network, or CDN. This valuable service ensures quick delivery of websites to visitors around the globe through a system of distributed servers. Thanks to the free CDN, SiteGround’s customers have some of the fastest websites anywhere.
Security is also extraordinarily valuable to SiteGround. Their technical experts spend countless hours looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in their system and writing custom Web Application Firewall, or WAF, rules. This protects WordPress websites from all manner of hacks, viruses, and other potentially devastating problems.
It’s easy to get started with SiteGround thanks to the one-click installer. However, free migration of an existing website from another web host is also provided. It’s even possible to have one of SiteGround’s technical experts handle the migration themselves. That makes for a fast, smooth transition with virtually no downtime. WordPress updates are automatic with SiteGround, which promises an extra layer of security, functionality, and dependability.
Customers who choose SiteGround’s more robust WordPress packages receive a number of nice extras. This includes WordPress staging, which makes it much easier to test and implement website changes. These packages further involve access to the SuperCacher, which delivers lightning-fast speed thanks to its three levels of caching.
A2 Hosting uses a SwiftServer platform to help ensure lightning-fast performance for website visitors all over the world. When customers select the company’s most expensive WordPress hosting package, they gain access to the exclusive Turbo servers, which A2 say are as much as 20 times faster than the competition. WordPress is preinstalled on all packages. Their exclusive A2 Optimized service makes it easier for website owners to achieve the fastest page loads on WordPress. A2 further provides auto-configuration for WordPress users so that they can be guaranteed security and performance.
Account migration for existing websites is free with A2 Hosting. They also provide an “Anytime Money Back Guarantee,” which is unusual in the industry. Like SiteGround, A2 stands by their 99.9 percent uptime guarantee. Customers who use this web host have access to valuable plug ins like bbPress so that website owners can add a forum and WooCommerce, which makes it a snap to set up an ecommerce website. BuddyPress allows for the easy initialization of social networking functions while Multisite enables the creation of a network of related websites with just one WordPress install.
The company’s A2 Optimized offering may be particularly attractive to WordPress users. Technical experts have already conducted extensive research concerning the optimum setting for flawless WordPress performance. Accordingly, all WordPress websites that are hosted by A2 are automatically configured for these settings.
A2 also provides a robust package of WordPress-specific security measures. A unique log-in URL helps to protect against hackers while automatic updates are a part of every package. It’s important to remember that, like SiteGround, all A2 WordPress plans are Linux based. If you’re into Windows, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Unlike SiteGround, A2 Hosting offers unlimited storage capacity.
SiteGround Vs A2 Hosting Data Results
SiteGround Is Our Winner
Time to First Byte
In head-to-head testing that was conducted in July of 2016, A2 Hosting edged out SiteGround in the vital Time to First Byte, or TTFB, race. SiteGround’s time of 0.17 seconds wasn’t quite good enough to beat A2 Hosting’s 0.14 seconds. This critical metric indicates that A2 is a hair faster at providing the first byte of data after it is requested from the server.
In this battle, SiteGround came out on top. Their 1430.30 time was ahead of A2 Hosting’s 1463.33. Because this metric is a direct indication of the visitor’s experience in and impression of the website, this is an important win for SiteGround.
A2 Hosting bounced back when it came to load time, but it was an incredibly close race. SiteGround’s 4.38 seconds was bested by A2 Hosting, which scored at 4.35 seconds. Website visitors are known to make hasty decisions when they feel like a website is loading too slowly, but these competitors finished neck-and-neck.
Plans and Pricing
SiteGround offers customers three WordPress hosting packages. The “StartUp” plan, priced at about $9.95 per month, is the most basic of these. With 10 GB of storage and bandwidth that permits about 10,000 monthly visitors, this is a low-cost, highly functional choice for the new start-up. The package includes hosting of one website with unmetered data transfers. Being granted an unlimited number of email accounts is another attractive perk.
The “GrowBig” plan costs approximately $14.95 each month, and it has sufficient bandwidth for approximately 25,000 visits on a monthly basis. The storage capacity with this package is increased to 20 GB. Customers may also benefit from being able to have an unlimited number of websites with this plan. Unlike the “StartUp” package, this one comes with access to the SuperCacher for increased speed and performance. Additionally, customers at this level gain access to the WordPress Special Cache. Thirty copies of the daily backup are included free of charge. A premium SSL certificate and even speedier customer service make this plan a winner.
SiteGround’s ultimate WordPress package is called “GoGeek.” Priced at $29.95 a month, this package has everything that “GrowBig” offers, and includes some desirable extras. Thirty GB of storage space and bandwidth for 100,000 monthly visits are certainly attractive, and so is the included premium backup and restore service.
Similar to SiteGround, A2 Hosting features three levels of packages for WordPress users. The most basic package is called “Lite,” and it typically goes for $7.99 per month. Members at this level have one website and five databases. Transfers and storage are unlimited, and solid state drives are included. “Guru Crew” support is provided on a 24/7 basis. Up to 25 emails are included with this package as is the full program of A2 Optimized software. Customers may choose which of A2’s data centers best meets their needs. The package includes CDN but does not support HTTP/2. Upon request, A2 can migrate the client’s existing website. A dedicated IP address costs approximately an additional two dollars per month.
The upgraded “Swift” package contains more robust offerings that include unlimited websites and databases. Storage and transfers remain unlimited for a cost of about $9.99 per month. At this level, customers can purchase the Performance Plus package for an additional $1.50 each month. This program helps the website to maintain faster speeds even when traffic numbers spike. Customers with the “Swift” package can also obtain server rewind backups and can have an unlimited number of add-on domains.
A2’s “Turbo” package is the company’s largest, fastest and most expensive offering. Priced at $18.99 per month, this plan has all of the features that are included in the “Swift” package, with a few valuable additions. This is the only package that grants access to the company’s exclusive “Turbo” servers, which it boasts provide 20 times faster performance. This plan also delivers the A2 Optimized Site Accelerator, which is a cPanel plug-in that has pre-configured caching. CloudFlare Plus service is available with this plan, and the Railgun Optimizer is free. HTTP/2 is supported under this package.
Customer Service and Support
It’s hard to go wrong with the support team at SiteGround. They genuinely go above and beyond when it comes to resolving customer issues. Frequently, that even includes problems that are not directly associated to web hosting. This makes it much easier for the novice website owner to hit the ground running. Customers can communicate with the SiteGround support team through an online chat, the telephone or a ticketing system. With a number of tutorials and helpful FAQs readily available, it’s easy to get answers in no time.
Known as the “Guru Crew,” A2 Hosting’s technical experts are among the best in the business. Their prompt, knowledgeable assistance has helped thousands of customers overcome tricky problems. Help is available over the phone or on a live, online chat. The “Knowledgebase,” with its tutorials, guides and articles is always available for reference or learning something new. There is also an in-depth FAQs page that can help users tackle issues on their own.
Both SiteGround and A2 Hosting are incredibly competitive in the WordPress web hosting universe. Either one could be the ideal candidate for your website, and this comparison should help you to decide which one will be the most likely to serve your needs.