Inspired by the simple philosophy to provide the best quality service and support at a low price, A Small Orange was founded in Atlanta in 2003. It offers all kinds of hosting plans from shared web hosting to managed dedicated servers. Currently it is offering hosting solutions to tens of millions of customers around the global.
Even so, a general question is still worth asked – is it really offering cost-effective hosting solutions with sound performance? To answer this question, we have followed its shared hosting service in the past few months and made a comprehensive review with regard to its plans and pricing, features, performance and customer support.
Plans and Pricing
A Small Orange offers four plans for shared hosting users with different kinds of budgets and requirements. They are named as Tiny, Small, Medium and Large. Tiny must be billed annually and the other three plans can be billed monthly or annually.
To eliminate the risk of trying a new host, it offers a 90-day money back guarantee. If people purchase a yearly plan of Small, Medium or Large, they can get a 2-month free and a free domain for a year. Take a look at the table below for detailed pricing for different plans with different resources.
|Bandwidth||5 GB||20 GB||100 GB||300 GB|
|Storage||250 MB||1 GB||5 GB||15 GB|
People have to pay $1/mo for every 2 GB of extra bandwidth and $2/mo for a dedicated IP. Frankly speaking, its price is not competitive for most shared plans do not limit disk space or bandwidth at all.
A Small Orange’s shared hosting plans cover a variety of standard features including limited storage and bandwidth as mentioned before. It uses cPanel as control panel so that users have access to many useful tools to manage their websites with ease. More software or access features are introduced here:
- PHP, Perl, Python scripts along with MySQL database access;
- Email features: IMAP and web-based access, POP3, email spam and virus filtering, email forwarding, and aliasing;
- FTP and SFTP access;
- Ruby on Rails support & Cron Jobs;
- SSL encryption available;
- phpMyAdmin to manage databases;
- Customizable error pages.
Admittedly, it does offer a full package of features. The sad thing is that these features make A Small Orange no different from the majority of web hosts. It is by no means unique.
Uptime & Speed
A Small Orange colocates 2 data centers in Detroit and Dallas to ensure 99.9% uptime and fast speed. Both data centers are enhanced by high-performance carrier neutral networks and are monitored over CCTV. The server hardware is up to enterprise standard.
In addition, it employs the latest technologies with SSD driven storage in RAID 10 arrays. For reliable and secure hosting, this company adopts the following measures:
- Automated daily backups for easy storage and retrieval of data;
- CloudLinux operating system for enhanced security;
- Hotlink and leech protection;
- Password protected directories and IP-blocking;
- Standard climate control, fire suppression, diesel power and redundant power batteries.
According to our real hosting experience, we did find its uptime up to 99.9% for most of the time, and the server response time is 548ms in the past month. The uptime is outstanding, while the site loading speed is a little behind the average of the web hosts we tested.
A Small Orange Live offers quality customer service via email and live chat. We cannot imagine how a company it is without a public telephone. Where are your money going to? Does this an US company, or operated in a corner of the world?
To test their customer support, we submitted a few inquiries regarding the Tiny plan. We found the response time is not really ideal. It’s worried when you have an urgent issue, how you can have a right expectation on resolution time. Besides, when we research the reputation over Google search, we also find a lot of concerns to the support. Even some customers wait for a couple of days to get an account after the payment.
Based on our in-depth review, we conclude that A Small Orange is not worth recommending. There is nothing wrong with its performance or technical support. But everything it offers is just mediocre. Not worth a try.
For those who are looking for exceptionally good hosting plans, we kindly recommend them the following budget alternatives.