Choosing a web hosting service provider may not be the most glamorous part of building a website, but it’s probably the most important. While you can design your website to look great and impress everyone, without a reliable web host no-one will get to see it.
We’ve investigated what each provider has to offer and what customers think of their services and put the results together here for you.
Launched in 2001, InMotion has earned a solid reputation as a high-quality web hosting provider for businesses who want to have a web presence. This reputation is a reflection in InMotion’s A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and its listing as a Certified CNET Hosting Provider.
A2 Hosting has been in business since 2003 and is headquartered in Ann Arbour, Michigan. The company has won many awards, including several in 2015 and 2016 from online organizations and a rating of A from the Better Business Bureau.
Uptime and Reliability
Uptime. Uptime and reliability usually go unnoticed until your website isn’t available. InMotion and A2 Hosting both offer guarantees of the industry-standard uptime of 99.9%, and both hit the mark consistently according to independent monitoring companies. InMotion uses a unique Proactive System Management tool to keep track of their servers but doesn’t publish the results.
Performance. Both A2 Hosting and InMotion use Solid State Drive servers which increase the speed of processing and are available on all their hosting plans. In addition, InMotion has technologies called Max Speed Zones which selects the closest datacenter for your website and Smart Routing which helps your website’s load time.
All three of A2 Hosting’s plans are powered by Solid State Drive Speed Boost servers, which perform up to 20 times faster than regular servers. Some companies’ SSDs are used only to store a limited amount of your website data; with A2 Hosting all your website processing is done on these fast servers. A2 Hosting also publishes its uptime and speed stats which are monitored by a third-party company.
Reliability. OMultiple data centers add to the reliability of a web hosting provider’s services. InMotion’s data centers on are on the east and west coasts of the United States and the company has plans to build centers in Europe, Asia, and South America.
A2 Hosting’s data centers are already worldwide, with seven servers in Washington, DC and California in the United States, one in Australia and one in Germany. Additional measures to ensure reliability taken by both companies include redundant power and cooling and onsite monitoring.
Opinion on InMotion and A2 Hosting Performance
InMotion and A2 Hosting both have excellent uptime and reliability, but InMotion edges ahead for being just a little bit faster.
Compare Key Features
Note: It’s in the range of features that the main differences often occurs. It’s easier to make a decision if you know what you need to ensure your website runs successfully.
Both A2 Hosting and InMotion are eco-conscious companies. Since 2007, A2 Hosting has been carbon-neutral, encouraging its staff to telecommute, recycling old servers, planting trees and reducing trash. InMotion’s first-ever green technology center is based in California and has an advanced cooling system.
Domain Registration. Domain name registration and management is the same for both A2 Hosting and InMotion. Both companies will sell you a domain name and allow you to transfer one that you already own. However, only InMotion gives you a free domain name for one year when you sign up for an annual, or longer, web hosting contract.
Website Builder. A2 Hosting’s RVSiteBuilder is free with all its hosting plans and wich allows you to build a helpful website. InMotion’s free Premium website builder offers more features, including some advanced ones such as user registration on your site. However, the look of the finished pages won’t be particularly eye-catching.
Databases. Both InMotion and A2 Hosting offer SQL databases with all their plans. InMotion has unlimited MySQL databases for its top plan, the Pro, while A2 Hosting limits the number of databases just for its lowest plan.
WordPress Hosting. Both A2 Hosting and InMotion provide great WordPress managed hosting.
A2 Hosting has a WordPress plugin called A2 Optimized which speeds up your WordPress pages to 6 times the normal processing speed. It also provides above-and- beyond security for your WordPress sites.
InMotion’s managed WordPress hosting wins the AWA Member’s Choice award for this service. You have the option of having WordPress pre-installed on checkout with all InMotion’s regular hosting plans; in addition, they supply BoldGrid to help you quickly build your WordPress site.
eCommerce Solution. A2 Hosting and InMotion approach eCommerce differently.
A2 Hosting doesn’t have its own eCommerce solution but offers partnerships via 1-click setups with highly popular eCommerce services, including Magento, OpenCart, PrestaShop, and AbanteCart. However, you have to put the bits together yourself.
InMotion comes with lots of integrated eCommerce features. You can incorporate an eStore into your website using the Premium web builder and can download PrestaShop or OpenCart as a shopping cart. Upgrading your store further, or using a different payment option, requires plugins.
Backups. Although it’s great that some web hosting companies provide backups for you, don’t rely on those – make your own backups on a regular schedule. Some hosting companies even advise this too!
That said, both InMotion and A2 Hosting do provide some backup services for you.
With InMotion, you receive automated backup copies for accounts that are 10 GB and less –, and the service is free.
A2 Hosting provides Server Rewind, a file recovery program that is free with its top two plans. Server Rewind periodically takes snapshots of your website, but not your databases, and you can access these from your control panel.
Hosting Security. Both web hosting providers take security extremely seriously.
Excellent security is available at InMotion, for various monthly fees. McAfee Spam and virus protection software protect your email accounts, and an SSL certificate looks after any sensitive data entered into your website. WordPress users have the free Sucuri Security plugin to keep their sites safe.
A2 Hosting provides free Perpetual Security with all its hosting plans. Protection includes 24/7/365 security monitoring, virus scanning, a dual firewall and other server protections. Of note is HackScan, a free protection that blocks hacks before they do damage to their client’s websites. SSL certificates are also available for purchase.
Control Panel. Both web hosting services use cPanel to support their Linux users, but each panel looks and works differently. A2’s version is the standard cPanel, and its navigation will be easy to pick up for those already familiar with it. InMotion provides cPanel 11 with its Business Class package, and this version has no personalized themes or branding on the interface.
Opinion on InMotion and A2 Hosting Key Features
InMotion Hosting and A2 Hosting both have excellent features offerings, with many features in common. InMotion Hosting has the edge with a free domain and its eCommerce features; however if security is a big concern, go with A2 Hosting.
Hosting Plans & Pricing
Note: Web hosting service providers remain competitive, so pricing is not usually the deciding factor when choosing a web host. What is important is what each of the plans has to offer, and what the cost of the plan jumps up to after the promo period is over.
InMotion. InMotion has three Linux web hosting plans, all of which come with free SSD servers, unlimited disk space and monthly transfers, a free domain, free data backups and the ability to choose which data center your website is hosted on.
The Launch plan is the starter plan with two websites and costs $5.99 per month with a two-year contract. The Power plan is recommended for small businesses and costs $7.99 monthly; you can have up to 6 websites and is eCommerce ready. The top-tier plan for developers and growing businesses is the Pro plan. For $13.99 per month, you get an unlimited number of websites and Pro-level support.
InMotion offers Linux-based VPS hosting with a choice of 3 plans ranging in price from $30 a month up to $75, all on SSD servers. All plans come with a free domain.
A2 Hosting. A2 Hosting also has three hosting plans, which are similar to starting out, the Lite plan costs $3.92 a month (36-month contract) with five databases and 25 email addresses. The Swift plan at $4.90 per month has unlimited websites, databases and email addresses. Turbo speed, 20x faster than normal, is the hallmark of the Turbo plan at $9.31 monthly, which also comes with the A2 site accelerator. All plans come with unlimited storage and Perpetual Security.
With A2 Hosting, you have the choice of managed and unmanaged Linux VPS web hosting, with just one plan for each. Unmanaged hosting is for the experienced developer and costs $5 a month; managed hosting is $33 monthly. Cloud VPS hosting is also an option. Dedicated web hosting, both managed and unmanaged, is also available.
Money-back guarantee. Both InMotion and A2 Hosting both have money-back policies. InMotion has an impressive unconditional 90-day money back guarantee. You get all your money back – no partial refunds here. The money-back policy at A2 Hosting isn’t quite so liberal. You have just 30 days to request a full refund; after this period, you’ll get a pro-rated amount back.
Ease of Use
Control Panel. A2 Hosting’s control panel is the common industry-standard cPanel. The user-friendly interface allows you to access all of the features that you need to manage your website, and it’s highly regarded in the industry. Beginners in web design will find InMotion’s cPanel easy to learn and to use. The Softaculous 1- click installation script is accessible through the control panel, along with all the other vital tools and services.
One-click Installer. InMotion has 1-click installation for the more than 310 apps in its library, though Google apps take three clicks to install. A2 Hosting also offers 1-click setup for popular apps, including WordPress themes and plugins, as well as for the eCommerce solutions it has partnered with.
Website Navigation. It’s very easy to find information on the A2 hosting website. In particular, a comparison of all the features of all the plans is clearly and cleanly available at a table on one page. The InMotion website also clearly presents all the info you need; the plans and pricing structure and a comparison table of the features of each are right there on the web hosting home page.
Opinion on Ease of Use
The websites of both these web hosting services make it very easy to understand and purchase their hosting plans. InMotion wins because of its 300+ apps.
Technical and Customer Support
Even experienced website builders sometimes have to contact customer support, so it helps when the support team is quickly and easily available and knows their stuff.
InMotion excels at customer support, according to its customers. All the support staff are based in the United States and have at least four years experience as customer care team.
A nice touch is that, after you sign up for web hosting, you receive a phone call from a new account specialist who helps with any questions you have related to packages and pricing. You can reach InMotion’s customer support team by email, phone or live chat.
All of A2 Hosting’s US-based Guru Crew are experts or developers themselves. The Guru Crew is available 24/7/365 by phone, email, by submitting a ticket or by live chat. If you want a faster response to your support tickets, opt for Priority support for a monthly fee. A2 Hosting received a rating of A+ from the Better Business Bureau in January 2015.
Opinion on User Support
Both A2 Hosting and InMotion provide excellent customer service, which receives much better reviews than many of their competitors.
Note: Customer reviews let you know the inside story about the web hosting services, both the good and the bad. People are usually more vocal about the problems they have than the features that work for them but, taken together; these reviews present what it’s like to use these hosting services.
Negative Reviews for InMotion and A2 Hosting
InMotion. There are not many negatives about InMotion. Customers are not too happy with the dated- looking templates of the website builder. Some users voice concerns about the limited number of websites and databases they can host at InMotion.
A2 Hosting. The complaints about A2 Hosting center around the lack of free telephone support outside the United States and the difficulties in reaching billing support when people want to cancel their contracts.
Positive Reviews for InMotion and A2 Hosting
InMotion. Customers praise InMotion for its superb customer service, its ease of use and the free data backups. The fast speed of its processing, due to the SSD servers, is also a hit.
A2 Hosting. Without question, A2 Hosting gets rave reviews for its customer support, both in the friendliness and the knowledge of its support team. People also love the speed of the SSD servers and the clear and simple pricing of the plans.
Opinion on User Reviews
There are many positives and a few negatives for both companies, but the customers of each are generally very happy with their services. It’s a tie here.
InMotion vs. A2 Hosting: Which web host is best for you?
Both of these hosting companies have their advantages and disadvantages.
Reasons to Choose InMotion over A2 Hosting:
- Free data backups
- 90 days money-back guarantee
- High speed
- Unlimited disk space
- Over 300 apps
Reasons to Choose A2 Hosting over InMotion
- Fast website loading times
- Extensive security suite is free with all plans
- WordPress accelerator feature for convenience, speed and security
- Guru Crew support team
- Europe and Asia data centers
It’s a close call, actually a tie, between InMotion and A2 Hosting.
A2 Hosting is well-suited to those who are just starting out in the website building world and anticipate needing some support from their web hosting company. At the other end of the scale, the Turbo plan would be of interest to those to whom the speed of the website is of prime importance.
InMotion has a large refund trial period so you can test it out. It’s also the better call for those needing eCommerce features and for some WordPress users.
If you’re looking for something that you can’t find with InMotion and A2 Hosting, maybe HostGator is the answer. For its website builder, HostGator gives you access to the free version of the very popular and highly reviewed Weebly website building tool. You can create very attractive websites easily.
HostGator is also a good choice if you’re anticipating that your website will grow rapidly, as it offered a full range of VPS and dedicated web hosting plans.
Do you have any questions about InMotion or A2 Hosting? Have you been able to choose between them, or did another web hosting service provide what you needed? Leave your comments and let us know.