Review A2 Hosting – Shared Web Hosting
I recently had the opportunity to work with a web host I had never worked with before. As I always have some ‘spare’ domain names I grabbed the opportunity and signed up for the small business package of A2 Hosting. I had never really heard of A2 hosting before, but that does not mean much as the web hosting industry has so many competitors out there anyway. A2 Hosting is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan and provides a central location if you expect visitors from the East and West coast. The sign up process was straight forward and easy to complete. There was little room for error and so even a rookie webmaster should be able to sign up with no problems. My account application was approved within 12 hours which is pretty good considering that I signed up after 10 PM their time and that I had special requirements.
The welcome email was extremely detailed and answered all my questions instantly. I would have preferred a text email message as I always fear that these kind of emails get eaten by SPAM filters when send in HTML format – but this message came through with no issues other that I had to allow the images to be downloaded manually.
I updated my DNS server settings and was up and running within 30 minutes (Enom is super fast with the propagation). First I checked the domain name itself and I was greeted by a default page that A2 hosting put in place to avoid anyone being able to browse my site by hand. Then I logged into cpanel and found the great X3 skin being enabled. That is my favorite skin/theme for cpanel. I conducted several independent download / upload tests via FTP and was pleasantly surprised of how good my connection apparently was. The speeds were very consistent.
So, what did I actually signed up for? I signed up for the small business package in their shared web hosting section. 250 GB of disk space combined with 2500 GB bandwidth allowance. The good thing – I can host unlimited domains on this account. Since I am a domainaholic this will certainly come in handy over time. I liked the availability of PHP5 as I still have to upgrade my own servers for that. This gave me the opportunity to test my CMS software on PHP5 and I am happy to report that it seems to work just fine on the newer version of PHP. Time to upgrade I guess..
Support: Support options are plentyful at A2 hosting. The knowledge base has already a lot of information available. Then there is also a user or customer forum to ask for help. The forums could be a little more active, but overall I really like forums a lot. Support is provided with a ticketing system. My first support ticket was submitted and answered fairly quick. As it was not mission critical it was not submitted with high priority, but support replied in a time-frame sufficient enough for me. I liked the follow up they did a day or two later. Some other web hosts just close tickets by default.
Conclusion: A2 Hosting makes a solid impression. I think there is still a little room for improvement before they are able to compete with the really big guys, but this is a web host on the right track (in my opinion). They offer a good range of products and good support options. If you are looking for a web host offering affordable web hosting with all the bells and whistles, A2 Web Hosting should be on your list to be evaluated. My overall experience with A2 Hosting was a very pleasant one.