a small orange web hosting
A small orange web hosting review & rating | pcmag.com
- March 29, 2016 3:10PM EST
- March 29, 2016
Inexpensive. A wide variety of hosting plans. Managed hosting option. Simple control panel. Solid uptime in testing.
Lacks Windows-based servers. No managed WordPress hosting. No telephone tech support. High-end specs aren't as good as the competition's offerings.
Affordable and easy to use, A Small Orange is a solid Web host if you have modest hosting needs, but it lacks important features offered by the competition.
A Small Orange has one of the oddest names of any Web hosting service we've tested, but don't let that prevent you from considering it. In fact, the service offers several wallet-friendly plans for shared, dedicated, and virtual private servers (VPS), whose prices should appeal to small businesses and individual users alike. Unfortunately, A Small Orange is missing several essential features that prevent it from competing with Dreamhost and HostGator, our top picks.
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A Small Orange offers four Linux-based shared hosting plans: Tiny, Small, Medium, and Large. Tiny (starting at $35 per year) offers a mere 500MB of storage, a respectable 5GB of monthly data transfers, and a single domain. Small (starting at $5 per month) ups the storage and monthly data transfers to 5GB and 50GB, respectively, while offering unlimited domains. Medium (starting at $10 per month) builds on the Small plan with 15GB of storage and 150GB of monthly data transfers. The top-tier Large plan boasts 30GB of storage and 500GB of monthly data transfers. All plans come with unlimited email, which is a nice touch.
These are solid plans if you don't have extravagant shared hosting demands, but they don't come close to matching HostGator's shared Web hosting packages. Our top choice for shared hosting offers unlimited storage across all tiers and a choice of Linux- or Windows-based servers. Don't underestimate that last option; if you plan to build (or migrate) a site built on an ASP.NET framework, you'll appreciate HostGator's Windows-based shared hosting packages.
Note: A Small Orange also offers Clementine Managed Hosting (starting at $45 per month), which gives your site the white-glove treatment. A Small Orange handles all the updates, patches, security issues, and the like. It's a good option for those who don't want to handle back-end tasks.
Cloud VPS Hosting
If you're looking for servers with more power, check out A Small Orange's Linux-based, managed Cloud VPS plans. The base virtual private server plan (starting at $20 per month) has a single-core CPU, unlimited domains, unlimited email, 1GB of RAM, 20GB of storage, and 500GB of monthly data transfers—and it can scale upward if you need additional muscle. The highest-end Cloud VPS server (starting at $150 per month) has eight CPU cores, 10GB of RAM, 150GB of storage, and 5TB of monthly data transfers. A Small Orange's VPS specs are quite solid, and they're on par with those of iPage.
That said, Hostwinds remains the PCMag Editors' Choice for VPS by offering greater RAM (28.5GB) and monthly data transfer (unlimited) totals, as well as a Windows server option.
A Small Orange has a whopping eight dedicated, Linux-based hosting plans that span six single-CPU servers and two multi-CPU servers. The single-CPU servers have an entry-level 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD plan (starting at $99 per month), but they top out with a 16GB RAM and 1TB HDD plan (starting at $175 per month). The two multi-CPU plans (starting at $275 per month) both have 32GB of RAM, but they differ in that one offers a 256GB SSD, while the other offers a 1TB HDD. All plans come with five IP addresses, unlimited email, and 5TB of monthly data transfers.
Still, HostGator handily beats A Small Orange when it comes to operating system options, The company's dedicated servers come in Linux and Windows flavors, which isn't as commonplace as you might think; Linux tends to dominate the field. Plus, HostGator's 25GB monthly data transfer allotment tops A Small Orange's 5GB monthly data transfer allotment by a significant amount.
Building a Website
CPanel is where the website-building process begins. After you log in, A Small Orange loads a simple control panel that's both functional and attractive; it's one that appears geared to those who may be intimidated by the more technical look of the traditional CPanel. You can switch between the two looks from CPanel's main page.
A Small Orange gives you several tools for building a website, including Weebly, our Editors' Choice for Web-based website-building applications. Weebly's drag-and-drop functionality let me quickly build an attractive page complete with slideshows, contact forms, social media links, and more.
Weebly's Professional plan ($11 per month) gives your site unlimited email, unlimited pages, and 75GB of monthly data transfers. On the e-commerce side, you can sell up to 25 different products, but you'll have to pay a three-percent Weebly transaction fee. On the other hand, the Business plan ($29 per month) ups the offerings to 300GB of monthly data transfers and unlimited product hosting. E-commerce fees are waived, too.
Naturally, WordPress is also supported. You can install the content management system (CMS) from the Softalicious app section from within CPanel. Once installed, you can use WordPress to create posts, pages, slideshows, and other content. Unfortunately, A Small Orange lacks managed WordPress hosting.
If you're looking to sell products or services, A Small Orange has got you covered. The company offers Linux-based Business hosting (Startup, Small Business, and Enterprise) that includes Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance and a free secure-socket layer (SSL certificate) to safeguard transactions. Plus, these shared servers have fewer accounts on them, which increase their performance.
Startup (starting at $20 per month) has 40GB of storage, 600GB of monthly data transfers, unlimited email, and daily backups. Small Business (starting at $40GB per month) bumps the RAM and storage totals to 50GB of storage and 800GB of monthly data transfers. Enterprise ($60 per month) boasts 60GB of storage and 1,000GB of monthly data transfers. Business hosting may be a viable option if you wish to sell a product or service.
The Softaculous app library contains the Magento e-commerce, shopping cart app. I used Magento to create an attractive store using its drag-and-drop store builder. Please read our Magento review for an in-depth look at this open-source shopping cart. If Magento isn't to your liking, OpenCart is also available.
The hosting packages come with a slew of security features. Even with the most basic plan, you can rest easy knowing that password-protected directories, IP-blocking, and hotlink/leech protection are in place.
For even more security, you should check out SiteLock (starting at $20 per year). Depending on the package, SiteLock executes daily malware scans, file change monitoring, automatic malware removal, and more.
Website uptime is one of the most important aspects of a hosting service. If your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services, which is obviously bad for business.
For this testing, I used a website monitoring tool to track my Small Orange-hosted test site's uptime over a 30-day period. Every 15 minutes, the tool pings my website and sends me an email if it is unable to contact the site for at least one minute. The data revealed that A Small Orange is very stable; you can count on it to be a rock-solid foundation for your website.
Should a problem arise, A Small Orange gives you plenty of ways to seek help. The company has a deep knowledge database, live Web chat, and email support. Unfortunately, the company offers zero telephone support. That's a big downer considering that Web hosts like Dreamhost and GoDaddy have 24-hour phone support.
On the upside, A Small Orange's customer service team quickly responds to queries. I Web chatted with a customer service representative on a weekday afternoon and learned the difference between regular shared hosting and VPS hosting. The rep answered my question quickly and thoroughly. I had a similar experience when I reached out the next morning.
A Small Orange has a lengthy 90-day money-back guarantee that outclasses most Web hosts' 30- or 60-day refund policies. That said, Dreamhost offers an even more impressive 97-day money-back guarantee.
A Solid Web Host
A Small Orange makes it simple to create a website suitable for personal or small business use, and it's cheaper than much of the competition. That said, the Web host lacks features that are offered by well-rounded (and more expensive) services such as Dreamhost and HostGator. But if you have humble needs and want to save a few dollars, A Small Orange might get the job done.
A Small Orange Web Hosting
Bottom Line: Affordable and easy to use, A Small Orange is a solid Web host if you have modest hosting needs, but it lacks important features offered by the competition.
For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as Senior Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out Web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey mentors, practices Jeet Kune Do, blogs, podcasts, and speaks at the occasional con. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys... More »