GreenGeeks Review

Reviewed by: Jerry Low . .
  • Review Updated: Jun 25, 2020
GreenGeeks
Plan in review: Ecosite Pro
Reviewed by:
Rating:
Review Updated: June 25, 2020
Summary
GreenGeeks is Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) certified green hosting company. They are very affordable (signup at $2.95/mo) and performed well in our server speed test.

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.

GreenGeeks Review Summary


 

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.

greengeeks green certificate
GreenGeeks green certificate issued by EPA and BEF.

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)

GreenGeeks rated “A+” in recent Bitcatcha speed test (see actual test result here).

WebPage Speed Test – from Dulles, Virginia

GreenGeeks speed test results
GreenGeek speed test at WebpageTest.org. TTFB from server located at United States = 459ms (see actual test results here).

WebPage Speed Test – from Singapore

Singapore speed test for GreenGeeeks hosting
GreenGeek speed test at WebpageTest.org. TTFB from server located in Singapore = 1,390ms.

WebPage Speed Test – from Frankfurt, Germany

GreenGeek speed test at WebpageTest.org. TTFB from server located in Germany = 174ms (actual test result here).

 

3. Choice of Server Locations

GreenGeeks' data centres are in Chicago, Phoenix, Toronto and Amsterdam.

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.

To initiate your free site migration request at GreenGeeks, log in to your GreenGeeks Account Manager > Support > Site Migration Request > Select a Service > Provide old hosting account information.

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.

Screen shot of SitePad editor.
There are 337 pre-built website themes available at GreenGeeks' SitePad at time of writing.

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.

Adding a free SSL to your domain at GreenGeeks is super easy with the new dashboard. See official guide to learn more.

* Note: Existing GreenGeeks users – switch to the new GreenGeeks AM control panel to access this SSL tool.

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.

Overall in term of resources available for help, GreenGeeks surpasses easily 80 percent of the web hosts I’ve encountered so far.

 


 

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.

The highlighted fees are non-refundable. We chatted with the company sales rep to confirm this.
To make things worse, this is not disclosed in GreenGeek Term of Service. Screenshot of GreenGeeks ToS (April 18th, 2018) – Not a word is mentioned about the non-refundable setup fees.

 

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.

FeaturesEcosite StarterEcosite ProEcosite Premium
Storage / BandwidthUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Addon DomainsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
CPU Cores223
Memory384 MB512 MB1024 MB
Dedicated IP$48/year$48/year$48/year
Disk I/O4 MB/sec10 MB/sec20 MB/sec
Signup (12-mo)$4.95/mo$7.95/mo$13.95/mo
Signup (24-mo)$3.95/mo$6.95/mo$12.95/mo
Signup (36-mo)$2.95/mo$5.95/mo$11.95/mo

 

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”:

A hosting account is considered using “Excessive amounts of resources” when it consumes 100% of the allocated resources on the subscribed hosting plan and/or subscribed scalable resource add-on(s) and/or 75,000 files also known as “Computing Resources”, and/or “Resources”, and/or “Resource Usage”.

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.

GreenGeeks Alternatives

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

 


 

GreenGeeks Special Promo (Save 70%)

GreenGeeks is currently running a special anniversary promotion. You can enjoy a one-time 70% discount during signup when you order through our link. The promo code “10yearsgreen” will apply automatically on the checkout page.

The EcoSite Starter plan starts at $2.95/month after discount (see image below).

Click here to order GreenGeeks a discounted price now!

 

(P/S: Links point to GreenGeeks in this review are affiliate links – if you purchase via this link, it will credit me as your referrer. This is how we keep this site alive for more than a decade. Buying via my link doesn’t cost you more – please support us if you find our hosting reviews are helpful. )

About Jerry Low

Founder of WebHostingSecretRevealed.net (WHSR) - a hosting review trusted and used by 100,000's users. More than 15 years experience in web hosting, affiliate marketing, and SEO. Contributor to ProBlogger.net, Business.com, SocialMediaToday.com, and more.