Established August 2001, based in Ann Arbor Michigan, A2 Hosting has built their good reputation on superior speed, uptime and customer service. The company was originally known as Iniquinet, got renamed as A2 in March 2003 and the rest is history. I recently had the chance to try A2 Hosting for free (thanks Brad!) and as promised earlier, this is my usage report on the web hosting service.
A2 Hosting: What’s In The Deal?
First, let’s drill down a little deeper on what A2 Hosting has to offer.
A2 is yet another hosting company that offers unlimited everything for a very low price – Lite, which cost at $3.92/mo, Swift at $4.90/mo, and Turbo at $9.31/mo*. All three hosting plans are powered by Solid State Drive Speed Boost (FYI, SSD is a new type of hard disk that load a lot faster). The Lite plan comes with unlimited storage and data transfer capacity; while both Swift and Turbo accounts come with unlimited everything: storage, transfer, emails, domains, subdomains, parked domains and databases.
All accounts have access to all the popular applications, such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, along with a shopping cart for basic e-commerce (additional software and applications, such as a private SSL certificate and merchant account, available at an extra charge). Shared hosting accounts are easily managed via the popular cPanel control panel.
For developers, A2 includes the following:
- PHP (4 versions)
- Unlimited MySQL 5.5 databases
- PostgreSQL 9.1
- phpMyAdmin & phhpPgAdmin
- SSH access
- Apache 2.2
- Ruby on Rails
- Git, CVS, Subversion & Mercurial
A2 Hosting also offers bunch of higher end hosting packages for power users, including Reseller, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting. We will dig deeper into these advance hosting plans later but as the test account I signed up is on A2 Prime (old A2 Hosting plan, equivalent to A2 Hosting Lite now) , our review will focuses mainly on this shared hosting plan.
My Experience With A2 Hosting Service
As mentioned, I signed up on A2 Hosting Prime Hosting Plan in May 2013.Below are my key findings on the web host.
What I Like The Most About A2 Hosting?
A2 Hosting speeds (a lot)!
Seriously, the folks at A2 Hosting are obsessed with speed.
We are talking about complete SSD solution (all your files, OS, and databases stored in SSD) with 10 GB redundant networks, 12 core server, and 64 GB RAM; plus free Cloud Flare CDN support, Railgun Optimizer (load HTML 140+ % faster, free for Turbo users. ), and multiple server locations between U.S. and E.U. (for Prime users only).
Things are even better if you are hosting a WordPress site at A2 Hosting.
In October 3rd, 2014, A2 Hosting released A2 Optimized – a pre-configured for A2 servers WordPress optimization plugin. Exclusive for A2 users, the plugin provides auto configuration for your WordPress sites so you get the best out of WordPress. The officials claims that the plugin ends ‘the guesswork of how to get the fastest WordPress page loads’ and allows users with the following functions:
- Auto-server configuration – 6x faster WordPress page loads
- Unique WordPress login URL
- Automatic A2 Optimized updates
- ReCaptcha on WordPress login page
For WordPress users, this means your sites get faster load time and better security. While you can probably achieve more or less the same results with Total WP Cache and iThemes Security; the pre server configuration sounds tempting. I will post more updates when I get time to test on this.
In a quick glance, some key high speed features on A2 Hosting –
|Complete SSD solution||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Turbo server (enhanced performance over Apache)||–||–||Yes|
|US & European server locations||–||Yes||–|
|12 core server minimum||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|16 GB RAM server minimum||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|CloudFlare CDN (200% faster)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|RailGun Optimizer (143% faster)||Add $2/mo||Add $2/mo||Free|