GreenGeeks Hosting Review
Although the company is relatively new to the web hosting market, their eco-conscious ethos and unique server infrastructure have made quite an impression to others on the market.
Due to GreenGeeks’ “carbon-reducing” sites and wind-powered platforms, the company became widely synonymous for their ethical stance on web hosting and have been titled “The King of Green”.
Best of all, GreenGeeks’ performance is on par with some of the highest web hosting competitors, as they too utilise the speediest of technologies; guaranteeing 99.9% all year round. Best of all, the hosting company has won a grand total of 38 awards for their hosting services, so customers are less likely to be left disappointed. However, if this is the case, then how and why are they not noticed amongst other major web hosting providers?
Well, as far as we’re aware of, GreenGeeks doesn’t distribute an abundance of advertisements. It seems as if their client base has grown via word-of-mouth, as well as limited advertisement, and if this is the case, then that’s pretty remarkable!
So, what else does the hosting company have to offer?
The Growth of GreenGeeks
Even though GreenGeeks first appeared on the market in 2009, CEO Trey Gardner has been in the web hosting industry since 1999 and has since formed a team of high-skilled workers who currently have 40 years of experience between them.
After working in the web hosting industry for some time, Trey Gardner soon became aware of the business’ giant carbon footprint and consequently set up GreenGeeks as an eco-friendly solution to help resolve, or at least reduce, the web hosting industry’s problem.
Since then, Gardner and his team built a powerful infrastructure which runs purely on “300% clean, renewable energy” and hosts over 300,000 sites around the world. As a result of their expansion, GreenGeeks now has five data centres located in the US, Canada and the Netherlands, attained over thirty awards for their web hosting services and became the world’s leading green web hosting company. Impressive, or what?!
Let’s hope their web hosting plans replicate their credibility(!)
GreenGeeks’ Web Hosting Services
GreenGeeks enforce their environmental-friendly infrastructure across all web hosting platforms, including dedicated, VPS and their most competitive tier, web (aka shared) hosting.
All of GreenGeeks’ customers are backed with solid-state RAID-10 storage solutions, advanced security monitoring, account isolation and container technology to guarantee speed and stability. To further ensure this is the case, GreenGeeks’ hosting solutions run on speed-boost technologies such as HTTP/2, PHP 7, Maria databases and CloudFlare CDN. GreenGeeks’ techies and support team are also on standby 24/7 and can be contacted via live chat, phone or ticket to tackle any tech traumas or niggling worries.
However, the only downside to this is that GreenGeeks’ hosting solutions are built on Linux, which isn’t ideal for Windows users. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering Linux has become the most common operating system amongst the web hosting industry.
Nonetheless, GreenGeeks’ 30-day money back guarantee also comes with all hosting solutions, so if, their plan isn’t suited to your preferences, a refund will be given, or you could simply up or downscale your plan accordingly.
If like us, you browsed GreenGeeks’ shared hosting solutions; then you may have stumbled across the fact that there are not many shared hosting plans – not even a couple in fact. That’s because GreenGeeks has just one shared hosting solution which is said to contain all the necessary and desirable features any user would need. And to be honest, we think it’s a genius idea!
Even though this plan lacks options, GreenGeeks’ shared hosting solution is recognised as one of the most competitive offers on the market – and here’s why.
GreenGeeks’ standard price for this plan is marked at $9.95 per month; however, they do offer discounts on a regular basis which can cut costs from two-thirds of the price! But that’s not why their plan is the best on the market.
The main disadvantage of shared hosting is the negative impact of sharing resources with those who are using too many; however, GreenGeeks’ plan overturns this issue. Unlike other hosts, GreenGeeks provide ‘account isolation’ to reduce the risk of unsteady performance; so, your website’s performance will not be affected by the server’s resource robbers. HOORAY!
With regards to the plan’s features, GreenGeeks include a free website builder and templates, as well as a free domain name registration and SSL certificate to keep your site and your visitors protected. For developers, Perl and Python support, WordPress-CLI, Drush and Git integration are also included; although, if you already have a site up and running, GreenGeeks can transfer both your website and domain free of charge!
To compensate for their inexistent e-commerce plans, GreenGeeks also provide e-commerce customers with relevant add-ons such as shopping cart installations (which are PCI compliant) and premium SSL certificates. Furthermore, GreenGeeks continue to be very generous with their resources as they offer unlimited solid-state drives and data transfer, as well as unlimited domains on one account. This in itself is a bargain of a buy, as some hosts offer limited transfers and SSDs, while others supply domains at an additional cost. However, there are some limits to GreenGeeks’ hosting plans.
Though there are no restrictions on disk space and bandwidth, GreenGeeks does limit computing resources, such as the number of emails made each hour. In addition to this, like most hosting companies, they too expect their shared hosting customers to comply to their Excessive Resource Policy, which states that you must use the resources for “normal operation of a personal or small business website”.
In our eyes, GreenGeeks’ policy is perfectly plausible, as anyone who opts for a shared hosting plan should, ideally, fall into this category. If not, then we recommend opting for either GreenGeeks’ VPS or dedicated plans, which are detailed as follows.
For businesses who are in the midst of expansion, GreenGeeks’ VPS platform offers plenty of solutions; all of which are tiered according to the amount of SSDs, ‘premium’ bandwidth and memory.
25 GB SSD
50 GB SSD
75 GB SSD
To guarantee 99.9% uptime, all VPS containers are PHP/MySQL optimised and come with Apache configurations and advanced security options, including ModSecurity and CSF Firewall for further security and thus, stability. For maximum protection, GreenGeeks’ data centres are also kitted out with battery backup, water detection, temperature control and fire suppression systems, and are monitored around the clock by their security team.
Unlike their shared plans VPS customers are only allocated a set server location, but to compensate for this matter customers are awarded the latest generation of Intel Xeon processors (which are, of course, energy efficient), SSD acceleration and gigabit connectivity. Better still, you would be getting more than your money’s worth when opting for one of GreenGeeks’ VPS plans, especially since their lowest tier is cheaper than its competitors!
For those who want to break free from the restrictions of reselling, VPS customers also have access to an eNom domain reseller account, which enables you to add or transfer domain names to your customers and sell on additional features such as SSL certificates and ID protect. As brilliant as this is for web hosting wannabees, their VPS plans are more expensive than GreenGeeks’ reseller solution, so we would advise you to choose your options wisely.
Regardless of which VPS plan you choose, GreenGeeks’ customers also benefit from free site migration, cPanel and WHM license, root access and nightly backups. However, GreenGeeks’ backups only store your site’s data for 24 hours, whereas others offer storage for up to seven days. Nonetheless, we believe that GreenGeeks’ hardware and software features outweigh this minor flaw.
Dedicated hosting is designed to support developers who want full server control and total management of their site(s). To attain this, users can install your operating system, custom software and attain full bandwidth and resources, along with a range of developer-friendly settings and tools for optimum control. However, unlike GreenGeeks’ shared plans, you cannot choose your server’s location. Instead, dedicated customers are granted the popular Chicago US-based data centre.
With GreenGeeks, you’re granted 5 IP Addresses (which is more than some mainstream hosts) 10,000GB of transfer and a choice of four dedicated hosting solutions, all of which are tiered via the following:
2 GB DDR 3
4 GB DDR 3
8 GB DDR 3
16 GB DDR 3
However, when you browse GreenGeeks’ site, no other features are detailed. Instead, you are required to contact their sales team for more information – which as a web visitor, is rather annoying. In fact, to speak to an advisor via live chat, you have to insert your details including your name and email address before you are directed to their support team. Now call us petty, but this can be slightly off-putting or even tedious for some. Nonetheless, we continued with the live chat, and after a bit of plying, we managed to uncover some necessary bits of information you may want to take into consideration.
According to GreenGeeks’ representative, GreenGeeks’ dedicated hosting solutions meet all the requirements you would typically expect from any dedicated web hosting package, including a cPanel/WHM panel, full root access and 30 site migrations to compensate for the absence of a web builder. Their dedicated solutions are said to support “any script you want”, however, their plans do not include a script-installer but do support an array of CMSs including Joomla, WordPress and their budding partner, Drupal, which you install yourself.
Other rumoured features include a free billing system, firewall protection, unlimited FTP accounts, DNS Entry Editor, CentOS and a free marketing bundle which is a $50 value. GreenGeeks’ plan is also said to support Apache and Apache Tomcat, MySQL and PHP, Ruby, Perl and Python scripts.
However, unlike GreenGeeks’ previous plans, there’s no lengthy three-year contract. According to GreenGeeks’ representative, when opting for GreenGeeks’ dedicated plans, customers pay via a monthly renewal process, as opposed to an annual contract; talk about turning the tables!
Unfortunately, we can’t help but comment on their customer service as we felt a little unnerved when pestering their salesman with questions we needed to know. His tone wasn’t particularly friendly and his matter-of-factly manner, as a matter of fact, grew a little hostile when he answered our questions. Because of this, we couldn’t help but wonder if all of their advisors had this attitude, or if it was simply just a one-off; either way, it didn’t leave a great impression of their support services.
Moving away from the key platforms of hosting, GreenGeeks also provide alternative solutions for resellers and WordPress users, but funnily enough, there is no cloud! We do not understand why this is the case, considering cloud hosting is common amongst other web hosting providers.
Anyhow, like GreenGeeks’ previous web hosting plans, customers are also entitled to 24/7 support, solid-state drives, advanced security features and speedy technologies such as Maria database, PHP7, HTTP/2 and free Cloudflare CDN. But first, let’s look at WordPress.
Like GreenGeeks’ shared hosting plan, Managed WordPress is one plan which includes necessary and valuable features, such as unlimited SSD web space and transfer, 30-day money back guarantee and one-click WordPress install.
1-Click WordPress Install
Automatically install WordPress with just a single click of the mouse.
With GreenGeeks’ WordPress hosting, however, customers are entitled to a free WordPress migration, WordPress-dedicated support and WordPress enhanced security. For developers, there’s WordPress Command Line Interface and secure shell access, Git integration and custom PHP.ini; which at this price, is an exceptionally great offer!
To keep your WordPress site secure, automatic updates and daily backups are performed, and a free SSL certificate is also provided. In addition to this, like shared plans, your account is also isolated from others on the server to avoid the knock-on effect of resource pocketers; which, again, is another fantastic offer compared to most major web hosts on the market!
Like many other reseller hosts, GreenGeeks tier their plans according to how many accounts customers want to host. However, their unlimited solid-state drive web space and unlimited bandwidth is, again, a cracking offer!
Security & Reliability
With GreenGeeks’ reseller solutions, your customers can enjoy developer-friendly tools such as Git integration, MySQL databases, WP-CLI and Drush. Perl and Python scripting languages are also supported, as well as multiple versions of PHP including 7.0, 7.1 and 5.6. But best of all, your customers will be able to take advantage of GreenGeeks’ account isolation, so no user will be affected by the number of shared resources!
Customers are also supplied with GreenGeeks’ drag-and-drop site builder, a free SSL certificate as well as access to premium SSL certificates for further security and PCI-compliant e-commerce features. Of course, servers are monitored around the clock, and GreenGeeks will perform nightly backups as well as real-time security scanning. Though data is only stored for 24 hours, which isn’t a great considering they take “disaster recovery very seriously”.
Resellers can brand their services to their accord as GreenGeeks’ reseller solutions are a 100% white label! You can also add private named servers and create your own packages with full scaling control of resources such as bandwidth, domains and unlimited plans. Of course, these must coincide with your reseller allowances!
With regards to migrating your customer’s account, this also available; however, this service is limited to 30 cPanel accounts. For more information with regards to GreenGeeks’ migration services, you can check out their Migration Policy online, or contact their representatives.
Of course, if you ever choose to host more than 50 clients, GreenGeeks’ also has you covered even though there isn’t a particular plan explicitly available. If you’re already subscribed to the ‘Reseller 50 plan, then you can add on more accounts for an extra $2 per accounts – just contact GreenGeeks’ support team and someone will be available to help.
To effectively manage payments, GreenGeeks include a WHMCS license for free, whereas other providers include this feature at an additional cost. With WHMCS’ billing system, resellers can effectively automate, invoice and manage customers, and integrate into pay processors including PayPal, as well as cPanel/WHM and eNom.
Although GreenGeeks’ reseller plans are much pricier than other providers, their exclusive services such as account isolation, real-time security scans, scalability options and of course, their green-hosting solutions can make this particular reseller package desirable deal!
If you’re looking to build and host a website, then investing in one of GreenGeeks’ shared hosting plans would be the better option, as customers are granted access to GreenGeeks’ web builder for free. Alternatively, if you’re familiar with the workings of WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, then there is the option to download any of these CMSs; however, those new to web design are most likely to benefit from GreenGeeks’ drag-and-drop site builder.
With GreenGeeks’ site builder, it’s easy to create a website as you can pick from hundreds of pre-designed templates and drag and drop site elements such as text boxes, contact forms and images. Better still, if you ever change your mind, you can easily switch themes without losing your site’s content. Other features also include ‘Google integration’ which provides you with basic SEO strategies to help optimise your site.
All templates are optimised for the use of mobile phones and require no technical skill to edit, so there’s no need to dally around with coding. Nonetheless, because of this, you would expect to build a site in minutes. However, unlike other web hosts, GreenGeeks’ site builder doesn’t guarantee your site to be up and running in several minutes. For example, if you wanted to create a quirky-looking website, then the majority of your time would be spent on searching for a unique theme. Nonetheless, if you’re an advanced developer, then you can tweak the CSS and HTML code for greater customisation; though for details regarding this, visit GreenGeeks’ Knowledge Base.
If you’re looking to sell your products online, then GreenGeeks also has you covered as you can also add a shopping cart. Nonetheless, we strongly advise you to opt for GreenGeeks’ hosting plan if you are looking to set up an e-commerce site, as there are a range of suitable features, such as a free SSL certificate, hosting account isolation, pro-active server monitoring and other advanced security features to help your customers stay protected. Of course, with Softaculous, you can also download e-commerce platforms, Magneto and Prestashop for better ease of use.
Finally, before publishing your website, users can preview their site from the perspective of both a desktop and mobile user before uploading it to the internet.
If you were to solely subscribe to GreenGeeks’ EcoSite Starter plans, as opposed to their hosting services, then prices vary considerably depending on how long you are looking to use GreenGeeks’ services. For those who are willing to subscribe to a three-year contract, you will be paying just under four dollars for their site builder services. For annual plans lower than the three-year lease, prices will increase by one or two dollars. For monthly renewals, on the other hand, you would pay just under ten dollars; which is a considerable difference compared to their three-year contract.
For such simplistic features, if you were to solely buy the web builder for less than one year, then we wouldn’t see much point, as their hosting plans can offer an array of advanced features for both newbie designers and advanced web developers. Nonetheless, if you’re looking to create a simple landing page and don’t have a lot of technical skills at hand, then GreenGeeks’ web builder, as mentioned earlier, would be the most suitable option.
Unlike other web hosts currently on the market, it seems as if GreenGeeks does not offer domain registration unless you opt for one of their hosting plans – which we can’t criticise. Preferably, we’d expect every host to do this, as it makes sense to buy the full package at a cost-effective price, rather than purchase the elements separately.
Overall, GreenGeeks have 241 domain extensions that you can choose from, including the popular (.com) which is at a slightly higher price than others on the market. Costs for domain transfer and renewal are the same price as their registration services; which is not a great deal considering other hosts will offer these services at a lesser price. Nonetheless, with GreenGeeks’ hosting plans, the domain registration is included in the subscription fee.
Users can also opt for ID protection for just under $10 a year, which for monthly customers, will be billed under $1 a month.
GreenGeeks’ Key Features
For a green hosting company, the one thing that would get us ticking is maintaining uptime; however, GreenGeeks settles this worry for us. Over recent months, GreenGeeks has maintained uptime ratings at their guaranteed 99.9% mark, which is reassuring for anyone who is thinking of moving away from a mainstream web hosting provider to a greener solution.
To upkeep their performance, GreenGeeks provide shared and reseller customers with the choice of five data centre locations, two in the US, two in Canada and the other in the Netherlands, whereas the other accounts run off Chicago’s server. However, this isn’t what we are overly impressed with. What we do value is GreenGeeks’ transparency of the details of their network infrastructure and the lengths they go through to provide their customers with top-tier performance solutions.
When signing up for GreenGeeks’ hosting plans, users are given solid-state drives, RAID 10 storage and fast loading times with their in-house ‘power cacher’. Customers are also given free Cloudflare CDN, LiteSpeed and Maria database – which is said to be a drop-in replacement for MySQL, delivering pages 50 times quicker. Of course, HTTP2 encryption is enabled for faster page loads, as well as PHP 7.
To maintain a speedy service, GreenGeeks’ infrastructure is fitted with climate control, fire suppression and water detection systems. They also have a tech team who monitors the servers 24/7, ready to act on any potential issues that may arise; so, customers are less likely to be affected by any repair/maintenance work.
GreenGeeks claim that they take disaster recovery very seriously, so nightly backups are performed on their shared, reseller and VPS plans and to further prevent loss of data, RAID 10 storage solutions are implemented on all servers to support drive failure. However, GreenGeeks only retains the site(s) data for 24 hours, as opposed to other hosting providers who offer data retention for several days.
To restore data loss, GreenGeeks supply customers with “one free restoration per month” and any additional services come at an extra $25 per recovery, which is neither here nor there as GreenGeeks’ latest technology will keep your site up and running without a considerable amount of mishaps.
Nonetheless, GreenGeeks’ stipulates that all customers should “take frequent backups of their files and databases” as the hosting provider cannot guarantee that their recovery systems will fully restore sites. However, we appreciate GreenGeeks’ Backup Policy, as in it, customers can be directed to a help guide which suggests different ways of backing up your sites’ data, depending of course, on the type of site you are hosting.
Extra security measures also implemented including a free SSL certificate, 24/7 real-time security scanning, enhanced SPAM protection and hardware and power redundancy. Customers can also purchase additional SSL certificates at an extra cost, and of course, GreenGeeks’ customer support team are on standby for 24 hours, 365 days a year.
Accessing the support team is not an issue, as customers can access various levels of the support team over the phone, via ticket or live chat throughout all hours of the day. Nonetheless, unlike their server locations, customers are not directed to a support team close to their location– which isn’t overly problematic but can be for some.
For extensive support, GreenGeeks also offer customers a library of articles via their site’s Knowledge Base section, which details every eventuality related to web hosting and varies from technical support to advice. GreenGeeks’ Knowledge Base is particularly useful when it comes to their how-to-guides as the step-by-step format is easy to follow.
However, we feel as if the basic rules of customer service, such as friendliness, are not implemented across the entirety of GreenGeeks’ customer support team. If you have read our dedicated hosting section, then you will understand why. Although this (arguably) isn’t a major issue, as problems are resolved at whatever time of the day, we would much prefer it if all members of their customer support team gave a bit of consideration for their customers, particularly in circumstances such as data loss, recovery or even worse, the discussion of cancelling their plan.
The common and desirable 30-day money back guarantee is offered to all customers and is only applicable to those that choose to cancel their plans within the 30-day period. But with refunds, comes restrictions and like any company, GreenGeeks has many requirements that are worth noting.
For those who opt for the longer-term solution, such as quarterly and annual accounts (this also includes two and three-year contracts) but wish to cancel beyond the 30-day trial period, your refund will not be issued.
For cancellations, customers are required to request a cancellation request form; which – in our eyes – makes the process of cancellation a lot more difficult than it needs to be.
The same email address you signed up with must be used to cancel the plan, as alternative email addresses will not be accepted. You will then be emailed a ‘Ticket ID’ which you must keep and reply to in order to confirm your cancellation. Once GreenGeeks receive this, your request will then be processed in 7 business days – so potentially more than nine days if your request is unfortunate enough to fall under a national holiday – US national, may we add! – or even on the weekend.
This is an extremely lengthy and unnecessary process for anyone who wishes to cancel a plan, especially if you decide that the plan is not right for you. However, GreenGeeks are quick enough to change upscale your plan if needed.
Another thing to consider is GreenGeeks’ automatic renewal process, which again, isn’t desirable, nor that common compared to other major web hosts. Therefore, if you do not receive a cancellation request or request to cancel before your account is due to renew, then your billing will automatically be renewed and adjusted to any relevant price alterations 24 hours before your renewal date.
So in short, if you were to cancel a plan, taking into consideration the length of cancellation process, you must opt out 2-3 weeks (on average) before the renewal date to avoid any unexpected fees. Just to be on the safe side, anyway.
Last but not least, one thing that we all admire about GreenGeeks is their eco-friendly hosting solutions, as it is by far the most unique and respected hosting idea on the market.
For this reason, we can’t help but praise the CEO for creating such a thoughtful hosting solution, and one that actually coincides with industry-standard hosting solutions. Best of all, GreenGeeks’ technology is by far the most desirable on the market; so, customers are guaranteed speed and reliability.
Every aspect of GreenGeeks’ hosting solutions are said to “be as energy efficient as possible”, and for every amperage that is used, the host invests three times the amount via renewable energy.
For those that wish to wave the green flag loud and proud, GreenGeeks’ customers can also choose from a variety of tags that exemplify the eco-friendliness of the site, which is even more perfect for eco-friendly sites!
GreenGeeks Pros and Cons
- All-inclusive shared hosting solution.
- GreenGeeks do not overcrowd their servers.
- Eco-friendly hosting.
- Guaranteed uptime, speed and reliability.
- Account isolation.
- SSD, RAID 10 storage.
- Premium bandwidth services.
- Option for scalability on VPS plans.
- Restricting server locations for VPS and dedicated customers.
- Long-term contracts.
- No Windows dedicated plans.
- No cloud hosting solutions.
- In-house customer support team’s attitude.
- Lengthy refund policy.
The Future of GreenGeeks
The future of GreenGeeks is looking rather bright as customers can benefit from the upgrades that have been made to their container-based technology. This new update is said to allow intelligent systems to “automatically move hosting accounts around its platform” in accordance with resource supply and demands, so site(s) are guaranteed ultra-fast performance and reliability.
Further to this, GreenGeeks work to ensure that customers can effectively manage and grow their sites without the worry of any underlying technological issues, and for that reason, the eco-friendly host is looking to develop new technologies. For the time being, however, it has been rumoured that their data centres are expanding to more locations in 2018. Let’s just hope their customer service team grows with it!
Overall, we are rather impressed with GreenGeeks’ web hosting service.
After labelling themselves as an environmental-friendly provider, we did brace ourselves for comments regarding potential performance issues; however, we can safely and proudly say that this hasn’t been the case! For this reason, we appreciate the efforts the host has gone through to ensure that their customers are granted the same, if not better, fast and reliable infrastructures.
In addition to this, we weirdly like their one-plan shared and WordPress hosting solution, as with their discounts, this plan is an exceptionally good and by far our most favoured deal! Although, their dedicated plans and features are unfortunately not as praise-worthy.
Though we have passed judgement on GreenGeeks’ customer service, we do advise readers to take this with a pinch of salt, as our experience was in relation to one member of staff and not the entirety of their customer service team.