After putting the top web hosting providers through our own rigorous research process, we have a lot to say about these two providers – but we’ll try to keep this short and sweet!
They’re both affordable, high-quality providers, so you can’t really go wrong. But if you’re hosting a WordPress site, then Bluehost is definitely for you. Not only is it WordPress’ #1 recommended hosting provider, but in our own research it has the best WordPress hosting out of 12 providers with an overall 4.6 out of 5. It’s also our top-tested hosting provider with a score of 4.8 out of 5!
While A2 Hosting can’t compete in WordPress plans with a score of 3.9 out of 5 in our research, if your top priority is website security, then that’s where A2 Hosting shines. Its shared hosting plans come with a free SSL certificate, DDoS protection, and 24/7 network protection.
At the end of the day, Bluehost is a better overall provider than A2 Hosting, with an impressive overall score of 4.8 out of 5. But that doesn’t mean A2 Hosting has nothing to offer you. It all depends on what your specific hosting needs are. Read on to find out which is the better provider for you.
We then measured each hosting provider’s performance across 21 different areas, and condensed our findings into these five most important research categories:
- Disk Space
- Help and Support
- Types of Hosting
Every provider we analyzed – Bluehost and A2 Hosting included – has earned a score out of five in each of these categories. These providers also got an overall score, again out of five, which equates to the average of all of its category scores.
To learn more about our research process, you can check out our full explanation here!
Bluehost is better if you want a quality WordPress integration that's also great value...If you’re a beginner to hosting, then Bluehost is the provider for you. Not only are its plan affordable, but they also come with consistently strong features and great support for all hosting and WordPress-related issues. Bluehost is WordPress’ and our go-to recommendation for hosting, so if you’re starting out there’s no one better!
A2 Hosting is better for those who want better security and technical features...If you’ve been around the block a few times and know an SSL from a CPU, then A2 Hosting’s beefier range of storage-heavy plans and great security may be for you. There’s not a lot of support available, but if power and safety are what you value above all else, A2 Hosting is definitely one to recommend.
Here’s how the two stack up against each other in our research. As you can see, A2 Hosting suffers in help and support with a score of only 1 out of 5.
Let’s take a deeper dive into Bluehost’s and A2 Hosting’s pros and cons:
Bluehost Pros and Cons
| • Excellent WordPress integration: Bluehost is a hosting provider that comes recommended by WordPress itself. It's optimized to work seamlessly with WordPress sites, starting with a one-click installation process. |
• Reliable uptime: Bluehost’s 99.98% uptime performance equates to less than two hours of downtime each year.
|• Sales-y checkout process: Bluehost tends to add some additional products into your cart at checkout – these are easy to delete before you buy, but it can be a little annoying!|
A2 Hosting Pros and Cons
| • Perpetual Security initiative: A2 Hosting’s in-house security strategy goes the extra mile to protect your site from hackers and attacks. |
• Reseller hosting: A2 Hosting has an in-house reseller option available for those interested in selling their own hosting.
| • Poor uptime: A2 Hosting’s 99.95% uptime performance is pretty mediocre as far as dependability goes. |
• Expensive VPS and dedicated plans: A2 Hosting’s shared plans are cheap, but its more advanced options are considerably pricier than Bluehost’s
It's a Tie! Both Bluehost and A2 Hosting have similar ease of use
Both Bluehost and A2 Hosting have a pretty straightforward signup process.
First, you’ll register a domain for your site – or use an existing domain if you already have one – and then you’ll be ready for checkout. Simple!
Both Bluehost and A2 hosting act as domain name registrars, meaning that in addition to their web hosting services, they’ll also handle your domain purchasing and registration needs. Not all hosting providers do this, so both Bluehost and A2 score points for the convenience of getting to manage your hosting and domains from the same account.
Managing Your Site
Both Bluehost and A2 Hosting use the popular cPanel software to power their dashboards. cPanel dashboards have a straightforward layout, so all of the tools you’ll need are easy to find.
Everything from storage space to domain management is at your fingertips. If you’re using Bluehost’s cPanel, you can also click on the “Home” tab in the navigation menu (on the left) to find a useful checklist.
A2 Hosting has the better features
It was a close competition between these two for features. Bluehost offers great features for being such good value (which we’ll get into later), and in our research has an overall score of 4.2 out of 5 for features.
But A2 Hosting just edges Bluehost for the win with 4.3 out of 5 for features. How? By just piling on the features! Bluehost’s storage allowance for shared hosting caps off at 100GB, while A2 Hosting gives you unlimited storage.
But these are the overall scores. Let’s see how they compete in their individual hosting categories.
Number of sites
1 – Unlimited
Number of sites
10GB – Unlimited
100GB – Unlimited
Free SSL certificate
Free SSL certificate
2GB – 16GB
4GB – 16GB
Types of Hosting
There are a few different types of web hosting plans, ranging from shared plans (the cheapest, but least powerful) to dedicated plans (the most expensive, but also most powerful).
- Shared hosting means your website is hosted on the same server as other sites, and you share resources like storage and bandwidth.
- WordPress hosting is shared hosting, specifically optimized for WordPress websites.
- Cloud hosting is similar to shared hosting, but resources are shared between a network of connected servers, rather than just one. Cloud hosting is very reliable, because the burden of uptime is shared between servers.
- VPS hosting stands for virtual private server hosting, and it’s basically a shared server that mimics the environment of a dedicated server. This means more resources will be allocated to your site, but you won’t be paying the price of a real dedicated server.
- Reseller hosting is a little different from the rest. In this model, you’d purchase server space from Bluehost or iPage, but not to use yourself – you’d actually then rent it out to other people, as a sort of business model.
- Dedicated hosting is the real version of what VPS hosting is mimicking. With dedicated hosting, you get an entire server to yourself – all of its resources are dedicated to your website.
Bluehost and A2 Hosting both offer the three “main” types of hosting: shared, VPS, and dedicated.
|Bluehost Hosting Types||A2 Hosting Types|
| • Shared – starts at $2.95 per month |
• WordPress – starts at $24.95 per month
• VPS – starts at $24.99 per month
• Dedicated – starts at $99.99 per month
| • Shared – starts at $2.99 per month |
• WordPress – starts at $11.99 per month
• VPS – starts at $49.99 per month
• Dedicated – starts at $159.99 per month
• Reseller – starts at $24.99 per month
Bluehost doesn’t offer reseller hosting directly, but it does recommend plans from ResellerClub, so you can trust that you’re still getting quality service. Prices start at $17.99 per month.
Bluehost and A2 Hosting have the basics covered. They both offer:
- Free SSL certificates on all plans
- Unmetered bandwidth on all plans
- Unlimited storage space on most or all shared plans (Bluehost’s Basic shared plan offers a still-generous 50 GB)
- Free content delivery network (CDN) to help improve page load speeds for visitors around the world
Neither provider will leave you stranded without the necessities. That said, they do have different strengths.
A2 Hosting beats Bluehost for shared hosting features with 4.4 out of 5 against 3.3 out of 5 in our research. However, it loses to Bluehost in both VPS and dedicated hosting, because while A2 Hosting props itself up with features and storage, it also bloats the prices for these plans and they become expensive.
Maintaining a good balance between features and price is essential as it appeals to a larger audience of people. Luckily, both providers figure out this balance for managed WordPress hosting as they score a joint-first score of 4.4 out of 5 for features.
Bluehost has better value for money
- Bluehost’s introductory prices start at $2.95 per month, and its renewal prices start at $9.99 per month.
- A2 Hosting’s introductory prices start at $2.99 per month, and its renewal prices start at $11.99 per month.
For example, A2 Hosting’s cheapest plan costs $2.99 per month, but only if you sign up for your first three years in advance, so you’ll have to pay $107.64 up front. If you sign up for one year in advance, the introductory price goes up to $6.99 per month, or $83.88 altogether.
However long that first term is – you’ll usually get to pick anywhere between six months and three years – the monthly price will renew at a set regular rate once it ends. This is called the renewal price.
Why is Bluehost Better Value for Money?
Bluehost scores an impressive 4.7 out of 5 overall in the “value for money” category of our research, while A2 Hosting trails behind with a score of 2.6 out of 5.
Bluehost’s shared hosting plans are slightly cheaper than A2 Hosting’s, and this reflects in the scores for each, with Bluehost earning 3.1 out of 5 against A2 Hosting’s 2.5 out of 5. You still can’t really go wrong with either provider here – they both offer the basic features that we spoke about earlier at a competitive price.
The issue is A2 Hosting’s prices can often balloon to a ridiculous degree in both VPS and dedicated hosting. You get a lot of features, sure, but how many customers would be willing to pay $529.99 per month and have a website that needs 2x1TB storage?
Bluehost keeps its prices and offerings a lot more grounded, so if you ever want to grow your site and upgrade from a shared plan, you can stay with Bluehost without having to rework your budget completely.
Prices by Hosting Type
Let’s take a quick look at each provider’s monthly price range, organized by hosting type:
It’s clear that when you start to grow beyond shared hosting, Bluehost represents much better value for money than A2 Hosting.
A2 Hosting has better performance and security
Uptime is one of the most important indicators of a website’s performance. It refers to the amount of time (per year) that said site is live and available to users without any issues.
It’s impossible to guarantee 100% uptime, but ideally, you’ll want to be somewhere in the 99.97% – 99.99% range – and every little bit counts because even a few hundredths of difference could mean hours more downtime each year.
In our research, Bluehost and A2 Hosting got the same score of 3 out of 5 for uptime, meaning that compared to other providers they are similarly ranked.
An interesting point to note is that A2 Hosting scores higher than Bluehost for performance in every hosting type we tested apart from WordPress hosting and ecommerce hosting (so, in 6 out of 8 cases). So while Bluehost is a strong choice for WordPress, it shows that A2 Hosting does in fact prioritize speed for its users.
But let’s look at their actual uptimes and what that means for you, the user:
|Downtime per year (based on typical uptime)||~One hour and 45 minutes||~Four hours and 20 minutes|
Periodically making backups of your website is an important way to make sure you have a copy of everything stored, just in case something goes wrong. You’ll always want to have the latest version of your site backed up if possible.
Bluehost makes its own backups of every site, but they’re not guaranteed – you’re still encouraged to create your own backups for your records. You can do this easily from the cPanel dashboard.
It’s a similar story with A2 Hosting: You’ll need to make backups yourself in cPanel in order to make sure your data is as safe as possible.
So, we know that both Bluehost and A2 Hosting include basic SSL security for free on all of their plans. But that’s not the only security feature that comes built-in with these hosts:
|Bluehost Security Features||A2 Hosting Security Features|
| • SpamAssassin protection to filter against spam emails |
• Hotlink protection to prevent your images and files from being hotlinked on another website
• Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection against DDoS attacks, where server resources are targeted by floods of malicious traffic
| • A dual hosting firewall – one overall network firewall, and one more specific to your A2 Hosting account – to block unauthorized users |
• Limited server access, which means A2 Hosting’s staff uses “keys,” not passwords, to access servers. Keys are more secure than passwords, because they’re more like a conversation between the computer and the server, rather than a simple code that a hacker could guess.
• Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection against DDoS attacks, where server resources are targeted by floods of malicious traffic
We were particularly impressed with A2 Hosting’s in-house Perpetual Security initiative, which is basically an emphasis on “proactive protection against malicious hackers”.
In our own research, A2 Hosting beat Bluehost in performance across most of our hosting categories, even coming second overall in performance for dedicated hosting with a performance score of 4.3 out of 5. Choosing A2 Hosting means you can rest assured that speed and security will be a top priority.
If you want to go the extra mile in terms of security, both providers also have additional services (at an extra cost) that you might want to consider.
Bluehost offers SiteLock security starting at $5.99 per month, which provides automatic monitoring against hackers and malware.
Both providers also offer premium SSL certificates if you ever want to upgrade from the basic one that’s already included. This might be something that larger ecommerce stores will want to consider, since you’d be handling a lot of customer payment information. Premium SSLs typically range from $70 – $170 per year.
It's a Tie! Bluehost and A2 Hosting both have good migration services
Looking to switch an existing website to a new host, and not sure if you should choose Bluehost or A2 Hosting?
You’ll be happy to hear that both Bluehost and A2 Hosting have a free site migration option.
Migrating Websites to Bluehost
Most WordPress websites are eligible for Bluehost’s free migration service, which will take care of everything for you.
There are some minor exceptions to this, like if you’re using an old version of WordPress or your database is unusually large. In the case that your website doesn’t qualify for the free migration, then you still have two options: Bluehost will do a paid migration for you, costing $149.99 or you can migrate your site manually for free.
You’ll need to set aside some of your own time for this, and it’s not the most beginner-friendly option, but it’s not impossible. Plus, we’ve already written a nine-step guide on how to transfer website hosting for help!
Migrating Domains to Bluehost
You can transfer domains with the following extensions to Bluehost: com, net, org, us, co, info, and biz. If you have one of these domains and want to move it over, you can initiate the transfer easily from your Bluehost dashboard!
Migrating Websites to A2 Hosting
A2 Hosting’s free migration service is excellent, but it also comes with some caveats. For example, in order to be eligible, you need to:
- Have a site that already uses the cPanel dashboard
- Be using a shared, reseller, managed VPS, or managed dedicated account
If you’re using an unmanaged VPS or dedicated account, or if the host you’re switching from doesn’t use cPanel, then you’ll have to do the manual migration yourself.
Migrating Domains to A2 Hosting
You can initiate a domain transfer to A2 Hosting in just a few clicks from your account dashboard.
The only catch is that some additional steps may be required if you want to transfer a non-US domain, like .co.uk or .ca. This just means that you’ll probably have to contact your current registrar to get them to prepare the international domain name for transfer.
Bluehost has the best help and support
Bluehost and A2 Hosting both offer:
- Phone support
- Live chat support
- Searchable knowledge bases
In our research, A2 Hosting got an overall help and support score of only 1 out of 5! Looking at specific hosting types, its best help and support is for dedicated hosting with 3.7 out of 5 and its worst is shared hosting with 2.5 out of 5.
When we tested them, we found that A2 Hosting’s live chat responses weren’t as detailed or helpful as Bluehost’s were. Often, the A2 support team would send us links and screenshots of more information, rather than spelling it out themselves.
Bluehost, on the other hand, has an overall help and support score of 3.5 out of 5, with its best help and support being in both VPS and dedicated hosting with 4.5 out of 5. An important note to remember for Bluehost is that it actually has some of the best WordPress building guides since WordPress doesn’t really provide them itself.
If you ever want to get a good response out of A2 Hosting, we recommend using its email support feature instead of live chat. The answers they give via email can sometimes be more detailed, and we heard back from the team in under an hour!
By now, you’ve done your research, and can probably see why Bluehost is a better provider than A2 Hosting. Here’s a quick recap of each host’s performance in the categories we’ve covered:
| Ease of Use |
It's a Tie!
|Both have simple set-ups and let you buy domains at the checkout.||cPanel is used to power both providers's dashboards, meaning that changing your hsotings settings will be easily laid out.|
| Features |
Winner: A2 Hosting
|Bluehost has great features for its price, but can't compete with the sheer amount A2 Hosting gives you.||With its great security and mountains of resource on offer, A2 Hosting just about wins this battle.|
| Pricing |
|Bluehost has some of the best value plans in the industry, making it tough to beat.||Although having similarly priced shared hosting prices, the VPS and dedicated hosting prices bring A2 Hosting down.|
| Performance and Security |
Winner: A2 Hosting
|While having better Uptime, Bluehost doesn't have better security features. At least, not for free.||A2 Hosting's security features are some of the best, with DDoS protection and network monitoring.|
| Migration |
It's a Tie!
|Both providers offer free migrations.||Website and domain transfers are free for both Bluehost and A2 Hosting, with only a few minor caveats.|
| Help and Support |
|Bluehost's help and suppot is some of the best, on top of also being a great source for WordPress building guides.||A2 Hosting's support isn't great - only a 1 out of 5 in our research.|
|Are You Ready?||Try Bluehost||Try A2 Hosting|
Still, each host has its own strengths and weaknesses, so the right fit will depend on what you’re looking for. If you’re a beginner who wants to start a WordPress site, we absolutely recommend Bluehost. Its great value pricing and robust support make it easy for new users to get a grip on hosting.
That being said, if you’re a user who has previous experience with hosting and values security and amount of resources over everything else then A2 Hosting would be best for you. A2 Hosting is a bit like the rhinoceros of the hosting world: big, well-protected, and slightly expensive to upkeep.
Ultimately, the choice is down to you. We’ve done the research and given you our expert opinion, but which hosting provider is right for you depends on your individual website’s needs.
Who Should Use A2 Hosting?
- Anyone whose top priority is security
- Anyone who prefers email support over live chat
- Anyone looking for reseller hosting
Who Should Use Bluehost?
- Anyone hosting a WordPress site
- Anyone whose top priority is support
- Anyone looking for affordable advanced plans
Still not sure which to choose?