Speed and blazing fast. 20 times faster! The best speed, turbo servers. These are the words that A2 hosting is using on its website but are they really as fast as they claim to be?
Well, I want to find out so I bought in the most expensive plan that A2 hosting has to offer called “The Turbo Plan” and I’m going to put it to the test.
As soon as I bought my plan I’ve used their automatic WordPress installer to create a website. Since I bought the turbo plan my automatic WordPress installation came with a couple of benefits.
Most noticeably the performance enhancing A2 optimization plugin. This plugin offers page caching, database caching, image and code optimizations and extra security.
All of this should make my WordPress website lighter and increase the loading speed dramatically. I’ve ran some performance tests to determine how effective these optimizations are and here are the results.
Website Uptime Test with A2 Hosting
First the stability test. I’ve used Uptime Robot to monitor how stable A2 hosting is. And in the 10 days of monitoring my website was down for 7 minutes. Meaning visitors were able to reach it only 99.95% of the time.
7 minutes doesn’t seem like a long time but it adds up to almost 4 and a half hours over the span of 1 year.
A2 Hosting Server Response Time
There were a couple of spikes in response times and this is never a good sign as you want your performance to be as consistent as possible.
Meaning no spiking! Overall A2 hosting stability is acceptable but not exceptional.
A2 Hosting Speed Test Using GT Metrix Performance Test
Next, I’ve used GT metrix to measure how fast my website loads during this test.
I’m mostly interested in the fully loaded time metric. My website loaded in just 0.8 seconds that’s an incredible result the aim of any website is to go below 1 second or at least as close to 1.
Second as possible and seems like there might be something to this turbo plan after all.
Because it is quite rare that I see websites loaded under 1 second with just the default installation. Let’s run a comparison test against GoDaddy Hostinger and DreamHost. All with the default WordPress installations.
Keep in mind that I’m doing these tests on a completely default WordPress installation and theme.
So while the difference is only in milliseconds right now as my website will grow and scale up so with this difference. It might become much more noticeable later.
A2 Hosting International Speed Test Results
Okay but what about international speed is A2 hosting any good in Europe and Asia or is it just for the United States? Well, let’s check it out.
While not getting an A+ rating and A is still a good result. The only real slowdown happens in Bangalore and Singapore but that’s because I’ve chosen my data centers in the US.
So, it is kind of to be expected and shouldn’t be that much of a problem. A2hosting offers some incredible website loading speed that’s for sure.
But I believe there’s also one more thing that’s very important to mention. Some users who use A2hosting had their websites down for almost an entire month.
Because of an issue A2 hosting had with some ransomware. And, this didn’t happen in like 2014 or 2015 this happened just a couple of months back based on the information I managed to find online and that A2 hosting provided themselves.
It seems that ransomware found its way into A2 hosting’s Singapore location and spread all across their network impacting a large majority of windows-based servers.
To prevent any further damage A2 hosting took down the remaining windows-based servers themselves until the problem would be fixed.
The way ransomware works is that it locks all files it infects and to get an unlock key you usually have to pay money to the hackers that infected your system.
And even if you do pay you’re not guaranteed that the hackers will release your files because at least from my experience hackers don’t tend to be the most trustworthy and kind people.
So, it was definitely a very tough issue to handle on A2 hostings part. But they did handle it, the unfortunate side effects of this that some users had their websites down for days, weeks and the most unlucky ones even for a month.
Luckily, at the moment it seems like the crisis was contained and completely dealt with.
I hope A2 hosting will never encounter similar issues again. Let’s take a quick look at A2 prices and compare them to other major hosting providers.
A2 Hosting Price Comparison with Other Hosting Providers
It’s really hard to look at the prices on a month-to-month basis because each hosting provider has different deals for different periods of purchase.
To make a fair comparison I’ll be seeing how much a domain name plus 1 year of hosting will cost. To guarantee the lowest possible prices on all of the plans I will be using coupons.
1 year of hosting plus a domain name with A2 hosting comes out at $39.92 you also get an SSL certificate for free. An SSL certificate is that little green lock next to your domain name.
Bluehost would cost you $59.40 and you would also get an SSL certificate for free.
SiteGround comes in at $63.35 cents. SiteGround also does offer SSL certificates for free.
And, Hostinger costs $34.62 and of course, you still get an SSL certificate for free.
Based on the price A2 hosting is definitely on the cheaper side of the spectrum while offering excellent performance. But at the moment Hostinger and GoDaddy can offer a similar performance for a lower price and keep in mind that I am testing the most expensive shared hosting plans with A2 hosting.
The turbo plan and I am comparing it to the cheapest options that other hosting providers are offering.
A2 Hosting Key Features
But what A2 hosting has done differently and what I really like about them is their free website migrations with every plan and they’re awesome refund policy.
Every single plan with A2 hosting comes with the free site migration. Meaning if you already have a website that’s live and is hosted with another hosting provider that you don’t like.
So You can buy a plan on A2 hosting, fill out a form and A2 hosting employees will make sure your website is migrated to A2 hosting as smooth as possible within 3 to 5 business days.
Website migration is usually one of the messiest processes when switching web hosting providers and having a knowledgeable person perform the migration will minimize the risk of stuff going wrong.
And A2 hosting has a very flexible “Anytime Refund” policy if you ask for a refund within 30 days you will get refunded the full amount.
But after the 30 days are up you can still ask for a refund instead of the full amount you’ll get paid for what’s left on your plan for.
Example. If you had a 2 year plan but after 1 year you wanted a refund. You would get refunded for the unused time on your plan. Which is 1 year. Pretty cool!
This shows that a2 hosting is quite confident in their ability to provide a quality and competitive service.
But one of their main selling points at the moment are these WordPress turbo plans and since I got the WordPress turbo plan.
Is it any good and would I recommend it? Unfortunately – no.
Because, I do think you can achieve similar level optimizations for free by using such plugins as Jetpack or WP
Super Cache yourself.
While it is true that turbo runs on better hardware you probably won’t notice big differences unless you run a very content heavy website.
And if you do run a very content heavy website shared hosting isn’t probably the best solution for you. And, the middle plan offers a lot of the same unlimited features for a very reasonable price.
And you can work on theoptimizations yourself. But I can’t deny that these Turbo optimizations will make my website much faster.
My main issue with the turbo plan is that I can achieve very close or at least similar level optimization myself for free.
For support you’ve got email, phone and chat options. I’ve tried support through chat and it took me around 10 to 15 minutes to reach and talk to a human agent.
But once connected my questions were answered very fast! While nothing spectacular I’m happy that the option is there and it’s definitely of a good enough quality.
I like A2 hosting and I don’t think you would regret your decision if you would move to a2 hosting but that being said I would mostly recommend them to two kinds of people.
If you already have a website and you want to migrate it somewhere else why not give a2 hosting a try. They will do the migration for you for free and I’m like 92.576% sure they will keep you a happy customer for a long time.
If you’re someone who’s about to start a large-scale project because all of the little optimizations and tweaks that a2 hosting has in place really begin to shine once you scale big.
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