A Small Orange claims to provide its users with high-level server hardware and honest pricing. With high uptime guarantee and trustworthy servers, it promises to be a great option for beginner users as well as small businesses.
But it's one thing to promise - and a completely different one to actually deliver.
In order to pick the best option for your website, you want to look closer at what the provider is actually capable of. So, here is A Small Orange review on pricing, performance and overall features for shared hosting plans.
What Is A Small Orange?
A Small Orange offers a whole bunch of options for many different types of users.
It is like a textbook definition of a "one-stop shop". Regular users may choose shared web hosting, while more advanced experts can pick either VPS or a dedicated server. A domain name is just a few clicks away, and for the entrepreneurs, there's reseller hosting, so they can set up a hosting company of their own.
All of that is run using SSD disks in US-based data centers - so the reliability and accessibility of the servers should be seriously good.
And the environmental impact of these servers should be virtually nonexistent. That's because A Small Orange supports renewable energy and uses it to offset any negative environmental impact their servers may do.
So, all of that sounds interesting - and in this A Small Orange review, we'll test the provider's shared web hosting services to see how this company performs.
A Small Orange Pricing
A Small Orange has 4 plans in total, with prices ranging from $5.92/mo to $25/mo. Compared to many of the competitors, that's actually quite expensive.
According to the company, the second cheapest, "Small" hosting plan is the most popular of its options.
Let's have an overview of what these plans offer:
- Tiny - $5.92 per month, 1 website, 500MB disk space, 5GB bandwidth.
- Small - $8 per month, unlimited websites, 5GB disk space, 50GB bandwidth.
- Medium - $15 per month, unlimited websites, 15GB disk space, 150GB bandwidth.
- Large - $25 per month, unlimited websites, 30GB of storage, 500GB bandwidth.
That is quite expensive to be fair - all the more reason to have a closer look at how exactly A Small Orange is charging its customers.
And it gets interesting: the expensive prices you saw earlier may slightly decrease if you purchase a long-term hosting plan.
A Small Orange shows pricing for the shortest billing cycle, and that always is the expensive option. This way, when you choose a longer period, you will be pleasantly surprised that the monthly price decreases.
This is a welcome change from many other hosting providers which will always show you price for the longest period in order to make it look very cheap.
Only its least expensive plan "Tiny" doesn't have a shorter payment period than 12 months.
In order to get a clearer image, here's a table showing how much would you have to pay upfront - for each duration and each plan.
|Payment Period / Plan||Tiny||Small||Medium||Large|
There you have it - A Small Orange doesn't really mess with ".99 cent" prices and everything is displayed is a very clear manner. There are no price increases either - only discounts when picking a lengthier plan.
All in all, it's a pretty expensive host for shared services, but at least it maintains a high level of integrity. It is nice to have business with a company, that doesn't have hidden payments that change the package radically.
A Small Orange, Even Smaller Features
Now that we know how much A Small Orange charges, it is time to see what will you get for your money.
Your hosting comes with cPanel for easy administration, and also it is optimized for WordPress. That simplifies the process of installation and control.
And if you're looking for a simple, drag-and-drop website builder A Small Orange has you covered. Each plan comes with a Weebly website builder, which is favored for its ease of use.
Now, let's have a better look at other technical features for each plan:
|SSL||Not included||Not included||Not included||Not included|
|Customer support||Live Chat||Live Chat||Live Chat||Live Chat|
As you can see, A Small Orange doesn't have an unmetered plan for disk space or bandwidth. Instead, it sets generous, genuine limitations.
Another disappointment is the lack of backups. Automatic backups are perhaps the newest basic right of any web hosting. Freedom to do anything on your website, knowing that it can easily be restored offers a terrific peace of mind to many users.
Unfortunately, A Small Orange comes to the record as the company offering the most cynical backup policy I have encountered. Company's terms of service basically say that it bears no responsibility for the files it may or may not store.
And the internet is buzzing about A Small Orange demanding fees up to $150 in order to restore website that users have not backed-up themselves! If you must use A Small Orange, prepare for a daily routine of backing up your website manually.
In a general view, all these features are ok, but when looking at the price, A Small Orange offers jokingly little.
Compared to other providers, for $71 a year, many would offer you unmetered data and even add some other features. A Small Orange can barely offer 500MB of disk space and 5GB of bandwidth, both of which will run out the moment you do something more than a basic blog with a dozen users per day,
Taking a glance at, say, A2 plans, it already proves my point. $3.92 gets you unlimited storage and bandwidth! And it's not even the highest recommended hosting provider on our list.
It's okay for a provider to charge a premium. It's okay for a provider to offer low (but honest!) data. It's not okay to do both at the same time.
Well, at least it offers a full 90-day money back guarantee. That is a pretty long period for you to decide if the plan fits your needs. Just be sure to make payment with a debit card, credit card, or PayPal as only such payments can be refunded.
A Small Orange Performance
While many hosting companies still do their best to cut costs and use outdated HDD servers, A Small Orange uses faster, safer and generally more reliable SSD disks. That is a very welcome thing, HDD is the technology of yesterday and it's great to see it being replaced at such a high rate.
However, even with that, A Small Orange doesn't exactly avoid performance issues...
Despite SSDs, performance is lacking. In many cases, users would expect SSD hosting to be blazingly fast. Our best-performing host is employing SSD disks and that sure shows.
But technology itself isn't enough - you also need to know what to do with it. And this is the case of A Small Orange - a WordPress website hosted on its server is seriously slow.
These response times of 785, 869 and 830 ms are also seriously slow, putting A Small Orange at the bottom third of the hosts we've tested.
Promising 99.9% uptime is simply not enough. Because it actually means, that downtime can build up to days in the course of the year - and while we haven't experienced downtimes, the provider's lack of confidence is certainly showing.
Overall, if you're looking for performance, you may want to look elsewhere. It's not awful by any means - but not any good either.
A Small Orange Customer Support
A Small Orange chose to offer their customer support via live chat only. It is accessible 24/7 and perhaps that is an agreeable option for most users. However, not everything is as good as it may be.
A Small Orange being a part of the EIG means that it's a part of a huge global family. This company uses the live chat platform shared by many other companies, which employs outsourced customer service agents. And that can mean issues due to bad communication skills and lack of overall platform knowledge.
In my attempts to receive help, I have experienced a few problems, such as agents being unable to fully understand my question and/or fully comprehend the situation I was in. Sometimes it felt like it was a human error, but there were moments when I thought it was more down to a platform malfunction.
At the end of the day, it doesn't matter why it wasn't working - it simply didn't work well and that's very inconvenient. So if good customer support is a must to you - A Small Orange is not an option to take.
A Small Orange Review - The Verdict
To sum it all up, A Small Orange is an expensive provider with dodgy customer support and subpar performance.
A few extra points have to be added just for the lovely honesty of both the pricing and the plan limitations - but it's not enough to turn this product into a worthy investment.
Unless you care about quirky brand names more than quality - this host does nothing to deserve your money.
About to look for something else? In our web hosting reviews we came across plenty of interesting providers, maybe some of them will catch your eye!
- Honest pricing and features
- New-generation hardware
- Despite SSDs, performance is lacking
- Prices and features are still disappointing
- Backups are limited!