A2 Hosting Review: Less RAM, Too Many Service Interruptions, Pricey Renewals, LiteSpeed + AMD EPYC Only On High Plans

A2 hosting review

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.

 

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).

A2 hosting cpu ram
A2 Hosting comparison page
Namehero cpu ram
NameHero comparison page
Chemicloud wordpress hosting plans cpu ram
ChemiCloud comparison page
Hostinger cpu ram
Hostinger comparison page

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.

Cpu cores on litespeed hosting plans

Ram on litespeed 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:

Average cost 1 core 1gb ram hostinger vs a2 hosting vs namehero vs chemicloud

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.

Strictly referring to CPU cores + RAM, NameHero and ChemiCloud are a better value.

 

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.

A2 hosting litespeed web server

The comparison page shows how higher plans use faster technology:

A2 hosting litespeed amd epyc nvme

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.

Litespeed vs nginx vs apache
LiteSpeed vs. NGINX vs. Apache (source: LiteSpeed)

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.

Nvme vs sata
SATA SSD vs. NVMe SSD performance (source: PCWorld)

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.

A2 hosting service interruptions
A2 Hosting usually has quite a bit of service interruptions and scheduled maintenance

 

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.

A2 hosting pricing renewals

 

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
Price $49/year $42/year Free
Server-side caching x x
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
Control preloading x x
ESI (edge side includes) x x
Gravatar cache x x
Limit post revisions Delete all Delete all Keep some
CDN StackPath BunnyCDN QUIC.cloud
CDN PoPs 60 93 70 (standard plan)
CDN price $7.99/month+ $.03/GB $.02-.08/GB
HTML caching x x
Geo-replication x x
Image optimization x x
DDoS protection x x
Litespeed cache plugin
4.8/5 stars + 3M installs
A2 optimized plugin
3/5 stars + 50k installs

 

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.

A2 hosting ransomware attack

 

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.

A2 hosting domain names

 

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.

A2 hosting storage limits

A2 hosting turbo servers bad review

 

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.

A2 hosting cpanel

A2 hosting locked out of cpanel

A2 hosting locked out of cpanel 2

 

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.

A2 hosting support review

A2 hosting support review 2

 

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.

Michigan (USA)
Arizona (USA)
Amsterdam (Europe)
Singapore (Asia)

 

13. A2 Hosting Alternatives

LiteSpeed

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.

Namehero vs a2 hosting vs bluehost eig

Siteground to namehero

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 EnterpriseRedis 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.

Siteground to cloudways shoutout
My results moving from SiteGround to Cloudways in 2019

Cloudways vultr high frequency vs a2 hosting

A2 hosting to cloudways speed

  • 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.
Keycdn performance test cloudflare 1
Cloudflare free (no full page caching)
Rocket. Net keycdn performance test 1
Rocket.net Cloudflare Enterprise + full page caching
Rocket. Net top tier wordpress hosting benchmarks
Top performer on wphostingbenchmarks.com by Kevin Ohashi
Rocket. Net ben gabler testimonial
Spend 5 minutes talking with Ben Gabler

Cheers,
Tom

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5 thoughts on “A2 Hosting Review: Less RAM, Too Many Service Interruptions, Pricey Renewals, LiteSpeed + AMD EPYC Only On High Plans”

  1. Hi. I know you don’t like hostinger. They are now offering 3 GB Ram with WordPress Pro Plan while the Turbo Plan on a2 hosting is offering 2 GB Ram. The data center for Hostinger is closer to my country (i.e India) while the data center of a2 hosting is located in Singapore (More distance from country). Would you still recommend using a2 hosting?. I want to know your opinion because I trust you.

    Reply
    • Look into ChemiCloud. Uses LiteSpeed, more CPU/RAM than Hostinger for cheaper, data center in Singapore, great TrustPilot rating.

      Reply
  2. Hi Tom,

    this is very good write up, thanks for the test results and comparisons.

    Long time siteground user, looking for alternatives since I received 3x my original bill.

    I plan to host my personal site and those of friends and family.

    Which a2 hosting plan did you use for the tests? Start up, drive, turbo boost or turbo max

    Reply
    • Hey Vijay,

      I used the Turbo Boost plan in the test, although my gilfriend’s site uses the Startup plan and it works fine for a smaller, lower traffic site. Just depends on your budget and speed needs. But for the same price as Turbo Boost, you can also get a $10/month DO plan from Cloudways which should be faster (but doesn’t use cPanel). Hope that helps :)

      Reply

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