Update: A small orange is not what it used to be. I used to love their service and support but now I am planning to switch my hosting provider.
An Unbiased Review of A Small Orange Hosting.
My blog is hosted on A Small Orange since a year now and I decided to write A Small Orange review to share my experience with you guys. Many people ask me if A Small Orange hosting is WordPress friendly or not. Let me tell you, my blog is powered by WordPress and their 1 click installation feature in the Cpanel make it a lot simple. So I hope that clears your doubt regarding A Small Orange’s WordPress compatibility. Now, In this review I will be covering a lot of aspects such as plans, pricing, speed, customer care, technical support response time, uptime, real client testimonials, pros and cons. I will try to cover almost everything so that it clears all your doubt.
ASO or A Small Orange was founded in Atlanta in the year 2003 by Tim Dorr. In the year 2011 they moved their HQ to Durham, NC. Since then, they have been growing and making a name for themselves pretty quickly. Currently, their HQ is in Austin Texas.
Am I an A Small Orange customer?
I wouldn’t write a review if I have not tried their service. Yes, Bleeping Tech is hosted on A Small Orange but, it took me 4 years to find them. It has been almost 4 years since I switched to self-hosted WordPress. In the early days, just like any other newbie, I chose the most popular host i.e Hostgator. The reason being their aggressive advertising and the “unlimited everything” trap. After using their service for around 8 months, I decided to switch. I used to get constant CPU resource usage warnings and suspension threats, even though my blog was optimized and the traffic was really low during that time. Then I tried iPage and InMotion. With iPage, the speed was slow. Working in the back end was really a pain and same was the case with Inmotion. I had to raise so many support tickets in order fix the issue. Security was also a concern. Finally, I moved to ASO hosting. I was surprised and at the same time happy as they were upfront about storage space, bandwidth etc. Everything was transparent and no overselling or “unlimited everything” marketing strategy. With A Small Orange, You get what you pay for and I believe that is fair and practical.
A Small Orange Hosting Plans
ASO has tailor made plans to suit everyone. Ranging from $2.91 per month to $275 per month. One thing you will notice is that A Small Orange likes to keep it real. Unlike average web hosts who claim to give you unlimited storage and bandwidth but in reality requires costly upgrades to meet your requirements.
- Tiny: $35 per year – 500 MB storage, 5 GB bandwidth
- Small: $5 per month – 5 GB storage, 50 GB bandwidth
- Medium: $10 per month – 15 GB storage, 150 GB bandwidth
- Large: $20 per month – 30 GB storage, 500GB bandwidth
There is not much difference between the above plans except the disk space and bandwidth allocations.
- Startup: $20 per month -40 GB storage, 600 GB bandwidth ,Free SSL Certificate
- Small : $40 per month – 50 GB storage, 800 GB bandwidth, Free SSL Certificate
- Large: $60 per month – 60 GB storage, 1,000 GB bandwidth, Free SSL Certificate
You can avail the above plans at much lesser price by using coupon code during check out. This is normally the case with all hosting providers. Keep an eye out for promotions, so that you can get a better deal.
There are other hosting plans such as Reseller hosting, Cloud VPS hosting, Semi-Dedicated hosting, Dedicated Server and clementine managed. View all their hosting plans and get detailed information.
Note: Do not fall for the unlimited disk space and bandwidth trap that most web hosts use. Go ahead and read their terms & conditions to know what unlimited really is. For Example: If Hostgator or Bluehost offers unlimited storage and bandwidth for $5 why would anyone sign up with A small orange? Doesn’t it make sense?. Nothing is unlimited. This is why I love A small orange as they clearly state the disk space and bandwidth they offer for each plan.
Customer Care and Technical Support
The customer service representatives are polite and courteous. They have answered all my queries. Even some of the dumbest questions that I have asked (I feel guilty now 😀 ). I prefer live chat as most queries are sorted then and there. For complex billing queries, they will create a support ticket and you will get an email from the concerned team quickly.
We all are concerned about Technical support and their response time. Often we face common problems like unable to receive messages or emails sent via contact form, caching issues, errors in Google webmaster tools etc. Whatever be the problem, what we all do is contact the technical support team and try to get it all sorted. In most of the cases, problems are caused by plugins and not the web host.
Recently, I got a lot of errors in my Google webmaster and Bing webmaster tools. Google bot was not able to access my blog. I checked my robots.txt file and everything seemed to be fine and I was clueless. So, I created a ticket and within a few hours, I got the solution from their tech support team. It was a security plugin that modified some of a file called .htaccess and it blocked google and bing bot from accessing my blog.
For quick support, you can always contact them via Chat. Chat support is available 24 x 7. Even I prefer chat but I had to go out urgently so I created a support ticket. Below is the screenshot of the ticket I created.
99.99% is the standard uptime provided by all major hosts and ASO is no exception. As per my experience, uptime has been satisfactory, I couldn’t ask for more. On rare occasions, I have noticed downtimes and its quite common with every hosting provider. You won’t get 100% uptime anywhere. I regularly monitor my blog using uptime monitor and the results are great.
Is A Small Orange Secure & Trustworthy?
ASO offers daily backups with multiple restore points, password protected directories, hotlink protection, and IP blocking. In order to determine if a host is trustworthy or not just read their money back guarantee policy. ASO offers a 90 days money back guarantee which is one of the best in the industry. After the 90-day money back guarantee period, they will offer you refund on a pro-rata basis. So clearly, there is protection for their customers. Read their cancelation and refund policy.
Even their shared hosting environment uses enterprise-class server hardware: Intel Xeon E5 Dual Hex core processors and fully SSD driven storage. Server response and website speed is good, but speed is not entirely dependent on the web host. A lof factors effect website load speed and some of the main reasons are poorly coded theme, database, loads of unwanted plugins, poorly optimized images etc. I have integrated CloudFlare as it helps to protect website against malicious visitors, save bandwidth and reduce page load times. I’m on shared hosting and I’m satisfied with the speed. If you want better speed, choose VPS hosting.
I have integrated CloudFlare as it helps to protect website against malicious visitors, saves bandwidth and reduces page load times. I’m on shared hosting and I’m satisfied with the speed. If you want better speed, choose VPS plan.
I decided to do a ping test.The results will vary depending on your own location, in reference to the server. The further away you are from the server, the longer ping you will have.
The server resides in Dallas Texas. For a communication to all the way from India, the Texas, and back to India in 67ms is really good, but that doesn’t rely on the server necessarily, more along the lines of the internet itself, and route the connection has to take.If you check the results from other locations, its superb.
I also did a traceroute to identify network latency issues and how IP addresses traverse the Internet. Here are the results.
Real Client Testimonials
I did a lot of research to find real client testimonials and I found mixed opinions, although the positives clearly outweigh the negatives. I would be lying if I say 100% of the customers love a small orange. Do your research and you will find that a lot of them actually love and recommend ASO. Small orange has better reviews when compared to Hostgator, Bluehost, iPage and InMotion.
- Easy to setup – 1 click WordPress installations.
- Daily backups – A small orange takes automatic backups daily
- Knowledgebase and Video Tutorial section to you quickly up to speed
- Transparent and clear advertisement. No “Unlimited Everything” or Overselling. You won’t get emails every week trying to upsell.
- SSD Driven – offers you the best speed money can buy you on shared hosting.
- Fully scalable – Upgrade or downgrade as per your requirement
- Technical support via email and chat.
- 90-day money back guarantee
- Hosting plans that suit everyone -View Plans
- Supports Node.js and Ghost Blogging Platform
- Live chat does not have sound notifications
- No phone support for low-end plans.
- They don’t allow you to store backups on the server. You have to download it on your local machine. Actually it’s not just ASO, all major hosting providers do the same.
- EIG finally acquired ASO in July 2012. But EIG is allowing ASO to operate autonomously, so I can’t complain.
I’m really having a hard time writing the cons as I can’t really think of anything else to be honest. As I mentioned earlier, I have been using it for approximately a year now and I am one satisfied customer. My only request to A Small Orange is “Never Change”.
One thing is sure, that ASO does not try to oversell or fool its customers. I’m sure you agree with me on this. Go ahead and give A Small Orange a try. In case you are not satisfied go for the money back guarantee option.
Let me know your thoughts and questions via comments. Share your A small orange experience with the world.