Recently we have picked A2 hosting’s managed WordPress plan.
Honestly, it has amazed us with its speed.
At first, we were not sure about its Plesk server performance. BUT the results we got are really GREAT!
Here is our in-depth review of A2 managed WordPress hosting.
Let’s have a look into its Plesk cPanel and the real data about its uptime and page speed.
A2 WordPress Hosting plan and features
We looked into their website to check their WordPress hosting plan. Actually, they have two kinds of WordPress hosting plan. One is Shared WordPress hosting and another one is Managed WordPress hosting.
What’s the difference between these two?
Well, hosting’s operating system is the main fact. Shared is run on Linux based cPanel whereas Managed is run on Windows Plesk server.
Besides, the Shared hosting plan is not “Turbo optimized”. We believe it is some terms to boost the speed. Let’s see!
In the Shared hosting plan, you will have to perform the “Do-It-Yourself WordPress”. Means you need to install manually(of course it has installer like other cPanel). The Backups, Site staging is not available.
As per the A2 managed WordPress hosting plan says it is 20x faster than the Shared plan. Besides, you can take the backup, make a staging site for your production site.
We were excited to test the managed plan. So we bought the Managed WordPress hosting plan.
Here are some notable features of the managed hosting plan.
- Unlimited Transfer(No limit!)
- Free SSL, SSD & CDN
- Turbo (Up To 20X Faster)
- Powered by Plesk
- Site Staging
- Easy, Automated Backups
- Free Jetpack License
- Free & Easy Site Transfer
- Anytime Money Back Guarantee
Inside the A2 Managed WordPress Hosting Backend
A2 Plesk control panel is pretty identical to the well-known Linux cPanel control panel. Despite the different looks of the dashboard, the essential features are there and you are good to use it.
You’ll have the Plesk control panel where you’ll have access to your websites, email, file manager, databases, and statistics!
Check the screenshot below.
Generally in managed hosting the file managed comes restricted and only can be accessed through sFTP.
But in A2 managed you can browse files with full privileges like what you get in cPanel file manager.
The WordPress site data will be in “httpdocs” folder.
Have a look at the file manager.
As you can add unlimited subdomains and install WordPress on them. You will able to add unlimited databases.
So if you want to make a staging or dev site, you can easily select a database manually or create automatically while setting up a new WordPress site.
The Easy-To-Use staging site allows you to test changes and updates before you take them live.
Like cPanel, you can also access databases using phpMyAdmin. You can also make database backup easily.
Regarding email addresses, you can create unlimited email addresses according to A2 hosting plan.
You can check your statistics about how much storage left or how much bandwidth you already used.
The bandwidth is unlimited. No restriction!
You will have a dedicated WordPress control page where you can manage your sites.
You can scan the site for malware or other security flaws. Have a look at the Plesk WordPress control panel.
WP-CLI is pre-installed so you can manage your WordPress sites with the command line.
So you will get all the useful feats in a single place. We can tell you that the A2 Plesk control panel is no different.
Check out the backend video tour.[check the video]
Inside the WordPress Dashboard
Well, it is not all about their superfast LiteSpeed server, there are a couple of things in their WordPress setup.
A2 Optimized and A2 Fixed W3 Total Cache
These two plugins actually making the differences.
A2 Optimized tunes up the site speed doing whatever it takes by minifying CSS/JS, compressing HTML (incorporating with W3 Total Cache plugin) and resizing images(they used Eww image optimizer plugin).
We saw two significant features in the A2 Optimized plugin.
- Turbo Web Hosting
- Memcached Database and Object Cache
What do these two features do?
As per the A2 optimized plugin
Turbo Web Hosting servers compile .htaccess files to make speed improvements. Any changes to .htaccess files are immediately re-compiled.
Turbo Web Hosting servers have their own PHP API that provides speed improvements over FastCGI and PHP-FPM (FastCGI Process Manager).
To serve static files, Turbo Web Hosting servers do not need to create a worker process as the user. Servers only create a worker process for PHP scripts, which results in faster performance.
Turbo Web Hosting servers have a built-in caching engine for Full Page Cache and Edge Side Includes.
And Memcached Database and Object Cache
Memcached is an in-memory key-value store for small chunks of arbitrary data (strings, objects) from results of database calls, API calls, or page rendering.
The response time is great. As we know that within 1000ms is considered fast.
The average response time is about 900 ms. It can be scored within 400 ms in the USA.
We haven’t used any CDN like Cloudflare, MaxCDN yet. So the result is satisfactory. Although Cloudflare is integrated and free. You just need to configure. That’s why they call it in the plan “free CDN”.
Well, we checked A2 MWP hosting uptime for the last 15 days and we got a downtime. That lasts around 20 minutes.
Then we prompted to check what happens actually. The root cause of the downtime was 500 Error. “database connection error”. That means it was the server-side issue. There might have been scheduled system upgrade or something wrong.
We understand the outage. It happens to all web hosting providers. No big deal.
Page Speed testing
We have tested our prototypes pages- Home, store and a long scroll page. Except for the Store page, both pages are heavy.
Although the Eww Image Optimizer plugin which is pre-installed compressed the images. The webpage size is around 6-7 MB.
Again, we didn’t configure any CDN yet. So the speed will NOT be the same in other places in the world.
We have tested the A2 hosted site in Pingdom, GTmetrix and Google PSI.
Let’s check it out.
Pingdom Page Speed Test
Here are our test results of the Pingdom speed test. As usual, we test our Home page and a long scroll inner page in 5 different locations- Eastern Asia, Australia, Eastern USA, Western USA, and Europe.
We have checked the fastest and slowest page speed test data.
We checked our prototype home page in the Western US region. The result is 1.2s. We assume the 6.5 Mb size home page loads within 1.2 sec to 2 sec. That’s super.
We saw that within 1 second the first contentful paint appeared which is top-notch despite there is a slider containing heavy size images. Then load fully within 2 seconds.
Then we have checked out the slowest page load time data. The location was Australia. It was more than 5 seconds which is not good. But we accept it cause the CDN is not activated yet.
As we see at the page load film strip, the first byte received within 2.5s but the first contentful paint is 2 seconds late which means it was an average performance. To be reckoned as the fast loading web page, the first contentful paint should be under 1000ms.
We believe that activating CDN on this site will do the job.
GTmetrix Page Speed Test
Then we tested our pages in 6 locations in the world with GTmetrix.
The results are pretty the same and we are satisfied as the CDN is not still activated. We will let you know after configuring Cloudflare.
Let’s have a look at the Page Load Timings in a location. Let’s say it is the USA.
As you see in the image the TTFB(Time to first byte) is triggered within 200ms! Which is GREAT.
Then the first contentful paint triggered in 1 second which considered fast load time.
Then the DOM and other contents loaded within 3 sec. Superb!
Here’s the video of GTmetrix results. Check it out.
Google PSI data
At last, we tested our home page which is heavy enough to check hosting’s page loading ability.
The Google PSI results are also GREAT.
Both contentful and meaningful paint found within 800ms.
That is a really great result.
The page speed score can be boosted by optimizing a few things.
A2 Hosting Security
A2’s “Perpetual Security” measures help prevent you from getting hacked!
That’s why your account includes free HackScan Protection to help block hacks before the damage done.
According to A2 hosting…
KernelCare rebootless kernel updates, brute force defense, a dual firewall and a number of other security features are already in action to keep your site secure.
Their Reinforced distributed denial of service (DDoS) Protection saves your site even from the most sophisticated distributed denial of service attacks.
A2 Hosting Support
The only way to get help from the A2 experts is the ticket. But they response superbly quick. We got useful help on certain topics in less than an hour.
Besides, you can enrich your knowledge with their knowledgebase.
Also, check yourself about the network status.
This is is how you can open a ticket to get help. Relax they are fast to reply and very resourceful.
FYI, always include your support PIN to get supports faster
A2 managed WordPress hosting is a little bit pricy but it worths to buy for.
Here is their current pricing
You will get a promotional price which is insanely 60% off!
Although you need to buy at least 3 years plan.
If you are a blogger or small business owner, then buy the 1-site or 3-site plan.
The unlimited plan should be GREAT for developers or agencies.
Buy managed WordPress hosting when you care for the page speed which will help you get SEO boost in real quick.
You can try it completely risk-free with “Anytime Money Back Guarantee”.
After testing our default Homepage, Long page, and Woocommerce Store on Pingdom, Gtmetrix, and Google Page Speed Insights, we are very convinced with A2 managed WordPress hosting.
Adding a CDN network will certainly boost the page load time up. No doubt!
Because A2 ensures the speed using their fine-tuned SwiftServer platform complete with speed-enhancing features like solid-state drives (SSDs), Cloudflare Servershield CDN and LiteSpeed Cache for WordPress.
Uptime is OKAY. We didn’t get fully 100% uptime though.
Despite not having chatting option their Support is swift and agents very helpful.
Let us know what do you think about A2.
Also, feel free to drop your hosting related queries below in the comment box.