BlueHost vs A2Hosting – Which Web Hosting is Best?
Web hosting is a rapidly growing industry which forms a huge cornerstone of today’s business economy. An online presence is the bread and butter of a lot of business models these days, and even outside of the business world, independent hobbyists and bloggers are also buying up domains with record speed.
With a healthy market come healthy options. There are a myriad of hosting services both good and bad at our disposal as web designers. How can we go about choosing the perfect one for our website? Picking through all the different discounts and deals can be a pain, especially for somebody newer.
So we’re going to take a focused look at two companies side by side, and compare them directly. This will help us get a more accurate idea of how the two companies compare to each other and their other competitors. Hopefully, we end up with an idea of which one will be better suited to hosting our website.
Today we’ll be taking a look at BlueHost and A2Hosting. Both companies are well-known in the industry, and offer an expansive array of competitive features. That being said, there are some key differences between the two, so let’s dive right in and start with a general look at Bluehost.
What Is BlueHost?
Bluehost is a well-known hosting company founded in 2003 by Mike Heaton. After their inception, they quickly became one of the most trusted names in the industry, and today they host well over 2 million websites together with their sister sites Hostmonster, FastDomain, and iPage.
Overall, Bluehost is known for reliability, usability, and excellent customer service. Some of their technical specs or more advanced features can tend to lag behind compared to some of their competitors, but they are a very attractive option for newer users or people looking for something on a smaller scale.
Their plans are reasonably priced, but tend to have strict limitations at the lower price points. We’ll go over this in a minute, for now let’s just take a look at Bluehost’s pros and cons.
Pros of BlueHost
- Bluehost has been providing competitive web hosting for over 15 years. They have built up a reputation for themselves as a reliable host with excellent learning resources. This is a reputation they will want to protect. There have been some hiccups over the years (more on this later) but nothing so major as to tarnish their name.
- Learning resources. Bluehost has an excellent host of knowledge that they put at your disposal. Learning how to use their platform is a breeze, and any possible question you have can be answered; either by their excellent onboarding and learning resources, or by one of their delightful customer service representatives.
- Special deals. Like any good web host, Bluehost is always offering special deals and discounts on many of its features and plans. This may not be a big deal for you, unless you are primarily interested in saving money. These deals tend to change frequently, so doing your own research is key.
- Customer support. As I said before, Bluehost is widely known for having an excellent customer support team. They offer support 24/7 by phone and also through live chat, although the chat is limited. Although they may have fewer avenues of support than other companies, their actual support team and services are very highly reviewed by customers. Overall, it can be hard to judge support if you’re not the kind of person who needs a lot of it, but for people who like to have a little bit of support on their side, this is definitely a very attractive feature.
- Money-back guarantee. Bluehost offers a 30-day money back guarantee on its services. If you don’t like your services, you can cancel within 30 days for a full refund. Guarantees like this are fairly standard, and Bluehost’s is actually shorter than much of the competition; but this is still a nice touch for those who want to minimize their risk.
- Big-name resources. Being a big name company affords Bluehost some special privileges. They have a lot of resources at their disposal to devote to making sure their customers are satisfied. Users tend to feel right at home with Bluehost, and their big-name reputation shows through in their services and reliability.
- Bluehost is a recognized name in usability as far as web hosts go. Their interface is powered by the industry-standard cPanel, which is renowned for its usability and straightforwardness. The fact that it is also industry-standard means that you can use the skills you learn on it in future endeavors that use the same interface. Coupled with their onboarding resources and customer service, this makes Bluehost a no-brainer for newer users or people with smaller websites.
These are the main advantages of Bluehost. While there isn’t much here to wow us, they definitely provide a promise of reliability and straightforwardness. Overall Bluehost tends to be a good option for smaller-scale website projects or people who are still learning the ropes as a web designer.
So now that we’ve taken a look at Bluehost’s pros, we should take a peek at the cons.
Cons of BlueHost
- Although Bluehost offers very competitive capabilities compared to its competition, their actual server specs are nothing too special compared to some of the faster hosts. Ultimately, this only means a small decrease in speed, as long as you’re running a relatively small website. Users who want to run larger websites, or who rely on their website being the fastest, might want to look elsewhere.
- Although Bluehost’s pricing is very competitive, some of its price points are a little expensive for the feature sets which they provide. This is particularly true of some of the cheaper plans, believe it or not, since there are such strict limitations on a lot of the capabilities of the lower-price plans.
- As I have said above, Bluehost places a lot of limitations on its users, particularly at lower price points. Their least expensive plan is only really useful for a single, small website with no special features. This won’t be so much of a big deal for you if you plan on going with a higher-end plan, or if the limitations don’t impact the type of website you intend to make.
- Big-name problems. Being a recognized name in the industry can have its pitfalls. Although Bluehost’s customer service team comes highly recommended by user reviews, their actual support line can sometimes have long wait times. Being a big name also makes the company a target for cyberattacks.
There’s also the issue of some cybersecurity concerns Bluehost has had in the past. Although events like this can be a huge red flag for some customers, Bluehost has proven to be a reliable and competitive web host in recent years, and remains an attractive option for many users.
So, now that we’ve taken a look at Bluehost, let’s look at A2Hosting.
What Is A2Hosting?
A2hosting is an independent Linux hosting company which promises quality and affordability. They offer VPS, shared, reseller, and dedicated hosting plans, and they claim to be one of the fastest growing independent hosts in the industry.
There are a lot of things which stand out about A2hosting right off the bat; but in order to get a focused idea of what they can do for us, we’re going to take a look at some of their pros and cons.
Pros of A2Hosting
- Unlimited storage. A2Hosting offers unlimited storage, even on its lower-price plans. This is a huge plus compared to Bluehost, which limits the storage even on their most expensive plans. If you don’t plan on having a large website with a lot of apps or other things, this won’t be a big deal for you, but it’s still a huge plus compared to Bluehost.
- Unlimited websites. A2Host also offers unlimited websites through its Swift and Turbo plans. This is a great feature if you require multiple websites, but will be less of a big deal if you’re still just starting out. Some Bluehost plans also offer unlimited websites.
- Unlimited databases. Another big plus offered with the Swift and Turbo plans is the unlimited databases feature. This is great if you’re running a lot of apps or other things which require a lot of databases. Again, if your website isn’t going to need all this unlimited goodness, you might be better off going with Bluehost.
- 9% uptime. Although Bluehost has very reliable stats for their servers, A2Host boasts a 99.9% uptime, and has a reputation for meeting that benchmark. This is only really a big deal if you need your website to be super-fast, but most users will find speed to be a huge factor in their website performance.
- 4x redundant network. A2Hosting has a quadruple redundant network which provides unprecedented reliability. The redundant network means that even if the servers fail up to three times, the fourth redundancy will keep it running. This is great for websites that are really sensitive to potential downtime.
- cPanel interface. Like Bluehost, A2Hosting uses the industry-standard cPanel. This comes with all the same ease-of-use and learning advantages you could expect. The cPanel interface is well known for its straightforwardness and usability.
- Part of A2Hosting’s “Perpetual Security Initiative”, Hackscan is 24/7 malware protection which is included with your account free of charge. Along with some of the other “Perpetual Security” features, this can be a huge plus for users concerned with security.
- WordPress plans. A2Hosting has optimized software for handling WordPress, Drupal or Prestashop. This is great for people who use these services in building their website. Many hosts offer specialized services for WordPress, but A2Hosting has highly optimized software in place for integrating usage of these programs.
- Website staging included. A2Hosting provides a free staging site for testing changes and features on your live site. This is a nice touch since a lot of hosts charge extra for staging features. If you’ve already got a decent QA strategy in place, this might not be the most essential feature.
- Attracta SEO tools. A2Hosting provides access to Attracta’s powerful SEO tools. Search Engine Optimization is a huge part of running a successful website for a lot of niches, so having this option can be a huge advantage. This is especially a good tool if you are less familiar with SEO and would like to learn how to employ it effectively in building your website.
- Anytime money-back guarantee. Like any good web host, A2Hosting offers a money back guarantee within 30 days. They up the ante a bit though, including a prorated refund after 30 days of unused service. This is a large improvement over Bluehost’s rather lackluster money back guarantee. Although their guarantee covers the same amount of time, the added “anytime” guarantee provides a huge opportunity for risk-free services.
That’s a pretty long list, and many of those advantages are very attractive for certain types of websites. But, as we say, no website is perfect, and A2Hosting is no exception. In order to get a balanced idea of what we’re dealing with, let’s take a look at the cons.
Cons of A2Hosting
- Some features require Swift or Turbo plans. Although many of the features listed above make A2Hosting a very attractive option, some of them require more expensive plans in order to gain the full advantage. These include: unlimited websites, unlimited databases, and server rewind data backups.
- Aggressive marketing. Although you don’t need to spend any extra money with A2Hosting, they certainly try to get you to buy more stuff all over their website. This won’t be a big deal if you aren’t bothered by aggressive upsells, but it can be a bit of a pain for some users.
- A2Hosting’s price is very reasonable and competitive overall, but some of their features seem a little out of place for the price points. An example of this would be higher renewal pricing for annual plans compared to 2-year plans. Their cheaper plans are also generally strictly limited, much in the same way Bluehost’s are.
- Onboarding features are lacking. A2Host simply doesn’t have the same streamlined onboarding process and font of learning resources that Bluehost offers. This won’t be too big of an issue if you’re used to learning and becoming acclimated to things by yourself, but for users who expect a little bit more support during the onboarding process, this might be a big deal.
As you can see, many of these disadvantages are very specific, or only appear at certain price points. Despite these flaws, A2Hosting remains an attractive and successful option. There are a few ways in which it pulls ahead of Bluehost for higher-end hosting, but we think that Bluehost will probably be the best bet for smaller-time web designers and newbies.
That being said, the more advanced feature set and slightly more attractive pricing make A2Hosting a good option for those who aren’t bothered spending a little more for a bit more functionality. The difference isn’t as pronounced as it is with some website comparisons, but it is significant.
Now that we’ve got a good idea of what both of these companies can offer us, let’s stack them up side-by-side and see how they measure up. In order to get a focused comparison of the two companies, we’ll break down our comparison into three categories: Functionality, Support, and Price.
Both sites offer a very competitive set of features. Bluehost’s feature set seems to be focused mainly on ease-of-use. Although both hosts are very user-friendly, using the industry-standard cPanel, and offering guarantees to its customers for risk-free trial of their services.
The actual performance of A2Hosting is much more consistent than Bluehost. They also provide more cybersecurity options such as Hackscan. If you’re concerned about the security of your website, or if your business is really sensitive to downtime, the added performance and reliability of A2Host will probably be your best bet.
People running smaller websites, however, may still find Bluehost to be the better option, as they have much more extensive learning resources for new users. In the end, this is a bit of a trade-off, since the advantages and disadvantages of both websites in this category are very well balanced.
Another huge cornerstone of a good web host is the customer support. New users and advanced users alike will find it hard to become effective with a new website if they can’t receive any support on how to run it effectively. In this department, Bluehost is the clear winner, as they have an excellent reputation for customer service, as well as an extensive library of onboarding and learning resources to help newer users get started with their website.
Of course, A2Hosting also offers good customer support, but they don’t have the reputation for excellent service that Bluehost has. They also lack the extensive library of resources. Ultimately, although both websites are very balanced in terms of capability, Bluehost is definitely the clear front runner in terms of customer support.
This is the big factor for most users. There’s no sense grabbing the most effective and powerful web hosting on the market if it’s simply going to bankrupt you. As I said before, comparing the different price points and discounts can be difficult, but we’re going to take a look at the specific plans that each company offers, in order to see just which one the better option in terms of price is.
- Bluehost offers Shared hosting starting at $3.95 per month, VPS hosting starting at $19.99 per month, and Dedicated server Hosting starting at $79.99 per month. Their range of options is a little limited at first glance, but the plans they offer have a lot of versatility, and Bluehost can be used effectively for a wide variety of different websites.
- For newbies, the shared plans are probably a good idea. They start at $3.95 per month (normally $7.99) for a basic plan with limited SSD storage, subdomains, email storage, and no special offers or features. The plus plan is $5.95 per month (normally $10.99), and offers unlimited websites, SSD storage, subdomains, and email storage. The plus plan also has $200 in marketing offers available. The choice plus package is also $5.95 per month at the moment (normally $14.99), and offers all of the features unlimited with all of the extra packages and offers.
- They also offer specialized WordPress hosting plans starting at $3.95 per month for a single website with 50GB of space, and a free domain for one year. Their Plus plan bumps this up to $5,95 per month, and throws in unlimited websites, unmetered website space, and some essential features. The most expensive option is the Choice Plus plan, which offers unlimited websites, unmetered website space, free domain for one year, 1 domain privacy, and automated backup for $5.95 per month (normally $14,99).
- There’s also VPS Hosting for $19.99 per month with 2 Cores, 30GB SSD, 2GB of RAM, 1TB of bandwidth, 1 domain/address, and free SSL. The Enhanced VPS package for $29.99 gives you 2 cores, 60GB SSD, 4 GB of RAM, 2TB of bandwidth, 1 domain, and two addresses. The ultimate VPS package for $59.99 per month gives you 4 cores, 120 GB SSD, 8GB of Ram, 3TB of bandwidth, 1 domain, and 2 addresses.
- A2Hosting offers shared hosting starting at $5.16 per month, reseller hosting starting at $17.39 per month, VPS hosting starting at $6.59 per month, and dedicated hosting starting at $131.24 per month.
- The shared hosting offers WordPress and Drupal optimization, turbo servers for up to 20x the speed, and great ease-of-use. In order to get some of the nicer features, you will have to pay more than the basic price.
- Their reseller hosting is good for people who flip websites, offering an easy setup for individual hosting accounts, as well as a world class WHM control panel.
- For users who want more security, their VPS hosting offers great speed, more isolation, and a dynamic management level. Again, you will have to go with a higher price for some of the more luxurious features.
Overall, both companies are very reasonably priced. The limitations on lower-price plans are very comparable, but the difference in customer support and resources is significant.
So, What’s The Verdict?
Although both companies offer very comparable prices and features with their cheaper plans, BlueHost tends to outperform A2Hosting simply due to its greater resources and customer support ability. At higher price points, A2Hosting starts to pull ahead with its more attractive features and less stringent limitations.
Of course, there could be something we missed, so do some googling yourself and see if you can’t find something to prove me wrong!