When it comes to web host providers, there are hundreds to choose from, but the one I recommend is A2 Hosting. I use them to power this blog.
I wasn't always with A2 Hosting. For years I was with Hostgator, and I also used GoDaddy, but over a year ago I switched to A2, and I am delighted with their service to-date.
A2 Hosting provides high performing reliable web hosting, they are super-fast and have price plan packages that offer real scalability enabling you to upgrade easily as your blog grows.
They also have fantastic customer care.
If you are looking for a top-notch web host, then I highly recommend them, and in this A2 Hosting review I will break-down why.
A2 Hosting provides reliable hosting performance. They have a stable hosting environment ensuring your blog is online at all times, even when you get high spikes in visitors.
Below are some of the key performance features:
Uptime – Uptime is the amount of time that your blog is accessible and available online. Sometimes, servers have outages. It happens! Unfortunately, when a server goes offline so too can your blog.
A2 Hosting offers the industry Uptime guarantee of 99.9%; however, in the last eight months I have had near consistent uptimes of 100%.
Performance Plus – This is a premium add-on ($1.47 per month) available on Swift and Turbo plans. Performance plus provides more processing power during times of high traffic spikes ensuring that your blog maintains optimal speed.
With other providers, your blog can slow down during traffic spikes. Obviously, this is not the best experience for a visitor trying to access your site.
WordPress Optimized – When you set-up your hosting account A2 Hosting configures your WordPress and hosting settings to ensure you get the best performance from your WordPress blog.
Blazing Fast Hosting
A2 Hosting pride themselves on being the fastest web host on the market. They offer “Blazing Fast” hosting – their words not mine. And they deliver!
To reach such fast speeds A2 use:
SSD (Solid State Drives) – Solid State Drives are much, much faster (up to 300%) than the traditional hard drives used by many other providers, which means quicker website speeds, delivering faster page load times.
A2 Optimized – A2 Optimized is a plugin exclusive to A2 Hosting that provides auto-optimization for WordPress and other CMS platforms so that you get the best speed performance.
Site speed is essential for SEO and visitors to your blog. However, improving the speed of a blog is usually a real headache but with A2 Optimized its a piece of cake.
Free CloudFlare CDN – CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) enhance the page load speeds of your blog. With a CDN content uploaded to your blog is copied and distributed to a global network of data centers allowing visitors to access content from the nearest data center.
Railgun Optimizer – For an extra $0.98 per month, you can avail of Railgun optimizer, which improves HTML load times, increasing what is already super-fast site speeds by up to 143%
Although, an excellent platform, WordPress is prone to hacking attacks but A2 have you covered. They take a very proactive approach to website security.
I am very impressed with their security measures. I receive emails when there are potential security gaps, and then A2 automatically patches up the holes. Pretty cool!
A2 use a number of technologies to ensure your blog is safe.
Perpetual Security – Perpetual security is an in-house A2 Hosting technology that continually scans your site for vulnerabilities and security threats, preventing security risks before they happen.
HackScan – HackScan is exclusive to all A2 Hosting accounts and helps protect your account from malware attacks.
Patchman – Patchman detects out of date and insecure software, quarantines compromised files and applies automatic updates and fixes.
A2 Optimized – The A2 Optimized plugin mentioned earlier, not only increases the speed of your blog but it also helps keep your blog safe by auto-configuring security settings.
Customer care is just as critical as hosting performance this is especially true when you are new to blogging.
When I was migrating from my previous provider to A2 Hosting, I had lots of dealing with their customer care, and its first class. Their support agents are very knowledgeable and get to the nub of issues very quickly.
Responses times are fast, email questions have been answered in under an hour, and their live chat support is quick the longest wait I encountered so far has been five minutes.
I have not availed of their phone support but you they have support available by phone from over 50 countries. Some countries – UK, U.S.A, Spain, and Brazil have toll-free options, but there are connection charges from others.
A2 offer three tiers of price plans for shared hosting – Lite, Swift, and Turbo. Prices for packages are very competitive, starting at $3.92 per month, up to $9.30 per month for their Turbo package. And their packages offer real scalability.
For beginners I recommend starting off on the 'Swift' plan.
Many hosting providers just add extra features as you upgrade – like SSL, CDN’s, additional emails, etc. But, A2 provide extra hosting power – more CPU resources, additional physical memory, and virtual memory – this means you have more hosting capabilities to handle the extra traffic as your blog grows.
Key Price Plan Features
Cpanel – Cpanel is a user-friendly dashboard that allows you to manage the admin side of your hosting account. Cpanel is intuitive and very easy to use.
Unlimited Disk Space & Transfers (Bandwidth) – All plans offer unlimited disk space (the amount of space you have to store all the files that comprise your blog) and bandwidth (the traffic levels and data transfers). However, as discussed in a previous post, unlimited does not mean you can use as much as you like it is subject to a fair usage policy.
Server Rewind Back-ups – (Available on Swift and Turbo Plans) – Protects your files and data and allows you to restore your blog in the case of data corruption or loss.
Free SSL Certificates – SSL encrypts sensitive visitor data such as usernames, passwords, and email addresses.
Free CloudFlare CDN – Enables faster page load speeds.
Turbo Plans – Once you outgrow Lite and Swift plans, you can upgrade to their top-tier shared plan, which is Turbo. And it’s awesome! Probably the best-shared package on the market.
With Turbo you have more resources so your blog can handle much more traffic, and although A2 is super-fast, on Turbo, you get site speeds on steroids – 20x faster.
Beyond the Shared Plans
Once your blog graduates from shared hosting when you are getting tens of thousands of monthly visitors, A2 offer managed VPS plans, Cloud solutions, and eventually, once you hit the big time with hundreds and thousands of monthly visitors you can avail of their dedicated solutions.
A2 offers monthly, 12 months and 24-month payment options. If you avail of the 12 month or 24-month plans, you receive discounted pricing.
I like that they offer monthly options most other providers don’t or charge an extra fee on top for set-up. This means you can get started for as little as $4.99 instead of having to shell out for years’ worth of hosting in one payment.
A2 Hosting also have an “anytime money back guarantee” which means you not tied into lengthy contracts.
Setting-up Your WordPress Blog with A2 Hosting
Getting set-up with A2 is easy; they will also install WordPress on your domain (free) if you select the option during checkout.
1 – Purchase a domain name or use an existing one
2 – Select your price plan (I recommend starting with Swift)
3 – Choose billing cycle – Monthly, 12-months, 24-months
4 – Choose paid extras (if you want) such as
- Dedicated IP (optional)
- Performance plus (I recommend this)
- Turbo (no need for this at the beginning)
- Premium support (not needed)
- Barracuda Spam Firewall (optional)
- GlobalSign OneClick Alpha SSL (not needed at beginning)
- Railgun (optional)
5 – Additional Options – 'Auto-Install'
You can install WordPress on your domain from Cpanel once you open an account or you can get A2 Hosting to do it (I recommend you get A2 support to set-up everything for you).
Just select “WordPress A2 – Optimized” from the drop-down menu under – 'Auto-Install Application' and support with set-up your account and install WordPress.
Keep note of details – When you select 'Auto-Install', you will receive a Username and Password (seen in the above image).
Once everything is selected just click “Continue” button and complete your purchase, A2 will take care of the rest.
If you have any question when setting-up your account their support team will happily take you by the hand and show you what is what.
Your blog will only be as successful if hosted with a reliable web host. And A2 Hosting tick all the boxes. They provide everything you need to build and grow a blog from an acorn to an oak.
They use top-line hosting technologies (leading the field in some areas) and have developed a fantastic hosting platform, all backed by excellent customer service.
But, don’t take my word for it, you can try them for yourself risk-free