A2 Hosting is web hosting company with a long history stretching back to 2001. The company prides themselves on offering high performance hosting in conjunction with a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Speed is their core focus here and all of their accounts come hosted on the company’s exclusive SwiftServer platform. This means that your hosting account will include access to a range of features to help ensure your site is as fast as possible. This includes optional solid state drives (SSD), US and European server locations, CloudFlare Content Delivery Network, and finely tuned servers.
According to the company’s own testing, the initial page load times of sites they host are faster than many of the other popular web hosts in the same price bracket.
The obvious benefit of having fast loading pages is the reduction in the amount of visitors who leave your site in frustration, before your content has had a chance to load. Another not so obvious benefit of having a fast loading website is that Google uses this data when ranking websites and a slow loading page can have a negative effect on where your site is displayed in the search results pages.
Alongside speed and high performance hosting servers, A2 Hosting places a strong emphasis on uptime and availability. With a 99.9% uptime guaranteed in place, it means that your site should be almost always available to your visitors.
You can view the A2 Hosting server uptime report to get a true sense of what kind of uptime they can offer.
One feature of A2 Hosting that should make it an appealing choice for WordPress users is their application auto-install service. During the sign up process, customers can select an application to be installed from a range of options, including WordPress. This means that as soon as your account is setup and your domain is propagated, you will have a working installation of WordPress to begin building your site on.
The whole process takes just a few minutes, from arriving at the site to becoming a paid customer with an automatically installed copy of WordPress.
The video below provides a walkthrough of the sign up process of A2 Hosting complete with the auto-installation of WordPress:
As you can see it really does only take a few minutes to complete the registration process and order a web hosting package that comes complete with a pre-installed copy of WordPress.
A2 Hosting has a number of packages on offer to suit various budgets and types of users and the different websites they want to host.
Their entry level hosting plan is titled Prime Web Hosting and is recommended for those looking for a WordPress hosting service, as well as any of the other supported applications. Although this is the entry level package, it is possible to get access to the super-fast servers that make use of the high-performance SSD drives which can deliver 300% faster page loads.
While the standard Prime package currently starts from $4.97 per month, the SSD option is only a few dollars more and can be had from just $7.46 per month. These relatively low prices for SSD hosting represent excellent value for someone looking for a fast web host for their WordPress site.
Other features of the Prime Web Hosting plan include:
- No-click WordPress installation
- Unlimited domains and databases
- CloudFlare CDN
- Regular backups
- 24/7/365 US-based support
- 99.9% uptime guarantee
- Unlimited email addresses
- cPanel and Softalicious
- Discount at Tesla Themes
- Plus many more
Other hosting packages available at A2 Hosting include:
- Managed VPS
The full details of each of the packages can be viewed through the Choosing a Package page.
When it comes to installing WordPress on your A2 Hosting account, there are two main options. The first option is to use the no-click setup option which is available during the sign up process.
The no-click installation of WordPress is ideal for those who want to start a new WordPress site and don’t want to concern themselves with installing the software. During the account registration process, you can simply opt to have WordPress installed on your hosting account and that’s it. Once your account goes live, your WordPress site will be setup and ready for use.
This is brilliant for people who just want to get started without any delay. The whole process is done for you so you can create your account with A2 and then your new site is ready and waiting.
The second option for installing WordPress, which is the common approach at many other web hosts, is to install the software using the Softaculous software auto-installer tool which can be accessed via the control panel of your hosting account.
This option gives you a bit more control over how your new site is installed and setup. This includes options such as the site name and its description, as well as the location for the installation, such as a sub-directory. If you don’t want your WordPress installation at the root of your domain then using Softaculous will allow you to set an alternative location.
By using Softaculous to install WordPress, you can also enable auto upgrades of WordPress core, and enable automated backups of your site.
One slight problem I had with this approach was that A2 Hosting creates a holding page for your domain. When trying to install WordPress into the root directory of the domain (such as http://mydomain.com) the holding page prevented this from being possible. However, Softaculous does give you the option of overwriting the existing files on the server during the installation, providing an easy way to resolve this problem.
Although this installation option does give you more options to consider, it’s still very straightforward and only takes a few clicks of the mouse.
However, for those new to WordPress, as well as those who are signing up to a web host for the sole purpose of starting a WordPress site, then the no-click installation is the perfect option.
A further option is to use the A2 QuickInstaller with their VPS Hosting accounts which is a more hands-on, manual approach.
Your New WordPress Site
After the software has been installed the site details are emailed to you for future reference. The site can be accessed immediately after the installation, allowing you to get started immediately.
Unlike some other hosts, A2 Hosting doesn’t add any other plugins or themes to a new WordPress installation apart from those that are bundled with the WordPress core (Hello Dolly, Akismet and the Twenty-series themes). The Jetpack plugin suite from WordPress.com isn’t auto-installed as is the case with some other web hosting services, giving you a clean installation of WordPress to work from.
The Control Panel
A2 Hosting uses the popular cPanel control panel as a graphical interface between the user and the server, and the features of the hosting package.
As mentioned earlier, the A2 Hosting control panel includes the Softalicious application installer. This allows users to install a range of applications including WordPress, Ghost, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and many more, all by clicking a few buttons.
The number of options on the control panel can be a bit overwhelming but it does make tasks such as adding additional domains, setting up email addresses, and installing applications all very easy.
Support and Documentation
Customers are well supported at A2 Hosting. There are two main resources available to users of this service:
The knowledgebase contains a collection of articles on WordPress which includes information on installing the platform and then optimising, configuring and securing it. There is also the 24/7/365 US-based support team which can be reached via opening a ticket or using the live chat service.
Although you will need to sign up to the 36-month contract to take advantage of the lowest rates, those paying on a monthly basis can still get access to the USA-based, fast SSD hosting for just $13.99 per month.
However, if you do make a longer commitment and are willing to pay up front, you can make considerable savings of up to $180.
The affordable access to the solid state drives in the hosting packages offered at A2 Hosting make this service a great choice for anyone looking for fast web hosting. The optional auto-installation of WordPress, or your choice from many other applications, is another reason to recommend A2 Hosting.
For those that are new to WordPress, or those moving from WordPress.com, and who want to get started straightaway with their new site, this feature removes the obstacles in the way of getting started. While installing WordPress through a host’s control panel is still fairly easy for most users, it’s not always clear how to carry out the task. As one of the key selling points of WordPress is that it’s easy to use, removing the steps between signing up with a host and getting access to a WordPress installation can make starting out that little bit easier.
If you ever find yourself recommending WordPress as a platform to non-technical users, but then wonder if they will have the ability to login to the host’s control panel, find the right installer tool, and then setup WordPress, recommending a service like A2 Hosting removes that uncertainty and increases the chances they will actually be able to get started with WordPress.
For those looking for affordable fast hosting for their WordPress site A2 Hosting looks like a good choice. With 24/7/365 US-based support and a choice of data centres based in either Europe of the USA, they have all the bases covered.
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