A2 Hosting Review

 
A2 Hosting is an independent, founder-owned company started in 1999 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It began life as Iniquinet before being renamed A2 in 2003.

Since then, they’ve worked tirelessly to be on the cutting edge of the hosting world, garnering positive feedback from hundreds of users and reviewers alike. They have an exhaustive offering, covering all the standard shared/VPS/dedicated options but with a huge range of add-ons, cloud options, and managed packages as well.

Prices starting at $3.92/Month

Shared hosting plans

A2 Hosting’s shared web hosting plans start at $3.92 per month  and are one of the more high-end packages out there, even for their Lite option.

All to of the A2 Hosting plans are run completely on SSD, which according to A2 can provide up to a 300% increase in speed. Their Lite package has all the standard trappings of web hosting like CloudFlare CDN, free transfers, and 99.9% uptime. Their enhanced packages also come with SwiftCache (more on that later) and Turbo Server, which is essentially just less people per server.

Other great featured that A2 Hosting offers include:

  • Unlimited RAID-10 Storage and transfers
  • Unlimited databases (except their Lite plan, who get 5)
  • A 30 day money back guarantee
  • Softaculous
  • 1-click setups for multiple e-commerce options

They also offer a reseller account, which is largely the same, except that SSD cost extra ($5 p/mo) and the accounts come with 60GB RAID-10 Storage, 600GB  data transfers, and access to cPanel/WHM.

VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting

A2 Hosting offers two types of VPS, managed or unmanaged. Managed VPS promises to be the ultimate service in reliability. They guarantee that their HostGuard Management system takes care of any hardware and network performance challenges, including tweaking your server to get it running its best. They also manage your software and your entire LAMP stack. Finally, they’ll manage your server security, to keep your website secure.

Their VPS unmanaged option is essentially the less expensive options of their managed product, with the same tech, redundancies, and auto-installed popular software, just with the support (and a hefty decrease in price – $9.89 vs $32.99). Notably their VPS option does not include an unmanaged cPanel license, which you can get for an additional $19.95 p/mo.

Similar to their managed/unmanaged VPS structure, their dedicated hosting options come in managed and unmanaged options.

Starting at $99.59 per month for unmanaged, their servers come with 8GB RAM (with potential upgrades), 10TB transfers, 2 cores, and Intel 3.4+ GHz CPUs.  They also let you install and compile custom software, and have a full range of LinuxOS options for you to choose from. As you move up into more expensive pricing tiers, the big changes are the CPU (you get 2x Intel Xeon 2.1+ GHz), the transfers (20TB), the RAM (16GB included, upgradable to 512BG), and the cores (12 instead of 2).

Their managed dedicated server packages are the same tech just with their own HostGuard Management system for a hassle-free hosting. It starts at $141.09.

For their cloud service, they offer an easily customizable pricing option. You just design your perfect cloud VM and pay for that, depending on how many cores you need, your CPU speed, and how much memory you want. The idea is that you only pay for what you use.

MySQL

When it comes to MySQL and PostgreSQL A2 has a huge range of options that were clearly made with developers in mind. They use the most up-to-date software for both MySQL and PostgreSQL, using MySQL 5.5. and PostgreSQL 9.1. They also offer both phpMyAdmin and phpPgAdmin as well as SSH, so you can access your databases whenever you want from wherever you happen to be. They also offer a huge knowledge base full of articles likr how to access your database using Perl and Python.

Of particular mention with regards to their help function, A2 Hosting has a huge repository of PostgreSQL questions and how-to’s, which is a significant point of difference over most of their competitors who usually only have help resources on MySQL alone.

When it comes to configuration, A2 has more customization then a lot of other companies, sometimes storing your database and your web files on the same disk, but only when it makes sense to do it. They are, however very open to working with you to get the best results.

Finally, A2 offers some supreme caching services to push your queries even faster. First, they have their datacentres strategically located in Michigan as well as Iceland, which offers enough geographical disparity to cover most website customer bases.

Second, they offer memCaching for their SQL databases if you choose to configure them that way (although it’s only available for on the newer turbo servers).

In addition, one of their add-ons is their proprietary SwiftCache. SwiftCache is a cPanel plugin that gives you configured caching from a single interface. You can choose to use the SwiftCache TurboCache option, when the HTML contents are stored in TurboCache without running PHP for a twenty-fold increase in page load speed.

The other option is Opcache/APC which compiles opcodes of PHP scripts to deliver pages faster.

Finally, in case something does go wrong, A2 Hosting can help with a server rewind backup (included in all packages except for Lite).

Whatever your database needs and whatever plan you want to be on, A2 Hosting is going to be a fantastic option for those looking for faster queries and a better end-user experience, especially if you have the technical know-how to make your server work for you.

Technical details

  • PERL, Python, Ruby on Rails
  • SSDs
  • PHP 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 or 5.5
  • MySQL 9.1
  • PostgreSQL 8.4
  • Pre-Installed phpMyAdmin & phpPgAdmin
  • SSH Access
  • Apache 2.2
  • Python 2.4, 2.6, 2.7, 3.1 or 3.2
  • CentOS
  • Optimize shared servers for Node.js

Conclusion

A2 Hosting offers a lot of extra little things that are bound to improve your overall hosting experience. With a full range of managed hosting options, they’re a great candidate either for those looking for a robust package or for those looking for a fast website but who don’t have the technical expertise to get there.

Prices starting at $3.92/Month

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