Founded in 2006, GreenGeeks now hosts more than 300,000 websites for 35,000 customers from more than 150 countries. It’s a California-based U.S. company which has a global workforce.
GreenGeeks is a hosting provider which focuses on…you guessed it…green energy. According to the website, it’s the “industry’s leading eco-friendly web hosting provider” and it puts back three times the power it comsumes, in the form of renewable energy.
The hosting is powered by multiple worldwide data centers located in Phoenix, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, and Amsterdam. Despite the company’s global presence, the website is only available in English.
Alongside strong environmental claims, the company commits to 99.9% uptime and 100% customer satisfaction. This is quite impressive, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the perfect host for everyone.
Is GreenGeeks designed exclusively for geeks, or is it suited to beginners? Let’s take a deeper look and see.
By the end of this review, we’ll have dug into the data, such as uptime, performance, and customer support experience, and uncovered whether (or not) GreenGeeks is right for you.
Ready? Let’s go.
More than just green credentials?
GreenGeeks is a comprehensive website hosting company, offering all the basic features you’d expect — such as SSL support, automatic backups, SPAM protection, and a free CDN. The plans even include a free website building tool and free website migration in case you’re moving from another host.
All this might not seem like anything special, but now let’s take a look at the more unique value-added features.
GreenGeeks hosting plans include a selection of features and tools to optimize page load speed and enhance performance. For instance, there’s SSD storage (for disk read/write speeds up to ten times faster), RAID 10 configuration (to mitigate against data loss), and PowerCacher (in-house caching technology to ensure your website is delivered quickly).
GreenGeeks does a good job of catering to both beginners and developers. Well, given the name GreenGeeks, you’d expect that.
As well as support for PHP up to version 7.1, there’s the usual database features such as FTP access and MySQL.
Additionally, you get SSH and SFTP access to securely upload your files, and if you’re looking for advanced scripting languages, there the latest versions of Perl and Python are supported. Also, for developers, you get Git access, WP-Cli, Drush and more.
Cloudflare Content Delivery Network (CDN)
It’s not the most unusual feature, but another value-add, which is often not included for free, is the Cloudflare CDN. This means your website will be served quickly from any worldwide location, which will make it load faster. It will also be protected from DDoS attacks.
All the plans come with a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. Alternatively, you can purchase a premium GlobalSign Wildcard SSL. What’s more, the container-based technology means your data is isolated and won’t be affected if you have antisocial neighbors who experience peaks in traffic or, worse still, malicious traffic.
Ease of use
Beginner-friendly or overly simple?
GreenGeeks is aimed at beginners and small website owners. One one hand, this means it’s a little lacking in complex or premium features. On the other hand, it means it’s easy to use and simple to manage.
Nightly Automatic Backups
Mistakes can and do happen. Hardware can fail or data can accidentally be deleted. In the event that this happens to you, with GreenGeeks you can be reassured that your data is backed up nightly. You don’t have to pay extra for this service (unlike with other hosts) and it’s included in every plan.
cPanel and Softaculous
If you’re a beginner website owner, meet your new best friends; cPanel and Softaculous.
From your user-friendly cPanel, you can access the Softaculous one-click installer, which includes a premium offering of 250 programs. It’s easy to use and with just a few clicks, you can install popular CMSs like WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal.
While it may take a few minutes to get used to, believe me, this setup will save you time in the long run.
Automatic WordPress Updates
The WordPress plans come with automatic WordPress updates. This means your WordPress website will automatically be upgraded to the latest version and your WordPress installation will be kept secure with the latest security updates. No more manual updates, woohoo!
Creating an Account
One of the things I tested for this review was GreenGeek’s account creation process. My account was simple and straightforward to get set up, taking only a few minutes in total. Any questions throughout the process were immediately resolved by the helpful live chat agent. You can read about my full experience here.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
GreenGeeks is an excellent choice for new website owners, largely due to the simple admin and control panel, which allows you to install WordPress with a couple of clicks. If you’re in doubt at any point throughout the process, which you can read about here, it’s really easy to refer to the help documents or hop on live chat with an agent.
A+ Performance from GreenGeeks
GreenGeeks has a 99.9% uptime guarantee. I had to confirm this with customer service, as it’s not explicit in the terms and conditions, but in the event of excessive downtime due to the fault of the server, credit will be applied to your account.
When researching online, I couldn’t find any negative customer experiences relating to GreenGeeks performance or uptime. Customer sentiment appears to be positive and third-party reviews cite an average uptime of well above 99.9%.
I didn’t want to just take other people’s word for it, though, so I also ran my own Sucuri Page Load Test. The results were good, with an overall performance grade of A+. The vast majority of locations had page load times of less than half a second, with only New York taking longer.
There’s a variety of methods to get in touch with customer service. You can contact the team via live chat 24/7 (the company promises instant response time). You can call the helpline Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 12:00 AM EST and Saturday to Sunday from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM EST. There’s also an email, but it’s only available for existing customers.
If you prefer to solve your issue on your own, there’s a substantial knowledge base, along with how-to tutorials on hundreds of useful topics. Overall, the level of support both in person and online is good.
Throughout the setup process, I jumped on live chat several times, sometimes to ask questions about features, and other times to request support. Each time, the agent picked up instantly and answered my question in full. The person I spoke to was always helpful, polite, and well-informed. I can’t complain about the service in any way.
I encountered an issue when I was trying to install the free Cloudflare CDN. When I hopped on live chat to get assistance, the agent opened a support ticket for me. I was advised to wait for the issue to be resolved and my ticket would then be updated.
True to their word, within a couple of hours, the issue was resolved and I was notified via email. Another win for GreenGeeks.
I wanted to check if I could get support through the social media channels, although they weren’t listed as the official methods to get support.
I asked a basic question (“What are your support hours?) and shortly after received a polite response, although it didn’t answer my question. Instead, it advised me to contact support using live chat, which was fine with me, considering the level of support I had received previously.
At first, GreenGeek’s prices seem cheap. However, once you dig into the checkout process, the situation becomes a lot less positive. To benefit from the cheap prices which are advertised you need to sign up for a three-year term. While this is a pet peeve of mine, it’s common practice for hosts to display prices in this way.
You can purchase a one-month, one-year, two-year, or three-year term, but you are really incentivized to buy the longer terms. For instance, the monthly plan incurs a setup fee and you need to pay for a domain name, while anything over one year includes free domain registration and the setup fee is waived.
You can pay by major credit card only, which could be an issue for some people. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans, which goes some way to counter the fact you need to sign up for three years to get the best prices.
Cancellation & Refunds
If you decide to cancel your account, it’s easy to do it via the online cancellation form. If you need to request a refund, you’ll have to submit a ticket. Neither is difficult and it can be done entirely via your dashboard. Read about my cancellation experience in full.