A2 Hosting Cpanel – A2 Hosting combines great performance, great support with an easy to use platform. It offers reasonable prices, but not as competitive as some similar providers.
Time to review another dime-in-a-dozen cPanel provider! In this A2 hosting review, I will discuss some of my experiences with A2 hosting after extensive testing.
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A2 Hosting is a party I always wanted to check out and even looked at as a serious provider for all my websites. They are a great hosting provider with a huge service offering from shared hosting to VPS and dedicated servers.
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In this A2 hosting review, I will mainly focus on them from the perspective of using WordPress. Are they good for hosting your WordPress site? Let’s find out!
A2 Hosting is a wholesale hosting provider with a special WordPress offer. They offer LiteSpeed packages (technology to make your website run faster) and use the infamous cPanel and Plesk to manage your websites. If you like, you can register here.
Do you know that? You can compare WordPress hosting on my website or find out which is the best WordPress hosting.
For every review and for this A2 host review, I consider the exact same factors. Let me briefly describe a couple (by the way, I started doing hosting reviews because the lack of good hosting reviews was confusing, and that’s why I’m obsessively focused on getting it right).
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The overall grade of a host review is determined by five criteria, each of which receives a grade. The average of these criteria forms the final decision. Exciting, right? Here are the criteria:
In this review, I tested A2 Hosting Startup, Drive, Turbo Boost, Turbo Max and Managed WordPress Subscriptions. It’s worth noting that a few of these subscriptions use LiteSpeed and a couple don’t. You will notice the changes in the performance department.
With low entry prices, a complete offer (including email and domain registration if you wish), A2 Hosting is very useful if you are just starting out.
Several other features such as SSH access and the ability to GIT repositories make A2 hosting a viable option for more advanced users.
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Their interface can be overwhelming if you are just starting out, and optimizing a website is not always that simple.
A2 Hosting is a wholesale hosting provider in my opinion but a good one. Of course they offer more advanced packages for more advanced users, but a large part of their offer is cheap.
They differ from so-called managed WordPress hosting providers that focus on WordPress only or WordPress control panels, which allow you to run WordPress on your own servers (you can find the best control panels of ‘WordPress here).
A2 Hosting offers a number of great features including dedicated WordPress hosting, email accounts, domains and a range of WordPress tools to easily manage your WordPress websites.
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Other notable features include the addition of an A2 hosting plugin that checks if your WordPress site is optimized. This is a nice feature, but it might be a step up if you’re a complete beginner.
Please note that while technically most of the plans offer unlimited websites, the number of so-called inodes (which reflect the actual files and links on your server) is limited to 600000 nodes. Basically, this means that you cannot have unlimited websites.
Notably, domains and email accounts are included in A2 Hosting. You can be something, duh, not obvious? However, in the world of WordPress hosting, many providers do not offer email or domain registration, but leave it to specialized parties.
A little difficult if you are a beginner, but probably logical if you are a more advanced user.
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A2 Hosting has a shared offering that supports WordPress and another that proudly proclaims ‘WordPress managed’. However, both are shared hosting, but managed WordPress hosting offers a few more bells and whistles.
When it comes to hosting, A2 Hosting looks similar to other wholesale hosting providers. They use cPanel and Plesk which are used by many other providers. This makes the experience very similar.
However, there is one highlight, which is that A2 Hosting installs a special plugin on your WordPress websites that checks everything from performance to login security is optimized. All optimizations can also be checked from cPanel.
Although I find this feature very great for beginners, it will definitely help you fine-tune your site.
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The performance offered by A2 Hosting is good, especially for packages running on LiteSpeed. Some of the performance that regular and managed WordPress packages offer is missing.
However, shared packages limit CPU usage over long periods of time. This means that the performance is always intact.
A2 hosting is interesting because it offers two types of technology that have big ramifications for real-world performance:
If you’re a bit nerdy (like me), it might be interesting to know that their shared servers use Intel Xeon E5-2620 CPUs running at a base clock of 2.10GHZ.
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The drive and startup plans use the Normal setting, while the other plans use LiteSpeed. You will see the differences in the results below.
For each test, I upload the exact same theme, install WooCommerce, import the same content and do some load testing using different tools like Loader.io and Pingdom.
For the rest, I leave all server and hosting settings to default – the hosting provider recommends. Of course, I know how to speed up your WordPress site, but the idea is to test how well the host is working.
I test with clearing cache (caching is a technique to greatly speed up a website and improve loading performance). This gives a true indication of server health, and reflects non-cacheable cases such as websites that require users to log in.
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The concurrent users test is the most important test in my performance review. This says a lot more than the load times, which you will see in many other reviews.
It actually tells you how strong the server really is and how many users it can handle per second. You will also see big changes if you turn off caching (caching is a technique to speed up your website).
In the table below, you can see the results according to the plan. Apart from the initial plan, A2 hosting is doing very well!
While the Starter plan could only handle 10 concurrent visitors, the Drive plan was able to handle 1200 concurrent visitors, completing 72000 requests per minute with very good results.
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Powered by Litespeed, the Turbo Max plan can handle up to 3100 simultaneous visitors, completing 185757 requests per minute with an average response time of 100ms. That monster points! A2 Hosting claims that their Turbo plans are faster, and this claim is true according to my tests!
However, the managed WordPress offer was even worse (to my surprise). It can only handle 400 concurrent users, completing 5711 requests per minute.
If we remove caching, we see a different story. The Starter plan can only handle one user at a time, while Drive and Turbo Boost can handle up to 4 concurrent users.
However, the Turbo max and Managed WordPress plans (both use LiteSpeed), can handle 15 and 14 concurrent users, respectively. You can see that the average response times are much higher compared to the cached test.
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By the way, you can also find more details for each plan at the bottom of this review.
In this test, I check the average load time using Pingdom, from the closest server location.
Average load time for Pingdom, with caching enabled, changed from 0.39 to 0.47 seconds. Surprisingly, the Turbo Max plan was doing the worst here.
As you can see in the table above, there is not much difference in the average load time.
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If caching is disabled, it’s a completely different story. Consider the table below and the dramatic increase in load time:
Only the Turbo Boost and Turbo Max plans work here, but the rest are really low.
Using the WebPageTest load time test, load times averaged 3.88-4.05 seconds for designs, which is an OK score.
The table below shows the points for one design. In general, these are good scores for the GT-Metrix test.
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The managed WordPress plan performed very well on GT-Metrix with an average load time of 2.4 seconds. This is because this plan is only available in the United States, which is close to the GT Metrix test servers. Other designs load time varies between 3.45-3.80 seconds.
Time to first byte is how long it takes before the server sends the first parts of a web page. It is a very important metric that indicates how well a hosting provider has performed its servers.
The best time for the first byte is 24ms (milliseconds) from London. The best average time to first byte (time to first byte from dozens of global locations) was 249ms. Both points were for the $12.99 Drive Plan
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