A2 Hosting is one of the best under-the-radar hosting companies you might not know about, but should. Why? Their speed is excellent, uptime is reliable, customer service is friendly, security features are plentiful, and refund policy is liberal. On top of it all, they're even environmentally conscious.
- Any time money-back guarantee: you can get a full refund within the first 30 days of signing up for an account, and a prorated refund at any time after that. This massively sets A2 Hosting apart from its competitors
- Responsive customer service: A2 Hosting’s “Guru Crew” customer service team is highly rated, and always around to help
- Super secure servers: A2 Hosting takes extra measures to make sure its servers – and therefore, your website – are both digitally and physically secure
- Slightly clunky sign-up process: a crowded homepage and a slow reveal of pricing information make account sign-up harder than it needs to be
- Not the most competitive uptime on the market: A2 Hosting has a great uptime that will do fine, but if uptime is your top priority, other providers like HostGator and Bluehost can guarantee you an even better percentage
A2 Hosting’s any time money-back guarantee is a major pro, and part of the reason we give this provider a 3.9/5 in value for money. That’s definitely not a category to ignore – 88% of people we surveyed named pricing as their most important factor when choosing a hosting provider.Further Information:
A2 Hosting in Brief
A2 Hosting started under the name Inquinet in a small, two-room office in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2001. The company is still an independently owned operation based in Ann Arbor, but has expanded to include data centers in North America, Europe, and Asia.
|Overall Rank||#4 out of 12 hosting providers|
|Pricing||Starting at $1.98/month (renews at $5.99/month)|
|Hosting Plans||Shared, WordPress, VPS, Cloud, Dedicated, and Reseller|
|Help & Support||24/7 customer service team|
|Features||cPanel control panel, SSL certificate, free site migration|
Uptime & Speed
Uptime isn’t A2 Hosting’s “wow” factor, but this provider still covers all of the necessary bases to provide a standard service. Basically, A2 Hosting’s uptime will never leave your site behind the curve – it’s just average.
A2 Hosting claims 99.90% uptime, which translates to just under nine hours of downtime per year. From what we’ve seen, the provider actually performed even better, with an average uptime of 99.95%. Both of these are impressive figures given that 100% uptime is impossible to achieve, and no hosting provider can promise it.
However, the most competitive uptimes are in the 99.97-99.99% range, so A2 Hosting is pretty middle-of-the-pack in this area. If uptime is your top priority, it’s worth learning more about HostGator, which offers 99.99% uptime.
Load speed is another factor to consider when choosing a hosting provider. It’s an important one, too, since just over half of visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.
To ensure great load speed, A2 Hosting provides easy Cloudflare setup from your cPanel control panel. Cloudflare is the Content Delivery Network (CDN) recommended by A2 Hosting, and you can choose between its “Free” and “Premium” tiers according to your needs.
What is a CDN?
Types & Features
A2 Hosting offers six different types of hosting: Shared, WordPress, VPS, Cloud, Dedicated, and Reseller. It can be overwhelming trying to decide which type is best for your site, so we’ve outlined the basics of each type below:
- Shared hosting is the most affordable and beginner-friendly type of hosting, but if you have plans to scale your site, you’ll eventually outgrow it. A2 Hosting’s shared plans averaged 99.95% uptime in our research. Prices start at $1.98/month.
- WordPress hosting is tailored to WordPress websites and blogs, so if you already have a site with WordPress or want to create one, this is your best option. A2 Hosting’s VPS plans averaged 99.95% uptime in our research. Prices start at $1.98/month.
- VPS hosting is great for small business sites. It goes beyond the basics of shared hosting, but isn’t as expensive as dedicated plans. A2 Hosting’s VPS plans averaged 99.95% uptime in our research. Prices start at $5/month.
- Cloud hosting is great for scalability and flexibility. Your website is stored on multiple servers, meaning you can pull resources from a variety of different places. This makes it perfect if your site experiences hikes in dips in things like traffic. Prices start from $5/month.
- Dedicated hosting is the most expensive, but also the most scalable and powerful type of hosting. A2 Hosting’s dedicated plans averaged 99.94% uptime in our research. Prices start at $99.59/month.
- Reseller hosting means that you rent hard drive space and bandwidth from A2 Hosting, but unlike every other hosting plan, it doesn’t stop there. You would then rent that space to a third party (for example, to a small business), as if you were the hosting provider. Reseller hosting is only necessary for aspiring web hosting companies or developers. Prices start at $9.80/month.
Want more information on the different hosting types?
A2 Hosting Features
Every A2 Hosting plan comes with a free cPanel control panel and SSL certificate. You’ll also always have the option of free site migration, which is pretty generous considering some providers charge over $100 for that service! A2 Hosting also offers eco-friendly “green hosting” solutions, and special discounts for non-profit businesses.
As with all providers, other features vary according to hosting type and pricing plan. A2 Hosting gets a score of 4.3/5 in our research for features, which puts it in the middle of the pack – you’ll definitely have what you need, but you may need to pay a little extra to take your site to the next level.
All of A2 Hosting’s shared and WordPress plans include unlimited SSD storage and transfer, as well as a cPanel control panel. These are pretty standard inclusions across the industry. As you move up the pricing tier of the shared and WordPress plans, you’ll also get unlimited email accounts and automatic site backups.
A2 Hosting’s three VPS plans and four dedicated plans offer a mix-and-match of root access, cPanel control panel, and full HostGuard management.
When you sign up for a plan with A2 hosting, you’ll have the option to:
- Pay by the month
- Pay for one year in advance
- Pay for two years in advance
- Pay for three years in advance
Three years seems like a huge commitment – so what’s the appeal? The more time you commit to, the lower the prices get. For example, the Lite Shared plan starts at $1.98/month when you pay in advance for three years, versus $3.30/month when you pay by the month. We still think two or three years is a very long time to commit to in advance, but springing for an annually billed plan is probably wisest for your wallet.A2 Optimized WordPress Hosting
It’s also important to note that hosting providers tend to have confusing promotional prices, and A2 Hosting is no exception. Promotional prices are first-year prices that renew at significantly higher rates. For example, that $3.30/month we mentioned earlier becomes $9.99/month after the first year. This can be frustrating, but once you’re aware of it, you’ll be better equipped to choose the most sensible plan for your budget.
|Hosting Type||Promotional Price Range||Renews At|
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A2 Hosting’s prices are pretty standard for the industry, and it ranks fourth out of 12 in the “Value for Money” category of our research (we gave it a 3.9/5). For reference, top competitors like Bluehost and HostGator have price ranges of $2.95-119.99/month and $2.75-148.98/month, respectively.
Other providers, like 1&1 IONOS, are cheaper than A2 Hosting, but you get what you pay for. In this case, investing a little more money into A2 Hosting means better customer service, and a wider variety of hosting types to choose from.
The best part of A2 Hosting’s pricing is its any time money-back guarantee. Other hosting providers usually only offer refunds for up to one month, so A2 Hosting far exceeds the competition with this policy. That said, the money-back guarantee does come with the usual fine print: it won’t be honored if you violate the company’s terms of service, and it doesn’t cover domain registration, setup fees, and migration fees. You get a full refund for the first 30 days, and a prorated refund any time afterwards.