With more than ten years in the business of web hosting, GreenGeeks is a unique bastion for those seeking a service that is eco-friendly (more on this later).
Founded in 2008 by Trey Gardner, the company has benefited from his extensive experience in several large hosting companies. Today, Trey and his experienced core team of professionals have built GreenGeeks into a healthy, stable and competitive company.
My GreenGeeks Experience
Long time WHSR readers should be no stranger to Trey Gardner. We have done two interviews with the CEO in 2000’s and published multiple reviews on his projects in the past.
At this time of writing, we are hosting a test site (see it here) on GreenGeeks shared hosting platform and monitoring its performance consistently using our in-house system called “HostScore”. You can check out the GreenGeeks’ latest performance on this page.
In this review – using my personal account, I will take you behind the scenes and demonstrate what’s it like to host your website at GreenGeeks.
About GreenGeeks, the Company
- Established: 2008
- Headquarter: Agoura Hills, CA
- Services: Shared, VPS, reseller hosting
The company’s roots lie in North America and has served over 35,000 customers with more than 300,000 websites. As an eco-friendly hosting company, it has dedicated itself to leaving a positive energy footprint and replaces used energy with triple the energy credits that are used.
If you’re wondering why this might be important, market intelligence firm IDC has estimated that over the next 10 years, data managed by businesses will increase by as much as 50 percent. This means a notable increase in the number of servers required to handle the data, even considering advances in server technology.
Let’s take a closer look and see if this service, run by industry experts, can cut the ice as a great web host.
- Eco-friendly: 300% green hosting
- Excellent server performance: Rated A in all tests
- Choice of four server locations
- Convenient & newbies friendly
- Helpful customer support and user knowledgebase
- Setup fees ($15) is non-refundable
- Price increase during renewal
Verdict & Others
- GreenGeeks plans & pricing
- GreenGeeks alternatives
- Verdict: Should you host at GreenGeeks?
- GreenGeeks special discounts (70% off)
New GreenGeeks users enjoy a one-time 70% discount on their first GreenGeeks bill, EcoSite Starter Plan (single site hosting) costs $2.95/month after discount. Promo coupon will be auto applied to your cart once you click here (new window, affiliate link).
GreenGeeks Pros: What We Like about GreenGeeks?
1. Environmental Friendly: 300% Green Hosting (Industry’s Top)
Given the company name, let’s focus on Green Web Hosting for a moment.
Not all green hosting companies but two key differences are whether they use Carbon Offset Credits or Renewable Energy Certificates. To fully understand the implications of each, read our article on How Green Web Hosting Works.
GreenGeeks lays claim to offering “300% Green Web Hosting Powered by Renewable Energy”.
This means that they buy three times more the amount of Renewable Energy certificates than is being used by the services they provide.
Certified Green Company
The company is a recognized EPA Green Power Partner which works with environmental foundations to purchase wind energy credits.
Aside from that, there is also the fact that one of their data centers is in Toronto. In recent years, several data centers have been moving there to take advantage of a phenomena called “free cooling”.
Free cooling in Toronto leverages on the chilly weather to help reduce the operational cost (and carbon footprint) of data centers by as much as 50 percent. These facilities have additional cooling circuits specially designed to allow the freezing outdoor air to supplement traditional cooling systems that the equipment demands.
2. Excellent Server Speed – Rated A in All Speed Tests
Running the usual gamut of our performance tests, GreenGeeks lights up… well, green across the board.
With our test server located in Europe, I’ve decided to throw in an additional test from London as well, just to observe if there’s any noticeable impact on hosting performance.
Not surprisingly, GreenGeeks performance tests showed best speeds from EU-based tests since our server is in the Netherlands. However, it also managed to show excellent speeds across the board as well – from Asia to North America.
However, if you look past the straight ‘A’s and dig into the number a little bit, there is a slightly higher Time-to-First-Byte (TTFB) from Singapore. This is expected since GreenGeeks has no data center in this location.
BitCatcha Speed Test (March 2020)
WebPage Speed Test – from Dulles, Virginia
WebPage Speed Test – from Singapore
WebPage Speed Test – from Frankfurt, Germany
3. Choice of Server Locations
When selecting a hosting account, you can choose where your website is hosted by selecting where your GreenGeeks account is provisioned. We have data centers in Phoenix, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal and Amsterdam. You will enjoy all of our hosting platform benefits such as scaling, speed, security, and eco-friendly technologies regardless of which data center you choose.
4. Convenient and Easy for Newbies and Non-technical People
For a sign-on fee of $2.95 per month (renews at $9.95 after initial sign-up duration), you’ll get practically unlimited amounts of everything, plus even free domain registration and website migration services thrown in.
GreenGeeks Free Site Migration
For example, not only is web space unlimited, but it’s SSD storage, which is fast. Then there is the daily backup and free website transfer, which is practically not often seen at this price point. Round that up with everything else and you’ll be hard pressed to find a comparable offering.
WordPress hosting comes with slight differences, but many of you will be pleased to note that there is a free WordPress site migration service. This is something that many web hosts charge a significant amount for.
HTTP/2 and MariaDB
The GreenGeeks offerings are HTTP/2 enabled by the default and that’s a whole other story in itself. HTTP/2 can actually make your site load faster and is favored by Google.
It’s also worth noting that GreenGeeks is using MariaDB, which combines with SSD hard drives, Optimized LiteSpeed and PowerCache caching technology to form a powerful front line. This is probably a big factor in their speed performance and isn’t to be taken lightly.
Sitepad Site Builder
GreenGeeks offers Sitepad as its de facto drag-and-drop site builder. While Sitepad is slightly more complex to use than the average drag-and-drop website builder, I’d still consider this a plus point. It still requires zero coding skills to use and is slightly more comprehensive than average.
It comes with many pre-designed templates (over 300) plus a wide array of widgets you can use to modify them. Most importantly, Sitepad is a third-party site editor that GreenGeeks has integrated into its control panel. As such, the original developer has the motivation to keep it current with new technology and tools.
Let’s Encrypt SSL Integration
GreenGeeks launched their proprietary built Let’s Encrypt SSL Integration in July 2019 for users hosted on shared and reseller platforms. GreenGeeks users can now one-click install Let’s Encrypt Wildcard SSL and renew their SSL automatically; without touching a CSR / Private Key / CRT files.
This is how my GreenGeeks user dashboard* looks like. To add a free SSL to your domain, login to your dashboard > Security > Add SSL Certificate > Select a Service and Domain.
Extensive Security Features
To ensure account safety, GreekGeeks takes a two-pronged approach, making use of account isolation as well as Secure vFS. By keeping accounts siloed, they are able to protect users from resource hogs within their own server environments. For instance, if another account based on the same server as yours has a massive usage spike, your account won’t be affected.
Each account is also secured with its own real time malware scanning. It’s another follow up on the silo mentality, but also means that your account will be safe from anything that may affect another account on the same server, such as malware.
5. Helpful Customer Support and Knowledgebase
GreekGeeks runs the gamut in terms of customer service, having almost everything a web host seeker would want. The company is recognised by Better Business Bureau and currently rated as “A” by the users. They not only have 24/7 email support, phone support and live chat, but also some interesting resources you can leverage on.
First is the knowledge base, for quick DIY assistance. There are also several basic tutorials to supplement this, covering everything from how to set up email on your account to even platform-specific help (such as for WordPress or Drupal).
Overall in term of resources available for help, GreenGeeks surpasses easily 80 percent of the web hosts I’ve encountered so far.
In fact, the only drawback I can see is the lack of video-based tutorials, which are becoming increasingly important given our leanings towards rich media formats.
GreenGeeks Cons: What’s Not So Good about GreenGeeks Hosting?
1. Setup and domain fees are not included in refund
Under GreenGeeks 30 days money back guarantee refund policy, you can ask for a refund during the first 30 days trial period.
However, domain registration fees, other addon features cost (such as SSL, CDN cost, etc), and a “free” setup fees during purchase will not be included in your refunds.
While it’s reasonable for GreenGeeks to not refund on domain registration and addon features as they need to pay for those third party services.
It is, however, unfair to charge users a $15 setup fees when they cancel their account within the first 30 days.
2. Prices increase during renewal
Website hosting cost has always been a major concern for many WHSR readers. The price tag of $2.95/$3.95/$4.95 are only available for GreenGeeks first time customers.
When you renew your hosting plan after your first term, the regular rate for Ecosite Starter plans will be $9.95/mo.
While this practice is common in today’s web hosting market; we think it’s important alert our users upfront. A lot of customers don’t realize they are going to pay higher prices and they get sticker shock when they see the auto-charge on their credit card statement.
GreenGeeks Hosting Plans & Pricing
GreenGeeks shared hosting comes in three different packages – Ecosite Starter, Ecosite Pro, and Ecosite Premium. They don’t promote Ecosite Pro and Premium on their homepage – the only page you can learn more about the two plans is here.
Premium plan hosting accounts, according to the company, are placed on servers with less customers and also comes with increased CPU, Memory & resources.
|Features||Ecosite Starter||Ecosite Pro||Ecosite Premium|
|Storage / Bandwidth||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Memory||384 MB||512 MB||1024 MB|
|Disk I/O||4 MB/sec||10 MB/sec||20 MB/sec|
Notes on GreenGeeks server limitations
While GreenGeeks lays claim to offering unlimited space and bandwidth, there is that pesky line in the ToS that spells out an “Excessive Resource User Policy”:
Normally, all web hosts have this in place, but GreenGeeks doesn’t set a time limit. It is usual to complete that statement with something like “for periods longer than 15 seconds” or similar. This means that any time you hit the limits set, even for a second, they have the right to force an upgrade on you.
It’s also worth noting that maximum files/inodes are capped at 75,000 which is not all that great to be honest (in contrast both InMotion Hosting and Hostgator allows up to 250,000 inodes on paper; A2 Hosting allows up to 300,000).
Frequently Asked Questions about GreenGeeks Hosting
Who is GreenGeeks?
GreenGeeks is a web hosting company founded on the principles of environmental-friendly web hosting in 2006. Their headquarters are located in Agoura Hills, California but they have clients all over the world with data centers in United States, Canada, and Netherland.
How do I install WordPress on GreenGeeks?
Plans on GreenGeeks come with the Softaculous application installer. This click-to-install utility can help you install WordPress automatically on your hosting account.
Is GreenGeeks hosting good?
GreenGeeks is a good place for beginners to start and offers a relatively unique perspective on web hosting, trying to be environmentally friendly in an industry with a massive carbon footprint without sacrificing the server performance.
What is Green hosting?
Green hosting is when an effort is expended on reducing the environmental impact caused by web hosting. This can be done in a number of ways, such as the purchase of green energy credits or carbon offsets.
Learn more about how Green hosting works.
Is GreenGeeks suitable for business use?
GreenGeeks is suitable for business use, but their focus remains mostly on shared and VPS hosting. Larger businesses should be aware and exercise caution on possible limitations.
Our Verdict: GreenGeeks = Affordable Eco-Friendly Host
GreekGeeks is a little of a mixed bag of tricks to me.
On one hand, as a technology geek who still hopes to have Earth (and the life on it) around for quite some time more, I appreciate the eco-friendliness. On the other hand, I remain a little leery of their one-plan-fits-all tactic.
There seems to be a mismatch in balance here and I am sure that I have not caught everything. However, also keep in mind the excellent speed performance that GreenGeeks servers have shown in our tests.
On a personal level, I feel that this is a host which would do admirably with anything from a blog all the way even to a small business. In fact, I think it’s an ideal place for a beginner to host their site, given the facilities, pricing and resources available.
In case GreenGeeks is not for you, here are some other hosting service providers to consider:
- InMotion Hosting – Shared hosting price starts at $3.99/mo.
- A2 Hosting – Fast loading server at a reasonable price – $3.92/mo.
- HostPapa – Eco-friendly hosting, shared hosting plans start at $2.95/mo.
Side-by-side Comparison with Others
- GreeGeeks vs InMotion Hosting
- GreenGeeks vs A2 Hosting
- GreenGeeks vs HostPapa
- GreenGeeks vs SiteGround
- GreenGeeks vs BlueHost