Last Update | September 2021
Monthly Update - September 2021
|Hosting Plans||Shared Hosting; WordPress Hosting; VPS Hosting; Reseller Hosting; Dedicated Hosting|
|Top Features||Unlimited Email Accounts and Transfers; Easy cPanel Control Panel; Free SSL Certificate; Up To 20X Faster Turbo; Guru Crew Support; Free Account Migration; Money-Back Guarantee; 99.9% Uptime Commitment|
|Customer Support||24/7/365 Phone, Live Chat & Email Support; FAQ|
During September, A2 Hosting:
- Turbo sale: discounts on A2 Turbo servers
During August, A2 Hosting:
- Performed scheduled server maintenance, emergency server maintenance, had a service interruption, and intermittent speed issues
- Introduced AlmaLinux as a New Operating System
- Added Support for Magento on Managed Dedicated Plans
During July, A2 Hosting:
- Celebrates 18 years of existence, success, and growth with discounts on their whole site and special content/contest throughout the month
- Deployed proactive security measures to protect WooCommerce customers from recent SQL injection vulnerability
- Performed emergency server maintenance, encountered a server interruption and data center connectivity issues
During June, A2 Hosting:
- Launched new bare metal dedicated server solutions
- New Dedicated Plans at 35% off
- Performed scheduled server maintenance, encountered several server interruptions, had an issue with Cloudflare, and several connectivity issues and speed issues
During May, A2 Hosting:
- Didn’t issue any new features or updates
- Completed scheduled server maintenance, incurred several interruptions, and connectivity issues
A2 Hosting Features Shared Hosting Plans Starting at $2.99
You Get Access to WordPress, Drupal, Magento & Joomla
It Features Free and Easy Site Migration
You Can Also Get Access to Reseller Hosting, VPS Hosting, and Even a Dedicated Server
A2 Hosting was founded in 2003 by Bryan Mathig and is a web hosting company that specializes in high-performance.
It promises blazing fast hosting actually, with unlimited SSD space and transfer, free and easy site migration, free automatic backup, money-back guarantee, speed optimized WordPress, 99.99% uptime commitment, and 24/7 support with a free SSL Certificate.
All of this for a measly price of $2.99? When I saw this, I just had to test it out and ensure that it’s true. There are countless reviews out there showcasing the legitimacy of these claims. However, from my experience, until you see it for yourself, you cannot really trust it.
As such, I’ve decided to jump deep into the world of A2 Hosting. That being said, this is by far one of the most popular options when it comes to an all-rounded hosting experience that a lot of people have started their online journey with. After all, you are indeed getting a lot of features for the money.
But how do you start in all of this? It’s quite simple actually; let’s dig in.
Getting Started With A2 Hosting
To get started, you need to create an account, and this process is as simple as tying your shoes, assuming you know how to tie your shoes.
If you don’t, that’s okay too, since this process is extremely streamlined, and you’ll get it in no time.
First, go to the homepage.
Here you’ll need to select the hosting plan you want to get. For the purposes of this guide, I’ll go with shared hosting, mostly because I’m cheap that way, and that’s all I really need for the time being, but if your business is huge, or it ends up growing quickly, which I hope it does, you can always upgrade.
Shared hosting is the cheapest and most beginner-friendly plan, so if this is your first page, go with that. If you know what you’re doing, you know exactly what you want to select here.
With that out of the way, once you click on “Get Started,” you’ll be taken to the registration screen.
Here you’ll have multiple choices. You can register a new domain name, transfer your domain name from another registrar, use your existing domain, update your nameservers, or use a subdomain from A2 hosting.
This will be highly dependent on your specific needs. If this is your first page, feel free to register a new domain. If not, just transfer your existing one.
Here you’ll have another important choice to make: how long do you want to host your domain?
The aforementioned $2.99/mo deal is only applicable if you select the 36-month plan, and all plans under that will go higher in cost. The single-month price is $10.99/mo. However, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you just want to try it out, you can do so here.
Here’s what you’re getting with the StartUp Web Hosting plan:
- Single Website
- 100GB Ultra-Fast SSD Storage
- UNLIMITED Transfer
- UNLIMITED Email Accounts
- A2 Website Builder
- WordPress Optimized
- Free SSL Certificate (HTTPS)
- cPanel control panel
With that out of the way, you can customize your hosting plan even further.
If you’re still unaware of what any of this means, just leave it on by default. I’d recommend getting a server location where your target audience is for the optimal results, however. You can also opt for the free SSL plan if you’re not going to sell anything on the website, otherwise use the enhanced security option if you’re going to run an eCommerce website.
When it comes to the other options, you can enable DropSuite Offsite Backups, Barracuda Spam Firewall, and the A2 Website Builder. However, all of this is optional. Remember that if you use WordPress or other similar apps, you’ll probably get a multitude of ways to do this.
Now, what I genuinely love about A2 hosting is that if you don’t want to, you won’t really have to do anything, as it also has its own auto-install application option.
Afterward, you’ll have to confirm your order.
Click on Checkout, enter your credit card information and you are golden.
Managing Your Website on A2 Hosting
From the very moment you log in for the very first time, you’ll be greeted by a simple and intuitive menu.
Here you can manage your domain through the cPanel quick login, check the connection details, refer a friend and get $50 credit, open support tickets if you ever get stuck somewhere along the way, give A2 hosting some suggestions on how they can improve, and just read up on all of the latest, related news.
For the time being, let’s click on cPanel Login and see what we can do.
Now, don’t feel overwhelmed, as we’ll go over everything step by step, but the first time you ever open your cPanel, it will look like this.
Now, this can be a lot to digest initially. However, this does indeed deliver on the promise of having a lot of features. It’s quite astonishing really how much you’re getting here, so let’s get into the step by step and actually see what each of them does.
As the name might imply, the File Manager allows you to access each and every folder and manage all of your files. This is done through cPanel, so it’s quite simple and easy to understand.
Images allows you to create thumbnails, change the size of images in a directory, or change the file type for all images in a directory, such as changing .jpg files to .png files easily.
You can use the directory privacy setting to set passwords to protect certain directories of your account. The moment you enable this feature, a user that tries to open a protected folder can be prompted to enter a username and password before they can access the content itself.
You can clearly view your account’s available space with the Disk Usage feature in the disk usage menu. All of the presented figures are relative to the largest directory.
Through this option, you can create a web disk account that will allow you to manage, navigate, upload and download the files on your web server. These web disk account directories exist relative to the account’s home directory. The home icon will signify your home directory.
Here you’re able to configure FTP accounts and get your website online quickly. You can use an FTP client to manage your website’s files.
FTP connections allow you to monitor visitors logged into your website through FTP, and it even allows you to terminate the FTP connections and prevent file access.
Here you can download a zipped copy of your entire site or a part of your site that you can save to your computer. When this backup occurs, you have an extra copy of all of your information in case something happens to the host.
I especially love this feature as many WordPress plugins that do this exact same function charge you for it, and here you are getting it as part of your package.
Here you have an entire wizard that automatically does this for you, where you can download a compressed copy of all of your website’s parts and even restore it at a future date.
Git Version Control
Here you can create and manage Git repositories and even use them to maintain any set of files as well as track the history of changes from multiple editors.
Softacolous App Installer
WordPress – A2 Optimized
Here you can install WordPress, more specifically, an A2 Optimized version of WordPress with a single click.
I love the fact that you are told specifically how much space you have left and what the required space for WordPress actually is.
It’s so simple my grandma could probably do it at 70; you click on “Install Now” and then click on “Install.”
This is yet another simple way for you to install WooCommerce, which is used to manage an eCommerce WordPress website. A single click is all that it takes.
WP Toastmasters is a tool for club marketing and agenda management, and A2 Hosting lets you install it with a single click.
To avoid getting too repetitive, you can single-click install all of the following apps through scripts: WPBeginner, WordPress + Elementor, WordPress + Unsplash, WordPress + Weglot, PrestaShop, Drupal 7, Egg 1, Matomo, CubeCart, CMC Made Simple, Joomla.
You can also browse this through the categories; for example, if you click on Blogs, it will end up looking like this:
Here you’ll be able to visit your PHPMyAdmin console, where you can see all of your information, such as your databases, SQL, Status, Export, Import, Settings, Variables, Charsets, Engines, and Plugins.
This option allows you to manage large amounts of information over the web with ease. These are required to run many web-based apps, and you can easily create a new database, modify a database or repair a database here.
MySQL Database Wizard
MySQL Databases essentially allow you to store lots of information in an easy-to-access manner.
Set a name, click on the next step.
Fill in the required information, and click on create user.
Select the privileges, and click on the next step.
That’s all there’s to it.
You can add a specific domain name and allow visitors to connect to your MySQL databases. The applications such as bulletin boards, online shopping carts, and even content management systems all require databases in order to operate.
PostgreSQL Databases allow you to store a large amount of information easily.
PostgreSQL Database Wizard
The Wizard works in a very similar way as the MySQL wizard.
This is very similar to the phpMyAdmin section, except it’s mean for PostgreSQL.
Site Publisher essentially allows you to create a website from a set of available themes.
Here you need to enter some information, click on Publish and you’ll be up and running in no time.
This is an interface that allows you to manage your domains.
This is an interface that allows you to create an add-on domain. This works as a subdomain for your main site.
Speaking of subdomains, you can always create and manage them here.
Redirects allow you to make one domain redirect to another domain, and this is done for a website or a specific web page.
Zone Editor is an option where you can convert DNS domain names into a computer-readable IP address.
Barracuda Spam Firewall
The Barracuda Spam Firewall is a professional-level spam filtering method for your email accounts. If you enable this, it can scan your incoming email and filter out spam as well as malicious messages.
- 1 Domain: $3/month
- 3 Domains: $6/month
- 5 Domains: $8/month
- Unlimited Domains: $10/month
Here you can create and manage email accounts.
Simply click on create.
And here, you can enter the username, password and allocate storage space.
Email account forwarders allow you to send a copy of any incoming email from one address to another.
Email routing allows you to route a domain’s incoming mail to a specific server.
Here you can configure an email account to send automated emails.
You can use a single address to send an email to multiple email addresses.
Global Email Filters
Here you can create and edit the filters for all mail on your account.
Set a filter name, rules and even actions.
This menu allows you to manage your pre-made image filters from the previous setting.
You can use this interface to reduce the number of emails that are sent from this server that end up in spam folders.
Speaking of spam, this is by far one of the most useful features here from A2 Hosting, where the server can process new emails and mark them as spam, and even automatically delete new spam, saving you storage.
Encryption allows you to create a private key. This way, messages are encrypted and can only be decrypted through the private key.
The BoxTapper protects your inbox from spam by requiring all email senders not on your whitelist to reply to a verification email before you can receive their emails.
Calendars and Contacts
Here you can manage your calendars and contacts and even manage the secure SSL/TLS Settings
Email Disk Usage
This is a utility that gives you the ability to recover disk space by deleting older messages from your mailbox.
Remote MX Wizard
This is a tool that allows you to configure the MX records.
You can select a mail provider and continue to configure it.
This is a function that displays up to 1.000 of the most recent entries in the Apache Log for a given domain’s website.
This is a function that displays the most recent entries in the website’s error logs in reverse chronological order.
This is a function that allows you to see the bandwidth usage for the website and shows the current month’s bandwidth usage as well as the total usage.
Since I just created this domain, it has no information here. However, over time this information will start generating.
Raw Access Logs allow you to see who’s visited your website without displaying graphs, charts, or other graphics.
Awstats produces visual statistics about visitors to your site.
Analog produces a simple summary of all the people who have visited your site.
This is a complex stats program that produces a variety of charts and graphs about who’s visited the website.
Same as before, just for the visitors who’ve used the FTP protocol.
This is a function that allows you to choose what stats programs you will use when viewing site statistics if you are allowed to do so.
As the name implies, this showcases what kind of activity in terms of resources your website has.
Again, since the website is new, there isn’t any activity. However, you’d be able to see a clear image of what is happening with the resource usage here and know if it’s time to upgrade or not.
As the name implies, you can copy and paste your token code and token ID, and it will auto-install SSL for you.
This allows for secure file transfer and remote logins through the internet.
This is a feature that I genuinely love, as you can simply IP Block pesky hackers trying to enter your website. It allows you to block a range of IP addresses and prevent them from accessing your site. No more spam.
This SSL/TLS menu allows you to generate certificates, certificate signing requests, and private keys.
Simply click on what you want to generate, and click on save.
Manage API Tokens
This is a feature that lets you create and manage API tokens for cPanel API 2 and UAPI.
Hotlink Protection prevents websites from directly linking to files on your website.
This is specifically handy if you don’t want anything stolen or used without your consent.
Leech Protection is a feature that allows you to prevent your users from giving out or publicly posting their passwords to restricted areas on your website.
ModSecurity is used to help detect as well as prevent attacks against your website. It does this by using rules known as SecRules that enable real-time monitoring, as well as logging and filtering of HTTP traffic.
Here you can check the status of your SSL certificates across all of your domains.
You can set up 2FA as an improved security measure that requires two forms of identification, your password and a generated security code.
It’s simple to configure, and all you have to do is scan a QR code.
This is a feature that provides additional security for a server, and it is a suite of products that include KernelCare and Immunify AV+. Through cPanel, you can use the license.
This is a menu where you can set up your CloudFlare account.
WordPress Manager by Softaculous
Here you can manage your WordPress Installations.
PHP Pear Packages
Pear packages are a collection of functions that allow you to perform tasks in PHP. You’ll be required to install a PEAR package, and packages are installed directly from the PHP Extensions and Applications repository.
Pear Modules are a collection of functions that will allow you to perform tasks in Perl.
You can essentially use this to compress content before sending it to the visitor’s browser.
You can use this to back up your data, monitor your blacklist, maximizing the backup storage space, and restoring the data.
Softacolous Apps Installer
This lets you install Softacolous scripts, and it looks something like this:
A2 Website Builder
Setup Node.js App
Here you can set up Node.js Applications.
You’ll need to select a few things before creating it, though.
Select PHP Version
Here you can select a version of PHP as the name might imply.
Setup Python App
Here you can setup a Python app in the same way as you would a Node.js app before.
Setup Ruby App
Here you can setup a Ruby Application.
Here you’ll have access to the command line that you can use across your server.
Cron Jobs allows you to automate certain commands or scripts on your website.
This is a network tool that allows you to find out information about any domain or trace the route from the server your site is on to the computer you are accessing Panel from.
The Index Manager allows you to customize how directories are viewed online.
This is a function that informs a visitor when there is a problem accessing your site. Each problem has its own code, and if a visitor visits a URL that does not exist, he will see a 404 error.
The editor looks like this, which has a cool retro feel to it.
Apache Handlers can control how the Apache web server software manages certain file types and extensions for your site.
MIME Types tell browsers how to handle specific extensions.
You can create custom ones.
As the name implies, this software package scans your mail, the entire home directory, public webspace, and public FTP Space.
I love this as I won’t have to buy a separate WordPress extension for virus protection, saving me a lot of money in the long-term.
This offers you a dashboard where you will see software vulnerabilities and malware that are detected in your user accounts.
This is specifically useful if you want an added level of peace of mind.
Password & Security
Here you can change your account password. Password strength is important, and I’d highly recommend changing it regularly.
This is a simple tool that allows you to change the language of your cPanel.
Now, if you thought cPanel looked boring, this is the perfect menu for you. Here you’ll be able to change the style of your cPanel, from Basic to A2Style, to Dark, Light, and even Retro.
This is a simple form where you can configure your contact information as well as preferences.
Here you can add new users.
Click on Add User on the right corner, and enter information such as the full name, username, domain, and email address. You can also configure some security information and event services.
That’s all there is to A2’s cPanel. It wasn’t that hard, right?
It seemed overwhelming at first, but now you probably feel ready and fully prepared to fully manage your own A2 Hosted website.
Level of Customer Support and Refund Policy
The one thing that can truly define your A2 experience is customer support. Things rarely go wrong, but you want to know that support staff is there to hold your hand and guide you throughout the entire process when they do, especially for a beginner.
As such, A2 hosting claims to have 24/7 support, and to test this, I decided to request a refund, See how active they actually are, and if I can actually get a refund in the first place.
Here’s how I did it.
Keep in mind that domain registrations, setup fees, and migration fees are not refundable. SSL certificates have a 7-day refund window from the time of purchase.
I entered my name, email, department, support pin, and Ticket ID, and I clicked on “Other.”
On the bottom, I typed “refund” in the box, and clicked on “Start Chatting.”
I was given instructions within seconds.
As well as information about the processing time.
So, I did what the friendly support staff told me, step by step.
I logged in, went to services, then clicked on My Services.
I saw my two purchased services here, the RapidSSL Certificate and the StartUp Web Hosting.
For the RapidSSL Certificate, once you click on manage, you will need to click on Request Cancellation.
I described the issue nicely, clicked on cancellation type immediately, and clicked on Request Cancellation.
Remember to read everything and confirm that you understand that all of the data will be immediately deleted upon submitting this cancellation.
As for the StartUp Web Hosting package, it was quite similar.
After clicking on manage, I was sent to another menu.
Here I clicked on Request Cancellation.
And that was all there’s to it.
I said goodbye to my trusty support friend here.
And checked my email to see if all of that processed.
That’s all there is to canceling your account and requesting a refund.
Security and Backups
Now, onto one of my favorite aspects of a web hosting provider, the answer to the question, can it keep you safe? Fast forward, A2 Hosting sure can!
A2 Hosting offers the Perpetual Security initiative in every hosting plan, which provides several services. You can benefit from KernalCare, which essentially the company uses to update the Kernel’s security daily and avoid reboots. In turn, it protects your servers against threats without downtime. Then, the HackScan acts as an antivirus for your site, protecting it from potential malware. HackScan doesn’t clean your website, but it’s free and of better quality than scanning software. So, I would not complain much about it.
Better yet, that’s not where it ends. As an A2 Hosting user, you can also benefit from brute force protection, a dual firewall, and DDoS protection. While you might not see the security features, you can rest assured; they will always be working in the background.
As for the backups, there are options for both manual and automatic ones, MySQL database backups, and cPanel backups. Furthermore, A2 Hosting allows you to set up your account to back up data automatically to Amazon S3 cloud storage or Google Drive cloud storage, as well as use A2 CDP.
A2 Hosting Speed and Performance
in terms of speed and performance, you ideally want to pick the most reliable web host out there as you obviously want your website to be online all the time and perform well.
On average, through the usage of the default WordPress themes and some content and images, I saw a load-time of 1.28s for the website and a page size of 400 kB. It sent 14 requests and was faster than 80% of all of the other websites tested. The US response time sat comfortably at 290ms, with the US hosting server, while the European hosting server averaged at around 70ms. Again, this will be impacted by where you are in the world and where you host your server to.
In terms of the uptime, the website was online all throughout my testing, so their claims seem solid.
A2 Hosting Pricing Compared
So you probably saw this pricing board and went like, “Hey, that’s cheap,” well, this is only the case in annual plans.
In terms of StartUp Web hosting, the pricing is different.
In terms of Kickstart Reseller, it’s also different the lower you go.
The Runway VPS Hosting plan also has differences.
And the Sprint Dedicated Server’s pricing is a bit different:
Now, I’m not saying that their 36 month and 12-month plans are not legitimate, they are, but it can be a bit misleading if you are not sure what you are looking for. The one-month plans are expensive by comparison.
Your website hosting provider has a huge impact on your page load speed and ultimately your bottom line. That's because faster sites have better SEO rankings, lower bounce rates and higher conversion rates.
A2 Hosting is fast and does everything well. I specifically love the fact that it has many back-up and security features that you would have to pay for elsewhere. It leads with its uptime guarantee, as well as its money-back guarantee, so it doesn’t hurt to try it out if you are trying to find a new web hosting for your website.
What I particularly love about it is the fact that it has countless features; so much in fact that it would take you a day at the least to go over and configure every one of them, but at least you know that you won’t have to rely on any third parties for those services.
Overall, this is an excellent option for both newcomers as well as well-established websites.