By Mark Shroyer
A2 Hosting is Linux based
and offers several web hosting packages at different price
points. At a start price of $7/month this is dirt cheap.
Of course, this package is very basic with limited features.
However, for just $4/month more is their Executive Hosting
package where many features are "unlimited." (Obviously
option 2 is the better way to go for most.)
One thing I like is that A2Hosting includes their own Web
site builder called A2SiteBuilder. It includes several hundred
templates and graphics and helps you build HTML web pages
step-by-step. Obviously, this is a good way to make the
process of creating web pages quicker and easier. It is
especially beneficial to those without HTML skills.
There are several ways to contact A2 Hosting support. A
24 hour response time is considered good by most people's
standards. For A2 Hosting tech. support their goal is to
respond in 12 hours or less. For quicker response you can
call their 800 number. This is especially good for newbie
A2 Hosting includes all the most popular one-click install
applications for hosting personal sites, blogs, CMS, bulletin
boards, online business, etc. (See their
web site for full features.)
All seasoned web site owners realize that all successful
web sites have "growing pains." The best way to
look at hosting is to be sure you have a plan in place for
upgrading. When that day comes where you've outgrown the
benefits of shared hosting, with A2 Hosting it's easy to
upgrade to a reseller account, VPS, or a dedicated server.
The last thing that really stood out about A2 Hosting is
that they make daily backups of all files. They save them
daily/weekly for the past month and you can easily access
them through the control panel. (Of course, you should be
backing up your own files also.)
OK. Nothing is perfect. Yes. There are several things
I'm not crazy about with A2 Hosting.
When I asked how many sites they normally put on one shared
server, instead of giving me a ball park figure (like I
hoped) they told me it varies by server and the package
you choose. So I did my own quick research and found one
of their shared servers. It had 201 web sites on it. (Not
Another thing I don't like is that if you use CGI scripts
it must reside in the CGI directory. That is a pain, especially
if your previous host let you place them anywhere. But this
shouldn't be a problem for most, especially for anyone just
starting out. (Most people no longer use CGI anyhow!)
A2 Hosting does limit you to sending 500/hour (12,000/day)
on their shared hosting. If you do very little to no email
marketing then it is not an issue. However, if you do then
500/hr. just may not be enough? Of course, the reason they
limit this is to minimize spam accusations and being blacklisted.
That makes sense. Plus there are plenty of 3rd party companies
you can use for email marketing. So really this 500/hr.
limit should not be a deal breaker. It is only there to
protect you and keep your best interest at heart.
What surprised me most though is that A2 hosting only allows
35 HTTP connections on shared servers. (What?!!) This literally
means only 35 people can view your web site simultaneously.
If more than 35 people view your site they will ask you
to upgrade to a VPS plan.
Now if you have a personal site that only gets a few hits
then it is nothing to worry about. If you have an ecommerce
site that gets a lot of hits at once then it is something
you need to know about. (To be clear, this limit is for
shared hosting only and NOT for VPS or dedicated servers.)
Like most web hosts who offer "unlimited" hosting,
A2 Hosting does have an inode limit of 300K and all files
must be related to the site. This simply means you can't
have more than 300,000 items. (i.e., an email counts as
1 item, an image counts as 1 item, a web page counts as
1 item, etc.) Granted, this is more than most web site's
will ever need. However, if you use 2.0 blogs or forums
then a day could come where 300K isn't enough and you'd
be forced to either delete excess files, open another A2Hosting
account, or move to another host.
While A2 Hosting clearly has a couple minor limitations
I still recommend them for start-ups on a small budget and
for learning purposes; especially for personal sites and
small business sites. (Not so much for eCommerce.)
The reasons why are because they have an A- BBB rating.
They have phone support. Their shared web hosting price
is dirt cheap. And when it is time to upgrade due to success
their VPS starts at just $16/month. (Dirt cheap!)