Interview with Trey Gardner of GreenGeeks

You might not heard about the name ‘GreenGeeks’ before this; so do I. But when it comes to eco-friendly hosting, GreenGeeks is without doubt one of the top players.

I was first skeptical about their green policy (in fact, I acted sort of rude and asked for certification and proofs). However truth is, the hosting company had just purchased over 2.3 million MW of renewable energy in March 2009 and websites hosted at Green Geeks are 300% clean powered

Sound interesting? Well then you gotta check out the man behind all these – Trey Gardner. Trey Gardner is no-stranger to most experienced webmaster as he had been working for over a decade with some of the big names in hostingindustry. His experience in web hosting and web development is valuable and I’m glad to see important people like Gardner is picking up their responsibility in protecting our environment.

Without any further delay, here’s my online interview with Trey Gardner of GreenGeeks and TigerSites.

Q&A with GreenGeeks CEO, Trey Gardner

Hello Trey, thanks for your time with us. To get things started, let’s go with the intro. What can we know more about ‘Trey Gardner’? Can you brief us more about your background in the industry?

greengeeks founder trey gardner

Thank you for allowing me to introduce myself.

I have been in the web hosting business for over ten years and another 2 years in the web site design and online marketing business in addition to my years in web hosting*. I have held positions with a number of large web hosting companies including; General Manager, Director of Marketing, Reseller Program Director, Sales Director and Quality Assurance Director. I have built; reseller programs, quality assurance protocols, support teams, marketing initiatives, sales teams and I have held management positions in all but server administration areas within a web hosting company.

Some fun quick questions about yourself: Do you have a dog? Are you a PC, or MAC guy? IE or FireFox? :)

I do have a dog, a 115 pound chocolate lab named Guinness, I use a PC, I prefer Firefox over IE. I grew up in a beach town so I surf and play volleyball and I love to go skiing in the wintertime.

Okay, back to business. Both TigerSites and GreenGeeks are new names in the hosting industry. Can you tell us more about them?

Greengeeks and TigerSites Hosting

 Green Geeks was my vision a few years back, I had been working for another web hosting company and saw that the industry was just starting to move to become more eco friendly. I read some horrifying news about just how much of a carbon polluter our industry was and I wanted to make a difference. The web host I was the general manager of at the time saw this as a good marketing scheme but nothing more and they decided to do the minimal they could to become green so that they could come out as a “Green” web host.

At that time I was ready to branch off on my own and I decided to build my own web hosting company. I knew plenty of top talent in the industry and I wanted to really have the focus toward pushing our industry to become more eco friendly and Greener. I decided on the Brand Green Geeks.

After a year of fairly steady growth but still underachieving in some of the areas that I wanted to push into like our reseller program I partnered with an old colleague who owned the TigerSites brand. We formed a partnership earlier this year and it has been great. He and I balance our skill sets very well and the partnership has allowed us to push into the reseller area of web hosting as well as dedicated servers. We have more plans for additional offerings down the line as well.

What can we know about the web servers? Where does your data center located at?

Our datacenter is located in Chicago, IL and is one of the Greenest data facilities in North America. This state of the art facility is equipped with raised floors, climate control, fire suppression systems, 24/7 security, UPS & generators and water detection systems, to ensure that our customers data is safe and secure.

We buy state of the art high quality fuel efficient Intel Quad core processors with RAID 10 storage arrays, 4 GB DDR2/DDR3 Memory and 100Mpbs connection to the Switches. Multi-gig connectivity to our network’s edge routers. Unlike some other web hosts we also do not overload customers onto our servers, we like things to run efficiently here and my past experiences has shown me when you overload your servers bad things happen, like multiple downtimes. We make sure that our environment is living up to our 99.9% uptime.

You are doing a great job at GreenGeeks and I don’t see any green hosting companies come close in term of “Green Factor”*. How do you achieve that? Does the green policy damage the company’s balance sheet?

greengeeks bef

When I decided to start out on my own I knew it would not be enough to be part of a pack of emerging eco friendly web hosts, I wanted to be the best (I am competitive by nature) and to be the best you have to lead and let others follow.

I hoped others would follow in fact as I state on my mission statement that by being the most eco friendly web host and by aggressive marketing we hoped more companies would take notice and decide to go green for themselves.

As far as our Green policy affecting our balance sheets – it does, it is an added expense that we are deciding to add to our balance sheet but we believe it is necessary and we’re willing to take a little less per customer in order to better our industry and our environment.

* Note: GreenGeeks replace 3x of every power consumed with wind power.

Although TigerSites and GreenGeeks are new, I read quite some good words about your customer services. What kind of supports should we expect from the companies?

Support here at Green Geeks and TigerSites is fundamental to our business. If we cannot support our clients they will go elsewhere as I have seen in other web hosting companies. I wanted to make sure that we had the best support available. Having terrific support depends on 3 factors, reliability, communication and the right employees.

We purchase quality hardware and software at a world class facility and we don’t cut corners anywhere for the most reliable web hosting service we can create. We have made sure to have multiple communication lines for support which includes our emails, phones and chats as well as our extensive knowledgebase. We hire only highly skilled and friendly support personnel and we extensively train those support personnel on all areas of our service and make sure that they are all available through the multiple lines of communication.

Shared hosting plans nowadays are like dedicated hosting plans back in year 2000 – in fact, there are more and more companies offering unlimited hosting services. This includes TigerSites and GreenGeeks. Should your customers be concerned with overselling?

The industry went to unlimited plans about 3 years ago and I saw that as a mistake then but it is no longer overselling. The reality is that technology and servers nowadays are so far superior to where they were just a few years ago that they can handle the unlimited aspects of these offerings. Like all the other unlimited hosts we stipulate that this is for web site files only for the disk space and not file storage. The largest web sites might use a Gig or two of space for site files and most are well below that and with the limits we place on the amount of customers we place on a server it has never been a problem.

In respects to bandwidth, bandwidth has become so cheap we do not really have to look at that as a problem with regards to the unlimited offerings we have.

Your experience in the hosting industry is valuable. In your opinion, what are the important elements to look for when shopping for a web host?

I would say that the most important aspect that consumers can look for are webmasters and real users’ reviews, like the ones found on your site. You have to be confident in your web host. This is not a Coke vs Pepsi decision, in many cases this is a Coke vs Dish Water decision. If you see massive amounts of bad reviews about downtime and lousy support think to your self how much it would cost you to just have a little downtime with your hosting service and do your due diligence to try to find the best web host for you. Features are always important but it is the reliability and customer support which is going to keep you at the host you choose or force you to make a move elsewhere.

What’re your future plans with TigerSites and GreenGeeks? Where do you see them in 3 to 5 years time? Any chances for us to see VPS or dedicated hosting plans at any one of the company?

Actually we have already added dedicated servers this Summer, the pages announcing them will be going live on our sites in a week or so and we believe we have a great competitive offer in dedicated servers. In 3-5 years time we’ll still be here and we hope that by that time we will be even better known across the web hosting industry. This is a long term business plan for myself and all of here at the company and we look to even greater successes in the future.

That will be all for my questions, thanks again for your time! Is there anything you would like to add?

Yes, first thank you for allowing us the opportunity to better introduce ourselves, our company and our mission. I have a personal plea for all of those folks out there who are environmentally conscious as we are and that is the same thing that we state on our web site, if you decide to not choose Green Geeks or TigerSites for your web hosting (both are 300% Green) then please choose some other certified environmentally friendly web host.

Thank you and peace be with you!
Trey Gardner, CEO of GreenGeeks/TigerSites

Interviewer’s sidenote: What I think about GreenGeeks?

Given the fact that web hosting industry is producing more than 630kg of CO2 annually and growing to be as polluting as airline industry, isn’t time for us to rethink about our options in web hosting? Instead of picking up the cheapest or the one with most features, shouldn’t we consider the ‘green-est’ web hosting as well?

I still yet to run a through check on GreenGeeks hosting services but I’m extremely happy with their way of doing business so far – how the company execute their green policy, how their staff (TJ Williams especially) responded efficiently to my requests, and how the CEO response to my questions… everything is nothing but smooth and pleasure. If you care a lot about our environment and are looking for the right green hosting – GreenGeeks is a must-see. Learn more about the green hosting company at my GreenGeeks review; or, visit Greengeeks online here: http://www.greengeeks.com.