Many people like A2 Hosting for its good price and various features, but we have found that SiteGround is a far superior host for their better speed, reliability, and support. As you go through this A2 Hosting vs SiteGround review, you’ll notice a lot of similarities, but SiteGround comes out on top overall. While both of these hosts used to have cPanel, now SiteGround made a custom control panel that we want to cover.
Read on and see for yourself which is better for your website. SiteGround stands as a premium host that tells you exactly how many resources you’re getting, while A2 Hosting uses the fancy marketing of “unlimited” hosting to make themselves seem better.
Many hosts, such as A2 Hosting and SiteGround, start with a trial period price before launching into their “real” price. What this means is that you’ll get a substantial discount for your first purchase with them (and we always suggest taking the full 3 years to maximize your savings), but then the hosting price will go up after this. This is incredibly common and most hosts will do this.
In both cases, A2 Hosting is more affordable, but there’s a bigger difference with the trial price. A2 Hosting’s smallest Startup plan is $2.99/month and then goes up to $10.99/month after that. Their next plan, Drive, starts at $4.99/month and then goes up to $12.99/month.
By comparison, SiteGround is more expensive. Please check the next section on resources to see why they charge this price. SiteGround’s initial StartUp plan is $6.99/month before going up to $14.99/month. Their next plan, GrowBig, is $9.99/month before going up to $24.99/month.
Overall, A2 Hosting is more affordable and might be better for you if price is the main thing you’re concerned about. However, you should always check to see what you’re getting with the hosting plan.
Price winner: A2 Hosting
Each hosting plan gives you digital resources. While there are many to consider, the main ones you want to look at are bandwidth (sometimes marked as visitors), disk space, and domains. As you go on, you might notice that A2 Hosting sounds like you’re getting more, but you’re not. They do give you much more disk space, we can’t deny that, but you often don’t need as much as they’re giving.
A2 Hosting’s initial plan gives you one domain, unlimited bandwidth, and 100GB of disk space. We won’t deny that the 100GB is great, but a small website won’t be using this much space. In fact, if you did, you can expect very slow loading times.
The problem here is the word “unlimited.” That makes it sound like your inexpensive hosting plan can accommodate millions upon millions of visitors. It can’t. What this really means is that you aren’t given a specific amount of bandwidth. The whole server is given bandwidth and it must be shared by all the websites. If there are several large websites that hogging up all the resources, then that will leave little for you.
So, how many visitors can you really accommodate? That’s a great question. You won’t know until your website is slowing to a crawl and the hosting is asking you to upgrade.
The upgrades promise to give you more resources, but how do you double unlimited? Better yet, how do you multiply unlimited by 20, as promised by their Turbo Boost plan?
SiteGround on the other hand tells you exactly how many visitors you can accommodate. Their initial plan gives you 10GB of disk space (less than A2, but honestly, you probably won’t even use this much) and it can accommodate 10,000 visitors a month. Their next plan gives you 20GB of disk space and accommodates 25,000 visitors a month.
Maybe it doesn’t sound as good as “unlimited”, but SiteGround lets you know exactly how many visitors you can safely accommodate. We think this is much better and prefer real metrics rather than “20X unlimited,” which just makes no sense.
Resources winner: SiteGround
The control panel is what allows you to control your domain, perform website management, and much more. For the longest time both A2 Hosting and SiteGround used cPanel, but that has changed. SiteGround has joined the growing number of hosts that have a custom control panel. It’s hard for us to outright say one is better than the other, so let’s go over them separately.
A2 Hosting still uses cPanel if you choose Linux hosting. You can choose Windows hosting and that will give you Plesk, but since most people use Linux hosting we won’t cover that here. This control panel has been around for many years and is considered the de facto standard for many website owners. Despite being older, cPanel has proven itself as a stable and reliable management system.
It makes it easy to control your hosting plan and domain, and there is lots of documentation due to its long life and large audience. You really can’t go wrong with it, and those who are used to cPanel will be happy to see it here.
SiteGround recently dropped cPanel and made their own Site Tools. In general they kept the spirit of cPanel by giving you lots of options, but simplified the overall experience so that some tools are easier to use. While experienced cPanel users might grumble about the change, it shouldn’t take more than a few days to master.
That being said, there’s one thing we don’t like. You now need to make separate FTP login credentials for each domain. cPanel allowed you to use one username and password regardless of your domains, but now you need one for each domain.
It’s annoying, but the logic makes sense. This is safer as it means that only one domain will be compromised if a hacker gets your password.
Overall it’s a toss up between proven reliability and documentation against a newer, simpler system.
Control panel winner: A2 Hosting
A website without a script is incredibly boring, there’s no other way to put it. It’s a static HTML page with unlimited potential, but unless you’re willing to do the coding yourself, it will just remain an empty page with nothing on it. That’s where scripts come in.
A script installs a CMS such as WordPress on yourself website to make it more versatile and functional. Suddenly your website can now easily publish and update articles, you can sell products with an ecommerce script, or you can make huge image galleries. A host should make the scripts easy to install and there should be a wide variety.
This section is a tie because A2 Hosting and SiteGround are functionally identical. A2 Hosting uses Softaculous for their script installer while SiteGround uses Softaculous Remote through their App Manager tool.
That’s great because Softaculous is one of the best script installers around. It has over 300 scripts, so you’ll have no problem finding one that meets your needs. Plus, it only takes a few clicks to install the script on your website.
While there are some minimal differences between the two, we would say they are functionally identical. Whether you’re looking for a popular or relatively unknown script, you should have no problem finding and installing it with either host.
Scripts winner: SiteGround
The absolute last thing that you want is a host that’s slow. Not only does this provide a bad user experience, but Google really cares about this when ranking your websites. Plus, a website that takes more than a second or two to load will cause people to click the back arrow. That being said, which is faster?
Both of these hosts are similar in some regards. They both use SSD (Solid-State Drive) servers in their data centers. These are the fastest servers and they quickly allow your website to load when accessed from a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. At this point nearly every good host uses SSD servers, so this isn’t quite as impressive as it used to be, but both hosts adopted them fairly early.
They also have the same uptime guarantee of 99.9%. While A2 Hosting sites roughly around this amount and that’s great, we have seen that SiteGround is fairly better and is usually closer to 99.99% or better. That 0.09% may not seem like much, but it makes a big difference on popular websites.
Also, they both offer you the ability to choose a data center that’s close to your audience. We found that SiteGround had more data centers overall, but they both give you this option and it’s fantastic. The closer your audience is, the faster the loading times.
While they have a number of similarities, we found that SiteGround was faster. A2 Hosting is no slouch, but SiteGround provided faster loading and we trusted it more as well with its reliable resources.
Speed winner: SiteGround
Maybe it’s late at night or really early in the morning, but your website has gone down and you can’t figure out why. Can you reach your host’s support team for help? While some hosts have very limited hours, both A2 Hosting and SiteGround provide 24/7 support to ensure you can get help when you need it.
While there are some similarities between them, we will give the win to SiteGround and you’ll see why very soon.
Both SiteGround and A2 Hosting offer 24/7 support for phone, live chat, and emails. This ensures that you can reach the support staff in whichever way you prefer.
The support team for both is pretty good. A2 Hosting has knowledgeable staff members that can help with sales questions, website issues, and any other problems that you might have.
However, we have found that SiteGround tends to be more knowledgeable overall. Not only that, but they do a few extra things we loved. For example, they show you a picture of the staff member so that your support feels more personal. Plus, they have a “no hold policy” for calls and live chat. You should be connected with someone in just a few seconds.
Emails are a little slower, but you can expect a response within 10 minutes (usually less).
Both support teams are good, but SiteGround is better overall and will give you a better experience.
Support winner: SiteGround
No host is free from problems and disadvantages. We’ve largely covered these two based on their benefits, but we want to give you a clear picture of what you can expect from these hosts when you choose one. This section will show the worst aspects of both hosts so that you’ll know what’s in store.
With A2 Hosting, we can’t stand how they promise 20X unlimited, it just makes no sense. There’s really no way to know if you’re paying for better performance, or just paying extra for the same servers. It’s dubious marketing that makes big promises that are unverifiable.
Not only that, but there have been many complaints about their support team with more advanced issues. They are good for regular problems, but many people have said that advanced issues (such as a website being down for days) can lead to numerous escalations, excuses, and blaming until the issue is finally resolved.
SiteGround’s pricing is high, there’s no other way of saying it. They are an expensive host and we wouldn’t blame new website owners from being wary of the prices. If your website isn’t making money yet or getting traffic, then you may not need their stronger servers. While experienced website owners will see it as an investment, newer owners might have a hard time putting down so much money without knowing if they’ll make anything in return.
Also, while we do like their new control panel, cPanel veterans might be angry. Yes, we said it’s easy to learn, but if you’re dedicated to cPanel, then you’re going to be mad that it’s not here anymore.
So, which host is best? A2 Hosting still uses cPanel and is more affordable, but we don’t think it can hold a candle to SiteGround. SiteGround has better resources, faster servers, better support, and overall is the superior of the two. While newer website owners might need the more affordable services of A2 Hosting, we believe that you’ll get much more from SiteGround.