Founded in 2003, A Small Orange markets themselves as a “refreshingly different web hosting company.” With that mindset, they aim to provide a reliable and fast hosting service that goes above and beyond to satisfy its customers.
We have been pleasantly surprised by some of the smaller, boutique web hosting companies. Plenty of them provide a much better service than some of the bigger names.
In our A Small Orange hosting review, we get to learn about the main “pros” and “cons” to help you decide whether their service is right for you.
What We Love About A Small Orange
Let’s kick things off with the pros!
Budget-Friendly Plans and Pricing
We’re a big fan of cheap hosting! Unfortunately, not all cheap hosting providers are equal—some provide a great service and value for money… some others, not so much.
For what you get, A Small Orange hosting is relatively inexpensive, and you get a decent level of value. Their cheapest plan—the “Tiny Plan”—will cost you around $71 per year billed annually, or $5.92 per month.
We will delve further into pricing later—we’re simply listing it as a “pro” because of the small price ticket.
There are cheaper hosts out there that provide value, however.
No False or Misleading Claims
Web hosting companies are notorious for their misleading (and sometimes false) claims, a classic one being something along the lines of “truly unlimited plans with no restrictions”. The truth is that most hosts don’t actually give you “unlimited” benefits.
A Small Orange doesn’t do this, and nor do they pretend to.
On their website, you can see exactly what you are getting for your money. Take a look at A Small Orange’s plans we listed above and look for yourself. The Tiny Plan clearly states that you are getting the following:
- 500 MB in storage (disk space);
- 5 GB in bandwidth; and
- 1 website
It’s the same story for their “Medium” and “Large” plans too; A Small Orange could easily say you are getting unlimited storage on these plans.
It’s because most customers are unlikely to ever hit the 15 or 30 GB disk space limits. Therefore they would be none the wiser that a limit does, in fact, exist.
Modesty is key here and we see ASO making efforts to offer you exactly what you need and no more, no less.
ASO is… Ethical?
A Small Orange is also branding themselves as an ethical company.
What does this mean?
First, they made a commitment to contribute to the development of renewable energy. Second, they offer free Small hosting plan for select non-profit organizations.
We really love seeing these things – if you fit the segment and you support these kinds of efforts, this is a good reason to sign up for ASO hosting.
A Whopping 90-Day Money Back Guarantee
Across the web hosting industry, the standard offer is a 30-day money back guarantee. A Small Orange, on the other hand, doesn’t double this… they triple it with their 90-day money back guarantee.
This means that you can subscribe to any of A Small Orange’s hosting plans safe in the knowledge that you will be given a full refund. Even if you find out, a full 90 days later, that A Small Orange isn’t right for you.
All you need to do is email customer support and ask for a refund within 90 days.
There are some restrictions to this, though. You can only get a refund if:
- It is your first account and first service with A Small Orange;
- You did not pay using a money order, check, wire transfer, or Western Union; and
- You subscribed to shared web hosting, reseller packages, cloud VPS, and semi-dedicated plans.
After 90 days, you can be credited with a prorated refund at the discretion of A Small Orange.
Uptime of Almost 100%
A Small Orange boasts impressive uptime statistics. Over the past 12 months—March 2018 to March 2019—A Small Orange’s services were up, running, and functional for 99.98% of the time.
This means that throughout one year, A Small Orange experienced downtime of just over 100 minutes spread out across 12 months, so basically nothing.
While this sounds impressive, any level of downtime is bad. We like to see uptime of at least 99.95%. You may think that 95% uptime sounds great, but let’s translate some percentages into days…
- 99.9% uptime means uptime of 364.96 days;
- 99% uptime means uptime of 361.30 days;
- 98% uptime means uptime of 357.70 days;
- 95% uptime means uptime of 346.75 days; and
- 90% uptime means uptime of 328.50 days.
That means if you subscribe to a hosting company with 90% uptime, your website will likely be offline for 36.5 days in a year—that’s over a month of downtime! That’s no good if you are trying to build a reliable service.
Live Chat Customer Support
A Small Orange does not offer support over the phone. Instead, you have the choice between email and a live chat. There is also a limited knowledge base and FAQs section as well.
People generally don’t use phone support anymore and we accept that fact—whether it’s a major factor for you or not depends on your preferences.
When we tried to use their live chat, we had to wait a few minutes for a support agent. Somebody came in a couple of minutes, so we have no complaints.
A pretty simple question answered straight away. Plus now you know that they offer cPanel migration for free! And they offer support 24/7/365.
Things A Small Orange Can Improve On
There were some drawbacks.
You May Exceed Their Limits
The problem with limited plans is that you can hit (or worse, exceed) them. This can cause a myriad of problems depending on the hosting company—some may straight-up suspend your account whereas others might charge you prorate or force you to upgrade.
A Small Orange’s ToS do state that they can immediately suspend your account if you exceed your hard limits—bear this in mind. Your account would not be resumed until you decrease your usage or upgrade.
This is fair enough, and most likely won’t happen to you though. This kind of policy is in place to deter account abuse.
A Small Orange clearly states its plan limits and it is down to you to ensure you subscribe to a plan that is suitable for you and your site’s needs. By suspending accounts that exceed their limits, they provide a reliable shared hosting service where the actions of one do not negatively impact everyone else.
We see you exceeding their limits in two ways:
- Someone embed your picture on their site or one of your pages go viral. A rare occurance.
- Your business grows and you get more visitors. This is a good thing! Time to upgrade.
Not a Real Boutique Company—Acquired in 2012
They were acquired in 2012 by Endurance International Group, the same company that owns Bluehost and lots of other hosting-related services.
This isn’t inherently a bad thing; we personally just prefer to use hosting companies that haven’t been acquired by a larger parent company. These are known as “boutique” companies and they tend to offer a better level of service and customer support.
Again, this is a marginal “con” because A Small Orange operates independently as a subsidiary. It really depends on your personal preferences.
No Dedicated WordPress Plans or Functionality
While A Small Orange do optimize their servers for WordPress installations and they do offer a one-click install, they do not have WordPress-specific plans.
This isn’t a huge con, it’s just something that we like to see as it demonstrates that they are dedicated to offering a leading service level for WordPress webmasters.
Not only do they not have WP-specific plans, but they also push for Weebly…
A Small Orange Pricing
We’ve already had a quick look at A Small Orange’s pricing. For shared hosting, three plans are available—Tiny, Medium, and Large… they win no points for creativity there!
These plans are fairly standard and are more than enough for most webmasters, even if you are using WordPress—a typical WordPress installation is under 250 MB and so 500 MB of storage on the “Tiny” plan is more than sufficient.
As we said, A Small Orange’s plans are up-front and transparent—you pay what you see.
For the Tiny Plan, the pricing is $5.92 no matter how long your subscription is:
There is no option to subscribe monthly on a rolling basis and, unfortunately, pricing doesn’t change for longer subscriptions. Still, their Tiny Plan is cheap, and you get good value for what you pay.
For Medium and Large plans, their pricing is a little different.
Medium is $15 per month or $10.33 for 12, 24, and 36-month subscriptions.
Large is $25 per month or $19 per month for 12, 24, and 36-month subscriptions.
There is also a “Small” plan available, albeit it’s a bit hidden, and we think this provides the best value for money at $8 per month rolling or $7.17 for 12, 24, and 36-month plans.
5GB of storage with 50% GB of bandwidth will probably cover your needs.
A Small Orange Final Thoughts
A Small Orange is a pretty good, middle of the road shared hosting provider:
- Strong uptime of 99.98%;
- No beating around the bush in terms of plan limits;
- Helpful and friendly customer support;
- Inexpensive pricing for plans where you get good value for money;
- An honest and transparent, “ethical” company;
- 90-day money back guarantee; and
- Four different shared hosting plans to choose from.
Do we recommend A Small Orange?
It isn’t for everyone, but their past performances indicate that they are a reliable hosting company.
If you are looking an ethical company who are transparent, A Small Orange is a great option—compared to most providers, they give you more for less.