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 2006 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.
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 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.
About GreenGeeks, the Company
- Established: 2006
- Headquarter: Agoura Hills, CA
- Services: Shared, VPS, reseller hosting
GreenGeeks Special Discount: 60% Off
Use promo code “TAKE60OFF” to enjoy a one-time 60% discount during signup.
To order, click here.
Server Test: How Fast and Stable is GreenGeeks?
Our Experience & Thoughts:
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.
BitCatcha Speed Test
WebPage Speed Test – from Singapore
WebPage Speed Test – from Dallas, Texas
WebPage Speed Test – from London, UK
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 centre in this location, but the timings are still pretty good.
GreenGeeks Uptime: Mixed Results
Monitoring of our server at GreenGeeks over the first month period showed that it does meet a 99.9% uptime service delivery rate.
However, results for March / April 2018 wasn’t as great.
GreenGeeks Uptime Guarantee
GreenGeeks’ first month 99.94% uptime does meet the company’s 99.9% guarantee, but this is another case of a guarantee that doesn’t really mean anything. Aside from adherence to a 30-day money back guarantee, there does not seem to be any real penalty to the company for breaching the uptime levels mentioned:
GreenGeeks offers customers a no-questions asked money back guarantee on the hosting service that we provide. If you decide to cancel within the money back guarantee period of 30 days, we will provide you with a full refund less any setup fees, and domain registration or transfer costs.
GreenGeeks Hosting & Green Features
Our Experience & Thoughts:
The Truth Behind GreenGeek 300% Green Hosting
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.
Environmentally Cooled Equipment
Aside from that, there is also the fact that one of their data centres is in Toronto. In recent years, several data centres 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 centres 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.
Choice of Server Locations
GreenGeeks’ data centres are in Chicago, Phoenix, Toronto and Amsterdam.
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.
GreenGeeks Customer care
Our Experience & Thoughts:
24 x 7 live chat & phone support
GreekGeeks runs the gamut in terms of customer service, having almost everything a web host seeker would want. They not only have 24/7 email support, phone support and live chat, but also some interesting resources you can leverage on.
Comprehensive knowledge base
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).
There are also a limited number of what I would call ‘essential guides’ and include:
- How to Make a Website
- How to Transfer a Website
- How to Start a Web Hosting Business
- How to Start a Blog
- How to Start an Online Store
The resources are quite detailed and useful at giving those newer to the game a heads up – before making a purchase decision. I strongly recommend you have a peep here before buying any hosting plan. Of course, please also supplement those with one of our detailed reviews on web hosts.
Overall in term of resources available for help, GreenGeeks surpasses easily 90 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 Customer Complaints
This is where I have no choice but to include the “BUT”.
For all the surface promises that GreenGeeks is making, it appears that there are a fair number of complaints dedicated to this host.
Customer service is one of the most critical elements of a web host, and if even after more than ten years in the business, people are still complainant – there is likely a problem.
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.
To make things worse, this is not disclosed in GreenGeek Term of Service.
* Click to enlarge image.
Is GreekGeeks Worth Paying For?
GreenGeeks = One-Stop Budget Hosting Solution
This is one of the most interesting parts of GreenGeeks, their hosting plans. Their offerings boil down to one single plan, although it’s marketed as both shared hosting as well as WordPress hosting.
For a sign-on fee of $3.95 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.
For example, not only is web space unlimited, but it’s SSD storage, which is fast. Then there is the daily backup, 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.
If you’re looking for something a little more such as a dedicated server you will have to get in touch with them to get a quote based on your exact requirements.
The Bottom Line: Affordable Eco-Friendly Host
- Environmental friendly – 300% green hosting (industry’s top)
- Excellent server speed – rated A and above in all speed test.
- More than 15 years of proven business track record.
- Free sites migration for new customers.
- Well worth the money – $3.95/mo to host unlimited sites in one account (with daily backup)
- Our test site goes below 99.9% uptime in March / April 2018.
- Customer complaints on billing practices.
- A non-refundable $15 setup fee is charged during purchase.
- Price increase during renewal.
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.
I would, however, lack the confidence to host anything larger or more mission critical here.