A2 Hosting isn’t a normal shared hosting provider. For example, it provides multiple versions of PHP with an easy-to-use version switcher. The company’s also very keen to promote its green credentials: it has partnered with Carbonfund.org and promotes remote working, recycling and car sharing.
Hosting is provided in four categories: shared hosting, reseller hosting, VPS hosting and dedicated hosting.
- Shared hosting is based on an unlimited resource model with a low monthly fee, although the lowest cost comes with a long 36-month contract attached. A2 Hosting uses CloudLinux only. Customers can code their own sites or use Softaculous and/or a site building tool. The company promises that companies that outgrow a shared environment will receive assistance with upgrades if they need a VPS or dedicated server in the future.
- There are three reseller plans available: Deliver, Achiever and Endeavor, and each steps up the storage and transfer. The lowest cost plan, Deliver, offers 60 GB storage and 600 GB transfer; the most expensive, Endeavor, offers 130 GB and 1300 GB respectively. Resellers can host unlimited client accounts.
- VPS hosting is split into managed and unmanaged products. VPS packages can be custom-designed by the client and include a choice of Linux OS and A2 Hosting’s own A2 QuickInstaller, a tool which installs common scripts and applications with a click. The managed product is more expensive, as you’d expect, and includes management of software, hardware, network and security.
- Dedicated hosting is available in two flavors: Flex and Managed Flex. The Flex plan is designed for developers and experts, whereas Managed Flex is designed to be hassle-free and user-friendly. On Managed Flex, cPanel is included for free.
All of A2 Hosting’s clients get free access to Server Rewind for free. It’s a completely custom backup tool which is accessible via cPanel and provides customers with restore points for files and databases.
The company proudly claims that its servers are privately owned, and only its own technical team will access them. Its data center is located in Michigan and boasts a redundant network, uninterrupted power, diesel generators, static-free floors, air conditioning and SSAE16 certified security: that includes a gated parking lot and key-operated entry to the premises and servers.
A2 Hosting operates a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and it’s very open about its past performance. Each type of server – shared, reseller, VPS and dedicated – has its own uptime figure which is updated in real time on a statistics page. Figures cover the last 30 days, and each individual server’s uptime is published individually. That’s pretty impressive.
A2 Hosting’s technical support department is based in the US, and its website claims that all staff are developers. That might be why it refers to them as the ‘Guru Crew’. The team is available 24/7 every day of the year and tend to work from home as part of the company’s green strategy.
Support is provided via ticketing, a live chat box and a toll-free phone line for US customers. International customers have access to a regular US phone number. The company has a Twitter account which is mainly used for service updates; customers looking for support are directed back to the ticketing system.
A2 Hosting in the News
I didn’t find any negative press about A2 Hosting. Like all hosts, the company has clearly experienced DDOS attacks, as referenced in the tweet below. However, the company seems to be quick to update customers on social media when problems arise.
All of A2 Hosting’s shared hosting customers receive access to cPanel 11 as standard. Resellers get the standard combination of cPanel and WHM. Customers on managed VPS and dedicated plans receive cPanel free; unmanaged servers don’t come with any software installed, as you would expect.
A2 Hosting Extras
A2 Hosting offers shared and reseller hosting customers a variety of scripts through Softaculous (WordPress, Joomla etc), plus their own in-house DIY A2 SiteBuilder tool. Customers also get a free site builder (rebrandable on Reseller plans) and CloudFlare CDN. VPS and dedicated plans also come with one or two free IP addresses. There are no marketing credits or free domains on offer at the time of writing this review.
Money Back Guarantee / Cancellation Policy
All hosting customers are able to rely on a 30-day money-back guarantee. The company promises that refunds are ‘hassle-free’. The policy only covers monthly instalments, and customers who pay by check are not eligible for refunds. The policy also doesn’t cover custom server configurations, which could affect VPS and dedicated customers.
A2 Hosting is a company that’s targeted a niche and done it well. The light-hearted tone of the website is refreshing: it makes prospective clients feel like they’re buying from peers rather than a faceless corporation. On its Careers page, A2 Hosting specifically asks that employees are familiar with Linux, VPS hosting, cPanel, SSL and other tools and software. It’s clear that the company is out to attract like-minded customers who want good quality hosting from a team of staff who genuinely know their stuff.
While A2 Hosting’s services aren’t necessarily marketed at beginners, there’s scope to join up and learn, and support appears to be friendly and speedy. The Server Rewind tool is also a massive plus for people who are ready to experiment with scripting, and the detailed uptime stats are a rarity among shared hosts.
If you’re not big on technical detail, you might not feel comfortable with some of the products, but the friendly approach goes a long way to reassuring newbies they’ll be supported. At the same time, A2 Hosting is clearly a company that wants to attract specialized users, and that’s where it shines.