A2 Hosting is “OK” but there are better options.
After hosting my ex’s restaurant website with them, we moved to NameHero for a few reasons.
First off, a main benefit of A2 Hosting is LiteSpeed and AMD EPYC servers, but you have to use their Turbo Boost plan for $7/month to get these. I could spend $1/month more and get pretty much the same plan on NameHero only we’re getting 3 CPU + 3GB RAM instead of 2 CPU + 3GB RAM on A2. If you pull up A2’s spec page and compare it to NameHero’s, you’ll see what I mean.
Second, A2’s uptimes aren’t great and their network status page has alarmingly frequent interruptions. This has always been a problem with A2. I also kept the ransomware attack in mind which happened to A2 in 2019 and I didn’t want to experience anything like that either.
Finally, renewal rates are almost 3x intro prices. We signed up for 3 years to get the best price, but there’s no way we’re paying $21/month for any shared hosting – and you shouldn’t either.
The only reason I’d use A2 Hosting is if you need to use their Asian data center. Otherwise, I would use NameHero if your visitors are from US or EU, Scala Hosting or ChemiCloud (which both use LiteSpeed and have 4.9+ star TrustPilot ratings). Then Rocket.net for over $25/month.
- Less RAM than similar LiteSpeed hosts
- LiteSpeed + NVMe AMD EPYC servers on higher plans only
- Too many service interruptions
- Renewals are about 3x intro prices
- LiteSpeed Cache > A2 Optimized Plugin
- 2019 ransomware attack
- No free domain names
- “Unlimited” is not unlimited
- Beware of getting locked out of cPanel
- Free migration risk
- Many complaints about support on TrustPilot
- Asian data center
- A2 Hosting alternatives
1. Less RAM Than Similar LiteSpeed Hosts
Each of these hosts has a “specs page” where you can see the number of CPU cores + RAM you’re getting on each plan (among other things like whether a plan uses LiteSpeed, NVMe, etc).
When you put it together, this is the chart you get. There are missing bars because A2 doesn’t use LiteSpeed on their lower 2 plans, and ChemiCloud only offers 3 WordPress hosting plans.
When you add the price of all their WordPress hosting plans together, then divide by the total number of CPU cores/RAM, you get the average cost of 1 CPU core + 1GB RAM. Here’s the result:
On average, you pay more on A2 than NameHero/ChemiCloud. Some people think Hostinger is cheap, but it’s only because you’re paying $1-2 less on each plan for roughly half the CPU/RAM.
2. LiteSpeed + NVMe AMD EPYC Servers On Higher Plans Only
You have to use at least the Turbo Boost plan to get these. A2 even has a page showcasing their LiteSpeed hosting plans.
While it’s common for hosts to use better servers and NVMe storage on higher plans, I’m not sure why A2 Hosting doesn’t use LiteSpeed servers on all their plans while most other hosts do.
The comparison page shows how higher plans use faster technology:
LiteSpeed – A2’s lower 2 plans use Apache while the higher 2 plans use LiteSpeed servers. LiteSpeed is not only faster than Apache/NGINX, but this also means you can use the free LiteSpeed Cache plugin + QUIC.cloud CDN which is arguably the fastest/cheapest setup right now. LSC uses faster server-side caching and does an excellent job addressing core web vitals. QUIC.cloud CDN integrates with LiteSpeed and is needed for image/page optimization and also does HTML caching (similar to Cloudflare APO). I would definitely use QUIC’s standard (paid) plan which uses all 70 PoPs with DDoS protection, while the free plan only uses 6 PoPs without DDoS protection. See my LiteSpeed Cache settings guide which walks you through setting it up.
While these polls were taken in 2020, it’s clear LiteSpeed is overtaking Apache/NGINX.
NVMe Storage – A2’s lower plans use SATA SSDs while higher plans use NVMe SSDs.
Other limitations on their lower 2 plans:
- No staging
- Lacking security features
- No traffic surge protection
- StartUp plan has less storage, databases, inodes
- StartUp plan doesn’t have server rewind (file recovery)
3. Too Many Service Interruptions
A2’s system status page can have a lot of interruptions and “scheduled maintenance.”
While they have a 99.9% uptime guarantee, the TOS says scheduled maintenance does not count as downtimes. This is common with hosting and means you probably won’t get 99.9%.
“Servers and network equipment require routine maintenance and upgrades (“Scheduled Downtime”) and you acknowledge that from time to time the Services may be unavailable for various reasons, including due to Scheduled Downtime or causes beyond our control.”
Most uptime tests aren’t reliable since it depends on which server/node you use. If there’s an interruption on A2’s Asian data center but your server is in the US, it’s silly to publish an uptime test claiming you got 99.99%. Check the network status page and don’t listen to BS uptime tests.
4. Renewals Are About 3x Intro Prices
Renewals are about 3x intro prices and you also have to sign up for 3 years to get the cheapest price. While this is standard in shared hosting, 3x renewals is way too high and not worth it. If you do this, I would setup a notification on your phone’s calendar to remind yourself to cancel.
5. LiteSpeed Cache > A2 Optimized Plugin
Do not use the A2 Optimized Plugin.
You’ll want to use LiteSpeed Cache if you bought Turbo Boost or Turbo Max which use LiteSpeed servers, or use FlyingPress on the 2 lower plans which use Apache. Both are better than WP Rocket (they do a better job of addressing core web vitals as well as optimizing for real world browsing) and are obviously better than A2 Optimized which clearly has horrible reviews.
|WP Rocket||FlyingPress||LiteSpeed Cache|
|Remove unused CSS||Inline||Separate file||Separate file|
|Host Google fonts locally||x||✓||✓|
|Lazy render HTML elements||x||✓||✓|
|Lazy load background images||Inline||Helper class||Helper class|
|ESI (edge side includes)||x||x||✓|
|Limit post revisions||Delete all||Delete all||Keep some|
|CDN PoPs||60||93||70 (standard plan)|
6. 2019 Ransomware Attack
A2 Hosting’s 2019 ransomware attack went on for more than 2 weeks.
Even though it was a long time ago, this is one of the longest outages I’ve seen and A2’s customer service was no help. They lost backups and their customers lost a ton of money. Security incidents and outages are somewhat common, but this is one of the worst I’ve seen.
7. No Free Domain Names
And if you wanted to buy one through A2, it’s $16.99+/year. You’re better off using NameCheap.
8. “Unlimited” Is Not Unlimited
A2 Hosting throws around the words “unlimited” and “unmetered.”
Not only do these not exist (see A2’s acceptable use policy), but A2 Hosting also has a bad reputation for removing files + low CPU limits. There have been numerous reports of even the Turbo servers getting high CPU usage for small WordPress sites with minimal traffic/plugins.
9. Beware Of Getting Locked Out Of cPanel
Be careful with exceeding your inode limits or A2 will literally lock you out of your cPanel.
This is why I always suggest keeping web/email hosting separate (since emails can take up lots of files). There’s a reason some hosts like Kinsta and Cloudways don’t even offer email hosting.
10. Free Migration Risk
A2 Hosting offers a free migration but that doesn’t mean it will go smoothly.
Several TrustPilot reviews indicate it can take a long time for them to do it, emails sometimes don’t transfer, and you may experience downtimes. I can tell you when they migrated my ex’s website, everything went perfectly fine and I didn’t even have to contact their support one time.
11. Many Complaints About Support On TrustPilot
Most TrustPilot reviews are solicited by a hosting company’s support which is probably why A2 Hosting has a decent TrustPilot rating.
I like to look for patterns in the bad reviews. Many people say A2’s support declined over the years. Everything from long wait times to pushing upsells and giving conflicting information. You’re not going to get great support on cheap hosting anywhere so if you need it, pony up.
12. Asian Data Center
While most hosts have a data center in the US/EU, A2 also has one in Asia.
This is honestly the only reason I’d use A2 over similar hosts if your visitors are there.
13. A2 Hosting Alternatives
NameHero uses LiteSpeed on all plans and has more CPU/RAM than A2 with NVMe storage on higher plans. The catch is their data centers are only in US/EU. If you need data centers somewhere else, look into ChemiCloud or Scala Hosting. Both also use LiteSpeed on all plans, are similarly priced, and both have a 4.9/5 star TrustPilot rating.
Vultr High Frequency
Now we’re getting into cloud hosting. I was previously using Cloudways Vultr HF or you can buy it from the Vultr website and connect it to a control panel like RunCloud. Vultr HF has high CPU clock speeds with NVMe if you look at benchmarks. Cloudways has Cloudflare Enterprise + Redis Object Cache Pro and other caching layers to make your site faster. The main con is no email hosting (I use Google Workspace) and it gets expensive as you scale. They’re popular in Facebook groups and many people already posted their migration results. Cloudways has free 3-day trials, monthly pricing, a free migration, and promo code for 30% off 3 months. Some people are scared they’re too techie but launching a server can be done in a few clicks. They’re really not hard at all.
- Rocket.net – look at their specs and have a conversation with Ben Gabler (that’s all it took for me). They average a <100ms global TTFB which you can measure in KeyCDN. Their free Cloudflare Enterprise is superior than Cloudways/Kinsta with full page caching, smart purging, and built their data centers in the same ones as Cloudflare (Ben was StackPath’s Chief Product Officer so that makes sense). Just to give you an idea, their plans start at $25/mo with 32 CPU cores + 128GB RAM + NVMe SSDs + Redis. No PHP worker limits because only about 10% of traffic actually hits your origin. Everything is free (no paid add-ons) and their powerful stack makes scaling affordable with plenty of resources. I asked Ben to create a coupon OMM1 to make your first month $1. Compared to Kinsta, they use about 16x more RAM, 32x more cores on staging sites, and up to 25x more monthly visits. Top performer on wphostingbenchmarks.com with a 4.9/5 TrustPilot rating too? Take 5 minutes to compare specs and see for yourself or see my Rocket.net review.