Update: 27 December 2019 – Have now received confirmation of a refund from A2 Hosting.
At the same time of setting up my Digital Ocean droplet as part of the Early December site move, created an account with A2 Hosting on their shared “turbo” server (with “Performance Plus” add on), drawn in by the positive reviews on Webhostingtalk and their up to “20x faster” marketing along with their 66.6% off Black Friday Specials
I copied NUI.NZ to both a Digital Ocean Droplet and to my account on A2 Hosting (both at their respective Singapore data centers) to begin comparing the two. After some testing, discovered that the Digital Ocean droplet performed faster for my use case in terms of responsiveness, speed and consistency.
- NUI.NZ on Digital Ocean loaded up in 3.2 seconds on Average.
- NUI.NZ on A2 Hosting shared turbo loaded up in 3.9 seconds on Average (with Caching enabled and A2 Optimisation plug in installed) but was bursty / less consistent and felt so much less snappy and responsive overall.
A2 Hosting’s marketing had led me to believe that I would have access to 2 CPU cores and 3GB of RAM on a burst basis versus the 1 CPU and 1GB set up with my 5 USD/month Digital Ocean VPS droplet.
Additionally, setting up their A2 Optimisation plugin they had developed for WordPress and then clicking “Optimize all” will crash even a shiny new and fresh install of WordPress into the white pages of death. If the aforementioned didn’t crash it, enabling Memory Cache on the WordPress instance will most certainly crash it. After much frittering around I did manage to get the plugin to work but only in rather limited situations I’ve found. It is my belief A2 Hosting should seriously consider removing the plugin as it is I believe impacting their brand.
I’m also a little bit disappointed with how they have structured their so called “any time” refund policy. Within 30 days, you can get a full refund, after 30 days however, what they will do is re-bill you at the regular rate for the rest of the paid up period then give you what is left. I struggle to think of anyone who will be (willingly) paying regular rate given the performance I’ve seen of their shared hosting product. I have to admit, this has darkened my regard I have towards the A2 Hosting brand.
I have now requested a cancellation and refund under A2 hosting’s 30 day risk free policy. Given prior experience with Shared hosts and my impression of some of the way A2 Hosting do things, I don’t have enough faith to see out the full 3 years with them
I have to admit, over the years, I’ve started really souring of Shared hosting in general and believe it should be left for only of the most insignificant of web projects (Personal websites). Sure, if you are a largely a neighbourhood bricks and mortar (Vet Clinic, Dentist, Hairdresser, etc) business and just need a site with a handful of static pages (and may be a blog, but would argue at a stretch) then Shared Hosting may be Okay.
If on the other hand you’re a business who is almost entirely dependent on the web, it should go without saying you shouldn’t be using budget shared hosting… ever. Unfortunately, I see many businesses and online only retailers for what ever in their right signing up for shared hosting, installing Woo Commerce / Presta shop and once their site goes down or goes slow, they are seen screaming to high heaven on all the support channels and web hosting forums begging for a resolution.