After spending over 230 hours putting the top web hosting providers through our own rigorous research process, we have a lot to say about both Bluehost and A2 Hosting – but we’ll try to keep this short and sweet!
They’re both cheap, high-quality providers, so you can’t really go wrong. But if you’re hosting a WordPress site, then Bluehost is definitely for you. If your top priority is website security, then that’s where A2 Hosting shines.
At the end of the day, Bluehost is the better overall provider than A2 Hosting. But 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
Every provider we analyzed – Bluehost and iPage 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 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
Bluehost vs A2 Hosting: Ease of Use – It’s a Tie!
Both hosts have a quick signup process, use the easy and popular cPanel dashboard, and help you register domain names.
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.
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 $2.95 per month
• VPS – starts at $18.99 per month
• Dedicated – starts at $79.99 per month
| • Shared – starts at $2.99 per month |
• WordPress – starts at $2.99 per month
• VPS – starts at $4.99 per month*
• Dedicated – starts at $129.99 per month
• Reseller – starts at $18.99 per month
*You might have noticed that A2’s VPS hosting prices start really cheap. That’s because that $4.99 price tag is for an “unmanaged” VPS plan, which is geared towards more advanced developers who can handle some of the technical work themselves. A2 Hosting’s regular, or “managed,” VPS plans start at $39.99 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 a 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:
|Why Bluehost Wins||Why A2 Hosting Loses|
|• WordPress integration: Bluehost is an officially recommended provider by WordPress itself, and its dashboard is optimized to make things as easy as possible for WordPress website owners – starting with one-click installation.||• No free domain: Bluehost, along with most other hosting providers, includes a free domain for the first year of any plan. This means you don’t have to pay the typical $10 - $20 annual cost of a domain name until your second year. A2 Hosting falls behind the competition by not offering this deal.|
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 scored an impressive 4.6/5 in the “value for money” category of our research, while A2 Hosting trailed just behind with a score of 4.2/5. Bluehost’s shared hosting plans are slightly cheaper than A2’s, but 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.
But what pushes Bluehost past the finish line is its scalability. Bluehost’s VPS and dedicated hosting plans are much cheaper than A2 Hosting’s, so if you ever want to grow your site and upgrade from a shared plan, you can stay with Bluehost without having to completely rework your budget.
Prices by Hosting Type
Let’s take a quick look at each provider’s cheapest monthly price, 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.
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.
|Downtime per year (based on typical uptime)||~One hour and 45 minutes||~Four hours and 20 minutes|
Bluehost has better uptime than A2 Hosting, making it a more reliable provider for your site.
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”. Choosing A2 Hosting means you can rest assured that 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.
Bluehost vs A2 Hosting: Migration – It’s a Tie!
Both hosts offer free migration services for most websites. You can also manually migrate to either host yourself.
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
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 and A2 Hosting both offer:
- Phone support
- Live chat support
- Searchable knowledge bases
When we tested out each provider’s support features ourselves, Bluehost exceeded our expectations, while A2 Hosting actually failed to meet 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.
If you ever want to get a good response out of A2 Hosting, we recommend using their 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||Tie|
|Performance and Security||A2 Hosting|
|Help and Support||Bluehost|
Still, each host has its own strengths and weaknesses, so the right fit will depend on what you’re looking for.
Who Should Use Bluehost?
- Anyone hosting a WordPress site
- Anyone whose top priority is support
- Anyone looking for affordable advanced plans
Who Should Use A2 Hosting?
- Anyone whose top priority is security
- Anyone who prefers email support over live chat
- Anyone looking for reseller hosting