A Small Orange Review
Why our reviews are worth reading
As a web agency, we use/test a LOT of hosting providers to scale both our clients and our many many side-projects (we like to experiment).
Having done this for quite a few years now, we’ve used, analysed, and reviewed a lot of web hosts… these are our findings.
A few of the better-known brands we’ve been featured on
A Small Orange: A quick summary for people with no time (pretty much all of us)
Sadly, in a nutshell, we really can’t recommend A Small Orange, for a few reasons. The main reason would be support (or the lack thereof rather). Let’s run through a few problems we found.
Security: No mention of free SSL anywhere (https – aka a secure website), or SSL in general! In a time where Google actively starts labelling site as “not secure” if you don’t have an SSL certificate, this is pretty unacceptable. You can get them for free even, every decent web host has this integrated… the fact that A Small Orange doesn’t, is a bit disturbing.
Support: This is non-existent, it’s actually hard to find a positive review when it comes to their support. Ever since they got bought out by EIG, and then decided to discontinue phone support, it’s been horrendous. Problems take ages and multiple support staff to get resolved, not to mention the amount of complaints about unstable servers and frequent outages…
Pricing: 500 MB at $5.92/mo… There are multiple hosts out there with better services that offer 10 GB+ for less than $4/mo, no further comment needed, it’s a bit absurd.
So what we’re really saying is… there are better alternatives out there. Have a look at our web hosting comparisons where we researched and analysed the top web hosts for different countries (both from a quality and cost perspective).
A Small Orange Review
A Small Orange was founded in 2003 in Atlanta by Tim Dorr. The current CEO of the company is Douglas Hanna. The company is composed of over 25 employees and owns (or manages) servers in about 10 data centres around the world.
The company provides various products and/ or services including Shared Hosting, WordPress Hosting, Business Hosting, Reseller Hosting, Cloud VPS, Dedicated Servers, Clementine Managed, and Website Builders to help you create websites from scratch.
A Small Orange is committed to going green through the use of energy efficient hosting technologies. They match 200% of the electricity they use with renewable energy. This is in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
The company has a 3Degrees Certificate Of Environmental Leadership stating that A Small Orange is committed to helping the environment by lowering carbon footprint. In addition, the company gives back to the community by providing a 10% ongoing discount or a free small plan on a monthly billing cycle for qualified charities and non-profits.
A Small Orange’s Shared Hosting Plans are divided into four different packages. These plans are named Tiny, Small, Medium, and Large. The said plans can be seen below:
The cheapest plan is called Tiny and costs USD 5.92 per month billed annually. You can opt for annual, biennial, or triennial payment terms with no discounts on longer terms. This means, you pay exactly USD 5.92 per month regardless of which mode of payment you choose.
The said plan gives you 500MB worth of storage. It also allows you to host only one website per hosting account. Bandwidth is limited at 5GB. This means, that if you have thousands of viewers (or even more), you are charged extra for any bandwidth exceeding 5GB.
With every Shared Hosting package, A Small Orange promises stellar website performance through the use of solid-state drives (SSDs) and the latest Intel Xeon E5 Dual Hex Core Processors or better.
Reliability is also promised by the company. Daily backups which rolls back to 7 days are included free of charge. They guarantee a 99.99% uptime and also provide you with IP-blocking support. Password protected directory, a feature that allows you to require a username and a password for secure access to specific parts of your site, is also included.
Hotlink Protection is also included. With the said feature you can prevent other websites from linking directly to files located within your site. In addition, Leech Protection is supported by all Shared Hosting plans. This enables you to prevent users who has restricted access to your site from publicly publishing (or giving away) their login credentials.
The Tiny plan, along with other Shared Hosting plans, allows you to use software such as MySQL 5.5, PHP 5.4 to 5.6, Ruby & Rails, Python, Apache FCGI, NodeJS, ImageMagick, CURL, Git, SVN, and Mercurial, among others. It also includes the application manager Softaculous for installing, managing, and updating more than 350 available application packages.
According to their support representative, you can also create unlimited email accounts with the Tiny Plan. Email features included are spam filtering to prevent unwanted messages, virus filtering to avoid corrupting your account, and mailing list creation to enable you to send messages to multiple people at one time. Filtering, autoresponders, email forwarding, and alias capabilities are supported as well.
The Tiny Plan comes with a Weebly website builder. It utilises Weebly cloud for ease of building websites through a drag-and-drop interface. Finally, they offer a VERY generous 90-day money-back guarantee on all Shared Hosting plans including the Tiny package. They also offer pro-rated credit for any unused service if you cancel after the 90-day period.
A Small Orange only provides two options for support:
- Self-Help Knowledge Base
- Online Live Chat
The self-help knowledge base contains guides and tutorials on how to navigate through the products and services the company offers. Online live chat is available 24/7. A support ticket is only available and escalated or forwarded to a higher authority in case problems cannot be resolved through the knowledge base or online live chat feature. They have discontinued their telephone support feature at present.
A Small Orange lacks multiple options for support. Other hosting companies have A LOT of options for communicating with customers. These options include phone support, online live chat, ticket submission, email support, and knowledge base. Some even have a service status page and a community forum for interaction with other company customers.
The company has mixed reviews with their customer support service. Some people stated that the staff was very helpful and was quick to solving problems. We tested out their live chat support system and got hold of a representative within a minute. They answered our questions within a few seconds and they responded quickly in between questions.
Other reviews stated that their customer support representatives cannot handle complicated questions and even the so-called higher authorities couldn’t present a solution. Some customers even complained that they had to troubleshoot their own problems just to get their site up and about. A lot, and we mean a lot, of negative reviews have stated that they migrated from A Small Orange to another hosting provider due to poor customer service.
The benefits of signing up with A Small Orange include the following:
90-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This is a VERY generous offer. Most hosting companies provide a 30-day money-back guarantee. Some give a 60-day guarantee. A Small Orange provides a 90-day money-back guarantee. Plus, if you cancel after this 90-day period, the company will even offer a pro-rated credit for unused services.
Here come the cons.
Host A Single Website
With their Tiny package, you can only have one website per hosting account. Compared to other hosting providers who provide unlimited websites per account, one website is too measly. If you want unlimited websites, you should opt for their Small package which costs USD 8.00 per month.
500MB Worth Of Storage
You are only given 500MB worth of storage. Wow! That’s too small. Even one high-quality video is at least 1GB in size. With this amount of storage, you will be limited by what you can do with your website.
Poor Customer Support
They have only two options for providing support–the first one being a self-help knowledge base. This means, if you need their professional help, you only have one means of communicating with them, that is, through live chat.
Their telephone support has already been discontinued. Here’s the thing, there are some problems you can’t communicate through live chat but can do so by stating it (using your voice) through the phone. Having no telephone support is a serious disadvantage to signing up with A Small Orange.
In addition, their only method of giving their customers support, the online live chat feature, garnered mixed reviews. SOME of these reviews gave them a stellar rating. But MOST of these reviews bashed the company for providing poor customer support. The said customers stated that they moved from A Small Orange to another company due to its poor support system.
What’s the verdict? It’s a big N and a big O. In other words, NO. We do not recommend that you sign up for A Small Orange’s shared hosting services.