If speed and performance, partnered with support and security, are at all priorities in your web host shopping, A2 Hosting should be a leading contender. ... read more +
If speed and performance, partnered with support and security, are at all priorities in your web host shopping, A2 Hosting should be a leading contender.
We got to sit down with A2 Hosting's CEO, Bryan Muthig, and Director of Business Development, Andy Melichar. Discussing the technologies behind their products only piqued our interest, and we were very excited to be let loose within the hosting nerd's playground that is A2's interface.
When A2 Hosting first launched in 2003, they were developer-focused. "We were actually one of the first companies to offer PHP 5, and one of the first hosting companies to offer Ruby on Rails in the shared hosting platform," Bryan told us.
As they've grown, a primary focus has been performance, especially after a survey asking customers to rank the features they look for in a host revealed "site load speed and performance" as a top priority, behind support and reliability.
A2 Hosting was also one of the first to offer SSD hosting, and today, they remain one of only a handful of SSD hosts out there. "When we looked at SSDs, we said, 'If we're going to do this, we're going to do it right,'" Andy told us. Many hosting companies that attempt offering SSDs only include them on the file server and not the SQL server; therefore, web files can be uploaded, but performance suffers almost immediately.
A2 includes SSDs across the entire stack, and Bryan told us they found around a 300 percent increase in page load speeds using them. "We really look at things very deeply to be sure that we’re not just doing something because it’s the new, cool catch-word that people are talking about," Andy said. "We actually want it to be useful and to make a difference and not detract from the customer experience."
In the last year, A2 has launched their own Turbo hosting platform, with pre-configured caching options that include OPcache, Memcached, and a custom Turbo Cache product that resembles Varnish, but works with SSL (unlike Varnish). With the Turbo option, A2-optimized caching tools, and A2-optimized software available, sites experience page loads speeds up to 20 times faster than average.
Whether you want a dedicated server, standard shared hosting with cPanel, VPS, or some hybrid hosting solution in between, A2 can offer hosting to meet your needs. With expertly-tuned servers that house fewer accounts, A2 promises uptimes of 99.9% or higher, with "Guru Crew" customer support available all day, everyday.
While A2's Turbo hosting platform is an excellent stepping stone prior to graduating from the shared space, A2 Hosting also offers exceptional hosting solutions once you're ready to migrate to VPS, cloud, or dedicated servers.
Get full root access, SSD speed boost, and your choice of operating system with their Dynamic VPS, Cloud VPS, and Flex Dedicated Server plans. If you prefer a managed dedicated server, their Managed Flex Dedicated Server package comes pre-configured, with cPanel and HostGuard's comprehensive server management.
A2 runs accounts on their own, high-speed SwiftServer platform, with datacenter locations based out of Michigan (USA), Amsterdam (Europe), and Singapore (Asia). They offer a quadruple redundant network with security monitoring established 24/7.
A2's "Perpetual Security" includes their own hack scanning protection software: HackScan, KernelCare for daily, automatic, and rebootless kernel updates, and access to their Server Rewind backup system for database recovery. Their proactive security also includes an A2-optimized plugin for auto-hardening of WordPress sites to prevent hacks, brute-force defense, virus scanning, and dual firewall protection.
Overall, you can't go wrong in choosing A2 Hosting as a web host. Their inventive hosting solutions, impressive performance and security measures, and the constant thought they put into the user experience warrant our high praise for their services.read less -
HostGator has been around for over a decade and is well-respected for their large number of servers and their consistent reliability. Known mostly as a shared hosting provider, HostGator still supplies... read more +
HostGator has been around for over a decade and is well-respected for their large number of servers and their consistent reliability. Known mostly as a shared hosting provider, HostGator still supplies decent dedicated and VPS options if you need your site to scale.
HostGator costs a little more than some of the other budget-minded shared hosts, but that contributes to their reliability and well-known support. They offer decent features included in their basic offerings, unlimited disk space, a nice control panel, and free website templates. While the feature list is short compared to other hosts, you do get the flexibility to add them as you see fit.
Aimed primarily at the semi-technical user, HostGator's flexibility is their strong suit. Dedicated, VPS, and Windows hosting is available if that fits your needs. For those than need it, root access, SSH, and support for Ruby, Perl, Python, and other languages is available on all plans.
HostGator has nearly limitless options and control available for their server, however, they require a little more knowledge than beginner-focused web hosts. If you need to host multiple sites, their wide array of offerings make them a great choice.read less -
#3 out of 10 in Cheap Hosting reviews
There are plenty of excellent cPanel shared hosting providers out there, so what sets A2 apart from the rest? Not only do they offer a ton of features, they've custom-built their packages for enhanced... read more +
There are plenty of excellent cPanel shared hosting providers out there, so what sets A2 apart from the rest? Not only do they offer a ton of features, they've custom-built their packages for enhanced performance, speed, and security — putting your priorities above pricing.
A2 Hosting packages include a free Cloudflare CDN, 24/7 "Guru Crew" support, and their SSD speed boost solution. Within the included cPanel 11 control panel, users will find Softaculous — featuring easy, 1-click installations of popular web applications.
With an emphasis on performance, A2 has then gone above and beyond to craft A2-optimized, performance-enhancing solutions for their services.
They have an A2-optimized plugin for WordPress that pre-configures caching and compression options, allowing you to get started on the content side of things quickly and easily. If you land and convert on A2's WordPress landing page, they automatically install both WordPress and their optimization plugin, so the performance enhancements are built in. Similarly, they developed a cPanel plugin that is designed to detect a recent PrestaShop installation and auto-configure optimizations for you.
With A2's "Perpetual Security," users receive free HackScan protection and KernelCare, which runs rebootless auto-updates to kernels daily. They promise 99.9% uptime and 24/7 network monitoring, plus virus scanning and defense against brute-force attacks. WordPress users also benefit from another A2-optimized plugin, which auto-hardens WordPress sites to prevent hacking.
Not only was A2 one of the first to offer SSD hosting — featuring three times the page load speeds of standard hosts — but they also built their own Turbo hosting platform. A2's Turbo Servers yield 20 times faster page load speeds, using less CPU and less memory, with fewer users on each server. They also offer their A2-exclusive Site Accelerator, with SPDY and HTTP/2 support.
A2 spends a great deal of time and effort performance testing and feeling out the competition to ensure they're giving their customers the best speed, security, and support they can offer, at a price users can afford. Their A2-optimized solutions make it easy, and the usefulness and reliability of their products make them cost-effective. With their 24/7 support, including a WordPress-specific support department, we're confident A2 Hosting can provide the assistance you need to get an affordable site launched and thriving.read less -
#6 out of 10 in Cheap Hosting reviews
HostGator is a great compromise between performance and price. They offer unlimited emails, MySQL databases, disk space, and bandwidth, plus 1-click installs of popular open-source projects, in addition to... read more +
HostGator is a great compromise between performance and price. They offer unlimited emails, MySQL databases, disk space, and bandwidth, plus 1-click installs of popular open-source projects, in addition to a 99.9% uptime guarantee on their shared hosting plans.
HostGator’s price-to-performance perks also apply to their vast array of other hosting options, such as VPS, dedicated servers, and even reseller hosting. Their many hosting options make them a great choice for sites on the rise, in need of options for the future.
For those just getting started and looking for a good, cheap host, HostGator bundles some nice features that hosting newbies can appreciate. A very nice site builder from Weebly is included. Their control panels are also very easy to use and a free domain is a nice touch.
If you are looking for a solid web host, with a ton of flexibility, plenty of power, and great price points, you should consider making HostGator your web host of choice.read less -
Whether you're looking for managed or self-managed hosting, A2 Hosting offers two extremely reliable dedicated server plans to meet your needs, depending on your levels of comfort and experience. ... read more +
Whether you're looking for managed or self-managed hosting, A2 Hosting offers two extremely reliable dedicated server plans to meet your needs, depending on your levels of comfort and experience.
With A2's Flex Dedicated Server plan, users get administrator-level control with root access and their choice of Linux operating system. Your server will be ready for your configuration, with SolusVM control panel included. Plus, they offer 24/7/365 server monitoring and maintenance for hardware.
A2 also offers a managed option for dedicated hosting, which features comprehensive server management by HostGuard. Their managed dedicated servers are pre-configured and include cPanel control panel for user control.
A2's dedicated servers feature their SwiftServers — expertly-tuned with performance enhancements. A2 was one of the first in their field to offer SSD hosting, and their customers receive free SSDs, which contribute to page loading speeds as much as three times faster than those of standard web hosts. A2's SwiftServer network is also equipped with SwiftCache, which is powered by OPcache, as well as their own Turbo Cache product, which functions with similar technology to that of Varnish.
Servers are never overloaded, and A2 notifies you of targeted server occurrences, such as high load volume or when a filesystem becomes full. With datacenters strategically based in three nations, A2 offers US- and Euro-based dedicated server locations and high redundancy (10Gb/s). A2's dedicated hosting plans include instant account activation, with plenty of processing power and RAM to get you started. When you outgrow your server, A2 makes the migration upgrade simple by moving your entire system using Xen.
A2's "Perpetual Security" features their hack scanning detection mechanism: HackScan, and KernelCare for auto-updates to kernels, which run daily with no reboot necessary. With the managed package, HostGuard takes care of security patches, control panel updates, and both installation and upgrades for core software. A2's Smart System Notifier quickly notifies their support staff of any network-related or hardware issues that arise, aiming to resolve said issues before they're even brought to customers' attention.
No matter the level of control you're looking for, if it's a dedicated hosting solution you need, A2's servers can get your job done swiftly and successfully. A2 has poured numerous resources into creating efficiency tools and performance enhancements for all of their hosting plans, including their managed services.
With custom software solutions, "Turbo" speed boosts, proactive protection, and tons of optimizations, A2 Hosting features user-based, performance-focused products; their dedicated servers just show a concentrated representation of their commitment to performance for their customers.read less -
#5 out of 7 in Dedicated Hosting reviews
Founded in 2002, HostGator is one of the largest online web hosts with a long lineage of dedicated hosting. With updated hardware, including Intel Xeon Quad core processors and lots of RAM, HostGator is a... read more +
Founded in 2002, HostGator is one of the largest online web hosts with a long lineage of dedicated hosting. With updated hardware, including Intel Xeon Quad core processors and lots of RAM, HostGator is a great balance between performance, quality, and price.
Being one of the few hosts to offer managed support and a Windows-based OS, those needing trouble-free ASP.net support should take a close look at HostGator.
HostGator boasts a top-of-the-line, fully redundant network and datacenter, which dedicated hosting users will take full advantage of and love. They also offer a ton of IP addresses with each plan.
HostGator has a fantastic support network and 24/7 customer service in the form of phone, chat, or email. Combining that support with plenty of power, they are a very respectable choice for a dedicated host.read less -
While A2's Turbo platform serves as the perfect "training wheels," so to speak, before migrating from shared hosting to a VPS or dedicated server, A2 Hosting also offers some stellar VPS options. "We still... read more +
While A2's Turbo platform serves as the perfect "training wheels," so to speak, before migrating from shared hosting to a VPS or dedicated server, A2 Hosting also offers some stellar VPS options. "We still do quite a bit of VPS, which is actually where we’ve seen the strongest area of growth," Bryan said.
A2's growth in the VPS hosting space didn't surprise us. They offer two packaged solutions: Dynamic VPS and Cloud VPS, which are both hosted on their SwiftServer platform, with SSDs for page loading speeds up to three times faster than average.
They offer 24/7/365 live chat support, a public phone number to speak to an actual human when you need help, and no additional fee for premium support. All VPS users get full root access, plus cPanel and their choice of operating system.
A2’s Cloud VPS users receive the ultimate redundancy and reliability of a high-availability failover, absolutely free. Customers can create their own custom-fit server and only pay for the features they want. Then, users can control said resource consumption within cPanel, and resize their account as needed.
When it comes to speed and performance, A2 Hosting pulls out all the stops. Their Turbo VPS speed-boosting option features their Turbo Servers, which, partnered with their exclusive Site Accelerator, produce page load speeds up to 20 times faster than average.
For caching, the Turbo platform is also equipped with A2’s Turbo Cache product, which works similarly to a Varnish cache. The Turbo Cache stores and serves HTML contents without running PHP, and unlike Varnish, Turbo Cache works with SSL. A2’s Turbo Servers are enabled with SPDY and HTTP/2 support, with ESI as well.
A2 has developed several plugins for cPanel, WordPress, PrestaShop, et cetera, to ensure easy setup and installation, while keeping the A2 environment in mind. Not only are many installations 1-click, but auto-optimizations are available as well. In the case of their WordPress plugin, “it’s got a nice, pre-configured environment that’s going to be good for most users,” Bryan explained, “and then if you want to configure it or customize it yourself, of course, you’re able to do that.” A2 also offers an auto-hardening plugin for WordPress users for protection against hacker attacks.
With their “Guru Crew” support team available round-the-clock, A2 also offers 24/7 network security monitoring and proactive protection measures. The “Perpetual Security” included features HackScan, A2’s hacker detection mechanism, KernelCare for daily, rebootless kernel auto-updates, as well as virus scanning and defense against brute-force attacks.
VPS hosting with A2 holds a breadth of opportunities for customization, cost control, and custom solutions built for their server network. With an emphasis on performance and a commitment to solving customer problems, you won't regret going "Turbo" with A2 Hosting's VPS packages.read less -
#5 out of 8 in VPS Hosting reviews
HostGator has built a great reputation in the industry for their shared hosting options. Their VPS solutions, with optional cPanel support, provide a nice and easy introduction to those that are new to VPS... read more +
HostGator has built a great reputation in the industry for their shared hosting options. Their VPS solutions, with optional cPanel support, provide a nice and easy introduction to those that are new to VPS hosting and know their needs require more than a typical shared host.
Starting at low price points, HostGator makes transitioning to a VPS plan reasonable and doable. Each plan comes with two IPs and a bunch of storage, however, their CPU and RAM offerings could be better for their respective price tags.
HostGator’s strongest point comes from their state of the art datacenter. Featuring a fully redundant network with no single point of failure and multiple bandwidth providers, uptime should almost never be a concern.
Founded in 2002, HostGator is one of the largest online web hosts. They have more than 12,000 servers under management and award-winning support. If you are looking for a very small VPS server or value the strength of a great network, give HostGator a shot.read less -
#3 out of 10 in WordPress Hosting reviews
If shared web hosting is what you need, A2 Hosting is the perfect host to help launch your site with your choice of CMS, including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and others. As part of A2's promise to... read more +
If shared web hosting is what you need, A2 Hosting is the perfect host to help launch your site with your choice of CMS, including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and others. As part of A2's promise to emphasize performance, they've concocted several A2-optimized features specifically for WordPress.
A2's shared web hosting plans come with cPanel 11 control panel, where users can access Softaculous auto-installer. Easily install popular web applications, including your choice of CMS, with one click.
"If you land on our WordPress landing page, and order WordPress hosting, we auto-install WordPress and our optimization plugin," Bryan said. "You don’t have to do anything."
"We wanted to make these performance enhancements really accessible to people," Andy said, so A2 has come up with several plugins and tools designed to operate in their online environment. These features are available for all users, including VPS and managed services customers.
A prime example of A2's custom performance enhancers would be their exclusive Site Accelerator, which helps A2 users experience page loading up to 20 times faster than that of the average web host.
A2 has optimized tools to auto-configure popular software, including WordPress, with auto-optimizations like compression and caching. "We're trying to ease all the friction points for the users and make sure we’re solving their problems," Andy told us.
Once you've installed PrestaShop, an A2-optimized cPanel plugin will automatically detect it and allow you to set up all "normal" optimizations. "We'll go in and configure everything the way that we know it will work best on our servers," Andy said.
Other eCommerce features include access to SSL certificates, PayPal merchant accounts, and a Merchant ID with E-onlinedata (with instant activation). When it comes to marketing your site or online store, A2 users can get $50 towards paid ads. Plus, with Attracta, a free SEO tool available in cPanel, sites are listed in Google within 24 hours.
In addition to enhanced speed and performance, A2 Hosting includes "Perpetual Security," which features several custom technologies.
All A2 accounts are offered a free hacking detection scan, featuring their own hacker detection mechanism: HackScan. A2 Hosting users also benefit from KernelCare: A2's product for conducting daily, rebootless auto-updates to kernels.
A2 has built another custom plugin for WordPress users to prevent hacking. The software auto-hardens WordPress sites for proactive protection against hackers. Additionally, A2 offers virus scanning, a dual firewall, and brute-force attack protection — not to mention SPAM filtering for emails, which are also IMAP, POP3, and SMTP supported.
A2 Hosting offers 24/7 customer support and tons of A2-optimized features made with WordPress users in mind. Whether you're an online retailer looking to launch a fresh site with PrestaShop, or a moderately web-savvy WordPress user looking for speed and security excellence, we'd highly recommend A2 Hosting.read less -
When it comes to site-building, A2 Hosting sets users up with all the tools they need to get a website built, launched, and thriving. "Our bread and butter is still the cPanel shared hosting," Bryan said.... read more +
When it comes to site-building, A2 Hosting sets users up with all the tools they need to get a website built, launched, and thriving. "Our bread and butter is still the cPanel shared hosting," Bryan said. With cPanel included in all A2 plans, customers have access to a smorgasbord of site-building tools and 1-click installations.
A2 Hosting packages come equipped with Cloudflare CDN and cPanel, where users can find a breadth of resources — including Softaculous auto-installer.
From the cPanel control panel, A2 customers can setup their choice of web applications, CMSs, eCommerce features, and more. A2 strives to make these setup processes as simplistic and intuitive as possible. They've built A2-optimized plugins, so not only are installations done in one click, but A2-optimized configurations are done automatically.
"We realize that performance is what we really need to focus on," Andy said. A2 has developed several key features geared towards emphasizing just that.
In the last year, A2 has launched their Turbo hosting platform. Partnered with their exclusive Site Accelerator, A2's Turbo platform produces page loads up to 20 times faster than your average web host.
Their Turbo platform includes OPcache for caching (a rare find in the shared hosting space), as well as their own Turbo Cache product, which works similarly to Varnish.
In addition to enhanced performance, A2 Hosting offers "Perpetual Security." This includes round-the-clock protection and support, plus solutions for A2-optimized security.
A2's "Perpetual Security" includes a free scan with their hack detection mechanism: HackScan. They also include KernelCare — daily, automatic, and rebootless kernel updating. For WordPress users, A2 has built a plugin to auto-harden WordPress sites to prevent hacking. Other features available include virus scanning, brute-attack defense, SPAM protection for emails, and auto-heal hosting protection.
A2's "Guru Crew" is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide expert support for their customers. A2 also maintains 24/7 network security monitoring of their expertly-tuned servers.
A2's cPanel hosting equips users with everything they need to build a website, plus enhancements to make their web experience safer and simpler. Andy put it best when he told us A2 is "trying to ease all the friction points for the users." They find and solve your potential problems, so you can get on to producing content for your new site.read less -