Since its first setup in 2003, A Small Orange has remained among the most trusted web hosting companies in the ever changing competitive hosting market. The company was recently taken over by Endurance International Group which also owns major other hosting companies like BlueHost, Hostgator, etc. It aims to provide scalable hosting solutions and charges only for what the customer uses. The range of plans it offers often suit most types of web applications including small businesses and large corporations.
The internet is replete with positive reviews of the company and the quality customer support it provides, has further helped it grow even in the face of tough competition. The company provides all kinds of solutions related to hosting including migration, design, and development services for organizations who expect a quality site up and running within a specified period.
Let’s dive deeper to understand how this awesome hosting company ticks even in the face of tough competition
Plans and Features
- Tiny: For only $35 dollars a year, this is the smallest plan available on the web. It offers enough space and bandwidth to run a static website which is ideal for most small businesses and web portfolio enthusiasts. With 500mb storage and 50GB bandwidth, it can easily host a small website that runs on a small CMS. If you want to host your portfolio, this is the best plan for you.
- Small: A little more powerful and perhaps the most sold plan, the small hosting plan costs only $5 a month and offers 5GB of storage with 50GB bandwidth. You can host unlimited domains on the server. This means you can host any number of websites by just pointing your DNS to the right folder. It is ideal for small businesses who expect around 500 unique visitors a day.
- Medium: Ideal for small ecommerce websites, this plan offers 15GB of storage with 150GB bandwidth and allows you to host unlimited websites. You can easily run a powerful blog that gets around a 1000 unique visitors a day. It costs only $10 a month and is powerful enough to host ecommerce applications with shopping cart to carry out financial transactions.
- Large: Designed for power users, this plan allows you to receive up to 5000 unique visitors a day and offers 30GB of storage and 500GB bandwidth. You can host unlimited websites and domains and still get enough resources to run powerful applications on the server. It costs $20 a month and is as powerful as a VPS plan but excludes all unnecessary complications of managing a VPS server.
- Startup: Ideal for startups, this startup plan aims to provide maximum resources at a nominal price. It costs $20 a month and provides 40GB of storage and 600GB bandwidth. The additional bandwidth is meant for sudden traffic spikes that startups often suffer from, allowing increased server stability while easing the setup and deployment experience of the users. You also get a free SSL certificate to carry out secure transactions on your website.
- Small Business: Ideal for small established startups, those require more power and resources to run. It comes with 50GB storage and 800GB bandwidth but costs only $40 a month. It is ideal for fast growing startups and marketing agencies that control and manage all their online activity through their web server.
- Enterprise: Ideal for thriving startups, the plan comes with 60GB storage and 1000GB bandwidth but costs only $60 a month. If you don’t want to manage a VPS server and expect the simplicity of a shared hosting plan while taking your site big, this is the ideal plan for you.
Heavy Resource Consuming Plans
A Small Orange also offers Cloud VPS hosting that is geared towards high resource consuming applications. It comes in levels depending on the amount of resources required. Along with that, users can also opt for Clementine managed hosting that offers all the flexibility of VPS plans but leaves all technical management to the company. Dedicated servers are also powerful and have shown real promise in recent benchmarking tests.
Migration and Upgrade
A Small Orange offers premium migration packages as part of their web design services that the customers can easily sign up for when they are moving their server data. This allows users to just sign up with the company, pay the amount and then wait until the website is back up on A Small Orange. The company supports 3 major PHP versions namely 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5 with 5.3 as the default configuration.
During the migration process they check all necessary code compliance and configure your server accordingly. Sometimes, complex applications require huge modifications which the developer himself only knows. In such cases the developer can guide them through the process or work with them collaboratively to manage all their required resources and configure them on the new server. In case any upgrades are required, you can just buy the next bigger plan as per your requirements. The billing cycle continues with the plan.
I hosted my website on A Small Orange for 5 months and I never faced any problems with the customer support. You can live chat with them right on their website and get quick solutions to your problems. You can also email them all your queries at firstname.lastname@example.org. None of their replies to my email queries took more than 2 hours. That is pretty impressive when compared to companies like iPower that take upto 2-3 days to reply. Their extensive knowledge base has all required information to get started with your hosting account and provides in depth guides into how you can setup and run your website. You can also find numerous quick tips that help you optimize your website
When compared to major companies like BlueHost, Hostgator, Godaddy and Mediatemple A Small Orange fared much better in terms of PageSpeed with average load time at 3.11s. Its highest page load time noticed was at 9.11s and lowest at 2.36s. Its cache optimized servers also make sure that data transmitted through HTTP protocols are heavily compressed to save bandwidth and server resources. Godaddy and other major companies have an average pagespeed benchmark of 4s. Although the servers of A Small Orange are shared among hosting companies like BlueHost and Hostgator, each of them are uniquely modified to suit the company’s resource and feature requirements.
Server Uptime and Downtime
Unlike most companies, A Small Orange doesn’t store their user data on separate servers. Instead they sync the data across multiple grids that are interconnected to deploy the same content with the same IP address. Therefore, even if one server goes down either due to maintenance or damage, other servers readily available to serve mirror images instead of waiting for the server to be fixed. Thus users hardly notice the difference and uptime often remains constant. With more than 99.96% server uptime, A Small Orange is among the top performing cloud based server grid companies in the world.
The Good and the Bad
With the range of services offered by the company, there is hardly any type of application that you cannot host on their servers. Their excellent support also makes sure that you get what you want while staying within your budget. Their technical support is excellent and often helps you manage your resources through optimization tricks that very few hosts offer. The company is growing faster than its competitors due to the excellent service and support it offers.
Fortunately, unlike most of its competitors, they don’t claim to provide unlimited resources while putting restrictions on major server metrics. Each of the plans provide details of what is included instead of the “Unlimited” tag linked to another page with a set of obscure policies. Therefore, you know exactly what you are getting and use your resources accordingly. While the disc space and bandwidth is limited for lower plans, it is easy to upgrade and scale up.
Some hosting companies provide automated tools for processes like mobile site building and website builders even in their larger plans. Unfortunately, A Small Orange doesn’t offer most such applications. Therefore you may have to use other services to build or deploy your mobile website instead of relying on the hosting company. Moreover, the disk space and bandwidth limits are very strict and if you end up using your limited resources, you will have to upgrade to the next higher plan. This may be annoying for most customers.
For storage, if you are expecting SSD storage instead of HDDs, they don’t have it yet. Moreover, the company offers a 90 day No questions asked money back policy that is the best in the market yet. They also help when you need to migrate your data or CMS installation from your existing host.
The Bottom Line
If cost is a major criteria then this is the cheapest hosting service out there. However, limited bandwidth and random server issues mar an otherwise good value for money service.