A2 Hosting: A Great Option for First-Time Site Owners

A2 Hosting: A Great Option for First-Time Site Owners


  • Low introductory pricing
  • Plenty of storage on shared hosting plans
  • Wide variety of plans
  • Auto-install WordPress tools make it easy to set up a site
  • Lots of security features even on the lowest-cost plan


  • High renewal cost
  • Inconsistent customer service for support tickets and phone

A2 Hosting is an independent web hosting company with affordable plans for websites of all shapes and sizes, from first-time hobby blogs to enterprise-level business sites. The big question is: How does it stack up against well-known web hosting companies like GoDaddy?

To answer this question, I reviewed and tested several aspects of A2 Hosting. I researched its plans and pricing, then purchased a plan to test A2 Hosting’s ease of use, performance, security, and customer support. I used our system for testing web hosting to structure my tests and ensure similar accuracy to our other web hosting reviews.

A2 Hosting plans and pricing: Variety and value

A2 Hosting offers numerous web hosting types, including shared hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS — virtual private server — hosting, dedicated hosting and reseller hosting.

Shared hosting is the best option for beginners, so I’ve done a detailed breakdown of these plans and provided basic information about the other hosting types to help you choose the best plan for your site. I’ve left out reseller hosting because it’s intended for folks who want to sell web hosting plans, not people who want to create their own website.

I’ve also compiled basic information about these hosting types into the following table:

Hosting type Best for Pricing
Shared hosting Blogs, for-fun hobby sites and small business websites Starts at $3-$15 a month, rises to $13-$30 a month on renewal
Managed WordPress hosting Bloggers, hobbyists and small businesses who want to create a WordPress site without worrying about CMS management Starts at $12-$42 a month, rises to $26-$62 a month on renewal
VPS hosting Medium to large business websites and other sites with complex data or server customization needs Starts at $3-$90 a month for unmanaged and $36-$100 a month for managed
Dedicated hosting Large business websites and other sites with data or server customization needs too complex for VPS hosting Starts at $200-$536 a month, rises to $280-$750 a month on renewal

Shared hosting

Shared hosting, listed on the A2 Hosting site as “web hosting,” stores numerous websites on one physical server, allocating a limited amount of the server’s resources — like bandwidth and processing power — to each site. Splitting server maintenance costs also allows companies to offer shared hosting for affordable prices, making it ideal for first-time website builders.

A2 Hosting offers four shared hosting plans. All of these plans include:

  • Free SSL certificate
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Perpetual security: daily Kernel updates, DDoS protection, firewall, brute-force protection and virus scanning
  • Optimized auto-install of WordPress and other popular content management systems
  • Auto-updates for core WordPress software
  • Special interface for installing plugin and theme sets to WordPress
  • Anycast DNS — domain name system — for improved loading speed
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • Free site migration
  • Email hosting for unlimited email addresses
  • 24/7 customer support

There are also some differences between the various plans:

Plan Storage Number of websites Cost
Startup 100GB SSD 1 Starts at $3 a month, rises to $13 a month on renewal
Drive Unlimited SSD Unlimited Starts at $6 a month, rises to $16 a month on renewal
Turbo Boost Unlimited NvME Unlimited Starts at $7 a month, goes up to $25 a month on renewal
Turbo Max Unlimited NvME Unlimited Starts at $15 a month, rises to $30 a month on renewal

All prices are based on a one-year term.

Managed WordPress hosting

WordPress hosting is a type of hosting optimized for WordPress, a content management system — CMS — used to create and maintain landing pages, blog posts and other content. This hosting type always comes with preinstalled WordPress and may include other features like automatic WordPress updates and preinstalled themes or plugins.

A2 Hosting’s WordPress hosting page includes listings for VPS and dedicated hosting. But if you look closely, those aren’t true WordPress hosting plans — they’re regular VPS and dedicated hosting plans with one-click installation for WordPress.

You’ll find A2 Hosting’s full list of WordPress plans on the Managed WordPress page. Managed hosting means that your web host handles all or most aspects of server configuration and maintenance, including performing CMS updates. These plans include automated backups, the WordPress Deluxe Toolkit, NvME — nonvolatile memory express — storage and LiteSpeed server caching.

The most affordable managed WordPress hosting option, Run, starts at $12 a month and increases to $26 a month on renewal. The Sell plan at the other end of the cost spectrum begins at $42 a month and increases to $62 a month on renewal.

VPS hosting

VPS hosting involves partitioning one physical server into several virtual servers with dedicated resources. These hosting plans typically have more storage, processing power and bandwidth than shared hosting. You’ll also get more server customization options, such as the ability to choose your server’s operating system.

A2 Hosting offers both unmanaged and managed VPS hosting plans. Unmanaged plans start at just $3 a month for 150GB of storage and 3TB of data transfers, while managed plans start at $36 a month for 450GB of storage and 4TB of data transfers.

Dedicated hosting

Dedicated hosting allocates an entire physical server to one customer. This gives you full control over your server’s configuration, plus complete access to its storage, processing power and other resources.

A2 Hosting offers managed dedicated hosting plans starting at $200 a month. There are no unmanaged dedicated hosting plans available through A2 Hosting.

A2 Hosting ease of use: Perfect for first-time website owners

For the next stage of this A2 Hosting review, I looked at how easy it is to perform crucial tasks on A2 Hosting: purchasing a plan, account management and website and server management.

Purchasing a plan

A2 Hosting’s purchase process is the smoothest I’ve encountered so far; HostGator, GoDaddy and DreamHost were more complicated. You can do everything on one page: enter your account information, choose a domain and add your billing information. 

It’s easy to sign up for a plan with A2 Hosting.

Screenshot by CNET

The best part? Not a single upsell in sight. This is a breath of fresh air after the aggressive upsells — which often include preapproved add-ons — I’ve encountered when purchasing plans from companies like HostGator.

The worst part? There’s no mention of renewal pricing. You can see the renewal prices on the page where you select a plan, but I’d like to see it here too. Unfortunately, web hosts often obscure renewal pricing. For example, HostGator only displays renewal pricing in small text during checkout; it’s not on the plans page. So, this is more of a strike against web hosting as a whole than a strike against A2 Hosting specifically.

Account management

The A2 Hosting account dashboard is great. You can access your cPanel, view your website, and see basic usage statistics on the main page. You can also quickly access billing, domain management and customer support from the top menu.

A2 Hosting makes account management easier.

Screenshot by CNET

Website and server management

One of the first things I noticed when I logged in to A2 Hosting was the TurboHub for WordPress. The plan comes with “optimized auto-install for WordPress,” so I assumed I’d find the install option here. 

I was wrong — the TurboHub is only for sites you’ve already installed WordPress on — so I logged in to cPanel. All of the auto-install options were clearly displayed here:

It’s easy to install WordPress — and other CMS options — on A2 Hosting.

Screenshot by CNET

The installation process wasn’t quite one-click — I had to confirm my URL and WordPress account information — but I managed to set up WordPress in a few minutes. A2 Hosting also provided a startup wizard to help me get the site itself set up:

A2 Hosting makes setting up your site user-friendly.

Screenshot by CNET

The setup wizard includes some great design templates and suggestions for important pages to auto-create. You can also select a goal for your site, and the installer will auto-install plugins for you. 

Inside WordPress, you’ll see the A2 Site Assistant:

The A2 Hosting website assistant is easy to use.

Screenshot by CNET

This Site Assistant offers a welcome tour for people unfamiliar with website creation and quick access to key areas of WordPress, including the auto-installed plugins. I love how beginner-friendly this whole process is. It takes a few more clicks than installing WordPress with HostGator or GoDaddy, but it has the advantage of automatically setting up essential website pages and plugins for you so you can start building your content right away.

With my site set up, I returned to TurboHub for WordPress. Here, you can view your WordPress sites, including critical warnings. You can also set up auto-updates for WordPress and conduct essential plugin management.

A2 Hosting offers the simple to use TurboHub for WordPress that makes things like plugin installation a breeze.

Screenshot by CNET

Server management is mostly performed through cPanel, the server/file management program used by most web hosts. This makes it very easy to use if you’ve worked with another web host and fairly simple to learn if you haven’t.

Overall ease of use

A2 Hosting has the simplest and most effective purchase process I’ve encountered in my web hosting reviews, an intuitive dashboard where you can access everything you need in one or two clicks and fantastic tools for getting started with WordPress.

The one issue I encountered was brief confusion about TurboHub for WordPress, but I figured out where to go quickly and still got my site up in a few minutes.

All of this means A2 Hosting gets a 9/10 ranking for ease of use.

A2 Hosting performance: Some of the best in the biz

Server performance dictates how consistently and easily users can interact with your site. I spent one week testing two critical indicators of server performance on my test site: uptime and site speed. I also looked at the performance tools offered to A2 Hosting users.

Performance tools

A2 Hosting takes several measures to optimize server performance, including using an advanced CloudLinux operating system and data centers with multiple 10 gigabits per second carriers to ensure consistent bandwidth.

Every user also gets:

  • Choice of data center location: A2 Hosting has data centers in the US, Europe (Amsterdam) and Singapore. To improve site speed, you can choose the data center closest to your target audience.
  • Anycast routing: This is an advanced domain name system — DNS — management technique where a single IP address is shared between numerous servers. This builds in redundancy so that if one server goes down, your site pulls data from another server and stays functional.

These are great tools for ensuring consistent performance. The anycast routing is particularly impressive, as most web hosting companies I’ve researched don’t offer this as a built-in feature.

A2 Hosting users on more advanced plans can also access features like caching and LiteSpeed-enhanced servers for further improving site speed.


Uptime is the amount of time your site spends online. A2 Hosting offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee, promising that sites won’t spend more than 10 minutes down per week due to server issues. I connected my test site to BetterStack for one week to see if A2 Hosting lives up to this guarantee.

My test site experienced no downtime at all during my week of uptime monitoring, suggesting that A2 Hosting does more than live up to its guarantee — it manages its servers well enough to avoid downtime as much as possible.

Based on this data, A2 Hosting gets a 10/10 ranking for uptime.

Site speed

Site speed is the amount of time it takes your site to load. Most experts recommend a site loading time of two seconds or less, as bounce rates increase 32% when a site’s loading time goes from 1 to 3 seconds.

I used WebPageTest to test my A2 Hosting site’s speed for various locations over the course of five days, testing at a different time each day. This helped me understand how users in other parts of the world would experience my test site, an important consideration if you’re hoping to reach an international audience.

This data helped me determine the following average loading speeds, measured in seconds (remember, the ideal loading time is under two seconds; lower is better):

California London Germany India Dubai Australia
Mobile 2.46 2.62 2.74 3.79 3.57 3.25
Desktop 1.35 1.59 1.66 2.58 2.41 2.62

Based on these numbers, I determined that A2 Hosting has:

  • An average mobile loading speed of 3.07 seconds
  • An average desktop loading speed of 2.03 seconds

Together, this gives A2 Hosting an overall average loading speed of 2.55 seconds. This is notably higher than GoDaddy’s 2.29 seconds and technically higher than HostGator’s 2.41 seconds, but still under three seconds — and there are several things you can do to improve your site speed, such as optimizing images, if you want to take advantage of A2 Hosting’s other benefits.

Overall, this data earns A2 Hosting a 7/10 ranking for site speed, with a few caveats:

  • I used a data center in North America. Your site loading speeds may change — and improve in certain locations — if you choose a different data center.
  • Mobile devices and plans vary greatly, so the mobile numbers here might not accurately reflect the experience of everyone in a given location.

Still, this is a good enough range of tests to suggest that A2 Hosting provides good server speeds in North America and Europe — and that you’ll probably see good loading times in other parts of the world if you use a different data center.

Overall speed

With fantastic uptime and solid site speed, A2 Hosting lands an 8.5/10 ranking for performance.

A2 Hosting security: Top-notch security features for all plans

Security is one place where A2 Hosting really stands out. Even the most basic shared hosting plan comes with a variety of security features:

  • Automated daily kernel updates
  • DDoS protection
  • Firewall
  • Brute-force defense
  • Virus scanning
  • Server hardening
  • 24/7 security monitoring

Most web hosting services I’ve reviewed only include a basic firewall and sometimes DDoS protection with their lowest-tier plans. Some, like GoDaddy, don’t even offer that. In other words, A2 Hosting has some of the best web hosting security around.

Higher-tier plans also include automatic daily backups so you can restore your site quickly if something goes wrong.

A2 Hosting customer support: The weakest link

After testing A2 Hosting’s basic functionality, I tested two aspects of its customer service: the knowledge base and direct communication.

Knowledge base

The A2 Hosting knowledge base features a prominent search function and clearly laid-out categories for important information.

The A2 Hosting knowledge base is full of helpful information.

Screenshot by CNET

The tutorials are well organized, with numbered steps, images and clear language to help even the newest website creator accomplish key functions of site and server management. The only issue is a lack of video tutorials — I looked at about half a dozen articles and didn’t see a single video for visual learners.

All in all, A2 Hosting’s knowledge base gets a 9/10.

Direct communication

I reached out to A2 Hosting via live chat in the afternoon and was directed immediately to a real human who helped me resolve a minor tech issue in about 15 minutes. There was no long chain of AI prompts or aggressive upselling. So far, so great.

Next, I looked at the Support options in the menu above my client area. I was impressed by the variety of options here, including a specific section for requesting a site migration. I also appreciated the drop-down menus guiding you through creating a support ticket to ensure your ticket is sent to the right support team.

A2 Hosting offers responsive, knowledgeable customer support.

Screenshot by CNET

I submitted a ticket at 2:35 p.m. ET and received a response about 10 hours later. The response provided great resources to help me address the issue I raised — creating site backups — but the lengthy wait time was disappointing. I can only hope it was funneled into a non-urgent task list and that critical issues will be addressed faster.

Next, I called A2 Hosting and spent half an hour on hold. The hold music was regularly interrupted by a message telling me to switch to live chat for better service. This frustrated me, as users who call are probably doing it because they prefer phone service, and every time the music stopped to relay the message, I expected someone to answer.

The good news is that the professional I communicated with after my time on hold was polite and could answer all my questions. Still, I wasn’t impressed with the wait time; it felt like A2 Hosting was trying to strong-arm me into switching to live chat.

Based on these communications, A2 Hosting gets the following customer service rankings:

  • Live chat – 10/10
  • Support tickets – 7/10
  • Phone support – 6/10

This leads to an overall customer support ranking of 7.5/10.


On Trustpilot, A2 Hosting nets a 4.6 out of 5 star rating. However, a full 11% of A2 Hosting’s nearly 3,000 Trustpilot reviews are one-star, with the majority citing poor customer service. This suggests that A2 Hosting’s customer support is inconsistent, especially when customers are attempting to deal with complex issues.

The A2 Hosting page on the Better Business Bureau website shows 17 complaints to the BBB in the past three years, with six of them closed. Though this isn’t ideal — ideally, there would be no complaints left hanging — it doesn’t warrant a warning on the A2 Hosting BBB page, which is something I’ve seen on BBB pages for other popular web hosting companies, like HostGator.

A2 Hosting value: Plans jam-packed with features

I considered one final question to wrap up my A2 Hosting review: How does its value compare to other popular web hosts?

I gathered some basic data about the plans offered by three popular web hosts — HostGator, DreamHost and GoDaddy — and compiled it into the table below:

Host Starting plan name Starting plan features Starting plan costs Additional notes
HostGator Web Hosting Economy 10GB storage, preinstalled WordPress and HostGator site assistant, unmetered bandwidth, SSL certificate, free domain for first year, email hosting for one account, firewall with DDoS protection Starts at $3.75 a month, renews at $10 a month Customer service is poor for advanced queries and issues, performance is mediocre
DreamHost Starter 50GB storage, free domain for first year, free SSL certificate, WordPress installer and website builder, automated WordPress updates, daily backups, ModSecurity Firewall Starts at $2.59 a month, renews at $6 a month (based on three-year term) Automated system frequently denies signups, live chat isn’t always available
GoDaddy Web Hosting Economy 25GB storage, free domain for first year, free SSL for first year, site migration, automated daily backups Starts at $6 a month, renews at $10 a month (based on three-year term) Lacks vital security protocols, lots of additional fees and upsells

Here’s how the value shakes out based on this data:

  • A2 Hosting offers average introductory pricing with a similar rate to HostGator and DreamHost. This rate is a whole $3 less per month than GoDaddy’s introductory pricing.
  • Renewal pricing is high, starting at $13 a month. This is $3 more per month than GoDaddy and HostGator starter plans and a full $7 more per month than DreamHost’s basic shared hosting plan.
  • A2 Hosting offers high storage amounts, starting at 100GB — twice as much as the closest competitor, DreamHost, offers on its basic shared hosting plan.
  • A2 Hosting offers many security features, including perma-free SSL certification, a firewall, DDoS protection, brute-force protection and malware scanning.
  • A2 Hosting offers quick setup tools, including an optimized auto-install for WordPress, a setup wizard and a site assistant.

My tests further showed that A2 Hosting offers better performance than HostGator and similar performance to GoDaddy. A2 Hosting also provides significantly better customer support than HostGator but isn’t quite as good for customer support as GoDaddy.

Overall, A2 Hosting’s long-term costs are higher than competitors’ prices because of the high renewal pricing, but it’s only a few extra dollars a month, and the high server performance and additional security features are worth the cost. This earns A2 Hosting an overall value score of 8/10.

A2 Hosting: Is it right for you?

So, should you choose A2 Hosting? Well, before we get into decision-making, let’s revisit how A2 Hosting stacks up in all the categories we’ve looked at:

  • Ease of use: 9/10
  • Performance: 8.5/10
  • Customer support: 7.5/10
  • Value: 8/10

This gives A2 Hosting an overall ranking of 8.25/10 — a higher ranking than other popular hosts, like GoDaddy and HostGator.

Based on this ranking, I’m happy to recommend A2 Hosting for most users. However, you might want to consider another option if your site is highly complex and you anticipate needing regular assistance from customer service.

A2 Hosting is a legitimate independent web host. I found it easy to sign up, navigate A2 Hosting’s tools and communicate with customer service — even if there was a less-than-ideal wait time for customer service. Many others have had positive experiences with A2 Hosting as well, giving it a 4.6 out of 5 star rating on Trustpilot.

A2 Hosting offers better security features for shared hosting than most other web hosting companies.

A2 Hosting is independently owned by CEO Bryan Muthig.


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