A Small Orange Review
Founded in 2003, A Small Orange is another new kid on the block. They’ve grown to employ more than 70 people, and the company was acquired by the Endurance International Group in 2012. Their core values are zen, character, badass, quality, service, and organic. Following these values, they’re a green company with a lot of personality – boasting about their “homegrown” approach to web hosting. They offer Shared, Cloud VPS, Hybrid and Dedicated hosting plans.
- No hidden limitations
- Genuinely useful content
- Quick and transparent responses to security breaches
- 90 day money-back guarantee
- Purchased by Endurance Group International
- Understaffed customer service
Hosting Packages: (Rating: 9/10)
A Small Orange knows how to speak to customers. Instead of displaying lower, annual package prices on their front page, they’re upfront about monthly package pricing. After you’re made aware of monthly costs, they offer two months free and and a free domain if you sign up for an annual plan. While the principle is the same (sign a contract to pay less), it feels less like punishment when the host is straightforward about their pricing to begin with.
Speaking of straightforwardness, the company is also upfront about their storage and bandwidth limits. Nearly all hosting companies say these features are “unlimited*”, and then their terms of services essentially say “*Unlimited use only applies to customers who do not use more storage and bandwidth than is typical.” If you prefer solid numbers over guesswork, A Small Orange is the way to go. For the “unlimited” features they do offer, they’re truly unlimited with no artificial roofs.
The hosting plans include shared, business-centric, reseller, cloud VPS and dedicated. While they boast about being powerful and they do use solid-state drives for their storage, they offer very little storage capacity for the price – and the lack of introductory rates may make them unappealing to those that want a cheap year of hosting before really paying for it.
Features: (Rating: 8/10)
Feature-wise, there is quite a few things offered by A Small Orange. You can expect solid state drive server storage for better performance, unlimited domains, unlimited email accounts and mailing lists, enterprise-class hosting, cPanel, software and scripts included, and a Weebly website builder. It is the first to use Weebly Cloud for their website building, which allows you to just drag and drop features and create a website in minutes – rather than days.
They aren’t as feature-rich as other sites though – and this is something that A Small Orange could definitely improve upon in the future. Especially if they aren’t offering cheap introductory rates.
Security: (Rating: 8/10)
Unlike a confusing number of web hosts, A Small Orange provides daily backups to all customers. They even go one step further and offer R1Soft Bare Metal Backups with several restore points. Your directories can be password-protected, and you’ll have the ability to block IP addresses. Hotlink and leech protection are also thrown in. These security features aren’t miraculous by any means, but we’re surprised by how little some hosts offer in comparison.
In 2011, the company made a public announcement stating their internal servers had been compromised. The hacker gained access to A Small Orange’s billing system, and then removed the server logs. The company never found out if he also managed to decrypt sensitive financial information. A Small Orange responded promptly and appropriately by informing customers and tightening security.
WordPress: (Rating: 6/10)
A Small Orange is not WordPress friendly at all. They don’t offer WordPress hosting plans or one-click installs. If you want to use WordPress on A Small Orange, you will need to install WordPress using Softaculous inside the cPanel. There is no one-click simple install. Also, your WordPress doesn’t automatically update and there is plenty of back-end work you will need to do. If you need to move your WordPress over from another host, they don’t have a team of WordPress experts standing by like other WordPress-friendly hosts. Overall, it isn’t a host we would recommend using if you want to operate on WordPress – unless you are familiar with cPanel.
Ease of Use: (Rating: 10/10)
If you’re transferring from a different web host, A Small Orange likely offers a familiar interface. Like most big web hosts, they use cPanel, a graphical interface that simplifies the process of hosting. They also have the most comprehensive and well-written tutorials and dictionaries we’ve ever seen from a web host. Their topics include Hosting Terms Glossary, Web Hosting for Teens, and Building Blocks of a Site.
Reliability: (Rating: 9/10)
A Small Orange has data centers only in the United States, located in Texas and Michigan. Their data centers feature high-security, amenities and the redundancy you would expect from a company offering hosting packages. They offer 99.99 percent uptime guarantees in their facilities and use high-performance IP managed premium networks. Because they were recently acquired by EIG, it is important to note that they now share servers and networks with other EIG hosts – such as BlueHost. So, if another company in the EIG network goes down, your A Small Orange website could too.
Help and Support: (Rating: 6/10)
A Small Orange offers any time support by phone, email, and live chat. They promise to provide polite responses to every request, but also say not to be surprised if the support staff “shows a little personality.” The website doesn’t go into detail. We assume it’s a bit like Amazon where employees are encouraged to go off script and be themselves. On the other hand, the ‘net is littered with complaints about their customer service being unable to solve basic problems. Your mileage may vary, but it may be that only escalated problems receive premium support, whereas everyday issues are outsourced.
A Small Orange Pricing
Shared Hosting Plans
- Tiny Hosting Plan: 250MB storage, 5GB bandwidth, and 1 domain. $35/year.
- Small Hosting Plan: 1GB storage, 20GB bandwidth, and unlimited domains. $5/month.
- Medium Hosting Plan: 5GB storage, 100GB bandwidth, and unlimited domains. $10/month.
- Large Hosting Plan: 15GB storage, 300GB bandwidth, and unlimited domains. $20/month.
Other Hosting Plans
Business Hosting Plan: A Small Orange’s Business plans are $20 to $60 per month. They have 10GB to 30GB of storage and 100GB to 300GB of bandwidth. Every Business plan comes with a free SSL certificate, in addition to being PCI compliant.
Cloud VPS Hosting Plan: Cloud hosting with a Small Orange varies between $20 to $150. per month. The company has more than half a dozen plan options to suit the most precise webmaster.
Hybrid Hosting Plan: Hybrid servers are $100 to $150 per month. They vary from 2 to 4 dedicated cores, 2GB to 6GB in RAM, 150GB to 450GB in disk space, and 1.5TB to 2.5TB in bandwidth.
Dedicated Hosting Plan: Dedicated servers are $195 to $345 per month. Their number of cores vary, in addition to benchmark specifications. Each Dedicated hosting plan comes with 5 free IP addresses.
Reseller Plan: Reseller plans are $15 to $35 per month. They vary from 3GB to 10GB in storage, 30GB to 100GB in bandwidth, and 30 to 100 hosted websites.
All plans except for Tiny receive 2 months of free hosting and 1 free domain registration when purchasing an annual plan.
Starting Monthly Price: $2.92
# of Domains: Unlimited
Money Back Guarantee: 90 Days
Bandwidth: 5GB to 5TB
Disk Space: 250MB - 1TB
# of MySQL Databases: Unlimited
Unique IP Address
# of Email Addresses: Unlimited
Email Storage: 150MB - Unlimited
1-Click App Installs
Custom Cron Jobs
Dedicated SSL Certificate
Shared SSL Certificates
Help and Support
What we Like about A Small Orange
No Hidden Limitations: A Small Orange assures customers that there are no hidden limitations on any of the following features:
- POP3/IMAP Mail Accounts
- MySQL Databases
- Mailing Lists
- Email Forwarders
- Parked and Addon Domains (Tiny Plans excluded)
- FTP Accounts
- They’re truly unlimited, not unlimited with conditions.
Genuinely Useful Content: A Small Orange’s content writers should be applauded. They’ve taken complex and sometimes boring information and turned it into a reasonably good read. They’re also great at targeting their audience, even creating tutorials for children.
Quick and Transparent Responses to Security Breaches: We give kudos to A Small Orange for immediately addressing their 2011 security breach. Not only did they tighten security measures, but the CEO issued a public apology, acknowledging that they failed to keep customer data safe.
90 Day Money-back Guarantee: A 90 day money-back guarantee is nearly unheard of in this industry. All plans are eligible for this guarantee with no questions asked, and no restrictions based on how the customer pays or how much they used the service. After 90 days, A Small Orange still issues account credits on a case-by-case basis.
What we Don’t Like About A Small Orange
Purchased by Endurance Group International: EIG has a monopoly on web hosts, slowly acquiring smaller companies over the last decade. Today, they have around 50 hosts, and it’s becoming difficult to find a big host that isn’t owned by them. By itself, this isn’t a bad thing. However, Glass Door reviews by former employees say that EIG places pressure on companies to become more profit-driven.
Understaffed customer service: Former employees of A Small Orange talk about handling four chat screens and a phone call at the same time. After EIG’s acquisition of the company, they say management started to care less about satisfying customers and more about satisfying their bottom lines.
Who Is This Web Hosting Company Best For
A Small Orange has a lot of great features, but being purchased by EIG makes them less reliable. This is only because it takes just one server going down from an EIG subsidiary to take down your A Small Orange site. While this is rare, it is still something to consider. Also, if you are not tech-savvy, you may find the limited support from A Small Orange disappointing.
They do have a good deal of packages and a generous money back guarantee, so we recommend them for startups as well as established companies looking for reliable web hosting.
Boasting the best tutorials and money-back guarantee in the industry, A Small Orange deserves serious consideration during your search for a webhost. Poor customer service is a potential drawback; however, this complaint is a ghost that haunts every webhost. If you’re still indecisive, we recommend chatting with A Small Orange to determine if the company is the right fit.