What is A Small Orange?
Interested in buying services of A Small Orange but want to be sure of your option? We will help you make an informed decision!
Founded in 2003, A Small Orange has been offering refreshing "homegrown hosting" to its clients all over the world. For many years, thousands of users have been responding to that claim, trusting their websites to this Atlanta-based company. Principles of high-quality support and amazing performance are always great to follow.
But it's one thing to promise - and a completely different one to actually deliver. Especially when you consider that previously a favorite of many internet enthusiasts, A Small Orange isn't a small company based in Atlanta anymore. A 2012 acquisition by Endurance International Group (EIG) has made this company a part of a global family which contains many huge web hosting brands. So, in this A Small Orange review, we will be seeing just how well this host performs 15 years after its inception, now as a part of a huge global corporation. Let's get to it.
Services Offered By A Small Orange
A Small Orange offers a plethora of options for many different types of users. Have a look:
- Shared Web Hosting
- Cloud VPS Hosting
- Reseller Hosting
- Dedicated Server Hosting
This right here is 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.
It's also worth mentioning that there a few other services which may interest a lot of people, such as:
- WordPress hosting (essentially a shared hosting account optimized for WordPress);
- Business hosting (a VPS account ready for all thing eCommerce)
- Clementine Managed Hosting (a VPS or a dedicated server which has software installed and is constantly managed by the host).
So really, you can choose any hosting plan as it is, or you can pick one with some extra spices on top - ASmallOrange has you covered.
In order to taste the real fruits of the labor, I decided to test this provider using its shared web hosting package - a regular one, with no spices on top.
A Small Orange Pricing & Plans
A Small Orange has 4 plans in total, the second cheapest, "Small" receiving a bit of a special treatment. 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.
Quite expensive to be fair - all the more reason to have a closer look at how exactly A Small Orange is charging its customers.
This is actually quite interesting. The expensive prices you saw earlier may slightly decrease if you purchase a long-term hosting plan. This is a welcome change from many other hosting providers which will show you the lowest possible price, even if it's only available on something ridiculous, like a 5-year package. However, if you insist on buying the least expensive "Tiny" plan, you will only be able to purchase it for a year or more.
Confused? 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 but at least it maintains a high level of integrity. That is always nice to see.
Plans In More Detail
Now that we know how much A Small Orange charges, it is time to see what will you get for your money. This is a good way to see just how different all 4 options really are and how well they stack up against the competition. Let's have a look:
|How many domains allowed?||1||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|HDD or SSD used in servers?||SSD||SSD||SSD||SSD|
|SSL||Not included||Not included||Not included||Not included|
|Website builder||Included (Weebly)||Included (Weebly)||Included (Weebly)||Included (Weebly)|
|Assisted website transfer||Not available||Not available||Not available||Not available|
|Auto-installer||Included (Softaculous)||Included (Softaculous)||Included (Softaculous)||Included (Softaculous)|
|Money-back guarantee||90 days||90 days||90 days||90 days|
|Customer support||Live chat||Live chat||Live chat||Live chat|
|Choice of server location||No - USA only||No - USA only||No - USA only||No - USA only|
|Free automated back-ups||No||No||No||No|
A Small Orange Pros
Alright, it's time to settle the score. With plenty of experience and even 4 shared web hosting plans available, there's plenty to talk about. So what are the good points I found while researching for this A Small Orange review?
Honest pricing and features
While it may not be an incredible deciding factor by any means, it's still very nice to see a hosting provider which attempts to show genuine prices and offers even better deals in the cart. The prices you see on the homepage are the highest they will ever be - and in a business where many companies choose to be deceitful to a certain degree, this is very refreshing.
Same goes for "unlimited" plans many hosting providers tend to offer - they're often not actually unlimited and you may get suspended after exceeding a certain amount of data. A Small Orange doesn't have an unlimited plan, instead, it sets generous, genuine limitations.
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...
A Small Orange Cons
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. However, technology itself isn't enough, you also need to know what to do with it. In the case of A Small Orange, that sure shows. Response times of 785, 869 and 830 ms in the three strings of testing barely puts it in the top 15 of the providers we have checked. Overall, if you're looking for performance, you may want to look elsewhere. It's not awful by any means - not any good either.
Prices and features are still disappointing
Despite A Small Orange honesty strumming all the right strings of my heart, facts still come first. And that's what they are: for the price that they commend, A Small Orange offers jokingly little. For $71 a year many providers would offer you unmetered data and throw in a backrub. 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.
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. Speaking of complete robbery, have a look at the next issue...
Back off from 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. However, A Small Orange comes to the record as the company offering the most cynical backup policy I have encountered. From the company's terms of service, have a look:
While A Small Orange Software attempts to keep regular backups of data stored on our systems, A Small Orange Software does not guarantee the existence, accuracy, or regularity of its backup services and, therefore, the customer is responsible for making backups of data. A Small Orange Software does not guarantee that its backup procedures will prevent the loss of, alteration of, or improper access to our clients' information.
To translate into the human language, A Small Orange bears no responsibility for the files it may or may not store. The internet, however, is buzzing about a slightly different thing and that is A Small Orange demanding fees up to $150 in order to restore a website users have not restored themselves! If you must use A Small Orange, prepare for a daily routine of backing up your website manually.
Customer support is having issues
Live chat is the primary source of information - it works 24/7 and overall, should be alright. However, not everything is as good as it may be. A Small Orange being a part of the Endurance International Group means that it's a part of a huge global family. This company uses the live chat platform shared by any other companies, which employs outsourced customer service agents.
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, however, it doesn't matter why it wasn't working - it simply didn't work well and that's that.
Is A Small Orange right for you?
Unless you care about quirky brand names more than quality - no. A Small Orange has been mentioned as one of the brilliant brands which have gone downhill. After having a look through, I can say with confidence that A Small Orange doesn't have enough in its locker to compete with the good brands.
It's expensive, customer support is dodgy and the performance does no favors. A few extra points have to be added just for the lovely honesty of both the pricing and the plan limitations - but it's only Endurance International Group pretending it takes about you. At the moment, this host does nothing to deserve your money. Shame - hope things change in the future!
Interesting in 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!