TL; DR: A2 Hosting has been known for its ultra-fast servers, hands-on support, high uptime rates, and developer-friendly hosting solutions for well over a decade. And, with its latest release of a Windows-based VPS package and cloud platform, the host doesn’t show any signs of curbing its commitment to innovation. This new offering gives businesses the power to fuel web apps through a feature-rich VPS run on Windows and backed by the same blazing-fast service on which A2 built its reputation. With plans for a similar dedicated hosting package in the works and sights on international expansion, A2 is continually evolving its already robust hosting solutions to reflect the changing needs of its client base.
The data-driven, market-savvy approach central to A2 Hosting’s development strategy sets the company apart in many ways. Just two years ago, for example, A2 revamped its Linux-based VPS to strengthen its product lineup and gain a competitive edge. While the overhaul was largely a success, A2 Hosting’s unrelenting attention to detail led the host to revisit campaign information related to the product — ultimately exposing a promising gap in the market.
“Going back and looking at the data, we saw a high propensity of VPS users specifically wanting Windows,” said Corey Hammond, VP of Marketing at A2. “Our conservative estimation is that anywhere in the 30% to 40% range of VPS users are looking for Windows-related operating systems instead of Linux.”
A2 then turned to the industry for further insight only to find the Windows hosting market was light on both providers and innovation.
“We saw it as a white space, an area to succeed where others maybe weren’t paying as close attention,” Corey said. “It opened our eyes to the potential of an additional customer base.”
Most hosts use Linux as their default operating system, according to Cory, and customers typically follow suit. But, as users gain experience and technical knowledge, they often realize the benefits of alternative options — hence the large percentages of users seeking Windows solutions. And, for those new to hosting, a Windows-based option might be a good fit because it’s efficient, easy to use, and carries a minimal learning curve.
As a result, A2 was thrilled to announce the launch of its super-charged Windows-based VPS package and cloud platform. This option will enable businesses to power their web apps in a new way while backed by the same fast, reliable service they’ve come to expect from the host. With plans to further evolve the VPS product and eventually release a dedicated server option, A2 is building a catalog of solutions tailored to the changing needs of the modern hosting customer.
Achieve Your Goals with a Robust VPS Solution Run on the Windows OS
Christopher Sweeney, A2’s Senior Windows System Administrator and Architect, told us A2’s new Windows-based VPS hosting option will be feature-rich right out of the gate.
“We’re not just giving them a typical VPS,” he said. “They’re getting a cloud platform VPS.”
The cloud-powered Windows VPS plan will support the .NET framework and other developer-friendly Microsoft-based programs. For example, site owners who rely on Visual Basic or ASP.NET will have access to the tools necessary to work in their preferred languages.
A2 is also working hand-in-hand with the Plesk control panel to provide functionality in managing accounts. Chris told us that whatever a customer wants to do with Linux they can do on the Windows side.
“We’re going to be jump-starting from where our competitors are — we’re going to be on that cutting edge,” Chris said. “We’re focusing on giving the customer not only the VPS itself, but we’re also focusing on the security and performance side of it. When they get their VPS, it will be tuned and ready to go.”
Time-Tested, Feature-Rich Windows Hosting Backed by Experience
Chris said that, while the VPS is new as a product line, it’s been supported by the research put in place to develop A2’s existing Windows-based shared and reseller hosting options.
“It’s new, yes, but there were a lot of lessons learned and things we have gleaned from other services to make it a mature product as we launch it,” Chris said.
When A2 planned for the February 2017 launch of its Windows-based shared hosting package, the process went smoothly.
“Overall, it was fairly seamless, mostly because of redundancies with things we were already doing; keeping things pretty minimal, viable,” Corey said. “Initially it was a basic offering — meaning we hadn’t tried for it to fit everything and anything. We were just getting a usable, high-quality environment out the door, and that’s what we were able to accomplish.”
Over the last year, A2 has solicited customer feedback and evolved the shared product accordingly, producing several iterations.
Interestingly, A2 had also planned to release Windows VPS in February, but a small infrastructure change prevented the company from doing so.
“We were switching platforms for some of our VPS infrastructure, and we didn’t want to deploy Windows VPS on top of making that change, just because we were actually going to have to migrate all the new Windows VPS customers off the old infrastructure onto the new,” Corey said. “So as a company we made a decision to wait.”
The hiccup turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The team was able to look at the product from different vantage points and gather valuable data before the release.
“The benefit of that is all the things we’ve been learning from the shared environment and having customers request things from us,” Corey said, “we were able to roll that into the VPS product to make it feature-rich and support more things than probably it would have.”
The Same Blazing-Fast, Reliable Service With Expanded Options
Of course, the Windows VPS will come backed by the well-known hallmarks of A2 service: speed, reliability, developer-friendliness, security, and 24/7 customer support. A2’s Turbo Servers provide users a hosting option that’s 20 times faster, and accounts are ultra-reliable, boasting a guaranteed 99.9% uptime.
The company also has a reputation for being developer-friendly, with accounts loaded with popular development software.
“We pride ourselves — especially on the Windows side because it’s newer — on making sure we have the latest and greatest in technology on the servers,” Chris said.
Those in need of assistance can depend on free site migration and the all-day, everyday support of A2’s Guru Crew. The company’s security features, including Perpetual Security measures, free HackScan Protection, and a dual firewall, also enhance peace of mind.
Perhaps most attractive to potential customers is A2’s money-back guarantee. This ensures users can try the service without incurring any monetary risk. But, once they see the boost in performance A2’s servers deliver, most customers stay onboard.
Up Next: Evolving VPS and Dedicated Servers on an International Stage
Corey said the new VPS will continue to evolve based on client feedback and market demand.
“We feel like we keep a good ear to the ground and we know what everyone’s doing — what competitors are doing, where technology’s going,” he said.
Ultimately, however, client feedback is top-of-mind, according to Corey.
“When we do those refreshes, it’s because we’re getting requests for certain things, and I think maybe we take it on that first and use the external validation as reinforcement,” he said.
Both Corey and Chris said products are evolving. They told us the company is pumping out updates and enhancements at least twice a month to deliver new features to customers.
“We have plans — once the VPS is stabilized — to roll out a dedicated offering as well,” Corey said. “This will give our customers a full-service offering for Windows.”
Currently, A2’s shared Windows offering is only available out of its US datacenter in Michigan. However, the company is looking to expand the offering internationally, with Amsterdam and Singapore builds coming in by the end of Q4 2017.