A bit of background
We’ve been a paying customer for A Small Orange for 17 months. During that time, we’ve monitored ASmallOrange performance.
This review relies strongly on data, such as uptime, load time (speed) and customer support experience.
That might be a warning sign for a company who’s tagline is ‘homegrown hosting’. However unlike those two more notable brands, A Small Orange seems to have not lost their straightforward approach.
We set-up a basic WordPress website on one of their cheapest hosting plan ‘Tiny Plan’ (cost $35 without a domain name) back in June of 2015, and collected uptime & speed stats over twelve months that you can review here.
So… how do they compare to their better-known sister-brands? Let’s take a look.
PROS of using A Small Orange Hosting:
Originally launched back in 2003 by Tim Dorr, A Small Orange now have two server locations in Dallas, Texas and Dearborn, Michigan. A Small Orange, despite their small status and whimsical name, has been at this for awhile. And the data proves they know what they’re doing.
1. Strong uptime of 99.97% (Last 12 Months)
Getting your website featured on a major publication can unleash a flood of traffic within just a few minutes. That exposure is amazing. That is, until your site crashes.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how well your site performs if it keeps getting knocked offline by an under-performing web host with poor uptime statistics to support it’s performance.
But that’s not the case with A Small Orange.
Our analysis showed an uptime of 99.97% over a six month period. That’s phenomenal, far out-performing the bigger, more notable names in the industry (including their sister companies).
Here’s the raw data:See previous uptime - 2015 (expands)
- June 2015 avg. uptime: 99.97%
- July 2015 avg. uptime: 99.96%
- August 2015 avg. uptime: 99.97%
- September 2015 avg. uptime: 100%
- October 2015 avg. uptime: 100%
Last 12 months average uptime (2015 – 2016):
- November (2015) uptime: 100%
- December (2015) uptime: 99.98%
- January average uptime: 100%
- February average uptime: 100%
- March average uptime: 100%
- April average uptime: 99.98%
- May average uptime: 99.82%
- June average uptime: 99.98%
- July average uptime: 99.96%
- August average uptime: 99.97%
- September average uptime: 99.99%
- October average uptime: 99.91%
A Small Orange: Page Load Speed and Uptime (Last 12 months, full data can be found here.)
2. Average Page Speed 38% faster than industry average
We’ve established that a stable site is critical to website performance. But even a stable site, if slow, can quickly become worthless.
Research shows that a one second delay in site load time can result in a 7% conversion loss. And 40% of your site traffic will leave forever if it fails to load in under just 3 seconds.
Fortunately, A Small Orange delivered average page speeds much faster than industry average (clocking in at 530ms, which is about 41% faster than the industry average of 850ms).
Again, here’s the raw statistics that back up these claims:See previous load times - 2015 (expands)
- June average speed: 537ms
- July average speed: 560ms
- August average speed: 487ms
- September average speed: 495ms
- October average speed: 499ms
Last 12 months average load time (2015 – 2016):
- November average speed: 503ms
- December average speed: 485ms
- January average speed: 494ms
- February average speed: 481ms
- March average speed: 487ms
- April average speed: 536ms
- May average speed: 617ms
- June average speed: 634ms
- July average speed: 644ms
- August average speed: 542ms
- September average speed: 491ms
- October average speed: 509ms
3. We were pleased with their customer support quality
Even stable, fast sites need great support for the random issues that might pop up unexpectantly.
A Small Orange’s customer support didn’t let us down, getting back to us quickly with responses that were both detailed and well-informed. Our experience dealing with them was a 10/10. Here’s an example chat with their team:
A Small Orange support agent was helpful & cheerful
4. Inexpensive Pricing (read: It’s VERY cheap)
Considering their excellent uptime and average page speeds, A Small Orange is relatively inexpensive…
Their cheapest, shared hosting option (the ‘Tiny Plan’ we setup for our test site) will only set you back about $35 per year (which translates to less than $3 per month, $2.62 to be exact).
The great news, is that unlike most other web hosting companies, there’s no hidden language or absurdly long commitment you need to make in order to get this low price. What you see is what you get with them.
All plans (excluding ‘Tiny’) offer premium features.
5. Honest, Transparent Business Approach
A positive side effect of their honest approach is that there’s no ‘hidden’ agenda or language to mislead you.
For example, most web hosts make hyperbolic claims like ‘unlimited hosting’. But most, don’t actually deliver unlimited benefits.
A Small Orange doesn’t do that. They spell out, in plain English, what you’re going to get for your money.
Another example includes the term required for that low, advertised price on their site. Other web hosts will try to lock you in a two or three-year commitment. But again, not A Small Orange. The already low $35 / year is the real price.
In addition, each plan on their site provides all of their premium features (with the exception of their ‘Tiny Plan’), including unlimited email, 24/7 U.S. based support, SSD servers and unlimited domain names.
6. Unheard-Of 90 Day, Money Back Guarantee
Standard industry practice might give you a 30-day refund if things don’t work out as planned. Again, A Small Orange bucks the trend by providing up to 90-days to get your money back. Only a company willing to stand by their service would offer such a long refund period, making it relatively low risk for you to test drive.
By the way, InMotion Hosting offer also 90-day money back guarantee. The rest should be around 30-45 days.
Cons of using A Small Orange Hosting:
A Small Orange passed most of our tests with flying colours. However, there are a few things you should be aware of before handing over your credit card.
1. Grave Risks for Exceeding their Limits
In the event that you exceed your plan’s limits, A Small Orange might suspend your account immediately. This is in their Terms of Service when you sign up, leaving you with no alternative but to agree when you get started. While most of their plans offer a decent amount of bandwidth, just be aware that this is a possibility.
2. No Phone Support – do you need it, though?
A Small Orange’s customer service is fantastic. They were extremely quick and detailed in our experience, with 24/7/365 availability.
Only problem? No phone support. Instead, they rely on an in-depth knowledge database, live website chat, and email.
Most other web hosts offer phone support, so the gravity of this ‘con’ might depend on your own personal preference.
3. Poor Reputation Management
Throughout our test period, A Small Orange performed admirably on the primary tasks of a web host (uptime, speed, and customer support). But online you’ll find other reviews that aren’t so glowing. Our objective is to always provide a holistic review, but there are reviews out there contrary to our own.
Overview on ASO shared hosting plans
- Tiny Plan: This plan costs $35 per year (with no month-to-month option). It comes with 500MB storage, 5GB bandwidth, 24/7 email + live chat support and a maximum of 1 domain name. You need to pay for at least one year if you decide to go with this plan. – This is the plan we used for testing.
- Small Plan: This plan costs $50 per year (or $5 per month) and can be gotten at a cheaper rate if you pay for one year or more at once. It comes with 5GB storage, 50GB bandwidth, unlimited domain names and 24/7 email and live chat support.
- Medium Plan: This plan costs $100 annually (or $10 per month). It comes with 15GB storage, 150GB bandwidth, unlimited domain names and 24/7 email and live chat support. You can pay less if you decide to pay for a longer period of one or more years.
- Large Plan: This plan costs $200 each year (or $20 each month). It comes with 30GB storage, 500GB bandwidth, unlimited domain names and 24/7 email and live chat support. It also costs less if you order for a period of more than one year.
All their shared hosting plans, except the Tiny plan, come with support for unlimited domain names, unlimited emails, 24/7 support and SSD.
*Update: Tiny Plan is now $2.62 (if you use the link at the left sidebar).
Quick Facts & Overview
- Ease of Signup: Single sign up page. Easy sign up.
- Payment Options: Credit Card, PayPal.
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: No hidden fees. A limit of 10 percent CPU usage, 5 percent memory usage, 50 running processes, 15 minutes max execution time, 100,000 total inodes and 500 outgoing email messages per 60 minute period is enforced for all shared and reseller packages.
- Upsells: No upsells. Hooray!
- Account Activation: Instant account activation.
- Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: cPanel available.
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): Softaculous available for one-click installation.
Do We Recommend A Small Orange?
You’ll probably get most bang for the buck as they’re really cheap compared with others.
Stable uptime, quick page loading and a friendly chat with a knowledgeable support representative proved that A Small Orange knows what they’re doing.
They’ve been one of our TOP 5 hosts for a few months now for a reason.
Have you used A Small Orange hosting? If so, please leave a review below. Good or bad – doesn’t really matter as we’re trying to keep our reviews transparent and honest.
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16 user reviews for A Small Orange
... now a big, sour lemon
After hosting with several other companies over tha last decade, that all went down the drain (decreasing support and performance, what’s new?), I moved to ASO 2 years ago. They were considerably more expensive (‘Large plan’), but I figured it would pay (as it is a cut-throat industry).
And they were worth the extra money: great support, good uptime. So I renewed for another year. Big mistake. They are now squeezing it like a lemon. First thing to make more bucks is to ditch (email) support. Without notification, of course.
So when I didn’t get a response after a few days, which never happened before, I tried live-chat, with a ‘friendly’ guy – Indian, it appears, so I guess they started outsourcing it. When I mentioned email-support not working any longer, it not being right, he just ended the chat. So ‘friendly’. Problem solved. For him.
Shortly after that, filling out a survey, it was not favorable (duh). Now all of a sudden their email is working (again), as I get weekly deals and offers to renew…
Their uptime is certainly under 99% – regular outages (every few weeks?) of a few minutes, 10 – 15 minutes and one time even 4+ hours. I do keep track, using different monitors, but it is hard to come to a final number. Also, mail-outages – sites are up, but mail is just not delivered (or only after several hours, clients calling to check…).
I’m definitely moving away from them – which is going to be a total pain, again – not only finding a decent alternative, but also all the hassle of setting up new (email)-acounts, instructing clients etc. But loyalty is a two-way street and that small orange let me down big time.
No Longer the Same Company
A Small Orange used to be good until they were bought out. This once great company is in shambles.
The service is horrible and the uptime is terrible. My site is completely down for the second time this month due to them having problems handling their VPS’s. The first time it was a short blip, maybe the site was down for an hour.
This is the second time and my site has been down for over 24 hours now. I have no timeline on when the issue will be fixed. I should have switched LONG, LONG, before I let it get to this point, but I didn’t. This is THE WORST hosting provider that I’ve ever had to work with.
I wouldn’t host my website here even it was free. The money I would lose due to downtime would be much more expensive than any other provider in the world.
Good hosting, but not the best support team.
So recently, I moved one of my sites to A Small Orange after seeing so many recommendations and suggestions on Facebook. From the overall design of the website, it looks like this hosting company is legit. It turned out their shared plan was not that bad. I had nothing to complaint since I’m a beginner anyways so I couldn’t investigate more into the server. But overall, solid speed.
However, when I’m stuck in a given situation, I tried to get in touch with the support team via live chat. Oh man, the most horrifying experience ever. While the loading bar is almost completed, I never get to see a support person. Five mins go by and then ten mins and then 20 mins. The loading bar just finished filling up but still no sign of support person. They need to improve on this part.
I'm pretty satisfied
I bought ASO yearly plan ~6 months ago and I have to say that I’m pretty pleased. Their support could be faster, but eventually they get it answered and help you out.
Here’s a quick tip: When you need help from ASO, use ‘Live Chat’ or ‘Phone’ options – in that way you’ll be sure that you questions get answered quick.
Poor Customer Support
Any support ticket submitted has required days if not weeks to be resolved. Today (2016.8.10) I still have had no response to a ticket from 2016.7.30 and this has been the pattern all along. It hasn’t mattered for the last two years as I was still considering transitioning to freelancing. Now it matters.
It is good when it works
We tried to run away from one of EIG’s other hosts to ASO, thinking it would be better, it was not, the staff was rude, and not just that, but I would call up with a problem, and as they dug around trying to fix it they would start fiddling with other parts of my website, such as htaccess, causing all sorts of new problems for me which compounded the original problem.
ASO had massive downtime for us, we were very dissatisfied with them, the final nail in the coffin for us, which almost put us out of business was a full week of consecutive downtime from Dec 26 until Jan 2 2016. Inexcusable, we jumped ship.
A Great Web Hosting Provider
I signed for A Small Orange as my hosting provider a few years to set up my own personal site. I was drawn in by their affordable shared plans and their commitment to being ecologically responsible. I have almost never had issues with their service and their technical support is very fast and helpful. I would definitely recommend them to anyone for purposes ranging from a small personal site, all the way to a large e-commerce site. Good job and keep it up!
I have had a great experience with A Small Orange. They have even taken my feedback and implemented the change in communications I suggested in just under a month. I have had zero issues with uptime and performance, and I feel like I’m getting the better end of the deal.
Great, but could be better
This is my second site so I have some experience with hosting providers, therefore the problems I have encountered were not that new to me but I found a lot!
First in first I admit that the support team was always there to help me in all of these problems despite the fact that it might be out of their support scope.
My overall experience with the support at A Small Orange is good, yet it could have been better,but at least they helped me. Waiting time for support is between couple mins to 30 mins max, which is almost the best within server providers. When I first launched the site, I had a lot of issues with downtime (2-3 hrs per day), which was really annoying. But after the first month or so, downtime became non-existent, and now everything is normal.
As I pay for the hosting every month, I have issues with the fact that they issue the invoice around 15 days before due date and try to make the transaction many days before the date I’m supposed to pay for it.
Still it is the only hosting provider,that I’m aware of,which gives you the option to pay for their services on a monthly basis,while providing an okay service. This is my best experience with server providers in a long time,despite the few annoying things at first,it’s really an okay solution for your server needs for a pretty low price.
Cheap hosting for staging
I’ve had an account with A Small Orange for several years; however, I mainly use it for personal web development projects or testing. I can’t speak to their uptime for more extensive use.
If you have a reseller account, it’s very easy to manage multiple domains through WHM and split your storage space among them. Having Fantastico already installed in cPanel is nice for non-technical people.
If you want to upgrade your package, that’s really easy; if you need to downgrade, you have to do that through customer service. They are usually pretty fast though.
I’ve been using a small orange for the last year or so. They have a great sales team and customer support, even for dumb mistakes.
They have been having some uptime problems lately however and I heard they were recently acquired by a lager organisation with a reputation for allowing standards to stagnate and slip at the expense of the faithful user base. Time will tell if this turns out to be the case.
A Small Orange - Stay Away
We moved to A Small Orange from our previous host after doing extensive research. Even though ASO was a bit more expensive than some other hosts, we went with them as they had great reviews and promise a “Homegrown Website Hosting” service with great support.
Oh boy. This company, who is now a part of the huge EIG conglomerate, is a complete mess.
We’ve had numerous issues with them. Here are just a couple of them:
– When we reported spam that we were getting from a 3rd party, they locked OUR account, without investigating who the abuser and who the victim was.
– The downtime is extremely frequent, and happens weekly.
– They will often block outgoing emails via SMTP, using MailChannels
– They deleted a bunch of files on our hosting, without letting us know. This was apparently due to a false positive by their updated malware scanner. They did not contact us to let us know that they had updated the scanner, or that any files were deleted. When this was reported to them, they took TWO WEEKS to get back to us, despite numerous emails.
– If you have issues with abuse or mail deliverability, live chat or regular support CAN NOT and WILL NOT help you. They will create a ticket and forward it to the abuse team, who does not work 24/7.
On top of all that, their tone and their approach is nonchalant and unapologetic. They really sound like they do not care about their customers, and it shows.
A Small Orange has been a huge disappointment, and hosting with them is simply not worth the hassle. We’ve had numerous hosts over the years, but A Small Orange takes the prize as one of the worst web hosts ever.
A small orange’s hosting has really gone down recently. I heard they were acquired and often that means that the geniuses show up to do their “cost optimization.” It has taken me 20 minutes to get onto their instant chat. This is why I hate acquisitions, the quality always seems to go down. Tickets are now super slow to get fixed, but they used to be all over tickets.
Registration and setup was perfect...
I just bought the ASO hosting Tiny plan few days ago and so far I’m satisfied. They activated my account almost immediately and I managed to set up my WordPress site quite easily.
Good, but could be better...
It is my first site and I do not have much of experience with hosting providers, therefore the problems I have encountered were new to me and they were MANY! I must admit that the support team was always there to help me in all of these problems even though it might be out of their support scope (they helped me with a few WordPress issues and they didn’t have to). My overall experience with the support is good, yet it could have been better.
Waiting time for support is between none to 30 mins, which is not that much. When I first launched the site, I had serious issues with downtime (1-2 hrs per day), which is A LOT!But after the first month, things became normal and now site’s downtime is zero. I pay the hosting every month and I do not like the fact, they issue the invoice almost 15 days before due time and try to make the transaction many days before the date I’m supposed to pay.
Yet it is the only hosting provider ( that I know of) that give you the option to pay for their services on a monthly basis.
Declining customer support...
I led the charge to move my employer’s hosting over to A Small Orange years ago. We use it for hosting multiple business websites. It’s well priced and you get a lot of bang for your buck. They offer good, modern options. They also used to have great customer service who would respond in a matter of minutes–that was the big selling point.
But my recent experience was not great. They alerted us about an emergency migration. After the migration, a website did not come back online. Our team’s initial troubleshooting didn’t turn up anything so we submitted a support ticket. After waiting hours with no response, I updated the ticket again. Still no response. Finally I tried their chat support. After waiting in line to get into chat, the tech support person told me they’d have someone look into it. It was finally fixed after 6 hours of downtime.
My most recent experience with their support team means I won’t recommend A Small Orange anymore.