A Small Orange VS DreamHost on Shared Hosting

A Small Orange is not among the most well-known web hosts, but it has gained fast growth in the past 13 years since its establishment. DreamHost, however, is a large US-based hosting provider with over one million sites under management.

There are many differences between the two web hosts’ background information, so are their shared hosting services. Except for the common hosting features included in their plans, such as PHP, MySQL and email accounts, we have found a lot of differences between their shared hosting prices, performance, support, and reliability.

From the comparison below, you will be able to learn the pros and cons of A Small Orange and DreamHost regarding shared hosting. Before reading the details, be sure to read the following ratings to get some general information about the comparison.

Rating A Small Orange DreamHost
Prices 3 2.5
Speed 3 3.5
Uptime 2 3.5
Features 3 3
Support 2.5 3
Read Review A Small Orange Review DreamHost Review

A Small Orange Edges over DreamHost

A Small Orange is gaining some complaints nowadays, but when compared with DreamHost, it still wins in the scalability of plans and control panel.

Multiple plans

A Small Orange has been offering 4 shared hosting plans to make sure that you can host a small blog, an online store, a forum or even larger sites with the sufficient power and appropriate cost.

The Tiny plan, which is tailored for beginners, is priced at $2.92/mo only, and the other 3 plans suitable for more experienced users are available at $5/mo, $10/mo and $20/mo respectively. Except for Tiny, all other plans include a free .com domain if you sign up for an annual term.

DreamHost, being different from most modern web hosts, offers one shared hosting plan only to cover the needs of all those who need a shared server. This plan is priced at $10.95/mo regularly, while you can enjoy some small discounts for $9.95/mo and $7.95/mo by choosing the annual or triennial terms.

Besides, this plan includes a free domain for one year, and free domain privacy which protects your registration information.

cPanel and Softaculous

The control panel is a sharp difference between A Small Orange and DreamHost, and it is also the most important advantage of the former web host.

Currently, A Small Orange offers cPanel, and DreamHost provides a custom web-based control panel. According to our surveys and trials, cPanel wins for the following reasons.

  • It is feature rich and easy-to-use. In cPanel, dozens of tools are available for the management of accounts, scripts, databases, files, email accounts and website security, and they are well named and explained, so users can get started easily. DreamHost control panel also includes many features, but some of the features come with quite wired names and are not categorized as well as those in cPanel.
  • It is flexible. Hosting providers can integrate third-party tools with cPanel to enhance the functionality. For example, A Small Orange has added Softaculous to cPanel so that you can install and manage over 300 scripts directly in cPanel.
  • It is widely used. The benefits of this are that you are able to find numerous tutorials and demos, and the transfers between web hosts are easy. DreamHost doesn’t share the custom control panel with any other hosting provider.

DreamHost Edges over A Small Orange

DreamHost has a much larger customer base than A Small Orange, and it has maintained a higher reputation. The reputation of this company, then, mainly attributes to the good uptime, quality technical support and worry-free refund policies.

Good uptime

DreamHost is cooperating with a collocation provider for data centers. Although it doesn’t operate any private data center, it has been offering good uptime for shared hosting users. The uptime monitored by us hasn’t been the same excellent as the guaranteed 100%, while it is still satisfactory, which is over 99.9% on average.

A Small Orange, however, hasn’t done well in uptime, especially in the past year. This company has been complained incessantly for numerous outages lasting for hours, and according to some users, it cleared all the complaints on its Facebook page to pretend that it only had compliments.

If you have a research on the Internet, you will find how bad A Small Orange is in term of reliability and the service accessibility. The hosting services offered by such a company is actually valueless because you will never achieve a success if your website is always inaccessible.

Fast ticket and live chat support

Both A Small Orange and DreamHost provide technical support through tickets and live chat on a 24×7 basis, which means you can always get a support representative to help when meeting troubles. However, when compared comprehensively, DreamHost does much better than its competitor in the support quality.

It is true that both web hosts can guarantee fast responses to chats and tickets, but the support representatives of A Small Orange are not helpful enough. If you submit a ticket or start a chat regarding an outage, you may get no explanation or solution but some replies like no further information can be provided. This is unreasonable.

97-day refund

A Small Orange and DreamHost are providing some of the longest refund periods in the industry.

  • A Small Orange offers refunds for all shared hosting accounts terminated in 90 days after the purchase. Payments via checks, money orders and bank wire transfers are not eligible.
  • DreamHost provides a 97-day refund guarantee. Note that this guarantee only applies to credit card payments. Besides, domains and any one-time fees are not refundable.

Other Disadvantages of Their Shared Hosting

In addition to all the two web hosts’ pros and cons presented above, we have also found some other disadvantages in their shared hosting features, speed, and support.

The features are not outstanding

Both A Small Orange and DreamHost offer most of the common shared hosting features, such as PHP 5.x, suPHP, MySQL, Python, Ruby on Rails and SVN. However, neither of them is considered to be perfect in regard to features.

The main shortage of DreamHost, of course, is the control panel and script installer. Besides, the company doesn’t provide a website builder. A Small Orange, on the other hand, offers limited disk storage and bandwidth.

More details of their features are available in the table below. For better understanding, we have also taken a rich-featured plan of InMotion Hosting into comparison.

Feature A Small Orange DreamHost InMotion Hosting
Plan Small Happy Hosting Launch
Disk Space 5 GB Unlimited Unlimited
Bandwidth 50 GB Unlimited Unlimited
Hosted Sites Unlimited Unlimited 2
Email Accounts Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Control Panel cPanel Custom cPanel
Script Installer Softaculous Custom Softaculous
Perl/Perl Yes Yes Yes
MySQL Yes Yes Yes
PostgreSQL No No Yes
SSH Yes Yes Yes
Free Domain Yes Yes Yes
Daily Backups Yes No Yes
Site Builder Yes No Yes
Ad Credits No No $250
Application Roll-Back No No Yes
Regular Price $5/mo $7.95/mo $6.99/mo
Discount 50%
Special $3.49/mo
Claim It Link Activation

They are not fast enough

Neither of A Small Orange and DreamHost can provide blazing-fast hosting speed although they both claim to deliver over 200% faster page loads with SSDs. The real server response time of DreamHost keeps around 500ms, not excellent but stable. While that of A Small Orange is at least 40% longer, and the monitoring results are even worse when outages occur.

To show you how DreamHost performs, we have compared it with InMotion, one of the fastest web hosts. The results are as follows.

They don’t offer free phone support

Phone support is usually important for native users who are looking for a quick and efficient way to get their hosting issues resolved. However, if you favor phone support too, you should be disappointed when looking at the technical support offered by the two web hosts.

  • A Small Orange doesn’t provide phone support. You can only get the choices of email, ticket and live chat for technical support.
  • DreamHost does offer phone support, while this service is not included in the shared hosting plan by default. You have to pay $14.95/mo for it, and the service is only provided in the form of callbacks.

Verdict – Neither Is Good Enough

After comparing the two companies in detail, we have come to the conclusion that neither of them is a perfect choice for shared hosting. DreamHost lacks choices and a great control panel, and A Small Orange does too badly in uptime.

As a result, we suggest you look for more web hosts before settling on a choice. In case you need more options, we recommend the following ones which are tested to be excellent in speed, uptime and technical support.