A2 Hosting vs. SiteGround – the first option is 1693ms faster

A2-Hosting-vs-SiteGround

Deciding between A2 Hosting vs SiteGround?

A2 Hosting isn’t as popular as SiteGround but they’re actually a better choice. In speed tests, A2 Hosting had faster load times and TTFBs than SiteGround likely because they use faster LiteSpeed servers. After SiteGround reduced what used to be great support, A2’s support is now better than SiteGround’s. Their user-friendly cPanel is easy to navigate and you know what to expect when it comes to it’s features. They also do free cPanel migrations. I use A2 Hosting for my girlfriend’s restaurant website and it’s a great balance between cheap, fast, and reliable.

SiteGround changed many things in 2020 (which weren’t for the better). While they used to be a great host, they increased prices, reduced support, replaced cPanel with Site Tools, and enforce strict CPU limits which are mysteriously unfixable and force to you to constantly upgrade your plan. Rather than listening to what customers actually want, it seems they are following their own agenda with the sole purpose of increasing their profits. After referring nearly 3,000 people to SiteGround, I left them not only as a customer, but as an affiliate as well.

When comparing A2 Hosting vs. SiteGround, A2 Hosting is less popular but has faster speeds and reliability, while SiteGround is now unpredictable with slower servers and reduced support.

I would appreciate you using my affiliate link to A2 Hosting (the winner). I also donate a good chunk of my income to GoFundMe campaigns – your support would really help!

A2 HostingSiteGround
Speed TestFastSlow
SupportAverageNot Great
DashboardcPanelSite Tools
FeaturesAverageMany
Cache PluginA2 OptimizedSG Optimizer
MigrationsFree cPanel Migrations$30/Site
UptimesGreatGreat
SecurityGreatGreat
Data Centers46
Resource LimitsAverageStrict
PricingCheap/AverageAverage
TrustPilot Rating4.2/54.8/5
Facebook Group FeedbackGoodRecently Poor
ConclusionA2 Hosting is less popular but has a better reputation in Facebook Groups and a top SiteGround alternative in Facebook polls. They were faster in nearly all speed tests since they use LiteSpeed servers.SiteGround has gone very much downhill in 2020. Between price increases, slower TTFBs, reduced support, and ditching cPanel, SiteGround has become less and less attractive as many people complain in Facebook Groups.

 

1. Speed Test – A2 Hosting Is 1693ms Faster Than SiteGround

A2 Hosting is actually faster than SiteGround.

I signed up for A2 Hosting’s TurboBoost plan and SiteGround’s GrowBig plan.

Then I installed the same Astra Starter Site on different domains to measure each one’s load times and TTFB in multiple speed testing tools. No cache plugins or CDNs were used. In the speed test, A2 Hosting averaged a 123s faster load time and 123s faster TTFB than SiteGround.

Keep in mind A2 Hosting uses LiteSpeed servers when SiteGround uses Google Cloud servers. The SG Optimizer and A2 Optimized plugin were not installed because we’re measuring the speed of their servers. No CDNs were used, however both A2 and SiteGround have Cloudflare.

A2 Hosting Reports

A2 Hosting TTFB GTmetrix

A2 Hosting TTFB KeyCDN

A2 Hosting WebPageTest

A2 Hosting Server Response Time

SiteGround Reports

SiteGround TTFB GTmetrix

SiteGround TTFB KeyCDN

SiteGround WebPageTest

SiteGround Server Response Time

Here is the Pingdom report comparing 16 different hosts. Pingdom performed 30 minute check intervals for a period of 7 days, meaning 336 individual tests were done on each website. A2 has an average load time of 587ms while SiteGround had a 2280ms load time, a 1693ms difference.

WordPress-Hosting-2020-Pingdom-Test

I took all the reports I had to make a chart:

A2-Hosting-vs-SiteGround-Speed-Test-2020

 

2. Support – A2 Is Consistent, SiteGround Got Worse

A2 Hosting’s support has always been good, but SiteGround’s has gotten worse:

  • Disabled live chat function
  • Made it difficult to find support in dashboard
  • Moved priority support from GrowBig to GoGeek
  • Reduced support which eliminated anything not related to hosting

At this point, A2 Hosting’s support is just as good as SiteGround’s if not better. SiteGround’s support used to be awesome, but since their clear intention to increase profits by significantly reducing support, A2 Hosting is the winner in this section. Unlike SiteGround, they are reliable.

SiteGround-Tech-Support

Good A2 TrustPilot Review

 

3. Features – SiteGround Has More Features Than A2 Hosting

SiteGround has more robust features than A2 Hosting.

These can be seen on SiteGround’s features page and A2 Hosting’s features page.

Between SiteGround’s SG Optimizer plugin and Site Tools, they are loaded with features. A2 Hosting has cPanel and the A2 Optimized plugin, but that plugin isn’t nearly as good as SG Optimizer (one of the biggest feature differences). SiteGround also offers Ultrafast PHP which they claim can reduce TTFB by up to 50%, but that isn’t proven since they don’t show any tests.

A2-Hosting-Features

SiteGround-WordPress-Features

 

4. Cache Plugin – SG Optimizer vs. A2 Optimized

A2 Hosting and SiteGround have their own cache plugins (A2 Optimized and SG Optimizer).

SG Optimizer is significantly better and is comparable (or now even better) than WP Rocket thank to big updates to SG Optimizer. Now, SG Optimizer comes with nearly every feature in WP Rocket including database cleanup, heartbeat control, advanced caching, minification, lazy load, combining CSS + JS files, and much more. SG Optimizer is the biggest thing SiteGround has going for them and I wrote a detailed tutorial on my recommended SG Optimizer settings.

SG-Optimizer-Plugin

A2-Optimized-Plugin

 

5. Dashboard – A2 Hosting cPanel vs. SiteGround Site Tools

A2 Hosting uses cPanel while SiteGround uses their own Site Tools.

There have been many complaints about Site Tools (just read the blog comments) especially since SiteGround was in a rush to build it once cPanel increased prices. They also used their customers as beta testers while they fixed bugs. When cPanel increased prices, SiteGround immediately left them. But when SiteGround increases prices, they expect customers to stay.

A2 Hosting cPanel:

A2 Hosting cPanel

SiteGround’s Site Tools:

 

6. Migrations – Do They Offer Free Migrations Or Tools?

A2 Hosting offers free cPanel while migrations while SiteGround offers migrations for $30 per site. SiteGround also has a WordPress Migrator plugin if you want to migrate websites yourself.

SiteGround-Website-Transfer

 

7. Uptimes – Both Have Great Uptimes (Except During CPU Overages)

Both SiteGround and A2 Hosting have great uptimes.

If your website goes down, there’s a high chance it has to do with CPU overages (not downtimes). So be sure to read up on resource limits since SiteGround is strict about it. A2 Hosting also has a Status page while SiteGround does not. I like how A2 Hosting is transparent.

 

8. Security – Both Make Ongoing Security Patches

A2 Hosting and SiteGround make ongoing security patches.

SiteGround’s security is probably slightly better because they use ModSecurity, account isolation, and other advanced solutions while A2 doesn’t list these in their technologies.

SiteGround-Security-Features

 

9. Data Centers – Where Are They Located?

SiteGround has 2 more data centers than A2 Hosting and both allow you to select the data center location that is closest to your visitors.

SiteGround Data CentersA2 Hosting Data Centers
Council Bluff, Iowa (US)Michigan (US)
London (UK)Arizona (US)
Eemshaven (NL)Amsterdam (EU)
Frankfurt (DE)Singapore (AS)
Singapore (SG)-
Sydney (AU)-

 

10. Resource Limits – SiteGround Is Strict And Mysterious

In case you didn’t know, all shared hosting has CPU limits.

If your website, theme, and plugins consume too much CPU, most hosting companies (including A2 Hosting and SiteGround) throttle your bandwidth, causing a slower website and 503 errors.

However, SiteGround will actually take down your website and keep it down until you upgrade or wait until CPU limits reset. If you don’t upgrade, this could take weeks. What’s worse is how mysterious SiteGround’s CPU limits are. Even though I wrote a popular tutorial on reducing CPU, I was getting constant CPU overages on GoGeek. This continued even when I upgraded to their $80/month cloud hosting (as many other people have reported in Facebook Groups). I ultimately went from paying $14.99/month to $120+/month just to avoid the strict CPU limits.

For the record, I left SiteGround and never had CPU issues again.

A2 Hosting’s CPU limits can be found on their policies page:

Limits
Inodes600,000
Concurrent HTTP Connections35
Disk Usage30GB

SiteGround’s CPU limits can be found on their features page in the “server” section:

StartUpGrowBigGoGeek
Simultaneous Server Processes102030
Simultaneous Connections From Single IP101520
CPU Seconds1000/hour, 10000/day, 300000/month2000/hour, 20000/day, 600000/month4000/hour, 40000/day, 800000/month
Average Execution Time Per Day2 seconds2 seconds4 seconds
Shared Service CPU UsageNo more than 20% for a period more than 10 secondsNo more than 20% for a period more than 10 secondsNo more than 20% for a period more than 10 seconds
Server Memory Per Process768 MB768 MB768 MB
Inodes150,000300,000450,000
Minimum Cron Job Interval30 minutes30 minutes30 minutes

Conclusion: while both A2 Hosting and SiteGround have CPU limits, SiteGround’s are more strictly enforced and used as a ploy to make you upgrade. There have been many complaints about this in Facebook Groups and this is one of the biggest reasons people leave SiteGround.

 

11. Pricing – Both Are Cheap But Have High Renewal Prices

Both A2 Hosting and SiteGround have low initial prices and high renewal prices.

A2 Hosting does make you pay for 3 years upfront to get the cheapest price while SiteGround only requires 1 year. However, that would also mean your higher SiteGround renewal prices kick in after just 1 year. With A2 Hosting, you can start for as little as $2.99/month while SiteGround starts at $9.99/month. However, the higher A2 plans are faster since they come with more server resources and Turbo Servers which definitely make big speed improvements.

A2 Hosting Pricing:

A2 Hosting Pricing

SiteGround Pricing:

SiteGround-Plans

 

12. TrustPilot Rating – Who Has The Better Rating?

SiteGround has better TrustPilot reviews (4.8/5) than A2 Hosting (4.2/5).

But SiteGround’s support also directs happy customers to leave good TrustPilot reviews, so it’s not completely unbiased (it doesn’t seem like A2 Hosting does this). The majority of complaints are about support, but SiteGround also has complaints about the many cons listed in this article.

SiteGround-TrustPilot-Reviews

A2-Hosting-TrustPilot-Reviews

 

13. Facebook Group Feedback – What Are Unbiased People Saying?

SiteGround is definitely more popular than A2 Hosting.

But SiteGround also has countless complaints about them if you dig through Facebook Groups. And since they increased prices, many people who are looking for alternatives are voting for A2. Either way, I recommend joining the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group and do your research.

SiteGround Alternative
SiteGround Alternative Beginners

 

14. Conclusion – The Winner Of A2 Hosting vs. SiteGround

While SiteGround wins in popularity, A2 Hosting wins in speed, support, pricing, and reliability.

They don’t constantly change their infrastructure and use their customers as beta testers like SiteGround. Nor do they raise prices, enforce strict CPU limits, or reduce their support like SiteGround. It seems while SiteGround is increasing prices (while making their service much worse), A2 Hosting has always been a reliable choice for low-cost hosting. That’s why they win.

Get hosting from A2

 

15. A Better Alternative – Cloudways

I wouldn’t call A2 Hosting (and especially SiteGround) outstanding hosting.

If you can afford $10/month, I highly recommend DigitalOcean on Cloudways.

They are significantly faster than SiteGround or A2 Hosting (I blog about speed for a living and I use them) and you can view my GTmetrix report as an example. They were also #1 in speed tests and highly recommended in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group (most people who leave SiteGround go to Cloudways). Pricing is monthly with no high renewals and their support + features are robust no matter which plan you choose. Do your research – Cloudways is legit.

What happened when I moved from SiteGround to Cloudways:

Cloudways Shoutout

Other people who moved to Cloudways and posted results:

Cloudways Response Times

Cloudways-Migration-Result

Cloudways Google PageSpeed

WP Engine To Cloudways

DigitalOcean Pingdom Report

Cloudways Server Response Times

Untitled

WPEngine-To-Cloudways

Godaddy DigitalOcean Migration

Cloudways Pingdom Load Times

Cloudways Pingdom Report

Namecheap To Cloudways Migration

 
They were also #1 in most recent Facebook polls:

Hosting-Recommendation

Moving-From-WPX

SiteGround-Alternatives

Preferred-Web-Hosting

Elementor-Hosting

Web-Hosting-France

SiteGround-Alternative

VPS-Cloud-Hosting

If you decide to use Cloudways, I recommend their $10/month DigitalOcean plan.

Cloudways-Pricing

You can save 25% off your first 2 months. with this promo code: OMM25

Cloudways Promo Code

Request a free migration from Cloudways and enjoy the faster load times :)

OMM GTmetrix Report 2021
For how long this post is with tons of images/comments, it still loads in .8s

I use Cloudways because:

  • Even posts with a 2.70MB page size can load in under 2s.
  • DigitalOcean and Vultr HF are miles faster than shared hosting.
  • It’s $10-$13/month (no yearly contracts or high renewal prices).
  • Server caching (Varnish, Redis, memcached) = faster performance.
  • You get to pick from DigitalOcean, Vultr HF, Linode, AWS, Google Cloud.
  • They have 25+ data centers between all their cloud hosting providers.
  • No CPU issues like on SiteGround, Bluehost, and other shared hosting.
  • SSL, staging, and backups are all very easy in the Cloudways dashboard.
  • Support used to be average, but is now really good as reflected on TrustPilot.
  • They offer a free migration but their Migrator plugin will also do the trick.
  • Adding a server, migrating your site, and the dashboard is actually very easy.
  • Muhammed (their community manager) gave me peace of mind when moving.
  • Only complaint is they need to add LiteSpeed servers to their list of providers.

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways using my affiliate link, I would seriously appreciate it. I don’t recommend bad hosting like many other affiliates. I also donate quite a bit to charity ($6,000 to GoFundMe so far) and your support would really help. I try to base my reviews not only from my experience, but real evidence from the overwhelming feedback in numerous Facebook Groups. It would mean a lot.

OMM on Cloudways DigitalOcean

Do your research or look at this Facebook thread.

I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions or need hosting recommendations, leave a comment or again, join me in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group. Cheers and good luck!

Tom

About Tom Dupuis

Tom Dupuis 2017Tom 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.

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