A2 Hosting Vs HostGator: Which Shared Hosting is Best?

A2 Hosting Vs. HostGator

A2 Hosting has been around for more than 20 years now and has brought about a massive transformation in web hosting in speed, security, and support. Many sites hosted on A2 have experienced better SEO rankings and higher conversion rates.

A2 Hosting

HostGator was founded in 2002 and is one of the top-rated web hosting services. Since its inception, the company has been trying its best to provide customers with the most simplified web hosting. However, the service comes with reliable features for a good hosting experience.

I did an in-depth study of the features of the two services, spending some hours, and I have reached some interesting conclusions, which I would love to share with you all in this post. Besides, I performed many important performance tests using some of the most advanced performance testing methods to clarify their performance.

A2 Hosting Vs. HostGator: Performance

1. Server Response Time

I started by testing the server response time of the two services. I hosted a demo site with both. My A2 site had an average server response time of 353 ms. However, my HostGator site recorded an average server response time of 759 ms. Hence, you can see that A2 has a better server response time than HostGator.

Performance

2. Uptime

The next best thing to do is check the uptime of the two services, and I tested their uptime for the last few months for better clarity. While my A2 site had an uptime of 99.99%, my HostGator site recorded an uptime of 99.97%. Technically, both A2 and HostGator are pretty reliable in terms of uptime. However, A2 is comparatively better with 100% uptime.

3. Load Testing

It’s time to move over to another crucial test of performance called Load Testing. As a part of the test, I have sent 1000 concurrent traffic in 1 minute to check how well the services respond. I have also tested them with 500 concurrent traffic in 1 minute. 

My A2 site has done a tremendous job of recording 26 ms in 1000 clients in 1 minute and 163 ms in 500 clients in 1 minute, while my HostGator site was slightly lagging with 104 ms in 1000 clients in 1 minute and 380 ms in 500 clients in 1 minute. Hence, A2 scored better than HostGator in load testing.

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4. Global TTFB

Next, it is essential to find out how well the services respond across different global locations, and for that, I am going to ping my sites hosted with the two services from as many as ten different global locations. This test is especially very helpful for those sites that rely on multiple global locations for traffic.

My A2 site had a good TTFB in all the places and had an average of 418.08 ms. However, the TTFB in Sydney was a bit high, with 996.69 ms. As far as the Global TTFB of my HostGator site goes, the site had a TTFB of more than 1 second in seven places with an average of 1.293 ms. Hence, you can see that A2 has a better TTFB score than HostGator.

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5. Core Web Vitals

Next, it’s time for the Core Web Vitals test, and this is a crucial test to determine the user experience of sites and web hosting services. Search engines are putting on utmost emphasis on this factor, and this is expected to have a huge impact upon ranking for sure.

I meticulously tested the Core Web Vitals of the two services. 

My A2 site recorded a ‘Largest Contentful Paint’ of 0.703 s, a ‘Total Blocking Time’ of 0 s, and a ‘Cumulative Layout Shift’ of 0. In comparison, my HostGator site recorded a ‘Largest Contentful Paint’ of 1.602 s, a ‘Total Blocking Time’ of 0.002 s, and a ‘Cumulative Layout Shift’ of 0.01. You can see that A2 has better Core Web Vitals.

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A2 Hosting Vs. HostGator: Features

1. Data Center Locations

Finding out about the data center locations of the hosting services beforehand is extremely important if you want to host your site on the closest server to your targeted traffic. A2 Hosting has data centers in 4 locations across the USA, Europe, and Asia. HostGator has two data center locations, and both are located in the USA.

If you are outside USA and looking to use HostGator, then it's a bad choice.

2. CDN

CDNs are extremely effective in enhancing site speed, and that’s why they are extensively used these days. Both A2 and HostGator use Cloudflare and have it for free on all plans. With Cloudflare, sites benefit from a reverse-proxy network that is pretty different from the traditional way of caching. 

Besides, Cloudflare auto minifies the scripts, optimizes images, and delivers your content from the closest server to your targeted traffic, making the most out of its huge global network.

3. Staging

Staging or the process of creating a copy of the live site is an essential feature for testing various modifications before deploying them to the live site. Both A2 and HostGator allow you to create a staging site from the Softaculous apps installer on the cPanel. The process is straightforward, and once you are done with testing, you can push the final changes to your live site in just one click. Most importantly, the feature is free on all the plans in both services.

4. Backups

It’s never wise to run a website without a reliable backup system since that way; your site is surrounded by the constant risk of losing the website files. A2 comes with a reliable backup system with free automated daily backups, and restoring a backup is exceptionally easy. However, it is important to bear in mind that the host doesn’t offer this feature on the StartUp plan.

HostGator has automatic backups on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis for free. HostGator backup policy page states that the backups are provided as a courtesy and are not guaranteed. Hence, users need to be extra careful while using HostGator’s backups as long as one is not using a dedicated third-party back service such as CodeGuard. Besides, HostGator charges a $25 fee to complete for restoring a backup or providing customers with a copy of the courtesy backup.

5. Security

You must always check the security features of a hosting service well before choosing one considering the increasing instances of brute force and DDoS. A2 comes with perpetual security that comprises KernelCare rebootless kernel updates, brute force defense, a dual firewall, and (DDoS) Protection. Most importantly, the host offers it for free on all plans.

HostGator doesn’t have many dedicated security features other than Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates alongside the provider’s server protection security measures. However, HostGator users can opt for the SiteLock add-on, which starts at $1.99 per month and that comes with comprehensive security features such as Daily malware detection scan, Block automated bot attacks, and Scan for vulnerabilities.

6. Support

When you are running a website all by yourself, you are bound to get your hands dirty with many technicalities, and there are times when you may even get stuck with some technical complexities. At times like these, a reliable support service can be the greatest relief to help you break out of the situation fast.

A2 has one of the finest support teams in the industry. The A2 support team is called the Guru Crew, which comprises exceptionally experienced and friendly executives to assist you 24×7 through live chat, phone, and tickets. HostGator supports pretty averagely, and you may have to wait for minutes sometimes to connect to the live chat. However, it is a lot better than how it used to be in the past. You can expect assistance via 24×7 live chat, phone, and tickets alongside many useful video tutorials.

HostGator Vs A2 Hosting – Which is Best?

I am sure you have enjoyed reading this post, and you now have a decent idea of how the two services work. I tried to keep this post as transparent as possible; besides giving you clarity about the features of the two services, I have also presented you with an elaborate report of their performance through my advanced performance tests. Even though there are places where A2 had a leading edge over HostGator, a lot depends on your project requirements.

You are good to go with any of the services as long as you know your project requirements. Even though HostGator has certain limitations, you can overcome them with third-party apps and add-ons. HostGator is a lot more affordable than A2. However, A2 Hosting has the right blend of features that you would need for powerful hosting with the best speed and security.

HostGator is not a good host at any cost, they lag behind other hosts in every feature which you verify from our Fastest WordPress hosting test done here. If you don't like A2 for any reason, then you can try other faster services like ChemiCloud and GreenGeeks which have got some better performance than A2.

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