A2 Hosting has excellent reviews; are they really that good and reliable? I pranked them to find out the truth
Foreword: Well, two things; I'm sick of these so-called review sites run by affiliate top guns, tightly knit up with discount coupon codes and 50% off deals. "Open an account today or else your family will never speak to you again!" kind of advertising tactics are too in your face. Second, I'm not going to be using real names; for anyone even for the peeps working there. It shouldn't matter, either way.
Ok. By the end of reading this article, most readers will probably find it weak. That's because it was intended to be that way. Minimize the size of this unnecessary novelette; jump straight to the point, whether you buy it or not.
But first, let me do the shameless plug: Get started with A2 Hosting, because that's the bestest thing you'll do today. There you go, now I'll get my $10 commish and eat a nice juicy burger, and your website will get all the VIP treatment, it deserves.
I have been into the digital marketing game myself since 2002. Yea, folks reading this, who are in the roaring twenties were probably still junior high schoolers back then.
Nothing has changed in this business. It's always the Glengarry Glenn Ross fever running through this crowd. “Always be closing” and “coffee’s for closers” attitude is all that is pushed.
I wanted to try something different. Sneaky, you could even say that, just to see if these cheap $5 a month cPanel web hosting companies are really what they're cracked up to be.
So, I decided to get hired by one.
Target set on A2 Hosting
Don't ask me why I chose them. They're one of many that are paraded around the clock on hundreds of cookie-cluttered sites on the web. It was a random thing.
- Try to get hired as a support agent (by having zero experience or idea on how Linux servers work)
- See how their customer service behaves with their clients; cross-check the veracity of the positive testimonials
- If everything goes smooth, get fired (didn't even have to work for this one, happened as a matter of course)
So, I just popped up on their website. Clicked on the chat button. The poor guy on the other side was expecting to make a sale. I unapologetically asked him, if they were any remote jobs available for his type of role.
Off, I went to their careers page. I knew where to go, but it's always good to pass through the system with a reference.
Luckily, I had my lame and ancient resume stored in the laptop's hard disk. It was a long shot, but hey, it was after all a social experiment, so naturally, not giving two hoots about its beautification applied here.
Two days later, unexpectedly I get a call from their HR. After brief hellos, the person asked me things like:
- Do you have the knowledge in one or more web hosting software packages such as cPanel, Plesk, WHMCS, CloudLinux, and LiteSpeed?
- Do you have an understanding of web server software, HTML, PHP and the ability to troubleshoot?
I was like, WTF bro. Are those even real questions? Well they are, just that I never finished high school. So, yeah...
Now, I'm in trouble, my mind raced. Will be caught even before my schemy plan went into action, my stupid brain muttered.
“Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.” – Lou Holtz
Don't know how that quote suddenly triggered my neurons. Thank you for your daily spamming, BrainyQuote.
So right there on the phone, I shot straight. Told him, that I'd been a webmaster all my life, and knew things around running wordpress sites and such. I really needed this, and that he could temporarily put me up to the task, on their basic level 1 type sales and support.
A week of silence. And then suddenly got a call from the same guy, telling me I was on the team.
Yay! muhahahaha, I'm dripping in swag...my schemy little Mr. Burns' inner voice murmured.
Day 1: Intros and stuff
I will call him John. He was assigned as my superior. The first two hours on the job; I was shown the ropes. How things get done on their chatting and support ticket system.
One thing that John kept telling me: Speed! it is what they are after, whether it's their servers, or the time it takes to reply back to a client in need of help.
That was good, because it came directly from the horse's mouth. Not the BS fake reviews, that are plastered all over the internet.
Speed is good. Speed is awesome, I said to myself, giving them the thumbs up in my thought bubble.
After lunch, my real job on the frontlines started.
And, I started failing immediately.
"Do you provide a free domain?," asked Amy from Austin.
"Can I easily upgrade from a reseller to a VPS? Will you do the site migration for me?," asked Dave from London, UK.
"Please tell me why I choose you over HostGator and DigitalOcean, who provide XYZ things better?," some gentleman from India inquired.
And the speed of which they were all coming in was astounding. It was a mini war going down there in the trenches.
I was extremely slow to respond to them. Half of the time, I would just ask someone else on the chat line to give me a helping hand. They did, but these were apparently easy pre-sales questions, that any Joe Schmoe could answer; with my exception, need I say.
I didn't answer accurately, nor took any interest, because this wasn't a real job anyway. It was an experiment to review what the buzz was all about.
John wasn't happy. He expected more.
Well, like I could really care. I did what I did. Heck, even wanted to get out on day zero one.
Day 2: Things get far more serious; for me
Chats projectiled at me at five windows per minute. And it's not even 11am. LOL, what have I got myself into.
I got pushed into a basic level 1 support test. Failed at it. Again.
Here's a small picture:
"My free SSL is not working. Help!"
"I need to send out 10,000 emails per day. Is it allowed?"
"Why is your managed wordpress hosting so expensive. Dreamhost, Siteground and Inmotion Hosting are giving me much better deals. I need a discount, please!"
"Your billing system login is down. What should I do?"
The customers - or potential ones at least - don't spare the competition. The number of penny-pinching coupon code hunters are dime a dozen. There was a guy who said: "If you give me $25 discount on the final checkout for a yearly plan, I'll ditch Bluehost and open an account at A2 Hosting." Great, now I need to fetch a manager - I was thinking - so that this gentleman can build his savings account.
I think you now get more than the picture. The world of discount cPanel web hosting is unsparingly vicious, every man, woman and child wants to get the best deal; so it seems, as far as my brief experience of working in the tech and sales support goes.
But, let's get back to the main story...
Thing is, most of my responses to such questions were retarded at best, lacked depth - more in line with not wanting to do this gig outright.
By the end of the day; many peers of mine in the same department knew, I was going to get kicked out by tomorrow.
They were correct.
Day 3: Last Straw
Yup, got fired on email.
"Thank you very much for your time at A2 Hosting, but at this time we have to let you go. We feel, you are not what we are looking for and wish to project our image as a trustable web host, with a team of staff members, who are not only confident in their skills, but also in the culture of hard work, we try very strenuously to implement," wrote the lead HR guy, who initially hired me.
And boy was I relieved. LOL.
I replied back, thanked him for his generosity for even considering an idiot like me, in the first place. Waited several hours for a final response, that never came.
Me and my millennial entitlement.
A check for two days' worth of half-assed work arrived promptly. No issues there.
What I learned about them
My take on A2 Hosting at the end of the day could be summed up this way:
- Most of what you read about them as being a low cost web hosting company with affordable pricing structure is true.
- They are madly dedicated about the quality of their customer service, and do not tolerate smugness from any member of their staff.
- The data center network is pretty solid, with locations spread out all over the place, such as Michigan, Arizona, Amsterdam and Singapore.
So, there you have it.
For anyone employed there and reading this
Sorry people, but this social experiment was the only way, I could get to know the truth about your company, while subtracting all the made-up crap, usually found on the internet.
Turns out the high ratings you get from thousands of happy customers aren't phony.
Hopefully, this little childish adventure of mine will pay off good for you in the long run.
Website updated: 02 August 2021
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