A2 Hosting is based out of Michigan and has been in the web hosting business since 2003. I started using A2 Hosting in March 2014. A hefty WordPress site wasn’t loading very well on my DowntownHost plan and after reading some recommendations about A2 Hosting’s performance and speed, I opted for their Prime+SDD shared hosting account (which is now called Swift). It turns out that I made a great decision and here’s why…
Fast Loading Speed - "High Speed Hosting" Claim
I decided to enabled their "A2 Optimized WordPress" plugin which basically auto configures your WordPress site to increase performance and security. I'm quite familiar with optimizing WordPress and I have to say they did a pretty great job putting this pre-configured package of plugins and settings together. Maybe some more seasoned WordPress users might not opt to use it, but I dig it so far. It was a time saver and it works.
I was a bit skeptical of A2 Hosting's "High Speed Hosting" claim. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how well things loaded on their servers. Overall I've been very happy with the time it takes for my site to load with A2 Hosting.
Here's a Pingdom speed test result of my site hosted on a A2 Hosting server located in Michigan. They also have server locations in Amsterdam and Singapore.
Site on A2 Hosting (Datacenter in Southfield, Michigan)
A2 Hosting definitely meets my speed requirements with a 1.06 second load time for a 825.9kB homepage.
In order to properly evaluate speed, I put the same site on my Downtownhost plan again. Server location in Chicago, Illinois (close to Michigan).
Site on DowntownHost (Datacenter in Chicago, Illinois)
As you can see the site took more than twice as long to load.
A2 Hosting: 1.06s Load Time
DowntownHost: 2.63s Load Time
A2 Hosting has a new shared hosting plan they created late last year called Turbo. It costs twice as much as what I'm paying for my Swift plan, but A2 claims up to 20x faster page loading speeds with the Turbo plan. I'm satisfied with the speed on my current plan but I might try out Turbo for future projects. With the Turbo plan they put fewer users on each server and double the memory, which means more resources per user. They also use something called "SwiftCache Site Accelerator" on this plan (explained below).
Great Uptime Overall
Overall my A2 Hosting plan's uptime has been fantastic. The only bad month was in October when I had a total of 57 minutes of downtime in one week due to a massive denial of service (DoS) attack on their networks. The downtime was not all at once, but several small blocks over the week. No other downtime was recorded for the rest of that month. Here's a screenshot of some of their Twitter feed from that week regarding the DoS attack.
I was impressed with how they handled the attacks and how they kept their customers in the loop throughout it all. The downtime really was minimal, especially when you consider what they were up against. Many customers (including me) expressed their support for A2 on social media that week.
In looking back at the past four months, their uptime has been overall above the 99.9% standard, except for that one week in October 2014:
- October 2014 - 99.87% Uptime (57 minutes of downtime)
- November 2014 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- December 2014 - 99.96% Uptime (19 minutes of downtime)
- January 2015 - 99.97% Uptime (14 minutes of downtime)
Updated on 08/09/2015 to report uptime for the months of February - July shown below.
- February 2015 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- March 2015 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- April 2015 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- May 2015 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- June 2015 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- July 2015 - 99.94% Uptime (29 minutes of downtime)
Updated on 03/10/2016 to report uptime for the months of August - February shown below.
- August 2015 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- September 2015 - 99.99% Uptime (5 minutes of downtime)
- October 2015 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- November 2015 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- December 2015 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- January 2016 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- February 2016 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
Updated on 08/04/2016 to report uptime for the months of March - July shown below.
- March 2016 - 99.98% Uptime (9 minutes of downtime)
- April 2016 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- May 2016 - 99.98% Uptime (8 minutes of downtime)
- June 2016 - 99.99% Uptime (5 minutes of downtime)
- July 2016 - 99.99% Uptime (1 minutes of downtime)
Updated on 01/07/2017 to report uptime for the months of August - December shown below.
- August 2016 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- September 2016 - 99.92% Uptime (35 minutes of downtime)
- October 2016 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- November 2016 - 100% Uptime (0 minutes of downtime)
- December 2016 - 99.84% Uptime (71 minutes of downtime) DNS resolving issues
My Brief Support Experience
The only time I have used A2 Hosting's support was to have them create a php.ini file so I could enable fopen.
allow_url_fopen = On
I just checked my support ticket history and it shows that I opened a ticket for this at 9:29 PM on a Saturday and they completed my request at 12:08 AM Sunday. Not bad for a Saturday night, low priority support ticket.
I haven't needed their help with anything else except this single non-urgent request on a Saturday night, so I can't say how much more or less responsive they would be Monday - Friday. A2 Hosting does have a live chat system as well, but I usually prefer to open tickets for most support related tasks. The brief ticket conversations I had were friendly and they knew what they were doing, so for now I'm giving A2 Hosting's support my full recommendation. I'll post any updates to my assessment here as my time hosting with them goes by.
A2 Hosting has been a fantastic web hosting company to use so far (I've been with them since March 2014). Their performance and loading speed make them a great web hosting choice. I haven't had any problems on their end where I've needed the support department (only a non-critical account modification I requested). Overall their uptime has been well above their guaranteed 99.9%. There was one exception, last October where they were being hit by a massive DoS attack. Even with all that mess thrown at them they still managed to only have minutes, not hours, of downtime spread out over the week that they were being attacked. They handled the crisis extremely well, with minimal impact on their clients.
I feel like I'm in good hands with A2 Hosting and I'm confident that things will remain that way for a long time to come. What it really comes down to is they are among the most reliable web hosting companies I've used thus far. Which is why I've recommended A2 Hosting so many times.