A2 Hosting Review 2022 – Poor Uptimes With Less CPU + RAM Compared To Similar LiteSpeed Hosts, But “OK” For Cheap Hosting

A2 Hosting is OK. I use them for my girlfriend’s restaurant website, but I’ll be moving her to NameHero when it’s time to renew due to poor uptimes and several limitations on lower plans.

A2’s uptimes are poor if you check their uptime page and only higher plans use LiteSpeed servers (the main reason to use them). When you compare how much CPU + RAM you get on the comparison page to someone like NameHero’s, you get less CPU + RAM on most A2 plans. Since their price, cPanel, NVMe storage, and features are similar, using A2 doesn’t make sense.

I would still use A2 Hosting over Bluehost, GoDaddy, and maybe even SiteGround (just because they’ve been taking a turn for the worse in many areas). Otherwise, the only reason I would use A2 over similar hosts is because they have an Asia data center. And they’re cheap, but that’s it.

A2 hosting review

 

1. Poor Uptimes

A2’s uptime status page can have a lot frequent maintenance.

Even though they claim to have a 99.9% uptime guarantee, their TOS says scheduled maintenance doesn’t count as downtimes. While this is common practice with hosting, the amount of maintenance they do will probably lead to significantly worse uptimes than 99.9%. Don’t pay attention to fake uptime tests since it all depends on which server and node you get.

“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.”

A2 hosting frequency maintenance
“Scheduled maintenance”  can lead to multiple disruptions in a single day

 

2. Less CPU/RAM Than Similar Hosts

As of writing this, A2 Hosting and NameHero basically have the exact same pricing, but you’ll get more CPU/RAM on NameHero compared to A2 (with the exception of the 4th highest plan.

A2-hosting-cpu-ram
View A2 Hosting’s comparison page
Namehero cpu ram
View NameHero’s comparison page

 

3. LiteSpeed Only Used On Higher Plans

Also on that page, you’ll see that LiteSpeed servers are only used on A2’s Turbo Boost + Turbo Max plan whereas similar hosts like NameHero (and even Hostinger) use LiteSpeed on all plans.

A2 hosting litespeed servers

Since LiteSpeed is significantly faster than Apache (and arguably Nginx),  it pretty much makes their lower 2 plans obsolete, at least if you care about speed/core web vitals. If you do choose a plan that uses LiteSpeed, make sure you use the LiteSpeed Cache plugin which I will cover next.

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

 

4. A2 Optimized Plugin Doesn’t Beat LiteSpeed Cache

A huge benefit of LiteSpeed is that you’re able to use the LiteSpeed Cache plugin which is arguably the faster cache plugin with great reviews, server caching, and addresses web vitals.

On A2’s lower 2 plans (which don’t use LiteSpeed), you have to use an alternative cache plugin. The A2 Optimized Plugin only has a 3/5 star rating and is obviously not great, so you’d need to use something like WP Rocket or FlyingPress to get the best results (since most free cache plugin usually don’t address core web vitals). Another reason to use Turbo Boost or Turbo Max.

Litespeed cache plugin
4.8/5 star rating + 1M installs
A2 optimized plugin
3/5 star rating + 50k installs
Wordpress a2 optimized
A2 Optimized plugin only has basic speed optimizations

 

5. Limitations On Lower Plans

All shared hosting companies have CPU limits, not just A2.

You can always find this on their terms of service page. I would personally skip shared hosting all together if you’re running plugins or themes that consume high CPU (WooCommerce, Divi, Elementor, even WPML or AdSense). These require more server resources and you will likely run into CPU limitations on any shared hosting (if this is you, I recommend Cloudways instead).

A2 hosting cpu limits

 

6. 2019 Ransomware Attack

A2 Hosting’s 2019 ransomware attack went on for more than 2 weeks.

A2 hosting ransomware attack

 

7. “Unlimited” Is Not Unlimited

Just like unlimited bandwidth doesn’t exist, neither does unlimited storage.

A2’s pricing page says “unlimited storage” but their acceptable use policy page says your use of resources may not exceed that of similar situated customers… large photo galleries, audio files, MP3 files, and online backups may be removed at their sole discretion without notice. I haven’t heard of anyone having this nightmare, but I have heard of people running out of storage on A2 and either having to remove files or upgrade the plan. Either way, it’s something to think about.

A2 hosting storage limits

 

8. cPanel Is User-Friendly

A2’s cPanel is user-friendly while SiteGround’s Site Tools or Cloudways can be hit or miss.

For the most part, you know what you’re getting with cPanel: backups, SSL, staging, domain and database options, along with some speed and security features. One of the main complaints about SiteGround is them taking away cPanel, and Cloudways is “more technical” than cPanel.

A2-hosting-cpanel

 

9. Asian Data Center

Many shared hosting don’t have a data center in Asia, so this is a plus if that’s where your visitors are located. Still, they only have data centers in 3 countries: US, Europe, and Asia.

A2 Hosting Data Centers
Michigan (USA)
Arizona (USA)
Amsterdam (Europe)
Singapore (Asia)

 

10. TTFB Actually Isn’t Bad

300-400ms is an average TTFB for A2 Hosting.

I set up the same exact website on 15+ different hosting companies using the same Astra Starter Site and plugins. When compared to other shared hosting, A2 was one of the fastest.

The data center used for this website was Arizona.

A2 hosting confirmation

Hosting comparisons pingdom

 

11. Basic Website/Speed Features

Cloudflare, PHP 7.4, caching, and hotlink protection are all inside your cPanel.

I recommend using all these to further improve load times. Simply sign up for a free Cloudflare plan, upgrade to PHP 7.4 using the PHP Selector option in A2, and enable hotlink protection to prevent bandwidth consumption from people copying/pasting images on your website to theirs.

A2 optimized settings

Staging is only available on their managed WordPress hosting.

This lets you clone your site to update plugins, install new plugins, or test new designs without worrying about breaking your live site. When you’re done, launch it to the live site with 1-click.

 

12. Support Is Fine, But Some Complaints

You’re going to get mixed reviews with any shared host, so I always try to include the best and worst review of a company’s support on their TrustPilot reviews which has a 4.2/5 star rating.

A2 has good support for the price. It’s not going to beat Kinsta (or what SiteGround used to be but no longer is). Right now in 2020, it’s one of the better places to get support for it’s low price.

Support options include phone, live chat, and tickets.

Good a2 trustpilot review

Bad a2 trustpilot review

 

13. Automatic Security Patches Are A Plus

I like how A2 sends you email updates warning you of vulnerabilities in WordPress, then automatically applies the patches for you. While most hosting companies show you the vulnerabilities and have a “status page,” they won’t directly fix it for you. Big kudos to A2.

A2 hosting security patch

 

14. Free Migration

Like most hosts, A2 hosting offers free migrations.

A2 hosting migration prompt

 

15. Pros & Cons Of A2 Hosting

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Easy to use cPanel
  • Fast TTFB for the price
  • Support is good (for the price)
  • More speed features than most shared hosting

Cons

  • Support isn’t as good as it used to be
  • Shared hosting is limited on resources
  • A2 Optimized WordPress plugin isn’t great

 

16. Cheap Pricing + High Renewals

A2 has separate pricing for shared and managed WordPress hosting.

The main difference is Drive has 2x more server resources than Startup, and Turbo Boost has 5x accordingly. Turbo Boost comes with faster CPU performance, and Turbo Max comes with 5x more server resources than Startup. You get what you pay for in terms of speed and storage.

The same concept applies with A2’s Managed WordPress Hosting. The basic plans comes with 2 CPU + 2 RAM, 3 CPU + RAM for the middle plan, and 4 CPU + 4 RAM for the highest plan. All of A2’s managed hosting accounts come with staging, the Plesk control panel, and other features.

A2 hosting pricing

A2 hosting managed wordpress pricing

 

17. A Decent SiteGround Alternative

A2 Hosting is definitely an upgrade over SiteGround, especially now.

As explained in my SiteGround review, they have gone completely downhill with their constant price increases, renewal prices, reduced support, ditching cPanel, CPU limits, and they’ve even corrupted Facebook Groups (the SiteGround community manager is an admin for some of these groups). As an ex-super affiliate of SiteGround, I would 100% use A2 over SiteGround.

 

18. Conclusion: A2 Has It’s Place, But It’s Not The Best

Instead of A2, I would look into:

  • NameHero – cheap with similar pricing, cPanel, and features as NameHero (only you get more CPU/RAM with LiteSpeed on all plans with better uptimes/support). Main downside is they only have data centers in the US and Netherlands. I have no complaints otherwise.
  • Cloudways Vultr High Frequency – a little pricier at $13/mo but cloud hosting instead of shared (it’s what I use and you can check my GTmetrix report). NVMe storage with high CPU clock speeds. Main downside is no email hosting – so you’ll need Google Workspace.
Keycdn ttfb performance test
TTFB on Cloudways Vultr HF (with Cloudflare APO) measured in KeyCDN

Cheers,
Tom

About Tom Dupuis

Tom Dupuis writes WordPress speed and SEO tutorials out of his apartment in Denver, Colorado. In his spare time, he plays Rocket League and watches murder documentaries. Read his bio to learn 50 random and disturbing things about him.

3 thoughts on “A2 Hosting Review 2022 – Poor Uptimes With Less CPU + RAM Compared To Similar LiteSpeed Hosts, But “OK” For Cheap Hosting

  1. 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

    1. 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 :)

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