A Small Orange Reviews

Find out why ASO came Highly Recommended in our A Small Orange Reviews, read the latest News, and get exclusive discounts.
9 Total Score
A Small Orange Shared Hosting

There are a number of shared hosting plans on offer, all with SSD storage. You can either go for the standard hosting or upgrade for full PCI compliance with their business hosting plans. A Small Orange have one of the best support teams we have experienced and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

9.2Editor's score
Support
9.5
Features
9.5
Speed
9
Uptime
9
Value
9
8.8User's score
Support
10.0
Features
8.3
Speed
9.0
Uptime
8.6
Value
8.3
Add your review  |  Read reviews and comments
Specification

Top Considerations

Recommended

SSD or SSD Database

cPanel

Server Location

US

Developer Features

Ruby on Rails

Node.js support help

Platform

Linux help

Monthly Price

Price: 2.48

Overall Score

Score: 9

Related Links

Check out our related reviews, grab one of our coupons to save money off your hosting, or simply visit their website to check them out directly.

A Small Orange Shared Hosting Review

A Small Orange comes fairly highly ranked in our user driven Shared Hosting Reviews table given it’s unique entry into the web hosting service market and the little unique quirks they put in the site to make it an enjoyable experience for its customers. They set themselves apart from other companies with their simple, yet effective name that is extremely memorable; coupled with a colorful and radiant template for their website that really sets the tone for their site.  Not only should you read our editorial A Small Orange Review below, but also check out the User A Small Orange Reviews by clicking the User Reviews tab at the top of this page.

One interesting thing you may like to know is that the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager is Mr Douglas Hanna (edit: He left late 2014).  He founded and writes for a popular blog on customer service and customer service experience called Service Untitled.  He also served as the Customer Service Manager at Hostgator before they got purchased by EIG.  He also serves as a Member of the Board of Advisors at CodeGuard (WordPress backup service).  The point we make by revealing all this information, is you will see as you read our review that we think ASO & Hostnine (sister companies) have one of the best customer support experiences you will find in hosting.  This really is their big strength.

Our First Thoughts

One thing that you first see when you visit A Small Orange  is their original and bright colorful branding.  It is probably one of the nicest web hosting sites we have seen, but the question is does that match the quality and features of the service.  We already know about ASO due to us using extensively their sister site Hostnine, including their VPS for this website.  We actively maintain a site with them, which we mainly use for testing purposes, and playing around with the new blogging Platform Ghost.

When you first visit their site you will see a very smart summary of the different types of hosting they offer, including shared hosting (which this review covers), reseller hosting, business hosting, cloud VPS hosting, hybrid hosting and dedicated hosting.  As you can see, there is a fantastic upgrade path and it is a truly exceptional host (even though we prefer their sister company Hostnine).

a-small-orange-plans

The Different Plans

They offer 4 different plans,  which mainly differ in the amount of Storage and Bandwidth, although their cheapest “Tiny” plan only allows one domain to be setup on the hosting.

a small orange plans

As you can see all but the Tiny Plan come with Unlimited Domains, and 24/7 Email and Live Chat Support.  All plans use SSD storage, which is at least 15 times faster than the mechanical counterpart making the site seem extremely responsive.  Other features of the plans include:

  • 90 day Money Back Guarantee – This is one of the longest in the industry, giving you ample time to try out the service.  Note that domains are not included in this offer, so if you refund after taking advantage of a free domain, the standard domain cost will be deducted.  This is pretty standard practice.
  • cPanel – They provide the standard cPanel control panel.
  • Fully scalable – Easily upgrade and downgrade as you need.
  • 2 months free – When you pay for a year up front, you get 2 months free hosting, as well as a free domain.
  • Unlimited everything else – Unlimited Emails, Databases, Mailing lists, Email Forwarders, Subdomains, and FTP Accounts come as standard.
  • Daily Backups – Automated daily backups are taken, although we do recommend taking your own off-site backups as well.
  • Ghost blog hosting – They are one of the few shared hosting providers that have Node.js installed.  This means the new Ghost Blogging platform can be installed.
  • Ruby on Rails – Unlike most hosts that use a cPanel plugin for Ruby (which is not always updated to the latest version), they use Passenger for their Ruby, meaning it is always up to date with the latest Gem’s installed.

If you need a little extra, we can highly recommend their Cloud VPS plans, but also they have no introduced Clementine Managed plans, which have the power of dedicated resources but are completely hands off.  That means that while you will receive cPanel details, you won’t have to worry about server configurations or anything else.  We think this is ideal for people that want a bit more power, but don’t want the hassle of setting up and managing a VPS.

US Based Datacenters

A Small Orange’s datacenters are located in the US at both Dallas, and Dearborn, Michigan.  Unfortunately you cannot choose the location of your server.

The Sign-Up Process

The sign-up process is very easy.  If you are unsure of the right plan, the first thing to do is open an online chat and they will talk you through the best plan.  Don’t worry, they don’t try to talk you into an expensive plan like some hosts!  If you just have a small WordPress site, then all you will need is the “Tiny” or “Small” plan, and then as and when required you can upgrade from there.  You can find a full walk-through of the sign-up process on our coupons page.

When we last setup an account with ASO (one we actively use) it took a matter of minutes to get all the account information so we could start working on our site.

The Control Panel

A Small Orange has a rather smart Client area for support and billing, and gives you access to their extensive knowledgebase and video tutorials.  You can see a screenshot of the client area below (click the image to enlarge):

 

Customer Area - A Small Orange

For the management of the website, they use the industry standard cPanel, and as you can see from the screenshot below, they have some nice added options,… such as PHP selector, Pagespeed Optimizer, Cloudflare one-click install, SiteLock security, R1Soft backups access, as well as their Ghost Installer (via Softaculous):

a small orange control panel

One thing we like about them is that they have kept the standard cPanel styling, rather than jazz it up like some other hosts do.  Sure whilst we like the look better of some of the custom styles, having the standard version makes it super easy to follow any cPanel guides or tutorials as well as find what you are looking for very easily.

Summary

Pros

  • No “unlimited everything” – Most companies will try to pitch you the line that they have ‘unlimited everything’ and that just simply isn’t true about the sites bandwidth and disk space. They have clearly separated themselves from the pack and provides you with a clear-cut picture of the disk space and bandwidth they offer. However, you can purchase additional bandwidth for your shared hosting at just $0.50 per GB per month.
  • SSD Driven – Experience blazing fast shared hosting with their fully SSD driven shared hosting environment. SSD drives are at least 15 times faster than the traditional mechanical drives used by most other hosts, and are more reliable as well. Typically, you will only see SSD driven hosting on a VPS or Dedicated server, and even then this is only a recent trend. This explains the lower storage space within the plans than competitors, but believe us… it is definitely worth it.
  • Superb Customer Service – This could be the best thing about ASO. Send them a ticket, and you’ll receive a response in just 30 minutes at the max. No question goes unanswered which speaks volumes to their reliability. They truly care about their clients because they know their customers care about their product. We host this site with Hostnine, who share all the same support infrastructure. We can honestly say these guys know their stuff, and are one of the best support teams we have experienced. What’s amazing is they don’t shout how good their support is from the rafters, like some other hosts.
  • High Touch Services – They created a unique service that provides help for managing your site above and beyond what you would expect from a typical support service. They will help with software installation, configuration tuning or even the setup of complex software. Essentially, they advertise their technicians as being for hire for any task that needs to be done on your website. We actually think this is a great service addon, as having someone on hand to sort out a problem can be very cost affective, and give you alot of peace of mind.
  • Price for every budget – They offer a good pricing that will any kind of budget, but if you need slightly more powerful plan, we believe Hostnine is slightly cheaper in the long run.
  • No hidden agenda-No lies like claiming to have unlimited everything, and no hidden fees or contracts. They also offer you a 45-day money back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied with their service.
  • Different types of hosting – They you a platform of different web hosting options to choose from varying in price and outlook. Cloud VPS, Dedicated servers, re seller hosting, business web hosting, and shared web hosting are all offered at reasonable prices. You therefore have an excellent upgrade path should you need it.
  • Node.js and Ghost Blogging Platform Support – They are one of the few companies that offers this kind of support on a Shared Server. Ghost is an upcoming blogging platform that is quickly gaining traction. You can read more information in our review here, including instructions for setting up Ghost blogging platform.

Cons

  • Support – Arrrgh… this one was hard to write, and in context of other hosts support should probably be in the positive category. However, the last year has seen their ticket response times go from around 15-20 minutes to around the 1 – 2 hour mark. They have also changed their live chat software, so when you respond it goes to the bottom of the queue again meaning that more complicated matters can drag out. But just to clarify, I am nit-picking here, and their support is still one of the best around.

Our A Small Orange Review Verdict

Our Verdict –  Pretty Good – Recommended

They are fairly high up on our list of hosting providers we would recommend.  Particularly if you check the A Small Orange Reviews below you will see many people feel the same.  They deserve it based on a number of reasons like offering monthly payment options, discounted pre-paid pricing, and up-front quoted pricing based on the monthly price, not on some ridiculous three to five year prepaid plan, as well as a fresh, and tangy website template that has quite the appeal to it. While Hostnine and A Small Orange are owned by the same company (or at least used to be), it is good to make note of the fact that they are cheaper than Hostnine. With that in mind, we feel that they really care about it’s clients and they have the tools available to maintain success and grow and prosper.

15% Off all Shared Hosting Plans

This is our Standard ASO Promo Code which gives 15% off the first invoice, so sign up for longer for more savings.

$2.48 $2.92

A Small Orange Reviews
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Editor's choice 2015
24 Comments
  1. Reply Maria May 13, 2015 at 9:30 pm
    4.4
    Support
    100
    Features
    80
    Speed
    90
    Uptime
    90
    Value
    80
    It always surprises me that not more people know about ASO. I guess they don't spend a lot of money on web or TV ads. I have been a customer of theirs for more than 5 years. My experience with them has been awesome. There are probably cheaper hosting services out there. However, given their incredible customer service, I really don't think it's worth it. They give you an immediate response any time, and then they get the problem fixed. They stay with it until it has been completely taken care of. Anytime anyone asks, I always recommend them.
    + PROS: Excellent customer service
    - CONS: Really, I can't think of any.
  2. Reply Jessica May 3, 2015 at 2:06 pm
    4.6
    Support
    100
    Features
    90
    Speed
    90
    Uptime
    90
    Value
    90
    One of the main things that really stands out to me when it comes to A Small Orange is the company's incredible customer service. They always exceed my expectations. I have emailed their ASO support staff many times: when my server loaded slowly, to switch domains, when my site got a virus. Each time, the response from them was lightning-fast, and they told me how my issue could be fixed and offered to do it for me.
    + PROS: Incredible 24/7 customer service
    - CONS: None
  3. Reply Ian April 16, 2015 at 3:03 pm
    4.3
    Support
    100
    Features
    80
    Speed
    90
    Uptime
    80
    Value
    80
    Awesome host! Very helpful support, and speed is pretty decent with the SSD's. Would definitely recommend.
  4. Reply Matt T. February 1, 2015 at 4:47 am

    I was initially very excited when I signed up for a VPS plan with A Small Orange. Their tech support was good and my site was faster than with other companies.

    Unfortunately, everything went downhill quickly. In the last eight months, there have been at least three long outages (one lasting more than 5 hours) and several very brief outages. My website is monitored so I know exactly when service goes down and when it’s restored. I told A Small Orange they were falling well short of their 99.9 percent uptime guarantee. Their response was that the guarantee only applies to shared hosting accounts. That explains why VPS customers (who pay a lot more) are always the last to have their service restored.

    On their homepage, they proudly brag about their 99.9 percent uptime guarantee. Only in the fine print of the Terms & Conditions does it mention that this only applies to shared accounts. After I told them yesterday for a second time they were engaging in false advertising, they removed the guarantee from their site.

    If you have a large spike in traffic, your site will crash. For that reason, you’ll need to purchase a bigger plan than what you normally need unless you’re OK with it crashing sometimes.

    Given my history of issues with the company and the fact that I’ve spent nearly $1,000 with them, I thought they might consider offering me a partial-year refund when my business closed. Nope. When I asked for a refund, they simply closed my account (deleting my websites and email accounts immediately) and giving me an account credit. Why would I need a credit for an account they already deleted? If they weren’t going to offer a refund, it would have been nice for them to tell me my options before completely shutting down my account.

    • Reply Jonathan February 1, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      Well, your experiences are a polar opposite with ours. We actually have quite detailed uptime figures and I think the only downtime we have had in the past 5 months has been for about 4 minutes. If you are seriously concerned about uptime you would need to go for the ksplice addon, otherwise your system would get rebooted a couple of times a week for updates to be applied.

      With VPS you do need to have a little more knowledge. Whilst it is managed, they won’t configure all the nice stuff unless you ask them. For instance, we highly recommend the standard is tweaked for Nginx with reverse proxy, with other PHP tweaks (fastcgi). The base install of Centos is going to be pretty basic no matter where you are. Luckily, A Small Orange will set Nginx up for you in a few minutes, and the other is just a matter of recompiling Apache via the WHM EasyApache function. I am pretty sure A Small Orange will help you do that too.

      We have been using them for well over a year now and they have always done their upmost to help. We have never experienced that kind of downtime (although last April time, they did have a few incidents that lasted a couple of hours). What kind of traffic are you trying to send through it? If you use too much CPU, it would merely be throttled. Using too much RAM would cause errors, but you can upgrade RAM as an addon for just $5 per month.

      Have you optimized your site? Are you using caching plugins? Or are you just a very busy site?

      • Reply Matt T. February 3, 2015 at 12:37 am

        Thank you for the response and the suggestions. It’s good to hear you’ve had better luck with ASO.

        We requested Nginx and they set it up for us shortly after we started. We used a caching plugin and had a highly optimized site. I’m sure we could have done more, but that really wasn’t the issue.

        Here’s an example of one message I received from their tech support.

        “Tonight, we experienced an outage on Virtual Machines using our SAN10 unit for storage. … I understand that this was not the first outage, and I would also like to apologize for it. Last time when we’ve had servers down, it was caused by a human error, where a power supply unit was knocked down, causing power failure on the number of VPSes.”

        I don’t expect perfection, and that’s why I always held off on writing negative feedback. However, if I make a mistake and don’t live up to my customer’s expectations, I will do anything to try to make it right. Most businesses seem to have the same philosophy.

        I should clarify what I meant about the site crashing if you have a large spike in traffic. We had an article featured on the main page of Google News, and we had about 1,200 readers on the site at one time. That’s significantly more traffic than we normally have, and I realize most websites won’t experience such dramatic fluctuation unless you have content which may go viral. It’s still frustrating when you have a huge opportunity to reach new readers and no one can access the site. We were told to upgrade to a plan which cost twice as much to avoid future crashes. Unfortunately, we rarely used that amount of RAM, but you want to be prepared.

        • Jonathan Griffin February 3, 2015 at 8:46 am

          Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately our experience with high traffic sites is fairly limited, so it is difficult to say how to counteract that. Certainly, using an opcode cache into RAM to save compiling PHP all the time will not only speed up the site but will help with CPU usage. Unfortunately, that can use a little more RAM, but still RAM can be fairly cheap (note some companies charge much more than others, mainly due to difference in datacenter costs i.e. some datacenters will charge $400 (i.e. premium datacenters such as Softlayer) for 128GB RAM, others just $140). We are currently testing Litespeed Xcache combination which is said to be able to server alot more traffic for less… but you have to purchase a Litespeed licence and it can be quite complicated configuring Opcode caching with that (we are using a company called Remsys for our system admin). To be honest, with that kind of traffic you are better off choosing a company that has experience with high traffic sites. Whilst we haven’t reviewed them, WiredTree is one that includes Litespeed configuration (we tested them once, but preferred Hostnine A Small Orange) as standard. Another option is SiteGround VPS, and have RAM to autoscale on demand. You have a few options, but for the great support experience you need to be prepared to pay for it. With that kind of traffic though you are getting, I am sure you can afford it!

  5. Reply Neil Ford December 18, 2014 at 9:18 am

    For me the biggest reasons to stay with them is their amazing customer service. No matter how I try and contact them I get really prompt responses. I’ve had other hosting companies take days to get back to me and that was really frustrating.

    This speed of response seems to be really standard with this company too. When I decided to activate my hosting with them I think it took 20 minutes to have everything set-up and ready to go. Every time I need to set up something new it goes really fast as well. I think I have a bigger web presence because they make it so easy.

    As far as price goes I feel like they could be a little cheaper per month but I also feel what I pay is fair. I don’t think they would be able to provide the service they do if they were cheaper. They are right on the edge of budget hosting which means I can still afford them as a poor college student. On the other hand I feel really professional when I deal with them.

    As far as the actual hosting goes I have no complaints. I have barely any downtime so I feel like I’m getting what I pay for whenever I look at my site. The servers seem to be really fast so I never get complaints about things loading which can be really nice. All together I don’t think there is anything I would change with the hosting itself.

    A Small Orange is the best hosting company I have tried. From personal sites to the start of business products I have found them to be really helpful. No matter the expertise level I have they are always there to help. They are, at their core, great hosting with a commitment to service.

  6. Reply Charles Bernard December 18, 2014 at 9:17 am

    ASO has had great up-time for me. I really never have to worry about my host being down or extended maintenance. This has made it really easy to manage my business in a short amount of time instead of worrying about it constantly. This has got to be one of my many favorite things about this company.

    I know that this is a bigger company, but when I deal with them I feel like I’m dealing with a local business. Their customer service never acts like they don’t have time for my questions. Instead I feel like I get all the help I need and then some. Some of the representatives will even make jokes with you making me feel like I’m talking to a friend instead of technical support.

    Speaking of support, trying to contact them gets you results within literal minutes. I have traveled a lot all over the world so I contact them at weird times. I have never had to wait more than a few minutes for someone to help me with my problems. I think that is one of the things that makes me really stay with them.

    Unlike some other companies they don’t expect me to know everything when dealing with the interface. If I need to get something set up as far as hosting they are always willing to answer my questions. This is really helpful when I know I need to do something but I’m not quite sure how to go about making it happen. I never end up feeling like an idiot when trying to do things I need.

    Overall A Small Orange is the best hosting solution I have been able to find for my business. They work well with being a traveler and understand the importance of prompt service. They put a lot of care into their products and this makes it easy to work with them. Overall they are just a great hosting company.

  7. Reply Ben September 26, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    They are the best host I have ever been with. I moved upwards of 15 domains to them because their service and support is fast and great. If I have ever had an issue the answers are very quickly given. If you are not with A Small Orange you should seriously consider moving to them.

  8. Reply Danner, Kal September 26, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    I seriously love A Small Orange. I switched from GoDaddy back in January because their pricing was deceptive with some hidden costs which made me a little annoyed. I got my website setup in minutes, and I was very surprised how fast the hosting was compared to other hosts I have used (GoDaddy, Hostgator, Liquidweb and Site5).
    It wasn’t an hour before my new site was all online, and my dealings with support were incredible. Some of the best support I have experienced out of all the hosting companies I have been with.
    The service is a little more expensive than the other hosts I have used, but despite that I am very happy with them.

  9. Reply Ian September 21, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    The SSD hosting may cost a little more than other hosts, but hell it is definitely worth it. They by far the best host I have ever had, and their support is second to none. Some hosts will charge a fortune to install a third party SSL, but A Small Orange quite happily installed one I purchased from Namecheap. They have a customer for life.

  10. Reply Charles Young August 8, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Gotta love calling tech support the minute they open and hearing ‘All of our agents are currently assisting other callers’, then sitting on hold for a half hour. They’re a good host, but they’re completely incorrigible in their negative ways.

    Had to contact live chat to get their phone number.

  11. Reply Emma Thorpe July 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Easily the best host I have had the pleasure of being with. I have a small blog that I work on in my spare time, and regularly hop on to live support to ask stupid questions. Without fail they have always helped point me in the right direction even if it ends up not being a hosting issue. I am very happy with the speeds at A Small Orange, and have never really had a problem with downtime (once or twice in the last 6 months) and even when there has been a problem they have kept me up to date with what is happening. Their twitter account is very active so you can always reach out to them on there which is great. I will definitely not be moving away from A Small Orange any time soon!

  12. Reply John Smith May 13, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Another very happy ASO customer here, I have always had tip top support from their online chat staff. In the one scenario I had in 2 years with them that could not be sorted out right away by the initial chat operator, they followed through and I got the promised contact email from the right person in the right department. And all this well within the time frame I was promised!

    I am in the IT industry professionally, so I know there are some ‘cheaper’ places. But really, by the time you know and understand the tradeoffs you make for those ‘cheaper’ places, you realise the ASO premium is not much of a premium at all. For me, I had the chance to save about $5 bucks a month. For headache free support when/if I have a problem, more than happy to shell out that little bit extra.

    If you keep your eyes open and prepay for a year, you can get some great discounts. This year, I prepaid for the year, got a free domain, and 50% off the whole invoice (which was already 12 months for the price of 10).

    No affiliate links, no coupon codes here, just 100% satisfied customer.

    PS. Strongly considering hosting my new startup with ASO on one of their larger VPS plans. I get it FULLY MANAGED as part of the deal! Search around and see what that can cost you in the marketplace =)

  13. Reply Bob Ryley May 5, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    My only comment is that I have one domain hosted on asmallorange and these folks are aces. If you are creating a commercial site you can find great deals on price all over the web.

    But when it comes to service my experience is that so-called “24-7 support” often means “you can send us emails” any time day or night and we’ll respond as quickly as we can, but it could take 12 to 24 hours. That is simply not good enough if you have a real problem.

    It is in the area of support that asmallorange shines. They respond to many support issues with online chat. I had an issue at 7pm on a Sunday evening and after waiting about ten minutes online someone came on the chat and started working with me to solve the issue. Throughout the short wait the message int he chat window kept me appraised of the declining wait-time.

    When I set up my hosting I was able to speak to someone here in the states LIVE who walked me through the solution.

    This means more to me than a lot of the bells and whistles many hosts celebrate. When I need help I need to know someone is there now and not tomorrow or the next day. I don’t think you can go wrong with a smallorange.

    BTW I don’t work for or know anyone with this company and I am not part of any affiliate program they may have. I am just a happy customer.

    • Reply Jonathan May 5, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      I actually agree with everything you say. Their support is what makes A Small Orange so good, especially their live chat which can resolve many simple issues for you then and there.

      Glad you like them!

  14. Reply ASOUser April 1, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    I’ve been using A Small Orange for quite some time now and I have to say I wouldn’t recommend any other company. I LOVE them. They have been really great as far as support and I love that I can pay $5 a month for just the right amount of space.

    I highly recommend A Small Orange.

  15. Reply Mike January 22, 2014 at 9:09 am

    I have been using A Small Orange for over a year, and I can confirm that their support is amazingly good. I am very happy with the speed too. They use some kind of Nginx on their shared servers, which coupled with their SSD and Cloudflare makes my site incredibly fast.

  16. Reply Maria January 12, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    I wonder how many monthly visitors you can have with the bandwidth limited to 20 GB. I know it depends on the type of website you are running and all, but is there anyway one could calculate such thin? Provided that the band width limit is not an issue, A Small Orange seems like a great host.

  17. Reply Leland January 11, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    While it’s true that no hosting companies actually offers unlimited bandwidth, A Small Oranges offers only 20 GB of bandwidth. That might be enough for a small blog with not that much traffic, but if you are looking to publish new articles as often as possible, upload some media files for the visitors to see, and actually have quite some traffic, you might soon understand that 20 GB just isn’t enough. Besides, you could easily get more for a cheaper price elsewhere (Hostnine, Eleve2).

    • Reply Jonathan May 5, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      It’s SSD storage. Of course you won’t get as much at A Small Orange, but what you do get is so much better!

      • Reply Doug May 16, 2014 at 12:10 am

        SSD or HD should not impact bandwidth. I can live with the small storage space allotted, but the limited bandwidth is what might keep me from using them.

        • Jonathan May 16, 2014 at 10:06 am

          Interestingly, most people do not use even 5% of the bandwidth allotted, so it is more than enough for the majority. If you are a high bandwidth user though, then obviously you need to be more careful to pick the right host plan for your needs, and in that case many of the top hosts may not be suitable.

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