California-based GreenGeeks has been providing hosting services since 2008. During that time, it’s established a reputation for not only reliability, but environmental consciousness, too.
Clean-energy advocacy is where GreenGeeks gets its name: to offset the impact of the energy consumed by its servers, the company produces three times that amount in wind-energy credits.
While we appreciate GreenGeeks desire to do good, the service isn’t without its issues. For example, while GreenGeeks has inexpensive prices for shared servers, it’s costs for specialized servers are much higher than those found in other web hosting reviews.
Read on to see how else GreenGeeks compares to the best web hosting providers today.
- “Green” web hosting
- Inexpensive shared plans
- Excellent support
- Cloudflare free built in
- Difficult to navigate knowledgebase
- Expensive plans outside of shared hosting
- No cloud hosting
GreenGeeks has many features common among top web hosting services. We’ll dive into some of those momentarily, but let’s first outline in more detail the company’s admirable commitment to the environment.
As its name implies, GreenGeeks is a “green” company, with a focus on business practices designed to reduce carbon footprint. It may seem strange to think about, but websites do have an impact — and a large one at that.
According to GreenGeeks, the web hosting industry will surpass the airline industry in environmental pollution by 2020. Servers pull energy from the grid and that energy comes from the burning of fossil fuels. On average, 1,390 pounds of carbon dioxide are produced each year, per server.
GreenGeeks offsets this by purchasing wind energy credits for three times the amount of energy it consumes. Because of this, GreenGeeks is a U.S. EPA Green Power Partner and the most eco-friendly web hosting provider today.
All of that may lead you to believe that its servers are underpowered. That’s not the case, though. GreenGeeks has its servers fitted with Intel dual- or quad-core Xeon processors and SSDs in RAID 10.
RAID 10 is a RAID array that combines RAID 1 and RAID 0 together. RAID 0 uses two disks to write data to, boosting the overall speed because a single hard drive isn’t getting the bulk of the work. For example, if a binary line started with a one and a zero, the one would go to the first hard drive and the zero would go to the second.
RAID-1 works by mirroring one hard drive to another, creating a backup. RAID-10 combines the best of both to give faster speeds as well as redundancy.
GreenGeeks also boasts a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee. Basically, the claim is that the servers will almost always be live. However, GreenGeeks doesn’t put its money where its mouth is: unlike rival DreamHost, there’s no compensation for server downtime (read more about DreamHost in our DreamHost review).
Still, GreenGeeks seems to deliver on the 99.9 percent part. We experienced no downtime during our testing, and we couldn’t find any complaints online to suggest server instability.
|Reseller Hosting:||From $19.95/month|
|VPS Hosting:||From $39.95/month|
|Dedicated Hosting:||From $169/month|
GreenGeeks has an interesting pricing breakdown. While it doesn’t exactly force multi-year payment plans on you like BlueHost does, the advertised price isn’t always what you end up paying.
Let’s start with shared hosting since this is the most confusing of the price brackets. Shared hosting and WordPress hosting share the same pricing breakdown, so they are one and the same.
The advertised $3.95 per month is accurate if you sign up for a three-year commitment. The price increases $1 for each year you take off, however, meaning it’s $4.95 per month for two years and $5.95 per month for one year.
The full price must be paid upfront and any plan purchased with a yearly commitment comes included with a waived setup fee and a free domain for one year. However, these perks don’t carry over to the monthly payment plan.
If you want to pay month-to-month, the price is $9.95, plus the domain charge, plus the setup fee. So, in short, GreenGeeks doesn’t force you to subscribe for a year or more like Bluehost, it just heavily incentivizes you to do so (for more information on BlueHost, make sure to read our BlueHost review).
Thankfully, things are more straightforward with the other plans. Reseller plans start at $19.95 per month and go up to $99.95 per month depending on the specs of your plan. The prices don’t exactly line up with other companies (for an example, read our HostGator review) that offer a bit more disk space and bandwidth at the same cost.
GreenGeeks offers no multi-year commitments; you can pay up front for the year or go month-to-month. The same is true of VPS hosting. GreenGeeks starts plans at $39.95 per month and increases that cost all the way up to $159.95 per month depending on specs you pick.
That’s somewhat expensive given that DreamHost offers similar specs to the lowest tier of GreenGeeks’ plan for only $15 per month. Finally, GreenGeeks offers dedicated hosting from $169 per month to $439 per month depending on specs.
You’ll have to contact the sales department at GreenGeeks to get that setup, however. Of course, if you’re going to spend that much money, you might want to talk things over with a sales representative first, anyway.
Looking at the pricing of GreenGeeks, one market comes to mind: small websites. The shared hosting plans are inexpensive, making them ideal for those just trying to get their site up and running.
However, prices jump quickly for private server configurations. If you want more than shared hosting, you won’t find the best prices here.
GreenGeeks has four different hosting options for your websites: shared, VPS, reseller and dedicated.
Shared hosting, simply called “web hosting” on GreenGeeks’ website, is where multiple websites share space on the same server. Since you’re sharing the hardware with multiple users, page load times will generally be slower, making these plans ideal for smaller sites like portfolios or personal blogs.
That doesn’t mean the servers slack, though. The servers still feature RAID-10 SSD storage, unlimited domains and unlimited email addresses for your domain. Those perks pay off with the server response. We used a tool call Bitcacha to measure the server response time on shared plans. It connects to a website but doesn’t actually load any content, meaning it measures raw server power alone.
GreenGeeks averaged 47.6ms in the States. Anything below 50ms is considered by us as a good speed for a web host, with providers like HostGator, DreamHost and InMotion hitting that mark. GreenGeeks sits right alongside them sitting above A2 Hosting (read our A2 Hosting review) who received a 52.5ms response time.
Moving abroad, speeds are slightly higher. Combined with international servers, GreenGeeks came in with an overall response time of 190.9ms. It’s not a bad rate, but still above SiteGround (read our SiteGround review) which clocked in at 146.5ms.
GreenGeeks also offers managed WordPress hosting. These plans are hosted on shared servers as well. However, the plans offer extra features like free WordPress migration and automatic WordPress updates.
Next come the virtual private servers. A VPS takes the physical resources of another server and builds a virtual server out of it. Instead of the resources expanding and contracting based on needs like on a shared server, you get a set amount of resources to yourself.
A VPS is like a dedicated server, but much cheaper. Each plan GreenGeeks offers comes with a quad core Intel Xeon processor and RAID-10 SSD storage. The rest of the specs can be configured by you depending on what your site needs.
Reseller hosting is ideal if you run a web design business or need to put up multiple websites for clients. In short, you pay for a set amount of resources on a server that you can then resell to your clients.
Hosting on reseller servers comes with some other perks, too. GreenGeeks includes a free ClientExec license that lets you automate sending invoices to clients, redirecting to GreenGeeks support and more. Additionally, you get an eNom Domain Reseller Account.
This will allow you to register, transfer and manage domains as well as sell add-ons like SSL certificates.
Last are dedicated servers. Here, you get a server all to yourself, configured for your needs. There isn’t much to say about them because they will need to be setup by you and GreenGeeks when you contact support directly.
The only thing missing from the lineup at GreenGeeks is cloud hosting.
Cloud hosting is where your website is hosted across multiple servers all connected to the cloud. Because of this, you can easily scale to more servers as your site grows. Unfortunately, this isn’t something GreenGeeks offers; read our InMotion review for a service that does.
Hosting with GreenGeeks is fairly painless, especially with cPanel integration. Signup functions as you’d expect. Simply fill out your information, register a domain if you need to, choose a plan and you’re on your way.
Once your account is up, you can sign into it from the front page of the website. You’ll be met with your dashboard.
The dashboard is a hub mainly for the business end of things and not so much for your actual site. There, you can see your domains and plans, upgrade or register a domain and view all of your billing details. This is also where you access cPanel.
cPanel is an interface used for controlling all aspects of your website. That includes email, domains and SEO tools. Everything is broken down into categories and then laid out with large, visual icons. This makes scanning the page simple, finding the tool you need without much fuss.
What’s nice about cPanel is the integration with other applications. Instead of hunting down tools for SEO or security, cPanel has stuff built in. While the built in tools may not be the best, they’re nice to have in case you aren’t savvy with websites quite yet.
Security isn’t something GreenGeeks makes readily apparent to prospective customers.
We had to do quite a bit of digging — even with an account — to find how the company’s servers are locked down. That said, GreenGeeks seems to do everything right, so it doesn’t look like the company is trying to hide anything.
The physical end of server security is great. Each of the four data center locations have raised floors, climate controlled rooms, 24/7 security, fire suppression systems, water detection systems and generators in case they lose power.
With acts of God accounted for, GreenGeeks also has plenty of overhead with its physical security measures, as well as RAID-10 storage to ensure that your data isn’t lost with a server issue.
On the software end of things, GreenGeeks has the basic tools you’ll need to keep your site safe. Built into cPanel is Cloudflare Basic, a free security tool to protect your site against DDoS attacks.
From cPanel, you can also register SSL certificates for your domain. Secure Sockets Layer certificates provide a safe, encrypted tunnel for information to travel through from the end-user device to server. This protects both you and your website visitors.
GreenGeeks has everything covered when it comes to security and cybercrime.
What’s unfortunate is that there is nothing to take it to the next level. Free SSL certificates and CloudFlare integration is commonplace. Companies like A2 provide extra security through software initiatives on the server end, as you can read in our A2 review. It would have been nice to see something like that here.
GreenGeeks knows how to support customers, both prospective and returning. Across the top bar on the home page, GreenGeeks displays its five different support touchpoints. You can contact the support staff through email, live chat or your phone, as well as make use of a knowledgebase and web tutorials.
Email support is surprisingly good. While every web hosting provider has email support (to my knowledge), GreenGeeks is especially quick. As opposed to a 24 hour or so response time, emails average a response within 20 minutes.
You have to be a signed-in customer in order to email GreenGeeks. However, you don’t need to be signed in to contact them via the two other methods.
The first is live chat, available 24/7/365. After I chose the department I needed, a live chat agent was available immediately. I can’t say for certain if this will always be the case, but every time I tried to contact them, there was no wait.
Telephone support is available from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. EST during weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST on weekends, making it slightly impractical for people in other parts of the globe. When calling the number, you can choose your department or dial your extension directly if you’re following up.
For those who would rather figure stuff out on their own, GreenGeeks has its knowledgebase. The articles are detailed with step-by-step instructions and plenty of screenshots to make scanning quick.
However, finding articles is a pain. GreenGeeks has a Windows-esque folder hierarchy with categories and multiple subcategories that are confusing to negotiate. Contrast that with DreamHost, which has its articles laid out in a way that they are easily scannable.
Still, GreenGeeks edges out DreamHost thanks to its tutorial library. The tutorials are similar to the knowledgebase articles, with step-by-step instruction and screenshots. These tutorials pertain more to setup and less to technical support, such as setting up your email or installing WordPress.
What’s frustrating is how simple the tutorial interface is to scan. The categories have plenty of space with icons to make them easy to glance over. If GreenGeeks could do it here, then it can be done with the knowledgebase.
GreenGeeks is an inexpensive hosting platform worth considering.
If you’re looking to create a relatively small website, you should be able to get up and running quickly thanks to cPanel integration and GreenGeeks’ excellent support network. If you’re looking at hosting a more resource-intensive site, however, the cost may be too much to justify choosing GreenGeeks over other services in our web hosting comparison.
What sticks out most about this company is the name. The key feature of GreenGeeks is the commitment to “green” web hosting. If that’s important to you (and it probably should be), then this may be the hosting platform for you regardless of the extra green it’ll cost you.
That’s our take on GreenGeeks. If you have experience with this service and would like to chime in, feel free to do so in the comments below. Thank you for reading.