Recently I learned that no review is complete by itself. This statement is true in this specific case as well as I’m writing this A2Hosting review. The story started with a friend of my mine recently looking for a web host. I suggested A2 Hosting as my “good old web host” thinking that I knew everything about them.
Shortly after that, something told me that I might have given her the wrong tip. So I jumped on Google in search for A2 Hosting reviews. I wanted to get a feel of how others see them in contrast with how I see them based on my 4+ years.
Keep in mind that I’m not a seasoned veteran when it comes to writing web hosting reviews. Therefore, I’ve decided I’ll be making updates to this article to make it more valuable and smooth out any ‘roughness’. So this A2Hosting review is far from perfect, in
During my web search for reviews, I asked myself the question of what I would expect from a useful review? Because at the end of the day, it’s not about how much I or you know about a web host. It’s more about how much we know about the really important stuff.
A trap that I keep falling into and the ‘gap’
I often make the mistake of talking about too many details, and I miss the bigger picture. It is a trap that I want to run away from, but I keep falling into it. So now that I armed you with this sensitive information, you may be able to make recommendations on what you would like to see in this review.
For me it comes down to the following three points:
- Answer the question “Why
- A true personal experience with real insight
- Respect the reader by investing time to do real research for other valuable opinions to further help the reader in his or her assessment.
I’ve seen many great reviews, but I feel that there is a gap that I’m setting out to fill in the available information.
This gap in the information comes from the fact that a lot of times content creators don’t update their content with the most up to date information, and so readers are not necessarily making an informed decision at all times when reading a review.
Why this A2Hosting Review?
In my view, this is a very important question to ask, not in the sense of why to choose A2 Hosting, but coming at it from a different angle. I think that when we’re reading reviews online, it’s good if we can develop a feel for the motivation of the author.
So what I’m referring to with this question is, why does the author choose that specific item or service to review, in this case A2 Hosting?
Here’s My Motivation
A2 Hosting has been the first web host I have ever dealt with five years ago. I was a customer of theirs for all these years, until a few months ago, I moved on to something that was a better fit for my needs.
I had my simple reasons for making the move, but that doesn’t mean that A2 Hosting is not a good fit for someone else. Having first-hand experience about the service I feel that I can share some valuable information that can directly impact the decision-making process. Let’s not forget that we are talking about serious matters: the success of your business, or at least your website’s success can depend on it.
I’ve also joined the A2 Hosting partnership program which means two things:
- it allows me to make recommendations both to A2 Hosting on how they can better themselves
- I can make
recommendationto potential and future customers who are looking to find out whether A2 Hosting is the right partner for their websites.
My last motivation is simply to enrich my website with content that readers like you find useful.
A detailed review is worth more
I feel that I have to drill down to the details and be specific because what I noticed is that a lot of reviews make general statements about a web host. I think there is a better way to do it, one that offers less chance to potentially to mislead people.
A web host like A2 Hosting has several service levels. From Shared hosting at the bottom to Virtual Private Servers all the way to Dedicated servers. Often times, we try a specific service from a company and we generalize based on that one-off experience. This generalization should be avoided.
What we should do instead is to stick to the facts and be specific as much as possible. In this case, the specificity means that there should be a focus on A2 Hosting’s “Swift” web hosting plan as this is the only service I used from them.
Now, of course, there are general aspects of the service which would be relevant regardless (like support for example), but a significant piece of the puzzle is not to be taken generally.
Just to give you an example, many
My First Impressions & Onboarding Experience
First impressions last a long time. It’s a cliche, but I like it.
When it comes to A2 Hosting, the first word that comes to my mind is flexibility. Let me tell you why.
When I started out with A2 Hosting, I opted for the lowest service level possible to test things out. That allowed me to create one website only. It didn’t take long till I realized that the service is ok, and I will have to upgrade.
At the time, I was planning to launch several projects. After a few days, I decided to see if it was possible to upgrade. It turned out it was possible.
I paid the difference between the plan I had and the next level – which is called the Swift plan. All this happened within a few hours. Before this, I contacted A2 Hosting’s chat support and I was given clear guidance on how to proceed.
This was a positive onboarding experience.
The onboarding experience of a web host is an important signal in that it can potentially be a projection of the underlying service as well. I wouldn’t say this is always the case, but I’ve found that there is generally a correlation.
If I had to compare A2 Hosting from this aspect to another supplier, I’d say that they are on the level of Bluehost. Just to avoid any confusion – this is a strong positive statement. Bluehost is a highly popular web host and there are good reasons for this.
With that being said, there is an extensive knowledge base and clean navigation inside the user account. There are also shortcuts for quicker and more efficient action.
I could talk about the details of the knowledge base, but there’s really nothing special about a good knowledge base. A lot of tutorials and frequently asked questions.
What I want to talk about instead are the three things that were the most important for me.
These three things are:
- Speed and performance
- Technical support
- Usability & resources
Speed and Performance
When it comes to speed, A2 Hosting is not faster than any other well-established web host out there. At least, with their ‘normal’ servers. There is the possibility to choose Turbo servers which promise up to 20 times the speed of some of the other web hosts.
The key here is to keep your site’s performance at a level that doesn’t affect the user experience negatively. And that my friends, is not easy to do.
We have continuous pressure to create stunning, feature-rich websites. In some ways to improve user experience, but that doesn’t come for free when it comes to site speed. Since Google made speed an important factor for ranking websites in their search results and ads, it is our interest to keep our websites light and fast as possible.
So for example, it is a positive thing that software like WordPress is getting important updates like the Gutenberg update was. But at the same time, the size of WordPress as a software increased. Not by a lot, but still will have some impact.
A recommendation when using shared hosting
If you will be utilizing shared web hosting, I would recommend keeping your website as lean as possible. Fewer pictures and videos, fewer plugins if you’re using WordPress.
In fact, plugins and themes are the number one factor in my experience for inadequate website performance.
I was able to rank pretty well in Google in the past running on A2Hosting’s shared platform (concretely the Swift plan). I was just being selective in my WordPress theme, number/quality of plugins. At the moment running with three plugins only, my speed test results are solid.
This is one of the trickiest parts to review. I had only one occasion where I was asking a technical question. I was asking whether I could use a specific application on their shared servers for a plugin.
It was possible for me to use it. Though, the feature that the plugin added was not fulfilling the promise I have envisioned. So in the end, it didn’t matter. But it mattered for me at the time, and if the answer was a no, I bet I would’ve been pissed about it. Working in a services business, this is how we behave when we are customers – we are often unreasonable.
Going back to my earlier point regarding tech support, the reason I said it’s the hardest part is as it’s very transactional in nature. One customer has a positive experience, the next one doesn’t.