GreenGeeks Review: Green Hosting Rated By 350 Real Users
Is GreenGeeks the Web Host for You?
GreenGeeks prides itself on environmentally friendly web hosting. But there are a number of such hosts. In this article, I will explain GreenGeeks to you and help you to see if it is the right host for you.
What Is GreenGeeks Hosting?
GreenGeeks is an EPA Green Power Partner that delivers strong eco-friendly “green” operations with no sacrifice of performance and quality. Indeed, high technology performance is GreenGeek’s core focus.
Their simple guidance for those new to hosting is another key value point. You can find help on the GreenGeeks site for how to create your first website, how to promote it, and how to become successful online.
GreenGeeks stands out with their uncompromising commitments to:
- Green operations
- Excellent speed and security performance technology
- Your personal online success.
I was was very impressed with GreenGeeks commitment to environmentalism. They don’t just offset their energy with credits — they offset three times as much energy as they use.
If that math sounds a bit odd, keep reading. I’ll explain it.
About GreenGeeks Hosting
GreenGeeks was founded in 2006, which makes its environmental focus all the more impressive.
Since then it’s grown to host over 300,000 websites and serve over 35,000 customers while making a name for itself as an industry-leading green hosting provider.
GreenGeek’s website and hosting services cater to beginner and intermediate website owners. It’s a solid fit if you’re looking to start your site and easily scale with a single host.
Different Hosting Types
Its core offering is the beginner shared hosting plan, but this can expand into a customized hosting environment perfect for your site. On top of that you’ll find VPS, dedicated server, and even dedicated WordPress hosting options.
A green host fit for all. It’s worth mentioning that its dedicated servers are very high performing and equipped with top of the line Xeon E5 processors.
Cleanest Hosting on the Market
On the topic of being green, this host truly stands out with its 300% renewable energy commitment, which makes it the cleanest hosting technology on the market.
Beyond its eco-friendly, beginner-friendly hosting plans, how else does this hosting company stand out?
In the beginner hosting space, it seems like every host offers the same thing. But GreenGeeks manages to set itself apart by offering uniquely scalable hosting, accessible beginner hosting packages, and solid WordPress hosting.
All of these plans come with backup and security features, and the ability to choose your own datacenter. Plus, did I mention it’s dedication to eco-friendliness?
Web Host With a Commitment to Sustainability
GreenGeeks’ commitment to sustainability outshines what most other green hosts have committed to.
More Than Just Green
Instead of simply offsetting their own energy usage, they purchase enough wind energy credits to put back into the grid three times what they use.
Since a lot of companies can’t set up their own wind turbines or solar panels they can purchase renewable energy credits, which are generated from renewable energy sources like wind power.
GreenGeek’s carbon footprint is zero, but it also negates the energy use of two other companies that are the same size.
Image courtesy of GreenGeeks
Wind Energy Credits & Negative Carbon Footprint
Taking this next step allows it to have a negative carbon footprint.
This helps to make up for the rest of the hosting industry, which is far more resource-intensive than most people realize. It’s easy to overlook the environmental and energy resources it takes to host websites.
Surprisingly, the hosting industry ranks up there with industries like air travel when it comes to energy use. Seeing this huge discrepancy is what caused CEOTrey Gardner to start GreenGeeks.
Beyond the extensive purchasing of wind energy credits to offset energy use the server facilities used are already incredibly energy efficient and up to the latest energy efficiency standards.
GreekGeeks is leading the charge when it comes to green web hosting and hopefully continues to set an example for the rest of the industry to follow.
GreenGeeks Offers More Than Just Environmental Hosting
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t think twice about environmental impact, then don’t worry, there are still some other great reasons to consider using this host.
GreenGeeks Makes Growing Your Site Easy
If you’re just getting started online the last thing you want to have to do is spend time managing all of the technical elements of getting your site online.
Web hosting novices might not mind configuring server settings and the like, but it’s all too easy to forget about how steep this learning curve actually is.
With the basic shared hosting plan you get all the things you’ve come to expect from a host:
- Unlimited server resources
- Unlimited bandwidth
- MySQL database creation
- Email account creation
- Free Cloudflare CDN
- Unlimited domains one 1 account
- Free marketing and SEO tools.
In fact, some of these features pop up in the GreenGeeks YouTube channel, in creative testimonial videos made by their customers, like this one:
Image courtesy of GreenGeeks
Plus, you have the option to register a free domain name with GreenGeeks upon the creation of your account. Now this isn’t actually the recommended option to take, as it can get pricey, but it’s a nice add-on to have for people who don’t mind price and want to take care of their entire website setup in a single place.
These features are nice to have, but they’re not what makes GreenGeeks stand out. In addition to the over-the-top green commitment, GreenGeeks excels in:
- Speed technologies
- Security and Reliability technologies
- Datacenter options.
GreenGeeks’ speed “stack” (a geeky term meaning “set of technologies”) includes LiteSpeed web servers, SSD hard drives, MariaDB (a database server known for its speed), PHP7, CDN (content delivery network), HTTP/2 and more.
The importance of speed for your website can’t be overemphasized in 2018. There’s plenty of research showing that if your site loads in more than 2 seconds, you are losing readers and buyers. This is because the general public is becoming used to top-of-the-line websites and checkout experiences. They become impatient with sites that load slower than these top performers.
Google recommends that your site load in no more than 2-3 seconds. Speed is also a search engine ranking factor, albeit a minor one. If it takes longer, Google may limit or slow down its crawling of your site, which is bad news for you.
Security and Reliability technologies
These include real-time file scanning, pro-active server monitoring and clustered threat analysis, secure vFS, and hosting account isolation.
Think of the latter as a quarantine that protects your website(s).
Currently, GreenGeeks has 5 datacenters. These are in Chicago, Phoenix, Montreal, Toronto and Amsterdam.
They are rapidly expanding to additional locations in 2018.
There’s More to GreenGeeks
Some of the above points were definitely on the geeky side (we do have geeks in our audience). But keep reading. You’ll understand more about what GreenGeeks offers and we’ve got some nice follow-up reading for you on these technologies.
Web Hosting That’s Easy to Scale Up
Another feature that really sets GreenGeeks apart is the scalable hosting.
Oh no, is that just another buzzword? Well, no, but thanks for asking.
The scalable hosting offered is different than what other hosts consider scalable hosting.
Essentially, this feature allows you to easily deploy, manage, and grow your site without having to worry about the underlying server.
Hands Off Hosting
According to GreenGeeks, your hosting should work without you having to do anything.
A pretty simple claim, but it’s actually kinda revolutionary considering the headaches a lot of hosting providers leave you with.
Hosting as a Service
This feature is called HaaS, which is short for hosting as a service. Total beginners might not see the value in this, and this is true when all you need is a basic shared hosting environment.
But, as your site grows, your traffic levels improve, and you demand more from your host you’ll start to see how valuable it is.
For example, instead of getting a basic dedicated server, or having to upgrade to a VPS, you can easily add the computing resources you require like additional RAM, CPU, or other features.
This makes it very easy for beginners to run their sites on custom and powerful server environments.
More Packages: VPS, Dedicated, and Reseller Hosting
Of course, there are other hosting packages you can still upgrade to like VPS hosting, dedicated server packages, or even reseller packages.
But you don’t have to if you don’t want to take on additional tasks like managing your own server and keeping your environment secure.
Here’s a quick look at GreenGeeks’ VPS plans:
|VPS Hosting||Plan 1||Plan 2||Plan 3||Plan 4||Plan 5|
|Memory||1 GB RAM||2 GB RAM||3 GB RAM||4 GB RAM||8 GB RAM|
|SSD RAID 10 Storage||25 GB||50 GB||75 GB||100 GB||125 GB|
|Premium Bandwidth||1,000 GB||1,500 GB||2,000 GB||2,500 GB||3,000 GB|
Dedicated Server Plans
And, a comparison of their dedicated hosting plans:
|Dedicated server hosting||Entry plan||Standard plan||Elite plan||Pro plan|
|Processor||Intel Atom 330 Dual Core||Xeon E3-1220 3.1Ghz||Xeon E3-1230 3.2Ghz w/HT||Xeon E5-2620 2.0Ghz w/HT|
|SSD RAID 10 Storage||25 GB||50 GB||75 GB||100 GB|
|Memory||2 GB DDR 3||4 GB DDR 3||8 GB DDR 3||16 GB DDR 3|
|Drive||1x 500 GB SATA||2x 500 GB SATA||2x 500 GB||2x 500 GB|
|Tansfer||10,000 GB||10,000 GB||10,000 GB||10,000 GB|
A “Green” WordPress Hosting Plan
So, you know for a fact that you want to use WordPress as the foundation for your new website. Great, WordPress is awesome.
But, if you’re looking to enhance your site’s performance and make your life a whole lot easier, then you’ll want to utilize WordPress hosting.
Image courtesy of GreenGeeks
The WordPress plans offered by GreenGeeks all depend on “shared hosting.” This means you’ll be sharing server real estate with other WordPress sites. Currently, there’s no option for dedicated WordPress hosting.
But, if you’re building a new site from scratch, then this setup will be more than enough.
Browse the GreenGeeks site and YouTube channel to find video tutorials on topics from WordPress set up to e-commerce to everything you’d like to know about web hosting. Image courtesy of GreenGeeks.
This plan is for “managed” WordPress hosting — which means that all of the technical parts of getting your server setup are handled for you, including:
- WordPress migration
- Free domain name registration or transfer
- The WordPress core will be automatically updated
- Site security scans are taken care of
- Your site will be protected from brute force and DDoS attacks
- Your site is isolated from other sites on the shared server, adding to the protection level.
- You have access to 24/7/365 US-based support.
- Your site will be secure
- It will be runing in an optimized WordPress environment
- It will be online when you need it the most (all the time).
Image courtesy of GreenGeeks
cPanel: User-Friendly Control Panel
Like most beginner-friendly hosts, cPanel reigns supreme. If you’ve used a shared hosting environment in the past, then you’ve probably come across cPanel, or you’re at least aware of its existence.
Image courtesy of GreenGeeks
The GreenGeeks cPanel is equipped with all of the features you might be familiar with.
In addition, there are some customizations that make it even easier to get your site setup and add additional features. For starters, the cPanel is very intuitive and organized.
The cPanel is worth exploring as it has a ton of hidden gems that’ll help you build and grow your site.
Some of the additional features you’ll find in the GreenGeeks control panel are as follows:
- The sitebuilder and theme installer if you’re using the website builder
- The ever popular Softaculous software one-click installer
- cPanel account migration
- Enhanced security options
- Video tutorials on everything related to hosting
- Database performance tweaks
- Search engine submission and SEO tools
- Polls and survey software
- Form generators
- Magento, osCommerce, and PrestaShop shopping carts.
You can easily access GreenGeek’s site builder via cPanel — your user-friendly
control panel. Browse the pre-built templates and select one to get started.
Typical to cPanel you can find all the apps you need by searching around the control panel or using the search bar to save some time. You’ll also find your website stats on the left-hand side that show you your current CPU, storage usage, and other account data.
On the account management screen you’ll be able to handle all other requests like managing your domains, purchasing additional services, opening support tickets, handling your billing requests, and of course accessing cPanel.
Easy one-click installs of content management systems like WordPress and Drupal
are available via your GreenGeeks cPanel. So are a plethora of marketing,
SEO, and site tools and enhancements. Image courtesy of GreenGeeks
Nightly Automated Site Backups
When left to your own devices how often would you run a website backup? I’m sure you’d like to think you’d be proactive about backing up your site, just in case something unfortunate happens.
But, no matter how solid your intentions are it’s usually something that never gets done. That’s why having nightly automated backups is such an awesome feature, especially for the basic shared hosting plans.
There are a handful of starter hosts that add backups to their list of features, but as a whole, it’s still a rarity and definitely worth highlighting.
GreenGeeks’ Uptime & Guarantee
Another very important consideration when choosing a web host is the uptime. What good is a website if it’s always offline?
Luckily, GreenGeeks has a 99.9% uptime guarantee. As with most hosting industry guarantees, there are some specifics attached to it.
The cases in which GreenGeeks doesn’t guarantee uptime are just common sense, and include:
- Vendor hardware or a network malfunction that is outside of GreenGeek’s control
- Downtime caused by client error, including spamming activity
- Downtime caused by cyber attacks.
This uptime guarantee is even good enough to make its way into the terms and conditions, which means one thing, they take their uptime seriously.
Still, there’s no mention if you’ll actually receive a refund or account credit if your site does go down like some hosts offer. But, judging by the uptime data this will never be an issue anyways.
Uptime and Response Time
Uptime and response time for the month of December 2017. Image courtesy of Pingdom
One reason for the above average uptime could be due to the hardware configurations of the servers. They currently utilize efficient Intel processors, RAID-10 SSD storage arrays for maximum performance, along with dual-city power grids and backup generators in case a power outage occurs.
Additional Useful Features
A lot of hosts end up stuffing their offerings with additional features to either flesh out the sales page or make their offerings look more robust, which doesn’t really help anyone.
GreenGeeks packs some additional features in, but luckily they’re ones you actually want.
Robust Security Features
For example, the security features are pretty robust. The servers are under 24/7 monitoring, and include a built-in firewall that protects against DDoS, brute force attacks, and other cyber threats.
Plus, you can do things like use the Spam Assassin tool for email protection, and even password protect your directories.
Easy-to-use Site Builder
If this is your very first site and you want to get it online as soon as possible, then you may want to use the free website builder tool.
This builder is equipped with hundreds of different mobile-friendly themes that you can customize to your liking with the drag-and-drop builder.
Lastly, if you have an existing site that you want to migrate over, then the GreenGeeks team will help you do this free of charge, all with the minimal downtime.
Choose Your Datacenter
With most shared hosts you’re stuck with whatever datacenter they choose for you.
This could mean your site’s files are stored in Seattle, Washington while most of your site’s traffic comes from Paris, France. Not a good thing for improving your site’s performance and loading speeds.
Image courtesy of GreenGeeks
But, GreenGeeks offers you the choice of five different datacenter locations.
Most are North America-based, but there’s also a datacenter in Amsterdam, Netherlands as well. The North American locations are in Chicago, Phoenix, Toronto and Montréal. Note: GreenGeeks is expanding rapidly into new datacenters this year (2018).
When choosing a datacenter, make sure you select the location that’s closest to where your website’s traffic is coming from, not where you’re presently located.
Image courtesy of GreenGeeks
To continue on the topic of its datacenters, it’s important to mention the latest advancements.
For starters, its server drives have been upgraded to SSD Raid Storage Arrays, which are incredibly fast. Plus, this upgrade is system-wide, meaning that even customers on a shared hosting plan will benefit from the SSD Raid Storage Arrays.
Where GreenGeeks Could Improve
Although I’ve been geeking out over GreenGeeks, there are still a few downsides to using this green hosting provider.
The drawbacks aren’t huge and probably won’t be a dealbreaker, especially if going green is a big concern for you, but they’re still worth talking about.
Like most bargain web hosts, in order to get the cheapest plan rates, you have to sign up for a lengthy contract.
In this case, that number is three years. If you do opt for a shorter contract, then the rate will increase. But, even with the rate increase, it’s not super expensive, but it’s still almost triple the super low starter rate.
It’s not a deal breaker, but having more honest and upfront pricing could go a long way. This style of pricing is an industry standard practice, but it’s always nice to see hosting companies buck this trend in favor of transparency.
There is a 30-day money back guarantee. But, like all guarantees, there are some stipulations that come along with it.
It’s not as long as some other hosts that offer 60-day or even 90-day money back guarantees, but having 30 days should be enough time for you to test out the service to see if it’s the right fit for your site.
However, if you decide to register a domain name with GreekGeeks you won’t be refunded for the domain registration fee. Plus, the domain registration fees are quite high, so you may not end up getting that much of a refund anyway.
The best course of action is to use this host for hosting only and use a separate domain name registrar. That way, if you do want to cancel within the 30-day window you’ll be subject to a full refund.
High Domain Registration Prices
To continue with domain registration, the yearly pricing is quite expensive.
Now, their focus isn’t on being a domain name registrar, so this makes sense. However, when focusing on providing beginner hosting you have to assume there’s a solid chance your users will want to pick up a domain name from you too.
But, the steep pricing will probably cause users to go elsewhere for their domains. This will add an extra step in getting your site setup, but to avoid any complications with a refund, or paying high prices, as I noted before, it’s best to look elsewhere for your domain.
Can I use WordPress without dedicated WordPress hosting?
Yes, if you’re using one of the basic shared hosting plans you can quickly install WordPress via your cPanel access.
Just scroll down to the Softaculous App Installer and click on WordPress. This software will walk you through the process of installing WordPress on your new site.
Of course, if you want to make installing and managing your WordPress site even easier, then go for the dedicated WordPress hosting.
Is the 99.9% uptime guaranteed by GreenGeeks?
The 99.9% uptime is guaranteed, but there is no credit or refund if your site does happen to go offline.
It’s more of an in good faith guarantee. However, all the data suggests that GreenGeek’s uptime really is 99.9%.
Does GreenGeeks offer reseller hosting?
Yes, I briefly mentioned it above.
The reseller hosting is packed with features and competitively priced. So you can offer affordable web hosting to the sites you manage.
Are dedicated IP addresses available?
If you want a dedicated IP address, then you’ll have to put in the request manually.
All you have to do is open an account ticket from within your account management dashboard. However, obtaining a dedicated IP address does come with a yearly fee.
Is Windows hosting available?
No, Windows hosting is not currently available. GreenGeeks is solely a Linux/Unix web hosting provider.
If you require a Windows hosting or any ASP.NET server configuration, then you’ll have to look elsewhere for hosting.
What “unlimited” options does GreenGeeks offer on its starter plans?
Like most beginner-oriented hosts its shared hosting packages are equipped with unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains, and unlimited e-mail accounts.
I’m still confused about how a company can be 300% green?
So, GreenGeeks utilizes energy from the grid, just like any other company out there. But, where it differs is by buying green energy credits, in the form of wind power, which offset the energy use.
This effectively brings down their net energy usage to zero. Then, instead of stopping there it buys three-times the number of green energy credits, which makes it 300% green and picking up the tab for two other hosts of comparable size.
Pros and Cons of GreenGeeks
First, the Pros:
- The best environmentally friendly host on the market
- Scalable shared hosting that minimizes the need for VPS hosting
- Bundled backup features and high-security protection, even on the shared hosting plan.
A Few Cons:
- Money back guarantee doesn’t include domain registration
- To lock in the cheap monthly rate you have to sign a 3-year contract
- Domain name registration is very pricey after the first year of having a free domain.
What Type of Customer Support Does GreenGeeks Offer?
GreenGeeks offers 100% customer satisfaction.
I’m still not quite sure what this means, and it seems more like a marketing buzzword than anything else, but GreenGeeks does offer a wide range of support methods.
For example, you can reach customer support via live chat, email, or phone. Phone support is only available during business hours, but live chat can be accessed 24/7/365.
If you’re the type who likes to work out technical issues on your own, then there is a large knowledgebase and a tutorial section that’ll help you work through any issues.
If you’re looking to grow your site and learn more about online marketing, SEO, security, and a lot more, then reading the blog is definitely a worthwhile investment.
If You Like GreenGeeks, You Might Also Like…
If you’re not sold on going green there are other similar hosts that you might find appealing.
At the top of my list is Siteground. Like GreenGeeks you’ll find unlimited shared hosting plans, top-notch support, and multiple datacenters. However, Siteground edges out GreenGeeks by having an additional datacenter in Singapore, which caters to the whole Asian market.
If price is your main concern, then check out InMotion. The starter shared hosting package is cheaper than GreenGeeks, while offering a pretty great service. However, be aware that there’s only one datacenter where every site is hosted.
Another common beginner recommendation is Bluehost. With these two hosts, you’ll find comparable levels of pricing and performance. However, GreenGeeks gets a slight edge by providing unlimited resources to its shared hosting package. For the level of features you’d get with GreenGeeks you’d have to upgrade your Bluehost service.
Is GreenGeeks the Right Hosting Choice for You?
If you’re concerned about your environmental impact then GreenGeeks is a dependably green web host. Its commitment to making its service 300% green is certainly appealing to users who have the same outlook.
Plus, it provides a solid service and all the features you need to host and even scale your site. Put simply, you get a lot of value for your money.
A reliable server, top-notch security measures, automated backups, easy server management with cPanel, a plethora of support options, and even the ability to use dedicated WordPress hosting, if that’s your cup of tea. All while being environmentally friendly.
That being said, if going green isn’t a big concern for you or the pricing and guarantee discrepancies turn you off there are other beginner green hosting options that offer a comparable service.
GreenGeeks Reviews by Our Community
Overall Rating from 350 Reviews by GreenGeeks Customers
Most Helpful Reviews
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Apr 03, 2018
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Apr 04, 2018
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Jan 20, 2016
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May 02, 2014
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Most Popular GreenGeeks Hosting Plans
|EcoSite Starter||Seed Reseller Hosting||Sprout Reseller Hosting|
|Price||$3.95 / mo||$19.95 / mo||$24.95 / mo|
|Visit GreenGeeks||Visit GreenGeeks||Visit GreenGeeks|
|Plant Reseller Hosting
|120GB||1200GB||$39.95 / mo View|
|1 GB VPS Hosting
|25GB||1000GB||$39.95 / mo View|
|Tree Reseller Hosting
|160GB||1600GB||$59.95 / mo View|
|2 GB VPS Hosting
|50GB||1500GB||$59.95 / mo View|
|3 GB VPS Hosting
|75GB||2000GB||$79.95 / mo View|
|Forest Reseller Hosting
|200GB||2000GB||$99.95 / mo View|
|4 GB VPS Hosting
|100GB||2500GB||$99.95 / mo View|
|8 GB VPS Hosting
|125GB||3000GB||$159.95 / mo View|
|500GB||10TB||$169 / mo View|
GreenGeeks Frequently Asked Questions
- Does GreenGeeks sell Windows shared hosting?
No. GreenGeeks only offers Linux shared hosting services.
- Where is the company located?
GreenGeeks is based in the United States out of Santa Monica, CA.
- Where are its datacenters?
GreenGeeks uses three different datacenters. They are located in Chicago, Phoenix, Toronto and Amsterdam.
- Can I get a VPS from GreenGeeks?
Yes. There are various VPS options offering different combinations of disk space and memory.
- Does GreenGeeks offer any reseller hosting options?
Yes. GreenGeeks allows resellers to create their own hosting packages for clients. Five reseller plans are available.
- Will GreenGeeks help me to transfer an existing site?
Yes. When you sign up, you can have your site transferred free of charge.
- Will GreenGeeks allow more than one domain to be hosted per account?
Yes. GreenGeeks allows unlimited domain aliases, so you can set up as many websites as you like.
- Can I host a site with a lot of images on a shared hosting account?
Yes. The service supports unlimited bandwidth and disk space, so your website will be fine as long as it is not an intensive file download site.
- Will the renewal price be higher than the introductory price?
No. GreenGeeks’ plans renew at the same price as the intro price.
- Does GreenGeeks have a money-back guarantee?
Yes. It provides a 30 day money-back guarantee for all hosting plans, except dedicated servers. If you received a domain free when signing up, $24.95 will be deducted.
- Which programming languages are supported?
Its hosting environment supports PHP 5, Perl 5, CGI-Bin, and Python.
- What control panel options does it provide?
All customers get cPanel with their account.
- What payment options does it accept?
Major credit cards such as MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover, plus PayPal.
- Does GreenGeeks have an uptime guarantee?
Yes. GreenGeeks has a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and backs that up with a money back commitment.
- What is GreenGeeks’ backup policy?
GreenGeeks takes nightly backups, and they are retained for 24 hours.
- How many email addresses can I create?
You can create unlimited email accounts on all plans.
- Will I be able to reach tech support by phone?
Yes. Sales and support are available by phone.
- What languages do GreenGeeks’ support team speak?
The support team speaks English only.
- Are there any special security features on offer?
Yes. GreenGeeks implements advanced security features like Advanced Real-Time Security Scanning, as well as Apache & MySQL Security Tweaks.
- Can GreenGeeks customers use a CDN?
Its services are CloudFlare-ready, and there’s an easy 1-click integration feature in cPanel.