Web Hosts–My Experience With A2 Hosting

Web hosting – if you’re a business or a blogger, you need it. Which company do you choose? Should you move from your presentdell server host? All big and important questions. This article is about my brief move (less than 2 weeks) over A2 Hosting.

I’ve been with HostGator since 2007. They have several tiers of service and the entry point can be very low (around $4/month initially). They are especially knowledgeable about WordPress (The CMS software I use), and they’ve been helpful every time I’ve contacted them, yet I decided to move when my rates when up 19% this year and they did not offer to decrease it when I called them on it. Instead, I got a lame answer from a tech who said “Well, we’ve hired a lot of people last year and we have to pay for them”. Now he wasn’t getting paid for wrangling calls like this, but I was still pretty miffed.

I looked around the web and read various articles and recommendations from people I respect. I spoke to someone very knowledgeable about web hosting and his summary was that they’re all pretty similar and with EIG having purchased both BlueHost and HostGator, there’s really not that big of a distinction between them for sure. I checked several people’s websites (who are in the WordPress world), so see what they recommended. I also read Kevin Hendrick’s excellent article on what to look for in webhosting. He goes over types of hosting, figuring out your needs, what features to look for in a web host and so much more.

So I narrowed it down to these hosting providers:

  • SiteGround
  • Flywheel
  • A2
  • Green Geeks

What Web Host To Choose?

I read up about each of them and in the end decided to go with A2 Hosting. It was on Dustin Hartzler’s Resource Page and I didn’t find out until just recently, that MaAnna Stephenson from BlogAid, formerly recommended them.

inquisitive dog lookingSince I’ve been around now a while, it was pretty easy for me to move my sites over to A2. I used a combination of the Duplicator plugin and the BackupBuddy plugin to move my site and two I’m hosting for friends and family.

My site moved over with no issues and one of the others did too. I had a problem with the last site. Although all the steps went well with BackupBuddy, the site would never show up on-line. I had called A2 several times with my questions and discovered that if I created a ticket, I wouldn’t get a response from them. It was only if I called or did a chat that I ever got my questions answered. There were quite a few support calls too, so I don’t think it was something that slipped through the cracks. (Strike One against A2.)

The response I got over the phone with the non-appearing site was that they just didn’t know why and then pretty much left it at that. Of course, that was unacceptable to me. Then on top of that, I got 2 emails from them early one Saturday morning saying they had found malware in my files and if I didn’t get them cleaned up in 48 hours, they would quarantine them and things may not work right. They did give me a list of the files in question (there were probably 20-30 of them).

My first thought was how could I have malware on this new host when the files had only been there 2 days? I’d updated themes and plugins before moving over, so it couldn’t have been that type of problem. Then I thought I must have the same malware over at HostGator. But when I logged in over there, none of those files were there.

What was I to think? One of my thoughts was perhaps A2 Hosting didn’t have very good safeguards in place to protect their clients – actually that was my main thought!

That was the last straw for me. (Strike 2 with A2.) I made the decision to stay over at HostGator. All three websites were still over there, so it was easy  to go back. I deleted all the files and folders over at A2 and requested my full refund. They have a stated policy that you get a full refund within 30 days. There was no problem in getting it.

Web Hosting Takeaways

  1. Don’t close out your current hosting account until you’re sure everything is working well at the new host.
  2. Do your research on each company and make your decision based on the best knowledge you have – realizing that not everything always goes well – even after proper research.
  3. Check out each company’s refund policy and stay within those guidelines.
  4. Make sure you have good backups of your site. That means verify you have a good backup and know how to restore your backup (or have someone who can do it for you).
  5. Allow enough time for problems that may pop up – especially if you’re moving subdomains as I did.

I don’t blame Dustin or anyone for my troubles with A2 – the final decision was mine alone. People recommend hosting and other services in good faith and can not be held responsible for things that happen with companies. Since WordPress has gained in popularity, there’s been a corresponding increase in attacks to this software and that means attacking the hosting companies too.

Are you thinking of moving to a different host? Have you already had this experience? Leave your story in the comment section.

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