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GreenGeeks doesn’t really revolutionize anything in terms of features, ease of use, or pricing, but it does each of them well. What does set GreenGeeks’ shared hosting plans apart from literally every other host I tested was the support. 24/7 champion service, manned by the kind of people who really, really, want to help you. Who says you can’t get good help anymore?
GreenGeeks is a beginner-friendly hosting company with data centers in Chicago, Phoenix, Montreal, and Amsterdam. It has regular shared hosting, VPS hosting, and reseller hosting for anyone who’s interested in that sort of thing.
It’s all fairly standard, but there’s a twist. GreenGeeks obviously wants you to think it’s a good host – they all do – but it also wants you to know it’s morally and ethically good. You know, because it’s all about that green, both in the business sense and the eco-friendly sense.
Computer servers actually do contribute to the global greenhouse effect, to some extent, and GreenGeeks has taken some pains to minimize its carbon footprint, relying entirely on renewable energy, and even putting some of that energy back into the grid.
But this isn’t a review of GreenGeeks’ “good company” credentials. It’s a review of its shared/WordPress hosting plans on offer. Being eco-friendly is a good thing, but you still need your site to load quickly and reliably.
GreenGeeks’ site lists “WordPress hosting” and “web hosting” separately, but they are pretty much the same thing. The only real difference is between the actual hosting plans: you can host one site on the basic plans, and an unlimited number of sites on the other two.
Sadly, there aren’t any unlimited free tea refills, but there’s only so much you can reasonably ask for.
There’s every other basic thing you might need, though, including cPanel and Softaculous (which can install hundreds of different CMS and web apps in just a click or three). Plus, there’s a handy little site builder app if you want to keep it simple, and free site migrations if you already have a site hosted elsewhere.
The most advanced plan also comes with a dedicated IP address (a common add-on available for purchase with most hosts), and supposedly there’s also a “performance” difference between them.
That probably means there’s more allotted RAM on more expensive plans, but GreenGeeks is not specific about it. It just says “1x”, “2x”, and “4x”, whatever that means.
It’s very hard to find anything else to say about these plans, but I’ll try:
LiteSpeed Tech Makes Your Site, Well… Speedy
The LiteSpeed web server is the best thing since cheese (Cheddar or Oaxaca, specifically), but sadly, not enough hosts are using it. It’s fast, super reliable, and works fantastically with WordPress.
The LiteSpeed Cache integration means that your WordPress website will get cached (activating this is a one-click process), and the cached copies will be sent to your visitors. This drastically cuts down on processing time and system resources, freeing your website to handle more visitors – and do it faster.
The caching works better for static pages, and not so much dynamic, ever-changing sites like WooCommerce shops and user account-based projects. And it’s worth noting that competitors like Hostinger and InterServer are using LiteSpeed to greater degrees of success in terms of actual performance.
There’s Free SSL for All
Ah, SSL, the user-to-website encryption technology that, so far, is helping to keep the web fun. Incidentally, some search engines (e.g. Google) give priority to sites with SSL enabled, so it’s definitely something you want.
You can choose the free Let’s Encrypt SSL, which you can set up in seconds and is enough to padlock-protect you and your visitors. Or, you could go with the AlphaSSL Wildcard, a premium SSL service that can reliably serve and protect the most sensitive of projects.
Nerd stuff time: I tested my Let’s Encrypt certificate after installing it (using the Qualys tool), and got a phenomenal A+ rating. That’s the highest rating of all hosts in our global web host comparison project. Many got an A, but only GreenGeeks got an A+.
It All Runs on Renewable Energy Data Centers
True to their name, GreenGeeks is green. So green that it matches 300% of your usage with renewable energy credits. That means that by hosting with GreenGeeks, you are making a difference and helping the world just a bit.
That’s not something a lot of companies can say, so it’s nice to work with one that can.
The actual account area in the dashboard (Plans, Billing, and Support) was developed and designed by GreenGeeks, and they did a great job with it. It’s sleek, neat looking, and very easy to navigate. Many companies that choose to design this part of the service themselves screw up big time, so kudos.
The rest is handled by cPanel. If you’ve used it before, you know what to expect. If you haven’t, then it’s pretty easy to learn, and there are tutorials everywhere. cPanel has everything you need, even if it takes some poking around to find it.
There was an unfortunately common problem, though:
The Worst Fraud Detection System in the World Strikes Again
Getting my account activated took two days, as Greengeeks also uses a god-awful fraud detection system that basically flags signup attempts left and right. GreenGeeks is not alone in that. Many other hosts seem to use the same system, and this has happened to me before, but I’m not going to let it slide just because doing business badly is a common thing.
It’s like if you walked into a store, cash in hand, and they kicked you back out until you produced ID and several reams of paperwork.
Anyway, I had to make an international phone call to Canada and ask to get verified, after which I had to sign up again, send identification, and ask really nicely that this time the company would approve me. It did, but in total, I wasted almost two days on this thing.
At Least WordPress Is Easy to Install
WordPress can be easily installed through Softaculous, as usual. Again, if you’re familiar with cPanel, you know how amazing this is. For everyone else, theupshot is that you can install literally hundreds of different CMS and web apps easily.
For WordPress, you just have to type in some basic details, like the name of your brand new website, your login information, and your hopes and dreams, then just click the button to install it. (Okay, I made up the thing about your hopes and dreams. Artificial intelligence isn’t quite there yet.)
As with most things in life, there’s some good and some bad here. To properly test GreenGeeks’ performance, I set up a WordPress test site designed to emulate a real working site. It was a fancy page with all the trimmings, high-quality images, animations, everything.
As we do with every host we test, I asked tech support if they could recommend any website optimizations. This gives the host a chance to put its best foot forward. Turns out GreenGeeks has a pretty great foot (not like that), because the agent spent over an hour helping me optimize my testing site.
In the end, complete page loading speeds averaged out at 1.7 seconds, global loading speeds averaged 1.832s, and site uptime hit a respectable 99.991%. That’s all pretty good on paper, but the servers had trouble maintaining consistently good performance.
It’s not the worst, but could definitely be better.
If you’re interested in the ups and downs of server performance (see what I did there?), I’m about to get into that. If you want to learn about GreenGeeks’ absolute best feature right now, jump on down to the Support section.
I used GTmetrix to see how long the page would take to load completely, and Sucuri told me how long the page took to (not completely) load all over the world. UptimeRobot does what it says on the can: it measures the time your site stays up and running.
I ran each test several times over a few months, and this is what happened:
To give context to that 1.7 second average loading time, the fastest time was 0.8s, and the slowest was 2.4s. Keep in mind that people start to move on and do other things with their lives (like have friendships, I guess) if your site doesn’t load in under 2s.
In that context, loading speeds are really all over the place – from really great to pretty slow, and everything in between. The average speed is almost the dictionary definition of web hosting performance.
Many hosts do worse, and many do better. Specifically, GreenGeeks doesn’t even hold a candle to speed champions Kinsta, Liquid Web, and Hostinger. It does do much better than mediocre hosts like GoDaddy.
The average loading times around the world vary even more, given the physical distance between servers. The fastest average loading speed is 0.752 seconds, the average-average is (again) 1.832s, and the slowest average comes in at 4.552s.
Might as well make yourself a coffee while the site loads. Even the fastest global speed is about 6 times slower than Kinsta’s fastest speed. Here’s what that looks like:
99.991% over almost two months. There’s nothing to complain about here. GreenGeeks guarantees 99.9% uptime, and so far, it’s definitely been true to its word.
To sum the overall performance up, this is reasonably reliable stuff, but relative to the great hosts, it’s pretty slow. I don’t even want to think about how slow it could’ve been if we hadn’t optimized the site.
This is where GreenGeeks truly shines. And I don’t mean shines as in just “does a great job.” GreenGeeks provides the best support experience of any other host I’ve tested, ever, hands down.
Sound too good to be true? Like I’m exaggerating? Well, let me tell you this: I’m not an easy-going customer. I love taking customer support agents to their limits, and seeing when or how the promised customer support breaks down. If they tell me off, well, that’s just another screenshot for my review.
But Greengeeks just never let me down. These guys were there on both live chat and phone, 24/7, all the time. They answered immediately, and stayed with me patiently. I played an annoying customer that needs help with everything, and when I saw that they were being helpful, I became even more annoying. But they kept helping.
I think they might even have been smiling and happy on the other side. Or at least that’s how I imagine them.
The agents are all English speakers that have been handpicked from all over the world, and we’re talking about a team of actual professionals. This already makes life easier (many hosts outsource support to people who can’t even speak English in full sentences), and talking with the GreenGeeks people was always smooth and easy.
Before signup, I contacted support and asked about the plans, speeds, server locations, and more. The agent was super friendly and very knowledgeable. At the end, I even requested that he “help” me with the setup fee – that is, remove it – and he obliged. I was given a coupon code, and paid much less that I otherwise would have.
After signing up, I contacted support for help with connecting my domain and installing WordPress. Agents were at my service in no time, ready with exact instructions on what I needed to do. This is the difference between an agent who can help you, given enough time, and one that’s so well versed in your needs, that they have the answers ready.
Keep in mind that if you’re a beginner, and are kind of lost with everything that needs to happen, these people are your best bet. They will explain the steps, help you implement them, and guide you from zero to hero.
This attitude presented itself best when I opened a ticket and asked for help with optimizations for my website. Many hosts say “here’s a guide,” or give you a gentle “not my problem.” GreenGeeks’ support agent took my request very seriously, and – like a pro web developer – went and optimized each and every part of my website. They installed plugins, configured them, edited what needed to be edited, and explained it all in great detail.
This was super helpful, and a huge money saver. This kind of service can cost you hundreds of dollars from a web developer.
Monthly pricing is pretty average, but signing up for a longer period can net you great savings. Your payment term options are 1, 12, 24, or 36 months. Pay for 36 months in advance, and you’ll only pay around $2.49 a month.
There are no automatic upsells, but a hidden setup fee was included with my monthly plan, and a big one at that: $15. Setup fees are a total scam, as the machine does everything. They’re only there to push you towards a longer and more expensive commitment, and I don’t appreciate that.
Still, as previously mentioned, the GreenGeeks agent I talked with before signing up gave me a coupon code that completely removed this fee, so I have no complaints.
A full money-back refund is available within the first 30 days, and a free domain is also included with 12-month plans and longer. Buying the domain yourself from GreenGeeks is not very cheap, and not recommended.
The most annoying part of GreenGeeks’ pricing comes from their sub-par integration with PayPal. Technically, you can pay with any major credit card or PayPal. The credit card payments work alright, but are prone to fraud flags. In my case, that led to a two-day verification process.
Paypal would’ve been the better option, but this was a big-time disappointment – there are no automatic PayPal payments. That means that instead of setting up a monthly subscription through PayPal, like most hosts let you do, GreenGeeks generates a payment invoice every month and you have to then pay manually.
What if you forget to do it, like any normal person would? That would lead to a termination of services, of course. That’s exactly what happened to me, too, after three months. GreenGeeks really could have done better in this sense.
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November 10, 2020
Best ecofriendly green hosting
Greengeeks outstanding customer service has an extensive knowledge base that can also assist you instead of asking to use self-help. The price starts at $2.95 per month with an unconditional 30-day money-back guarantee (renewal price is $9.95 per month). It was ranked 4.5 out of five stars. Its central emphasis is the high technology success of GREENGEEKS. In this WordPress and WordPress hosting analysis log, you can get an idea of why GREENGEEKS is the # 1 Green Energy Web Hosting Par Par of the World.
I read through your blog here and took your advice and just pulled up the chat and a nice agent answered a couple questions, recommenced the lowest plan and then walked me through signing up. He immediately found my order number and put it through. So was up and starting immediately. I had to install the SSL, but I see a paid version is for e-commerce. So I will likely do this later. I can purchase it through Namecheap for less though. I see a limited number of templates for Softalicious but it will get me started. I feel confident in their customer service. Time will tell if I can actually build this blog gallery website, being brand new to WP. They do have very good demos before you select a theme. Artladi
In short? The best reason to choose GreenGeeks is that you need excellent support. No other host, especially not within this price range, employs such helpful agents. If you’re starting out and need a guiding hand to show you all the ins and outs of the hosting world, go with GreenGeeks. Its support team has the knowledge and the patience to help you out.
If you really don’t need that kind of help, it’s much harder to recommend GreenGeeks. It’s pretty slow, and features are standard at most. If you want great support that does come with the best hosting available, Kinsta is a better choice, even though it’s much more expensive.
Do I need to pay extra for backups with GreenGeeks?All plans include automatic daily backups for free. However, on-demand backups are limited to the Pro and Premium plans. Is GreenGeeks better value than Bluehost?Definitely. Automatic daily backups and important security features are only available as premium add-ons with Bluehost. Despite similar prices, GreenGeeks offer these features for free. You can check out our coupon page to see the latest deals.Which of GreenGeeks’ plans is the best value for money?The Lite shared hosting plan is very cheap but still provides some impressive features, such as automatic daily backups and WordPress management. That said, some of the hosts on our list of the best web hosting services in 2021 offer even better value.Does it matter where you buy your domain name?No. You can use your domain name with any web host, so you don’t have to purchase it from your hosting provider. This means you can easily transfer your domain to another host or registrar for a potentially better deal. For instance, GreenGeeks offers a free domain renewal for a year upon transfer.
Brent is a freelance web developer who loves experimenting with new technology and sharing his experiences with others. While his career life can get hectic sometimes, he always makes time for the important things in life: good coffee, good wine, and quality time with his twin boys, Aiden and Sean.