A2 Reseller Hosting Speeds in Australia with WordPress

A2 Reseller Hosting Speeds in Australia with WordPress

How fast does your website load? Is it more than 3 seconds? Loading speed, especially for mobile users, is so important and is a ranking factor for your search engine optimisation as well. For Australian businesses, there are advantages to hosting your website locally to reduce the delay in requesting and receiving the data from overseas data centres. Every millisecond counts, and the more time spent before anything appears on the screen, the more likely your customers are to leave. Overseas data centres tend to be a decent amount cheaper than Australian ones though, and A2 Hosting is one of them.

So, I am testing the performance of reseller hosting from A2. A2’s reseller platform is based on their shared hosting system, however, they include some extra features that aren’t available on the cheapest shared options (like HTTP/2 support). Each cPanel user gets CPU and RAM access approximately equivalent to A2’s shared “Swift” hosting option.

For my tests, I will be testing a WordPress website running with our standard combination of plugins and the GeneratePress theme to see how it performs under Australian conditions. This is the same configuration used for my other WordPress hosting speed tests.

A2 has data centres in the USA, Amsterdam, and Singapore. The Singapore option is geographically the closest to Australia, so I’ve chosen it for my tests.

Our standard configuration:

In my test setup, WP Smush Pro will be used to ensure all images are optimised, however the WPMU Dev CDN connection will be disabled to ensure that I get an accurate reflection of the A2 platform.

A2 offers performance upgrade options under the name “Turbo Hosting”. This test has that upgrade option disabled. However, through your cPanel, you can enable content compression. This uses Apache’s mod_deflate function. A2 also has a custom plugin available through the WordPress repository called “A2 Optimized WP“. I have not used this plugin in this test. A2 also provides assited Cloudflare connections, I have not used this in these tests either.

Initially, I’ll test with all caching disabled, then again with different combinations of A2’s cPanel Content Compression and Hummingbird Pro active which should give us better results.

For these tests, I’ll be using an average size WordPress website for a service-based business. It sports an assortment of images and different kinds of Elementor objects and templates, including an embedded YouTube video, so it should give a reasonable reflection of the performance of a website built on GeneratePress using Elementor Pro.

Also of note is that at the time of testing, our A2 server was running PHP version 7.1 and we are using a free SSL certificate.

Speed test platforms

I will be using three test platforms

The first test platform will be Google PageSpeed Insights since this provides feedback directly from Google on how it sees your website.

The second will by Pingdom Tools using the Sydney test location to ensure we are seeing results reflective of the Australian experience.

The third test platform will be GTMetrix, also set to the Sydney test location.

Without A2 cPanel Content Compression or Hummingbird Pro

For this test, A2’s cPanel Content Compression was disabled and Hummingbird Pro’s persistent cache was also disabled.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Mobile rating

37 100

  • First contentful paint: 3.1 seconds
  • Speed index: 7.3 seconds
  • Time to interactive: 9.4 seconds

Desktop rating

69 100

  • First contentful paint: 1.2 seconds
  • Speed index: 2.6 seconds
  • Time to interactive: 2.6 seconds

Pingdom Tools

  • Load time: 2.63 seconds
  • Requests: 64
  • Page size: 4.0 MB
  • Wait time for server response: 838.4 ms

Performance grade

80 100

GTMetrix

PageSpeed score

85 100

  • Load time: 6.9 seconds.
  • Page size: 3.84 MB

Yslow score

73 100

  • Requests: 65
  • Time-to-first-byte: 1.4 seconds

GTMetrix flags 1mb of JavaScript from the embedded YouTube video as delaying the initial page load.

Wth A2 cPanel Content Compression enabled and without Hummingbird Pro

For this test, A2’s cPanel Content Compression was enabled, however, Hummingbird Pro was disabled.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Mobile rating

39 100

  • First contentful paint: 3.5 seconds
  • Speed index: 6.6 seconds
  • Time to interactive: 8.9 seconds

Desktop rating

71 100

  • First contentful paint: 1.2 seconds
  • Speed index: 2.4 seconds
  • Time to interactive: 2.6 seconds

Pingdom Tools

  • Load time: 2.62 seconds
  • Requests: 64
  • Page size: 4.0 MB
  • Wait time for server response: 856.3 ms

Performance grade

78 100

GTMetrix

PageSpeed score

84 100

  • Load time: 5.1 seconds.
  • Page size: 3.88 MB

Yslow score

71 100

  • Requests: 65
  • Time-to-first-byte: 1.3 seconds

GTMetrix flags 1mb of JavaScript from the embedded YouTube video as delaying the initial page load.

A2 cPanel Content Compression disabled with Hummingbird Pro enabled

For this test, I enabled Hummingbird Pro’s persistent cache. Hummingbird Pro also had GZIP compression enabled, but all asset optimisation was turned off.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Mobile rating

38 100

  • First contentful paint: 3.1 seconds
  • Speed index: 7.5 seconds
  • Time to interactive: 9.0 seconds

Desktop rating

70 100

  • First contentful paint: 1.3 seconds
  • Speed index: 2.4 seconds
  • Time to interactive: 2.5 seconds

Pingdom Tools

  • Load time: 2.64 seconds
  • Requests: 64
  • Page size: 4.0 MB
  • Wait time for server response: 953.8 ms

Performance grade

80 100

GTMetrix

PageSpeed score

85 100

  • Load time: 4.8 seconds.
  • Page size: 3.84 MB

Yslow score

73 100

  • Requests: 64
  • Time-to-first-byte: 0.7 seconds

GTMetrix flags 1mb of JavaScript from the embedded YouTube video as delaying the initial page load. There are no other negative flags.

A2 cPanel Content Compression enabled with Hummingbird Pro enabled

For this test, I enabled Hummingbird Pro’s persistent cache and A2’s cPanel Content Compression. Hummingbird Pro also had GZIP compression enabled, but all asset optimisation was turned off.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Mobile rating

37 100

  • First contentful paint: 3.6 seconds
  • Speed index: 6.7 seconds
  • Time to interactive: 9.1 seconds

Desktop rating

76 100

  • First contentful paint: 1.2 seconds
  • Speed index: 2.0 seconds
  • Time to interactive: 2.6 seconds

Pingdom Tools

  • Load time: 3.22 seconds
  • Requests: 64
  • Page size: 4.0 MB
  • Wait time for server response: 1402.4 ms

Performance grade

78 100

GTMetrix

PageSpeed score

84 100

  • Load time: 2.8 seconds.
  • Page size: 3.89 MB

Yslow score

71 100

  • Requests: 66
  • Time-to-first-byte: 0.7 seconds

GTMetrix flags 1mb of JavaScript from the embedded YouTube video as delaying the initial page load. There are no other negative flags.

A2 cPanel Content Compression disabled with Hummingbird Pro enabled and Assets Optimised

For this test, I ran the Hummingbird Pro persistent cache with all CSS files combined and all CSS and Javascript files moved to the footer.

It is worth noting, Hummingbird Pro advises that A2 is using the HTTP/2 protocol which automatically optimises asset delivery, so there may not be any significant performance improvement from combining and moving assets.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Mobile rating

37 100

  • First contentful paint: 3.7 seconds
  • Speed index: 6.8 seconds
  • Time to interactive: 9.1 seconds

Desktop rating

72 100

  • First contentful paint: 1.4 seconds
  • Speed index: 2.1 seconds
  • Time to interactive: 2.6 seconds

Pingdom Tools

  • Load time: 2.65 seconds
  • Requests: 52
  • Page size: 4.0 MB
  • Wait time for server response: 834.8 ms

Performance grade

81 100

GTMetrix

PageSpeed score

85 100

  • Load time: 3.9 seconds.
  • Page size: 3.84 MB

Yslow score

74 100

  • Requests: 65
  • Time-to-first-byte: 0.7 seconds

GTMetrix flags 1mb of JavaScript from the embedded YouTube video as delaying the initial page load.

A2 cPanel Content Compression enabled with Hummingbird Pro enabled and Assets Optimised

For this test, I ran the Hummingbird Pro persistent cache with all CSS files combined and all CSS and Javascript files moved to the footer as in the previous test. I also enabled Content Compression for all content in A2’s cPanel.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Mobile rating

35 100

  • First contentful paint: 3.8 seconds
  • Speed index: 6.9 seconds
  • Time to interactive: 9.2 seconds

Desktop rating

75 100

  • First contentful paint: 1.2 seconds
  • Speed index: 2.1 seconds
  • Time to interactive: 2.5 seconds

Pingdom Tools

  • Load time: 3.17 seconds
  • Requests: 52
  • Page size: 4.0 MB
  • Wait time for server response: 1361.7 ms

Performance grade

80 100

GTMetrix

PageSpeed score

84 100

  • Load time: 3.4 seconds.
  • Page size: 3.88 MB

Yslow score

71 100

  • Requests: 65
  • Time-to-first-byte: 0.7 seconds

GTMetrix flags 1mb of JavaScript from the embedded YouTube video as delaying the initial page load.

Observations and final thoughts

The results from testing A2’s reseller hosting platform were pretty interesting, primarily because there was very little performance difference between any of the different optimisation settings. These results are in part because A2 Hosting includes the HTTP/2 protocol for resellers which does optimise asset delivery automatically. Really interestingly, using A2 with cPanel Content Compression enabled actually gets almost identical (if not better in some areas) performance to Flywheel with just the Flywheel cache enabled (see the Flywheel test results here). Considering Flywheel is optimised for WordPress and A2’s standard reseller hosting is not, this is remarkable. That said, Flywheel absolutely shines when you get everything optimised, where A2 Hosting stays basically the same.

Choosing the Singapore data centre location means that the server response time is not too bad. In most of my tests it was under 1000 milliseconds with a couple of exceptions.

Considering the low cost, A2’s reseller hosting in Singapore is a great option to give WordPress clients decent loading speeds in Australia without spending any extra effort on optimisation, or higher Australian data centre costs. The trade-off though seems to be that there is not a lot more optimisation you can do to get things faster. Instead, you would have to consider adding on their “Turbo Hosting” upgrade at an extra cost, try the A2 Optimised WP plugin, or of course bring a CDN into play.

Tip:

The closer the server or CDN is to your end users, the faster that those users will receive the first byte of data.

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