Deciding between A2 Hosting vs SiteGround?
A2 Hosting isn’t as popular as SiteGround, but they’re a better choice. In speed tests, A2 Hosting had a faster load time + TTFB than SiteGround. A2’s LiteSpeed plans use LiteSpeed servers which are a newer, faster type of server and can use the free LiteSpeed Cache plugin (better than SiteGround Optimizer). After SiteGround reduced support, A2’s is now better than SiteGround’s. Their user-friendly cPanel is easy and you know what features to expect. I use A2 Hosting for my girlfriend’s restaurant site and it’s cheap, fast, and reliable (great for small sites).
SiteGround changed many things since 2019 which weren’t for the better. While they used to be a great host, they increased prices, reduced support, TTFB has gotten very slow, and they enforce strict CPU limits which are often unfixable (they will take down your website until you upgrade). SiteGround is following their own agenda by cutting costs at the expense of a declined service. After referring 3,000 people, I left SiteGround both as a customer and affiliate.
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). SiteGround pays higher commissions ($150/sale) than A2 ($100/sale) which is why most people recommend SiteGround, but I refuse to be a sellout. SiteGround’s service has also declined since 2019 which I’ll explain in this review. Thank you if you decide to use it.
|Cache Plugin||LiteSpeed Cache||SiteGround Optimizer|
|Migrations||Free cPanel Migrations||$30/Site|
|Uptimes||Frequent Maintenance||Google Blocked Their DNS|
|Resource Limits||Average||CPU Seconds|
|Pricing||Cheap Intros + High Renewals||Cheap Intros + High Renewals|
|Facebook Group Feedback||Good||Censored|
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 and SiteGround’s GrowBig plan, then installed the same Astra Starter Site on different domains to measure each one’s load times and TTFB in multiple tools. No cache plugin/CDN were used and they both used the same 6 plugins. In the speed test, A2 Hosting had a 1693ms faster load time + 826ms faster TTFB than SiteGround.
A2 Hosting Reports
Here is the Pingdom report comparing 16 different plans. 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.
Summary of the reports:
Proof I’m not lying about SiteGround’s slow TTFB:
2. Cache Plugin – LiteSpeed Cache vs SiteGround Optimizer
Both plugins are actually very solid (they both address core web vitals and use server-side caching which is faster than most cache plugin’s file-based caching. I wrote tutorials on both the LiteSpeed Cache settings and SiteGround Optimizer settings, but LiteSpeed Cache is definitely better. It has more features/settings which makes it a little more difficult to configure, but gives you more optimizations (QUIC.cloud CDN, Redis, guest mode, ESI, etc) as well as more control.
3. Support – A2 Hosting Is Consistent, SiteGround Got Worse
A2 Hosting’s support has always been decent, 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
- Added a scope of support disclaimer limiting it to “malfunctions in their systems”
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.
4. Migrations – A2 Hosting Has Free cPanel Migrations, SiteGround Is $30/Site
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:
SiteGround’s Site Tools:
6. Features – SiteGround Has More Features Than A2 Hosting
SiteGround has more robust features than A2 Hosting.
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.
7. Uptimes – A2’s Frequent Maintenance vs. SiteGround’s DNS Issue
Not gonna lie, neither A2 or SiteGround have perfect uptimes.
SiteGround had a major issue where their DNS was blocked by Googlebot for 4 days which resulted in huge profit losses and customer websites disappearing from Google. SiteGround initially said there wasn’t an issue, didn’t advise customers to move to an external DNS, then came out with a fix a few days later without taking any responsibility. People were pissed. You also have to consider that SiteGround can take down your site if you exceed their CPU limits.
Status Update: We are glad to inform you that we have implemented a fix for the Google bot crawling issue experienced by some sites. Websites are already being crawled successfully. Please allow a few hours for the DNS changes to take effect. Thank you for your patience!
— SiteGround (@SiteGround) November 12, 2021
You should be advising people to move to an external DNS to resolve the issues if it is causing them massive losses in business. I have just sorted our connectivity issue in around 25 minutes by moving to googles DNS. If you had let us know 4 days ago, we wouldnt be £20k+ down!
— Jon Bunce (@thejonbunce) November 11, 2021
If you move to your Google Search Console > SETTINGS > CRAWL STATS you will, if unlucky like me, see something like this :-( pic.twitter.com/ocBEkWKsaw
— Tristan Haskins (@trishaskins) November 12, 2021
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.
9. Data Centers – A2 Hosting vs SiteGround Server Locations
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 Centers||A2 Hosting Data Centers|
|Council Bluff, Iowa (US)||Michigan (US)|
|London (UK)||Arizona (US)|
|Eemshaven (NL)||Amsterdam (EU)|
|Frankfurt (DE)||Singapore (AS)|
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:
|STARTUP||DRIVE||TURBO BOOST||TURBO MAX|
SiteGround’s CPU limits can be found on their features page in the “server” section:
|Simultaneous Server Processes||10||20||30|
|Simultaneous Connections From Single IP||10||15||20|
|CPU Seconds||1000/hour, 10000/day, 300000/month||2000/hour, 20000/day, 600000/month||4000/hour, 40000/day, 800000/month|
|Average Execution Time Per Day||2 seconds||2 seconds||4 seconds|
|Shared Service CPU Usage||No more than 20% for a period more than 10 seconds||No more than 20% for a period more than 10 seconds||No more than 20% for a period more than 10 seconds|
|Server Memory Per Process||768 MB||768 MB||768 MB|
|Minimum Cron Job Interval||30 minutes||30 minutes||30 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:
12. TrustPilot Rating – Who Has The Better Rating?
SiteGround has better TrustPilot reviews (4.7/5) than A2 Hosting (4.4/5).
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.
13. Facebook Group Feedback – What People Say About A2 vs. SiteGround
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 WP Speed Matters Facebook Group and do your research. Many Facebook Groups like WordPress Speed Up are controlled by SiteGround’s community manager (Hristo) and affiliates who remove negative posts about their brand and ban members.
14. Winner – A2 Hosting Is Better Than SiteGround
While SiteGround wins in popularity, A2 Hosting wins in speed, support, and pricing.
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.
15. Alternatives – Cloudways & NameHero
A2 and SiteGround do have some cons. I generally recommend Cloudways Vultr High Frequency (what I use) or NameHero (which uses LiteSpeed) over A2 and SiteGround. They both have a faster TTFB, support, uptimes, and a solid reputation in most Facebook Groups.
Cloudways – their Vultr High Frequency plan is very popular in Facebook Groups, at least the ones not moderated by SiteGround. I use it and you can check my TTFB. It’s a little more “techie” only because it requires an extra step to launch a server and they use a custom dashboard. Otherwise, it’s easy to get used to, is monthly pricing with no high renewals, and includes a 3-day trial with a free migration. Cons are email hosting costs $1/email/month, no file manager, and I don’t recommend their Breeze plugin or CDN (StackPath) so you would need to use something like WP Rocket/FlyingPress and Cloudflare/BunnyCDN. They were also voted the #1 host in numerous Facebook polls.
NameHero – more beginner-friendly than Cloudways with cPanel, cheap prices, outstanding support, and great feedback in Facebook Groups. They use LiteSpeed servers which are faster than Apache and traditional hosting. Which also means you can use the free LiteSped Cache plugin + QUIC.cloud CDN. These use server-level caching and is faster than WP Rocket’s file-based caching with HTTP/3. Their CEO (Ryan) is a genuinely helpful guy if you watch his YouTube videos. I usually suggest their Turbo Cloud plan which has 3GB RAM + NVMe. Also includes a free migration.
I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment.