A2 Hosting Review: Good for South African Websites?

 

In this A2 Hosting review I’ll be discussing why I recommend A2 Hosting for your websites, and why I moved most of my local South African sites, as well as my international sites to A2 Hosting.

I know A2 Hosting is a US based hosting company, so you’re probably wondering if it’s a good idea to use them for a website that’s catering to a South African audience.

Aside from my international websites, I’ve also moved my most important South African sites to A2 Hosting as well. In this review, I’ll also share why my local websites are doing better on A2 Hosting, and I’ll hopefully address some of your concerns in hosting a South African site on a US host.

View A2 Hosting’s hosting options with a discount here

I’m no hosting guru.

So, I can’t offer you detailed technical advice when it comes to choosing a hosting provider. However, I own numerous websites hosted with well over 30 different hosting companies. Local and International. My advice comes from my experiences with a range of providers, and from the perspective of a typical website owner who wants:

  • Their website to be fast and always working
  • An affordable web host that doesn’t compromise on the quality of their service
  • Excellent support that will help to resolve any potential issues

 

And that’s exactly what A2 Hosting delivers.

 

Here’s what you can expect from A2 Hosting

 

Speed

 

If you’ve browsed any of the big tech sites that discuss website hosting, then you’ve probably seen that most consider A2 Hosting as one of the leading hosts, if not the best host when it comes to website speed.

From my personal experience, I’ve found them to be the quickest web host so far.

I’ve been consistently getting around a 2 second response time from sites hosted on A2 Hosting (this will however be affected by the overall size of your site).

As a quick comparison I’ve attached a screenshot showing the response times of some of the South African sites I own that are hosted with various local hosting companies.

The response times don’t even come close to that of A2 Hosting. Some are just down-right pathetic.

 

Image of how A2 Hosting speed compares to South African hosting companies

Reliability & Uptime

 

So far, I haven’t had any issues with any of my websites that are hosted with A2 Hosting.

Here’s a screenshot of the average uptime of one of my A2 hosted websites over the last 2 months (September and October 2018).

 

Screenshot of a website's Uptime on A2 Hosting

99.99% Uptime! It doesn’t get much better than that, although I have experienced many 100% Uptime months with A2 Hosting.

Overall, all my websites on A2 Hosting have pretty much been operating smoothly. There was one time however when one site went down. This wasn’t a hosting problem. It was a plugin conflict caused by a WordPress update.

At the time I had no idea what the problem was. As mentioned earlier I’m no hosting guru, and I’m also not proficient in coding and web development.

So, my only option was to contact A2 hosting’s support.

 

Support

 

With my website unable to load and just showing a white screen, I contacted A2 Hosting with a message to the effect of “My website is down, Help!”.

Now, before I get into the response from their support, I want you to know that I’ve dealt with various hosting companies support staff. Some have been okay, and others have been downright terrible.

I once had one of my websites hacked that’s hosted on a big, very well-known company here in South Africa.

I couldn’t access the backend of the site, nor the cPanel of the hosting account. After contacting their support, they sent me the following email.

 

screenshot from South African hosting support

It seems as though they couldn’t be bothered trying to help.

I didn’t care if they deleted everything, I just wanted access to the cPanel again, so I could work on getting the website back up. And by the way, the support only got back to me with that useless reply 6 days after opening a support ticket.

Anyway, back to A2 Hosting.

A short while after contacting them with my problem, I received the following message from Ryan at A2 Hosting support.

 

support email received from A2 Hosting

Not only were A2 Hosting’s support staff quick to reply, they also resolved the problem with barely any information from my side, and they explained what the problem was.

A2 Hosting’s support is brilliant so far.

They actually go out of their way to troubleshoot and resolve issues. Unlike so many other hosting companies whose outsourced support will expect you to do it yourself while merely offering suggestions.

 

Optimisation

 

If you’re planning to build your website with WordPress or any of the other major CMS platforms like Drupal or Magento etc. A2 Hosting provides significant performance optimization for them.

I can however only comment on the WordPress optimization as that’s the only CMS that I use.

Below is a screenshot of the built-in A2 Optimization for websites built on WordPress.

 

screenshot of the A2 Optimized feature for WordPress based websites

It’s simple enough to start benefiting immediately from A2 Optimization as most of it’s already enabled as soon as WordPress is installed on your domain. Then it’s mostly a case of enabling or disabling options and you’re done.

A2’s Optimization also shows warnings and suggestions for making your website more secure.

 

Free SSL Certificate

 

Take a look at the image below

website without ssl certificate

Doesn’t inspire you with much confidence does it?

That’s because there’s no SSL certificate installed.

Now look at the following image:

 

website with ssl certificate

Much better right?

This website has a SSL certificate installed.

Usually if you want a SSL certificate, you’ll pay anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand rand per year with a South African hosting provider.

A2 Hosting provides free SSL certificates for your domains.

*There are some SA hosts that also provide free SSL certificates (when I have time I’ll try publish a list of some of them).

 

Why Choose A2 Hosting Over South African Hosting Providers?

 

At the time of writing this review, I haven’t found a South African hosting company that can compete with the speed, performance and support that A2 Hosting provides.

So I want to take this opportunity to address the only other possible concern you could have for using an overseas based hosting company for a South African website… SEO.

I’ve had people ask if hosting a South African website on US servers will have a negative effect on it’s ability to rank well in Google and other search engines for South African audiences.

The answer’s simple – No, it won’t have a negative effect.

The faster speeds can actually help you rank better.

If you’re using a .co.za domain name, Google already knows that it’s a South African website meant for a South African audience, and your site will be indexed in its Google.co.za database by default.

If you’re using a .com, .net or other general domain extension, you can choose the country you wish to target in Google’s Search Console as shown in the image below.

Screenshot of targeting options in Google Search Console

What Are Others Saying About A2 Hosting?

 

A2 Hosting have over 19560 5/5 100% reviews.

One user, Michael P, says he uses A2 Hosting for their sites as well as for all of their clients’ websites. He mentions their pricing being the best as well as their hosting providing the fastest speeds for their websites to meet Googles speed requirements. He also notes their support being incredibly fast and efficient.

You can read more A2 Hosting reviews from users here

 

Quick Summary

 

With A2 Hosting, you’re getting a secure, affordable hosting solution that provides excellent performance and optimisation for your websites which allows for incredibly fast loading speeds.

One of the biggest surprises is their ability to provide premium quality hosting options at an entry level price that’s easy on any budget.

They offer 5-star support that is available 24/7, 365 (yes, even on Sundays). Support that goes out of their way to resolve problems.

They enjoy high customer retention thanks to their overall service. With over 97% of customers willing to recommend A2 Hosting to a friend.

 

A2 Hosting Review Final Verdict

 

Out of all the hosting companies I use, local and international, I can honestly say A2 Hosting is by far the best hosting company, and I can’t fault them on anything.

If you are interested in checking out A2 Hosting, you can click here to get up to a 51% discount on some of their hosting options.