I get asked quite frequently what I think about A2Hosting Turbo plan. It’s advertised as being up to 20 times faster. I’m always very skeptic about such boasting. And I shared my skepticism whenever I was asked about A2 and before this research I could not really answer the question if A2Hosting Turbo really worth it.
And finally I decided to check the performance of A2Hosting Turbo and compare it with A2Hosting Lite plan to have solid data. I’ve run 4176 Full Page Load Time tests during 29 days to compare the speed of A2 Turbo and A2 Lite. See the details below.
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Methodology of comparison and testing A2Hosting Turbo and Lite plans
Here’s what I did in short:
- I bought A2Hosting Lite and A2Hosting Turbo packages.
- I added dummy text and image content (including huge articles which are 44,000 words in total appearing on the main page).
- On each of them I installed WordPress and packed it with 66 popular plugins (this is sort of maximum, because installing more plugins made WP admin area awfully slow and impossible to work due to exceeding allocated physical RAM on A2 Lite plan).
- I used monitis.com monitoring service to automatically check the hosting performance for 29 days. I automatically run http uptime tests every minute and Full Page Load Time aka website speed tests every 20 minutes.
Short technical overview of A2 Turbo and A2 Lite (look from inside)
On A2 Lite plan I used a default WordPress A2-Optimized installation provided with this hosting plan. This A2 performance optimized installation includes A2-modified W3 Total Cache plugin, image compression plugin and some other performance optimization drop-ins. (See some details on this page.)
On A2 Turbo plan I also used WordPress A2-Optimized installation like on A2 Lite. Plus there was the default free performance optimization options included with A2 Turbo plan. In addition, I opted in for A2 Performance Plus add-on (including double CPU cores and 1GB RAM) which costs $3/mo. (See some details on this page.)
I did not use any other speed optimization or caching plugins/layers.
Here’s my check-out configuration with A2Hosting Turbo plan:
For some more technical information about the A2Hosting Lite (actually, the same technical configuration as A2Hosting Swift plan) and A2Hosting Turbo I suggest reading this and this knowledge-base articles.
The process of setting up A2 Turbo plan (caching, configuration) was really very easy. Actually, it was all kind of one-click installer.
Some notes before I get to testing results
When setting up my testing WordPress site on A2 Lite plan, I’ve noticed that it could handle much more plugins than an average shared hosting. As I mentioned above, I could install and activate 66 plugins and continue working in my WordPress administrator dashboard.
However, when trying to do the same tests on another well-known hosting GreenGeeks, I could install only 53 plugins from the same list. It could not handle more than that because of constant outages when working in my WordPress dashboard due to exceeding physical RAM limits allocated on the hosting plan.
Thus, A2Hosting Lite is pretty strong compared to other hosts from a technical point of view.
Let’s see below how A2Hosting Turbo is different from A2 Lite from performance point of view, and if A2 Turbo is really worth it.
How faster A2Hosting Turbo compared to A2Hosting Lite
Here are the main general results summarizing the testing of A2Hosting Lite and Turbo plans during 29 days (speed of my sites checked every 20 minutes, uptime checked every 1 minute). The monthly average speed data:
This is a significant and very noticeable difference. Let alone the fact that working in the WordPress dashboard of the website hosted on A2 Turbo was a flawless and seamless, whereas I had very frequent huge problems (outages) when working in the WordPress dashboard of the identical website on A2 Lite plan.
I filled up the websites to a maximum extent on purpose to get as close to the hosting RAM limits as possible. So, when I speak about slowness and outages on A2 Lite plan please note that it is so due to the fact that my test websites were unnaturally overloaded with plugins.
During the 29 days of testing there was very god uptime on both A2Hosting plans:
To compare the monthly average speed of the websites you can look at the following chart as well:
Let’s look at average daily performance of the two test websites:
As you can see A2 Turbo is faster than A2 Lite in the range between 1.1 and 1.8 times with average 1.58 times as shown a bit above.
Although the performance of A2 Turbo is quite impressive, the fact that it fluctuates in quite a big range is not very good. In general, A2 Lite had more stable performance during these 29 days of continues testing.
After all, the performance is not 20 times faster on A2 Turbo compared to A2 Lite as someone could expect because such figure is advertised on A2Hosting website. But still the difference is convincing. Actually, the statement on A2hosting website reads “upto 20 times faster’ which is formally correct since 1.58 times is still within a range of “upto 20 times” 🙂
As you see, I’m a bit ribbing A2Hosting about its bold advertising, since I don’t like aggressive marketing and over promising. However, A2 Turbo is indeed faster than A2 Lite (and many other hosts as well). And it can be clearly seen.
The screenshots of the daily monitoring reports on the websites performance are below:
Is A2Hosting Turbo really worth it – Conclusion
There are the following major points I can say about A2Hosting Lite and A2Hosting Turbo plan:
- A2Hosting Lite is fast (see comparison with other hosts here)
- A2Hosting Turbo is definitely and significantly faster than A2Hosting Lite.
- Initial price for A2 Turbo plan (from 1 month to 2 years) is very reasonable for this service (see prices here).
- But A2 Turbo‘s price after the first billing period (which can last from 1 month to 2 years) almost doubles and goes out of a typical shared hosting price range.
So, the answer to the question “Is A2hosting Turbo really worth it?” depends on if you are ready to pay extra for the speed improvement and more resources such as CPU and RAM.
From my point of view, A2Hosting Turbo is a really great deal for the promotional price which is valid for the first billing period (up to two years).
And after the first invoice, when the price increases, it depends. Perhaps, going with self-managed VPS (from A2 or other reliable and affordable VPS providers) if you know or learn how to manage it would be a good idea to get even a better performance for the same price. However, from a support and ease of use points of view A2 Turbo shared plan is obviously much more preferable choice than a self-manged VPS.
As regards speed, A2Hosting Turbo did not work for me any close to 20 times faster as someone could assume looking at A2Hosting plans comparison. But I did not expect it though. A2 Turbo being 1.58 times faster than A2 Lite on a very heavy-loaded WordPress site is a very good result anyway.
P.S.: A2 in general is not the cheapest hosting out there, but among shared hosts it’s one of the fastest (see my automated speed and uptime comparison tests with some other hosts’ smallest plans).