A Small Orange vs. Bluehost – Comparison for Shared Web Hosting 2020

You’d expect an industry giant like Bluehost to win this one by default, but I’ve tested both services and the matchup was closer than I imaged. There’s a certain charm to A Small Orange and its “homegrown” hosting, but does this make it the right host for you? Read on to find out.

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Author Kevin Ngure
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It puzzles why A Small Orange would come along with such an odd name, yet the quality of services it offers is pretty good. There aren't that many other web hosts that stand tall on integrity and are community orientated as this provider.

The two are debatably the web's most intriguing hosts. Bluehost has a name in the web hosting arena and undoubtedly commands the industry's most significant following. A Small Orange (ASO), on the other hand, brings along “Homegrown Hosting” coupled with its quality-assured technology and 5-star customer service.

But make no mistake; regardless of how gigantic Bluehost is, A Small Orange (ASO) is daring and supreme enough to give it a run for its cash. Everything that Bluehost brings to the table shared, dedicated, WordPress, reseller, and cloud hosting; ASO matches it.

ASO has what it takes to battle it out and command respect. And it is a neck-to-neck battle, as I dived deep and found out.

My basis of comparison is based on the following metrics: 

  • Performance and Reliability
  • Page Speed
  • Server Uptime and Downtime
  • Scalability
  • User Experience
  • Customer Service
  • Upgrades and Migration
  • Extra Features and Offers
  • Plans and Pricing

If you don't get easily swayed by paid comparisons, biased reviews, and affiliates trying to make a sale, I'll invite you to walk this journey with me. The best way to judge which host, between Bluehost and A Small Orange, is the best is to compare performance metrics on both ends.

Remember, when it comes to Bluehost vs. A Small Orange, the devil is in the detail. So, if you are torn between the two and would like to compare how they fare, let's carefully evaluate them and determine which one is the greatest.

Bluehost vs. A Small Orange: An Overview

A Small Orange has grown tremendously from the original web host founded in 2003 in Atlanta, Georgia, by Tim Dorr to a giant provider today. Being an excellent customer service-oriented web hosting services provider to extending into charities and non-profits has undoubtedly come a long way.

It was bought by the Endurance International Group (EIG) to join its massive conglomerate of hosts in 2012 and has since been revolutionizing hosting services. Today, it belongs to one of the most excellent web hosting umbrella companies, operating alongside Bluehost, HostGator, and iPage, among other companies.

You may not have heard about A Small Orange or perhaps rated their web hosting services yet. But it isn't just the name that perplexes, but also the company's overall philosophy.

Signing up for their web hosting services automatic opens up a world of awesome goodies, including access to unlimited email and FTP accounts on the cheapest plans.

But it doesn't end there.

The customer support they offer is on an entirely different level. The CEO has a solid background in customer support, picked from the same department at HostGator.

To demonstrate how far ASO would offer top-notch customer support, you just have to look at how it encourages its support desk to invent new ways to improve the service. This company goes all these lengths, knowing too well that outstanding support is the backbone of any dependable host aside from the ordinary offers.

One of the most impressive ASO features is how its four shared hosting plans are reasonably priced. It comes with a decent range of products, with all being inexpensive, while what even excites the most is the fact that no plan comes with lots of whatnots you possibly don't even need in the first place!

Bluehost vs. A Small Orange: Hosting Types and Plans

It is only fair to compare the two apples to apples by matching their respective hosting types. Under Bluehost, you can get Shared, managed WordPress, WooCommerce, Virtual private server (VPS), Cloud, and Dedicated hosting plans. It is an ideal provider.

As for A Small Orange, you can choose from a similar array. Save for WooCommerce hosting, ASO offers Shared, managed WordPress, VPS, Dedicated, and Business or Reseller Hosting options.

Therefore, it's clear that the two are nearly similar and can perfectly serve as alternatives, based on their respective hosting types. But like I said, the devil is in the detail.

Shared Hosting – how they fare

Shared hosting usually is the cheapest hosting type across the board. However, when we compare Bluehost with A Small Orange based on it, we only spot a few differences. First, each of them promises a 99.9% uptime guarantee, unlimited email accounts, unlimited domains (except the Tiny plan), round-the-clock customer support, and super-fast SSD servers.

In short, both of them offer some near-similar products. They have optimized servers, four different plans apiece, incredible support with helpful staff, and more. But, where Bluehost comes top on Shared Hosting is the exact-same spot that A Small Orange falls shot.

You should be surprised that while Bluehost is kind enough to offer FREE unlimited bandwidth on all of its 4 Shared Plans, its nemesis trots it to several GBs in each plan. It gets worse when you consider that, with Bluehost, you can get a free SSL certificate and unlimited SSD storage (except basic). But ASO doesn't offer such.

Remember, all of Bluehost's Shared Web Hosting plans are “juicy” and feature-rich. Except for the Basic plan, the other three come with Unlimited Domains, access to Spam Experts, a full year of free Site Backup, and a 30-day free 1 Microsoft 365 Mailbox subscription.

To add to this, Bluehost is comparatively cheaper across all plans. YES – you pay as little as $2.95/mo and as much as $13.95/mo on Bluehost, which is way less expensive than forking out $6.51/m and $27.50/mo for the cheapest of ASO and the most expensive, respectively.

VPS Hosting

Regarding what we can regard as a ‘fancy improvement' of Shared Hosting, and which the two hosts offer, their differences are astonishing. Sure, they all feature enterprise quality hardware, state-of-the-art data centers, and excellent customer support.

But as far as quality services and costs go, it is crystal-clear that Bluehost excels on VPS hosting more than A Small Orange. If you look at the two based on performance versus price, value is the first factor that Bluehost brings to the table.

For example, for $18.99/mo on Bluehost, you get 2 Cores, 30GB of SDD, 2GB RAM, and 1 TB bandwidth, as well as one dedicated IP Address. It sharply contrasts with ASO, whose cheapest plan – $24.20/mo – guarantees a single Core, 30 GB of SSD Storage, 1024 MB RAM, and just 500 GB bandwidth.

Bluehost also scores big on speed and access to resources affordably, security – there are an optional SiteLock feature and the ease of switching between plans. Not even ASO's so-called screaming-fast response times can rival it.

We could go on and on, comparing Bluehost's 3 VPS plans with ASO's 8. There's a lot that A Small Orange offers, including the Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM)-powered plans, free migration assistance, and the automatic failover that makes the VPS environment virtually impervious.

Bluehost counters the same with a plethora of features, add-ons, and perks, including a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee, a year-long free domain, and the convenience of multi-server management. But even without that, it is evident that the former is the king of competitive pricing. 

WordPress Hosting

It is impressive that, for anyone who probably won't like Bluehost's WordPress hosting, they can jump ship and feel OK hosting their WordPress website with A Small Orange. However, on this particular hosting type, Bluehost seemingly has the upper hand, thanks to its endorsement from the WordPress team. 

WordPress Optimized Plans by A Small Orange come in 3 plans; Small, Medium, and Large. The cheapest goes for $7.17/m and comes with 5GB SSD Storage, 50GB bandwidth, a free domain, unlimited websites, and 1-click WordPress installation.

Looking at what ASO promises, especially access to super-fast enterprise servers, quick WP installation, and the 99.9% guaranteed uptime, you could quickly think it is the real day. But wait until you find Bluehost, whose cheapest plan, which costs a paltry $2.95/mo, comes with an even better list of offers.

Bluehost has no equal WordPress Hosting, in my opinion (well, maybe SiteGround and DreamHost). And not even ASO's Large plan and all of its offers can match it. For one, it is worth noting that, aside from the break-neck speed that every WP hosting from Bluehost offers, there are lots of freebies.

You get a free SSL certificate, unlimited SSD Storage (except the cheapest plan), a free domain, and $200 worth of marketing credit. WordPress updates are automatic, while security is at its top. Customer support, as always, is available 24/7.

Dedicated hosting

With dedicated hosting, your website gets full server resources. It's an excellent option for businesses with massive traffic flows or expecting to get traffic spikes. However, it doesn't come cheap, as you will see.

Bluehost's dedicated server hosting comes with three plans: namely Standard, Enhanced, and Premium. The Standard plan is the cheapest of them all and goes for $79.99/mo for new users. However, it shoots up to $119/mo upon renewal.

The enhanced one goes for $99.99/mo and renews at 159.99 and the Premium plan, which goes for $119.99/mo and renews at $209.99/mo.

All server plans come with four cores for optimal performance but differs when it comes to storage, RAM (Random Access Memory), bandwidth, and the number of IP addresses.

For instance, the Standard plan offers 500 GB of mirrored storage, 4 GB RAM, 5 TB bandwidth, and three dedicated IP addresses. The Premium plan, on the other hand, boasts a whopping 1 TB of mirrored storage, 16 GB of RAM, 15 TB bandwidth, and five dedicated IP addresses. Massive right?

Worth to note is that Bluehost's servers are built on modern technology and are designed and maintained in-house. Provisioning is also instant. I love Bluehost's dedicated server plans because you have full control of every single component of their server.

A Small Orange, on the other hand, is a beast in its own making. It offers three dedicated server configurations, namely Value Server, Power Server, and Enterprise Server. You've guaranteed privacy and control once you get yourself any of these plans.

All dedicated servers come with DDOS Protection, 3 Dedicated IP addresses, and Unlimited Databases. Additionally, you get full root-access, RAID-1 configuration and a fully redundant network on every configuration.

The value server is the cheapest of all, and it includes all the essential features and a few add-ons. Value, starting at $89.98 per month, will give you 1 TB HDD, unmetered bandwidth, 8 GB Ram, and 4 Core / 8 Thread CPU, giving you decent power and control.

Next is the Power Server, a mid-tier option with enhanced features. This configuration starts at $119.89 per month and gives you unmetered bandwidth, 16 GB Ram, and 2 TB HDD. Other features on this list are a reliable 8 Core / 16 Thread CPU and support on both Windows and Linux.

You can go enterprise if you are cash-rich or handling colossal traffic and business. This plan will cost you $139.99 per month, with some great features available. Like the Power Server, you will get an 8 Core / 16 Thread CPU on this plan. However, you have a massive 30 GB RAM, unmetered bandwidth, and 1 TB SSD.

Page Loading Speed Comparisons

You can stay on top of your game if you test various hosting providers' page speeds before paying for their services. It gives you a comprehensive view of how a website host performs compared to others.

The right hosting company should guarantee you quick page loading speeds. That will ensure your website content loads quickly once users click on it. Besides, you will get higher rankings on search engines if Google finds your website easily accessible.

There are various tools that you can use to test website page loading speeds. I realized a few things when comparing Bluehost and A Small Orange page loading speeds. First, Bluehost performs well generally when considering full page loading speeds.

A Bluehost hosted site loads within 1.2 seconds after clicking. That is a fair speed that can prevent users from having a second thought on waiting for the content to display. There's a guarantee that you can beat your competitors both on traffic and conversions at such a pace.

A Small Orange is also an ideal choice for anyone thinking page speeds. Websites hosted on their platform load at an impressive rate of 645ms. According to experts, this speed is 23 times faster than the industry average. That makes this hosting provider one of the best options.

Best Uptime – Bluehost or A Small Orange?

Uptime is another critical factor to consider when it comes to choosing a hosting provider. But first, have you clicked on a website before only to find that it is offline? That must have been so disappointing.

Well, your hosting provider will determine how long your website stays up weekly, monthly, or yearly. Therefore, you need to be careful when choosing one. You will have an even baffling chore comparing Bluehost and A Small Orange as they have almost similar features.

I was impressed when I analyzed A Small Orange's uptime. They guarantee 99.99% uptime and deliver exactly that. Besides keeping their word, their uptime is way better than the industry average. You will not experience downtime even at peak traffic.

Bluehost also comfortably maintains a 99.99% uptime yearly. Although they experience downtime, the Network Server Uptime Agreement between you and them caters to your welfare. According to the agreement, the company commits to resolving any issues within 15 minutes.

Both companies perform well when compared using this metric. Such satisfactory uptime assurances mean visitors will find your website credible and professional. You will also maintain high traffic and a reasonable conversion rate.

Here's what to know about Scalability

Like any other business, your website is an investment. Whether it is a passion or commercial project, you will want to grow it as well. Therefore, you need to invest in a hosting provider to make scaling more manageable and efficient to guarantee a higher investment return.

The need to scale comes when your business grows and requires better resources. For instance, you may require a bigger storage space, Ram, etc. The hosting company should have higher plans with better features and make upgrading straightforward.

ASO has invested in making highly scalable infrastructure for its clients. You can add resources and features easily whenever you need them. Considering how your website behaves in peak traffic will tell you if it's time to add better resources.

You can then configure your hosting environment, depending on your needs. Upgrading from one plan to another is fast with a single click. Access to a variety of resources on higher packages gives you maximum control and easy management.

Bluehost also gives you a host of scalability options. Depending on your needs and the service package you are currently on, you can move to a higher configuration. The premium package gives you access to better resources.

You can scale your business and website at various developmental features. Access to 24/7 customer support allows you to enquire about any resources that you would like to add. Remember, you can scale quickly as a dedicated server user because you have almost complete control over all the functions.

User experience on Bluehost and A Small Orange

Another success factor that website owners need to take seriously is user experience. It is an essential factor that will ensure business success. User experience is your customer's overall experience when they visit your website.

There are various questions to ask users when determining their experience. For instance, how easy was it navigating the website? Did you find what you were looking for on the website? How efficient what the website technologically? Or, will you revisit the website?

These questions will help you understand how good your website is to users. With that, you can determine areas of improvement and strengths that you can build on to better this experience. Don't confuse user experience with content as they are two different metrics.

Bluehost offers concrete user experiences to their clients. They start by providing an easy-to-visit user interface that ensures new customers can find their way on the platform. Besides impressing customers, you need a friendly interface for SEO as it increases traffic.

The company has also organized its site to make it as easy to use as possible. A blog section on their website contains resources that make it easy to access various features. They have also created an upgrade and migration feature.

A Small Orange also gives users an impressive experience with their platform. Besides 24/7 customer support, they do not oversell their services. You get what you pay for as a customer, and that positively impacts your experience.

Business website owners get extra features that make their websites efficient. Considering the high traffic on such sites, you do not expect them to use exact features as personal websites. ASO caters to these needs and makes it easy to use.

Lastly, you will find ASO hosting great because you will never outgrow the company. Despite how big your business grows, ASO will meet your expectations. They have higher plans with adequate resources for the management of big websites.

Both companies perform impressively on this metric. You can, therefore choose any of them for an unmatched experience. Their customer support staff are reliable and professional, making it easy to get help if stuck.

An in-depth look at customer service

As a customer, you deserve a company that supports you when in need. You get occupied with a lot of work, such as managing your website and moving your business forward. Therefore, there is little to no time to handle technical complications from your web hosting company.

There were lots of complaints about Bluehost. However, the company has tremendously improved its services to be one of the best in the industry. Right now, they have stepped up and are offering refined products and customer support.

However, it is worth noting that their customer support is not the best yet. They have lots of improvements to make as they are not yet the best in the market. For instance, we did a test with their live chat feature and had to wait for 5 minutes before someone could respond.

They have well-organized their support team and resources. First, you do not need to contact them directly unless you cannot find answers to their website's numerous resources. Resources include how-to articles, step-by-step guides, and videos posted on their website.

There are numerous ways to reach the Bluehost support team. You can call them or use their live chat for the most urgent issues. If non-urgent, you can email them and wait for a few hours or days. The best bit, however, is that they are available 24/7.

A Small Orange customer support team is also dependable and reachable. The easiest way to reach out to them is by filling a contact form with your details and issue. They are responsive, but you may have to wait a little longer, depending on availability.

According to ASO, their customer service is available 24/7, but many reviews on the internet touch on their non-responsiveness. However, they seem to be improving their services continually, and their customer support looks better now.

Bluehost has better customer service than ASO. However, ASO does perform well when compared to many companies offering hosting services. You will not go wrong by choosing either of them, but I recommend Bluehost on this metric.

Ease of upgrades and migration

A good host should make it easy to migrate your site from another platform to theirs. Usually, the shorter the process, the more convenient it is. Besides, they need to have a simple upgrade and downgrade procedure to make it easier and efficient.

On upgrading, A Small Orange performs brilliantly. It is easy to change from your current plan to another in a click. As mentioned earlier, they have a sure friendly interface, meaning you will not have a tough time navigating it.

Migrating your website from any host to ASO is a straightforward process. You will need to fill a form on the website requesting them to facilitate the migration. The process is simple, and you will host your website on the platform within a short time.

Bluehost, like ASO, has a quick and straightforward upgrade process. You can change from one plan to another in a few clicks. You will need to switch to manual renewal on your account and choose the package you need from those listed as available.

You can also swiftly migrate your WordPress website to Bluehost. The first step is creating an account with Bluehost and selecting a desirable package. Navigate to the migration page and fill the free migration form with your request.

Migrating from one host to another helps you identify the best host for your needs. Besides, it makes it easy to avoid sticking to a host that gives you little or no value. Both Bluehost and ASO have made it easy to switch hosts and upgrade to better plans.

Any extra features and offers?

Every hosting company should have unique selling points disguised as extra features. These features will make it easy to distinguish them from other companies. Besides, they give them an edge over their competitors.

Bluehost has a long list of extra features that make them a favorite. Whether it is databases, technology, e-commerce, or free website scripts, customers get spoilt for choice. All these features aim at giving clients the utmost control, speed, and flexibility.

If it is e-commerce, there are lots of shopping carts on the platform. You can choose, Agora, Cube Cart, OS Commerce, Zen Cart, etc. On technology, they offer 24/7 network monitoring, UPS power backup, Linux OS, etc.

A Small Orange, on the other hand, has an extensive catalog of features. Some of its USPs include IP blocking, password protection, and other forms of security. Besides, they have included cPanel and made it easy to administer websites.

Another exciting feature is the Weebly website builder. With this, you can make websites easily using their drag and drop elements. You also get one free website and access to an email with more security features.

You can benefit from various offers on both platforms. The payment offers on Bluehost are available for limited periods, and they can help you save a lot on hosting costs. Sometimes the offers come accompanied with a 30 days money-back guarantee. You can also check for coupons and promo codes on A Small Orange.

A Small Orange vs. Bluehost – Our Pick

There are various reasons to choose either hosting companies. However, there has to be one exciting hosting that gives the best value overall. A look at Bluehost features and their recommendation from WordPress almost convinces me to sign up.

However, I cannot entirely ignore what A Small Orange brings to the table. Theirs is a homegrown service offering that gives users the value they desire. They have excellent customer service and also assure clients of quality services with their sophisticated technology.

Therefore, you can see that both hosting companies bring different kinds of value to their customers. Depending on your needs, both have offerings to ensure you get the deal you desire, especially if using shared hosting. 

Besides, they have various offers to take advantage of and get the desired value for less than the typical pricing. So, are you orange or blue? This article's comparison should make it easier to decide what's best for you and your business. You are on the success track with either company. However, I will recommend Bluehost ahead of A Small Orange.

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