A Small Orange review

Web hosting plans from a community orientated provider

A Small Orange
Image credit: A Small Orange

Our Verdict

A Small Orange is an efficient web hosting tool which does not cost the earth. It’s seriously let down by its convoluted verification process.

For

  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • Easy to use
  • 24/7 customer service

Against

  • Chance of your account being suspended
  • Convoluted verification process

A Small Orange was initially founded in 2003 in Atlanta, Georgia with one of their aims being to provide top notch customer service. They also believe in giving back to the community by offering discounts to approved non-profits and charities. A Small Orange was acquired by the behemoth of web hosting which is Endurance International Group (EIG) in 2012. EIG own some of the largest and most well-known web hosting companies such as BlueHost, HostGator and iHost. 

The company has four plans affiliated with shared hosting.  All plans come with cPanel, Weebly Website builder, WordPress optimized servers, POP3, IMAP and webmail access. The ‘Tiny’ plan is $5.92 per month but is billed annually so you will pay $71 upfront. It includes 500MB of storage, 5GB of bandwidth, 1 website and 24/7 customer support.

The ‘Small’ plan weighs in at $8 per month, it is not billed annually. The company claims this is their most popular tier. This includes 5GB storage, 50GB Bandwidth, free .com Domain, unlimited websites and 24/7 support.

The ‘Medium’ package is $15 per month and includes 15GB storage, 150GB Bandwidth, free .com Domain, unlimited websites and 24/7 support.

The ‘Large’ tier is $25 per month. This includes all the other plans have to offer plus 30GB storage and 500GB Bandwidth.

Most web hosting companies offer a 30-day money back guarantee. However, similar to InMotion Hosting, A Small Orange offers customers a 90-day money back guarantee.

A Small Orange also offer Cloud VPS starting off at $22 per month for 30GB storage, 1024MB RAM and 500GB Bandwidth. 

The company includes packages for dedicated servers which start off at $109 per month for 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD.

Account setup

Be careful when signing up for A Small Orange as the billing cycle we be set to 12 months by default (Image credit: A Small Orange)

(Image credit: Image credit: A Small Orange)

Account setup

A Small Orange makes it very easy for potential customers to view their price plans. All Shared Hosting plans are laid out in a simple manner on one page. There’s also a helpful FAQ section at the top of the price plan page and Live Chat is available 24/7 in case you have any queries before you purchase.

For the sake of this review, we chose to purchase the ‘Small’ package. Once we clicked on ‘Buy Now!’ we were immediately brought to the purchasing page.  The ‘Billing Cycle’ will automatically default to a 12-month plan but this can be easily changed to one-month via the drop-down menu. You can either choose to register a domain or transfer your own domain over to the provider.

A Small Orange offers the choice to pay either by credit card or PayPal. We chose to pay by PayPal and moved on down the page. One of the things we most liked about the billing page was that there were no nasty hidden extras. While you do have the option to buy extras, such as SSL Certificates or daily backups, they are not automatically checked so you don’t feel like you are being tricked into purchasing.

All subscriptions are automatically renewed and to cancel your subscription, you do need to speak directly to an Agent.

However, you need to be aware that if any of your details do not match up in any way, your account will be flagged as fraudulent. At this stage you will need to contact customer service who will provide you with a link where you can upload photo ID to verify your account.  If even some of your details do not match your ID you will be asked for further proof of identity such as a bank statement or utility bill. We had to go through a verification process which took even longer due to the nationality on the ID not matching the address provided.

Apparently according to A Small Orange the idea of a British citizen living in the EU was too inconceivable a thing. This may be a concern for users who don’t live in their home country and digital nomads. While this does not take long, approx. 25 minutes, it is a bit of an inconvenience and does feel like overkill when it comes to security.

cPanel

A Small Orange includes support for cPanel (Image credit: A Small Orange)

(Image credit: Image credit: A Small Orange)

Creating a website

Websites can be built through cPanel. It can take some time to get used to cPanel but A Small Orange use an easy to view interface which makes it less daunting to newer users.

A Small Orange uses Weebly Website builder. The drag-and-drop tool makes creating a page simple, easy and satisfying. You can include slideshows, social media links and contact forms amongst others.

You can install WordPress form the ‘App’ section in cPanel. You can then use WordPress to create blogs, pages, posts and slideshows. There are a variety of apps which can be downloaded through the cPanel, not just WordPress. These include Joomla, Magento, Dolphin and YetiForce.

More advanced uses can tweak things in phpMyAdmin, manage SQL databases and create e-mail accounts.

All in all, creating content is a fairly straightforward process but there can be a bit of learning curve for users not acquainted with cPanel.

Performance

A Small Orange's support center includes a number of useful articles and tutorials (Image credit: A Small Orange)

(Image credit: Image credit: A Small Orange)

Performance

Customer service is always one of the most important aspects of a web hosting company and A Small Orange responded in less than 30 seconds through ‘Live Chat’. We had an initial issue with billing which after a lot of explaining we were able to get this resolved. While the Agent seemed knowledgeable and friendly, we got the feeling they were not reading through our messages in depth so missed the point on several occasions.

Overall support is excellent. Some users may find it frustrating they do not offer telephone support but they make up for this by having a very in-depth knowledgebase, 24/7 live chat and email support. The one thing which had us a little concerned was that in their ‘Terms of Service’, it is stated if you exceed you’re the limit set by your plan, the company can suspend your whole account. This may not seem like a huge deal on the face of it but these things can easily happen and it is concerning to think your account might be out of action while this is being resolved. You have to agree to the ‘Terms of Service’ when you create your account so this clause might be a deal breaker for some users.

We decided to complete our review by running a Bitcatcha test. The results were extremely positive with Bitcatcha reporting that our website hosting server is ‘running exceptionally quick’. We had felt this was going to be a good result as the site responded instantly and there seemed to be no delay in pages loading.

Final verdict

A Small Orange is a powerful little web hosting provider which does not break the bank. The 90-day money back guarantee gives you plenty of time to explore before 100% committing to the service. 

One of the mains concerns we had was with the chance of your site being suspended if you accidentally go over your limits set out in your plan. This could be concerning to some users who do not want to experience any downtime over something which could be so easily rectified without their account being suspended.

We were put off the provider from the moment we entered our details on the billing page. This is due to the convoluted verification process which we found to be unnecessary and one which we had not encountered before. However, this might not be the case for other users who may not find issue with having to verify their details to such an extent.

A Small Orange may not have all the features you may find in larger providers such as HostGator but if you’re needs are simple then this provider may just work for you.