A2 Hosting Review: Is It the Best Green Hosting Service?
If you are looking for efficient yet environmentally friendly web hosting, A2 Hosting would be a perfect choice.
Numerous web hosting solutions are up in the market today but A2 Hosting is among the few recognized eco-friendly services in the industry. Its easy-to-use tools and beginner-friendly features, together with its reliable performance, cater to what every entrepreneur’s website needs. In fact, it is known for its speedy page loading time.
That being said, kill your curiosity and learn more about it through my in-depth A2 Hosting review. The article covers everything you need to know, from its best features to its disadvantages.
What Is A2 Hosting?
Known for its eco-friendly solutions, A2 Hosting is an independently owned website hosting firm that caters to both web developers and non-techy folks. It was established way back in 2001 by Bryan Muthig which, by his account, has begun only as a hobby.
Through his strong experience and background as a UNIX administrator, Muthig eventually turned his hobby into a small-scale venture. Since then, from a two-room office based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, A2 Hosting has successfully grown into what it is now—with the best team of employees and a number of data centers based in different countries across the globe.
What Is It For & What Does It Offer?
A2 Hosting is essentially a site building tool and a platform that allows people to connect to a larger audience digitally by owning a website. It was developed to help entrepreneurs, online sellers, freelancers, and the likes to place their services or products on the world wide web.
The hosting company provides a variety of plans such as VPS, dedicated, and shared hostings, which ultimately gives users a broader choice of hosting.
For instance, if you need a page to display your credentials and services as a freelancer, you can opt for shared hosting as it matches most of what you will need. However, if you are looking to build a site and expecting a large amount of web traffic (audience), then it is best to opt for dedicated hosting.
Aside from that, it mainly offers the following as well:
- A2 Hosting guarantees up to par performance, promising a 99.99% uptime and high loading speeds.
- It offers separate“developer-friendly” tools as well to cater not only to non-techy folks.
- An eco-friendly web hosting solution.
How Does It Differ From Other Hosting Services?
While most of its features and tools resemble what other hosting firms provide, A2 Hosting still has something it can boast as unique.
One good example of it is its initiative as a “green website hosting” provider.
A2 Hosting has partnered with several environment-focused organizations like Carbonfund.org for green initiatives. It has its own measures as well like recycling old servers and using SSD to reduce energy use. Aside from that, all its employees are working remotely which it claims has prevented a significant amount of unnecessary Co2 emissions.
Another unique and commendable A2 Hosting feature is its “developer-friendly tools” (which I will discuss further in the following sections). The provider’s hosting solution, for example, seamlessly works with all Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress and Magento.
The Pros and Cons
To help you further weigh things, below are some of A2 Hosting’s benefits as well as disadvantages you should take note of.
- 99.99% uptime
- Affordable hosting plans
- Intuitive web building tools
- Excellent server speed
- Reliable customer support
- Money-back guarantee policy
- Eco-friendly web hosting
- Free domain is not available
- Not PCI-compliant
- Renewal rates are high
Everything You Need to Know About A2 Hosting
Now that you are familiar with what A2 Hosting is and the things it provides, let us dive deeper. In this section of my A2 Hosting review, I will cover its best tools, plans and pricing, as well as a few downsides I noticed.
A2 Hosting Top Features
While web hosting offers a wide array of tools and features, there are a few ones that stand out among the rest. In other words, these are A2 Hosting’s top features.
- Developer-friendly hosting. If you are a web developer or you hired a web developer for a huge and quite complicated website project, A2 Hosting’s arsenal of developer-oriented tools is an absolute deal.
The web hosting provider is packed with the latest—and even the oldest—developer software available today. It includes software such as MySQL and PHP. In fact, it is one of the hosting firms that offer PHP 5. But aside from that, it also runs additional software like Ruby, Python, and Perl.
Something’s wrong with your codes? Reach out to any of A2 Hosting’s representatives through its 24/7 Guru Crew Support.
It works seamlessly with all Content Management System (CMS) available in the market today as well. You can install Magento, WordPress, Joomla, OpenCart, and even Drupal without any trouble.
Additionally, it also comes with speed-boosting plugins such as the “Turbo Boost” to further enhance each of the mentioned CMS.
Quite a deal right? But not only that.
All its developer software will be hosted on its very own high-speed and fine-tuned SwiftServer. After all, its motto is “Our Speed. Your Success.”
- A2 website builder. Enough with web developer-friendly features! It’s time to commend A2 Hosting’s effort to help non-techy individuals by developing its own A2 SiteBuilder.
Just like a couple of hosting providers today, A2 Hosting has created and launched its professional webpage builder too. It is a separate application that essentially works just like how other page builders do. Its basic site builder is included in all A2 hosting plans as well, which users can access for free.
That said, users can opt from three other site builders too if, say, the features included in the basic app are not enough to supply their webpage needs. They can opt for a Business, Enterprise, or 1-page SiteBuilder. Each builder varies when it comes to features.
The Enterprise, for example, provides unlimited templates, pages, and storage and is perfect for e-Commerce sites. Business Sitebuilder, on the other hand, offers the same features but are capped to a limited number.
Each page creator is guaranteed easy-to-use as well. Hence, you need not worry if you are an amateur for this kind of stuff since the app’s interface is known for being beginner-friendly.
Having said that, here are some of A2 SiteBuilder’s features:
- User-friendly and intuitive text editor
- A library of professional site templates
- Template customization
- Blog creation
- Image customization
- A variety of widgets including contact and sign up forms
- cPanel features. When it comes to its dashboard and user interface experience, A2 Hosting uses cPanel. It is the standard and most popular control panel application used by site hosting companies.
But is it worthy?
In general, the answer is yes. cPanel has the simplest and easy-to-manage interface that both beginners and web experts would enjoy using. And thus, making it a good choice of panel for a hosting service.
The cPanel contains numerous functionalities including autoresponders, email filters, MySQL disk usage and many more.
To give you a picture of what it looks like and how it functions, below is an overview of the management area.
- Handle your domains and subdomains
- Manage your files
- Develop, handle, and optimize your site’s database
- Access staging tools for your page
- Control email accounts under the same domain
- Oversee various metrics like user visits
- Set up SSL certificates and other security applications
- Install scripts like Softaculous (an app installer that further extends a site’s functionality
5. Free site migration. If you have an existing webpage hosted by another hosting provider, A2 Hosting will let you transfer it to its servers instead of discarding it.
The hosting firm provides free site migration to all its users. It is available on almost all of its plans including shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting. And the process takes about less than 72 hours only too.
But do take note that the number of sites that you can transfer without charge depends heavily on the hosting plan you purchased. Typically, all plans allow one free site migration only. Thus, if you have multiple existing web pages, for instance, you may have to pay an average of 10$ per site under shared hosting.
On the other hand, if you are going to purchase Reseller, Dedicated, or VPS (managed) hosting, you can move up to 25 websites for free.
Another thing to take note of is A2 Hosting can only fully transfer your page if the control panel used in your previous hosting provider is cPanel. If not, it could still be migrated but only with one database.
6. SSL certificates. Data theft is inevitable in the digital world. So, as a way to avoid such incidents as well as to gain your customers’ trust, installing an SSL certificate is crucial.
For amateurs, SSL certificates are applications that enable your website to send and receive data safely. And these applications are considered not just important but necessary for e-commerce sites or digital stores. In fact, Google’s algorithm favors websites with SSL certificates compared to those that do not.
That being said, A2 Hosting offers several SSL certificates with different levels of security. For an overview, you can from free, single site, wildcard, premium, and advanced SSL certificates.
Here’s how they vary from each other:
- Single site. While a free shared SSL works perfectly fine, using a single site SSL certificate offers more perks than the former. These include domain verification, a warranty, a webpage seal or badge to show your site is secured, and zero-configuration set-up.
- Wildcard. A2 Hosting’s Wildcard SSL certificates do not only offer security to one but multiple domains. Perfect for website owners who own multiple subdomains.
- Premium SSL. Unlike the free SSL, the Premium SSL certificate provides stricter security. It helps to boost security with Organization Authentication features as well.
- Advanced SSL. As its name suggests, the Advanced SSL certificate offers much better security features compared to the rest. It is the most recommended application to use for e-commerce websites and digital stores.
Essentially, it has an organization authorization that enables your viewers to access information about your company. It also features an “extended validation” which gives the highest level of security to your site.
But not only that. The web hosting firm does not only offer a variety of the said certificates. But also a number of popular SSL providers such as DigiCert, GeoTrust, and RapidSSL.
7. Cloudflare CDN. A2 Hosting also provides a Cloudflare CDN. A CDN or Content Delivery Network is a network of servers that reduces delays in loading a web page. And the closer the viewer is to one of the servers your site is using, the faster the loading time is. In other words, your viewers can smoothly access your web page wherever they are in the world.
A2 Hosting even claims that a site that is using a Cloudflare CDN is 200% faster when loading a page and uses only 60% of bandwidth.
On another note, there are two ways to activate it: first is through the use of the Cloudflare cPanel plugin and the second is through signing up on Cloudflare’s website.
8. Green hosting. Last but not least of A2 Hosting’s top features is its eco-friendly practices and initiatives. The company was also recognized as a “green hosting provider” thanks to its small to massive efforts to fight against climate change.
In fact, it partnered with Carbonfund.org to support reforestation and the concept of renewable energy. It also launched an initiative called “FutureServe” which aims to help offset carbon emissions their servers emit.
That said, here’s a couple of A2’s green hosting practices:
- Uses Solid State Drives (SSD) and NVMe SSD. Compared to its HDD counterpart, Solid State Drives or SSD uses less energy; same with NVMe SDD. Hence, the company switched from HDD to SSD.
In fact, it is one of the first hosting providers to offer such a hosting type.
- Recycles old servers. A2 Hosting recycles its old servers too rather than throwing them out into a landfill. The company instead uses it as internal and dedicated servers for users with low resource needs. If not, they resell it.
Apart from that, the hosting firm follows green practices for its office system. For instance, employees are working remotely instead of in an office building which the company claims to save a significant amount of unnecessary carbon emissions.
Whether you are an amateur or a veteran web enthusiast, one thing that you must consider when choosing a web host is its uptime and page loading time speed.
That said, when it comes to A2 Hosting’s overall performance, the provider exhibits very impressive results. Living it up to its motto “Our Speed. Your Success,” web pages hosted by A2 yields up to par uptime and loading time speed.
Thus, if your business requires such an aspect, then A2 Hosting is an excellent choice.
To show everyone how the hosting performs in terms of speed, I ran several website tests to give you precise data concerning A2 Hosting’s uptime and loading time.
Based on the results I gathered, web pages running under A2 Hosting’s servers perform well in terms of uptime. I used a test app called UptimeRobot and the average uptime score is delivered is an almost perfect score of 99.99%. And such a result is decent and good enough to support a page, with almost 24/7 availability. Although, of course, it would be much better if it hit a perfect score of 100%.
However, if you are wondering whether it means your website would never experience downtime or not, the answer is NO.
Technically, downtime is still inevitable. It is because circumstances like routine maintenance and server upgrades could interrupt not just your site, but all sites hosted by A2 Hosting. Outages that are beyond the hosting provider’s control could cause delays in your websites as well.
On the flip side, these situations rarely happen. And server maintenance and upgrades are scheduled. All in all, A2 Hosting yields up to par performance when it comes to uptime.
Page Loading Time
Aside from a very decent uptime score, A2 Hosting’s page loading time results live up to its motto as well. Per the result I collected using different loading time test applications, the web hosting firm shows remarkable loading speed.
The results (as based on the GTmetrix system), for instance, a web page hosted by A2 hosting has an average loading time of 2.68 seconds. Per Pingdom, on the one hand, the average loading speed is 0.896 seconds while the score based on Google’s Page Insight is 3.30 seconds—quite slow compared to GTmetrix and Pingdom.
All in all, A2 Hosting page loading speed is up to par with what it promises.
Impressive Customer Service
Surprisingly, A2 Hosting’s customer service is quite impressive having to run multiple support options that are available 24/7. On the dashboard, you will find three options dedicated solely for customer support:
- Support PIN
- Open ticket tab
- Support tab
Each option serves varying purposes and contains different functionalities. The Support tab, for example, enables users to access and view existing—and even open a new one—tickets. It even lets you check the hosting firm’s server status through it as well.
The Open Ticket tab, on the one hand, gives you access to the Client Area wherein you can do things such as submit sales tickets concerning your purchases, submit hosting account inquiries, and even questions about payment and billing.
But not only that!
A2 Hosting also has a Guru Crew Support team available 24/7. Users can reach out to any of the representatives through call, email, and even live chat. It also has a knowledge base filled with web-development-related articles and FAQs that users can access and read anytime.
A2 Hosting Plans and Pricing
For one-man startups looking for low-cost web hosting, A2 Hosting is a good choice. It offers a variety of web hosting solutions too which I find remarkable as it truly tries to give what entrepreneurs need instead of just simply selling cheap hosting plans.
Here is what A2 Hosting offers:
- Shared hosting’s price starts at $2.49 per month.
- Dedicated hosting’s price starts at $99.59 per month.
- Reseller hosting’s price starts at $18.99 per month.
- VPS hosting’s starts at $4.25 per month
Moreover, the web host provides a 30-day money-back guarantee policy too. It means users who decide to pull out before the 30 days limit will receive a refund. It accepts payments on almost all digital platforms including PayPal, Skrill, Visa, and Mastercard.
Things to Take Note Of
A2 Hosting—in contrast to its benefits and up to par performance—lacks a few aspects too. And these things, I believe, are things that potential subscribers like you should know about. That said, I enumerated a couple of disadvantages below.
- No free domain. Unfortunately, A2 Hosting does not provide a free (1) domain for every new subscriber. You might not consider it as a “big deal,” but almost all hosting providers up in the market today offer at least one domain for free for one year. Hence, it is quite disappointing to see that it does not offer a free domain.
- Renewal rates are high. Another thing potential subscribers should be wary of is the renewal rates. Because while A2 Hosting gives its long-term plans for an affordable price, the renewal rates are unfortunately quite high. To be precise, the renewal rate is twice the amount of the introductory price.
However, if you are determined to purchase a plan under A2 Hosting, then I suggest you opt for its longest hosting plan as it is quite more cost-effective than an annual plan.
A2 Hosting in general is a good choice of web hosting solution for folks who plan on launching a personal or a business website, and even a digital store. In fact, due to its reliable and impressive uptime and loading speed, many web enthusiasts find it suitable for e-commerce sites.
From its beginner-friendly and intuitive interface to its suite of developer-friendly features, the hosting fits well to both types. The hosting plans are budget-friendly too, making it easier for one-man biz to kickstart his/her small business. I also find its customer service a perfect fit for beginners as it does not only offer one mode.
All in all, it is an excellent choice for a web hosting provider both for amateurs and experts.