GreenGeeks review | TechRadar

GreenGeeks review | TechRadar

GreenGeeks is an American web hosting provider with 55,000 customers, managing 600,000 websites, and a lengthy 16 years of experience in green hosting.

The company goes well beyond the simple energy-saving tricks of other web hosts; it calculates its energy consumption each year, then pays for three times that in green energy and puts it back into the grid. That’s not just carbon neutral, it’s carbon reducing.

If that’s not enough, GreenGeeks has another simpler and more straightforward way to showcase its economic credentials: for every hosting account set up on the platform, the company plants one tree.

What types of hosting does GreenGeeks offer? 

GreenGeeks offers low cost shared hosting, ideal for personal users and simple business websites. 

WordPress and WooCommerce hosting allows you to build anything from a personal blog to a small web store.

VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is a powerful technology which gives your site access to more CPU, RAM and other system resources. It’s a smart choice for large or high-traffic sites, where top speeds are vital, and downtime could be a disaster.

It’s worth noting here that GreenGeeks does not have a dedicated server plan, probably because the company doesn’t see it as a very eco friendly option. The above-mentioned managed VPS range is your best option with GreenGeeks if you want added capacity for your websites. 

Next, we’ll break down GreenGeeks’ various hosting types, find out what they have to offer, and which might be the best solution for you. 

(Image credit: GreenGeeks)

GreenGeeks shared hosting

Opt for shared hosting and your website is stored on a single web server along with several others. The benefit of this scheme is it’s easy to use, and because everyone shares the server costs, it can be very cheap ($2 a month or even less.) But the disadvantage is all sites share the server’s CPU, RAM, network connection and more, reducing speeds.

GreenGeeks starter shared hosting plan, the Lite plan, more than covers the basics, with 50GB storage, unmetered bandwidth, free SSL, a free domain, a free migration to import your current site from another host, nightly backups, and top-quality industry-standard hosting tools, including Softaculous to automatically install WordPress and 150+ other apps, and cPanel for all your other hosting management needs. What’s more, it also offers 50 email accounts, which is much better than IONOS offering just one email account on all its shared hosting plans.

It’s a decent package with enough power for personal users and small websites, and is priced low in the first year at $2.95. However, it’s well worth noting that costs jump to $10.95 on renewal, at little more than the best of the competition.

The mid-range ‘Pro’ plan adds unlimited storage and support for unlimited websites (the Lite plan supports only a single website), along with on-demand backups (save a copy of your site whenever you like) and a WordPress repair tool. It’s more capable, and at $4.95 a month in year one, $14.95 on renewal, it’s also competitively priced. 

The Premium plan is aimed at small businesses with high traffic sites or web stores. It adds extra resources and high-end business-friendly extras, including premium SSL and smart object caching (a clever technology which uses the Memcached and Redis tools to accelerate website speeds). It’s a capable package worth considering for demanding sites, and looks fairly priced at $8.95 a month in year one, $25.95 on renewal.

You can also consider Hostinger, the best shared hosting service on the market right now. Its Business plan at $2.99 a month ($8.99 on renewal, then the standard $13.99 monthly price) supports 100 websites, a free domain, 100GB storage, 100 email addresses, free CDN, unlimited bandwidths, and daily backups. You also get the Hostinger website builder, a slew of security features, and great customer support.

GreenGeeks WordPress hosting 

WordPress is one of the most popular website creators around, and it’s easy to see why. Its huge range of add-ons can handle the most advanced of business and web store projects, yet it’s also accessible enough for home users to build simple family sites.

GreenGeeks’ WordPress hosting is essentially the shared hosting plan – same names, same prices – with a little extra focus on some helpful WordPress-related features.

The plans include free migration of your WordPress site from a previous host, for instance. You get on-demand WP backups, with automatic updates of WordPress and its plugins, and 99.9% uptime. GreenGeeks uses the LiteSpeed server and LS Cache plugin to optimize speed. Unusually, the company doesn’t just offer to scan your website for malware: the website says it’ll also help clean your site if anything malicious shows up.

The malware pledge is unusual for a budget hosting plan, but otherwise there are no real surprises here. If you’re happy with GreenGeeks’ shared hosting and only need the WordPress basics, these plans have you covered. But if not, take a look at DreamHost’s professionally managed WordPress hosting range. Here, you get a high-performance cloud server environment, support for up to one million visitors a month, specialist WordPress support, 1-click staging for easier website testing, and excellent security, too. 

While it’s admittedly not as cheap as GreenGeeks (the starter DreamPress plan is $16.95 billed monthly on a yearly subscription), it’s very good value for money for accelerated performance and business-critical sites. Even better, DreamHost is recommended by WordPress.org – the makers of WordPress. This is because DreamHost has greatly contributed to WordPress’s development in the last 10 years.

GreenGeeks VPS hosting 

VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is a system which divides one physical server into several smaller private pieces. Each gets its own set of server resources, not shared with other users, making for a far more powerful setup. A good VPS can run a large blog with hundreds of thousands of visitors monthly.

GreenGeeks has only three VPS plans. The cheapest is $39.95 billed monthly for 2GB RAM, 4 CPU cores and 50GB SSD storage. The top-of-the-range plan has 8GB RAM, 6 CPU cores and 150GB SSD storage for $109.95 billed monthly. 

There are a lot of positives here. As I mentioned, these are managed plans, which means GreenGeeks maintains the server for you (updating the operating system, installing security patches, monitoring the service for issues). A strong set of features includes free SSL, a free migration, cPanel server management, and the excellent Softaculous to automatically install WordPress or 150+ other apps. All plans have a generous 10TB bandwidth allowance, and prices are low considering what you get. Security is fantastic, too, with DDoS protection, custom security rules, and real-time 24/7 monitoring. 

If you’re looking for a lower to mid-range VPS, or new to this type of hosting and unsure exactly what you need, GreenGeeks is well worth considering. But with only three plans, and no configuration options, there’s not a lot of choice, and many users will be better off elsewhere.

Liquid Web, which features on our list of the best VPS hosting services, has a far wider range of plans, and is fairly customizable, too. The cheapest ‘Essential’ VPS is priced at $20 a month on a 2-year term and comes with 2 vCPU, 2GB RAM, 40GB SSD storage, and 10TB bandwidth, as well as robust security features. What’s more, you also get support for unlimited websites, 24/7/365 support from knowledgeable professionals, and a class-leading 100% network uptime and power guarantee – this is significantly better than GreenGeeks’ 99.9% uptime. 

GreenGeeks dedicated hosting

Opt for dedicated hosting and you get a web server for your site alone. That means no more sharing resources with others, no unexpected slowdowns because a neighboring site is suddenly busy: you just get the best speeds your hardware can manage, all the time.

GreenGeeks has only four dedicated plans. They start with a budget 2GB RAM, Intel Atom 330 Dual Core CPU system for $169 a month. At the top of the range, a 16GB RAM, 6-core Xeon E5-2620 2.0Ghz, 2x 500 GB SSD is $439, again billed monthly.

These prices are higher than most, a surprise considering how GreenGeeks offers such great deals everywhere else. We found we could save $100-$150 a month or more on some plans by choosing comparable servers at Hostwinds.

As with GreenGeeks’ VPS products, its dedicated hosting range is a little small. It covers the lower middle range of the market, but there’s plenty of gaps elsewhere. IONOS has some value unmanaged deals for experienced users, for instance, with prices starting at under $50. Or if it’s power you’re after, Liquid Web has dedicated servers for enterprise users, with as much as 32 cores and 128GB RAM.

GreenGeeks green hosting

GreenGeeks has been a ‘Green Power Partner’ since 2009, recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.  A highlight of GreenGeeks is that regardless of which plan you choose – shared, dedicated, VPS, or reseller – you are going to get a 300% green energy match. This means that it puts 3 times the energy that it consumes back into the grid. For this, it has partnered with Poland’s Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF). 

As the best green web hosting provider, GreenGeeks also plants one tree for every hosting account it provisions – this is thanks to its partnership with One Tree Planted. So, if you are environmentally-conscious and want to make a difference in the world by reducing carbon emissions, there’s hardly an option better for you than GreenGeeks.

GreenGeeks website builder templates

Automatically install WordPress or use GreenGeeks’ graphical site builder (Image credit: GreenGeeks)

Does GreenGeeks have a website builder? 

GreenGeeks’ shared hosting packages include a free version of the Weebly website builder. However, it’s not installed by default, and we didn’t see it mentioned in the dashboard, so many users may never even realize it’s available. But if you raise a support ticket, GreenGeeks will activate the free version for you. You also have the option to use SitePad or RVSitebuilder, but Weebly is what GreenGeeks advertises, and it’s also the one we recommend.

Weebly works much like many other website builders. Choose a starting website design from a selection of around 100; then customize basics like colors and fonts, if you like, or just drag and drop blocks of content onto the page – text, photos, forms, maps, more – and then add your own text and photos, just as you would in any other editor.

This is easy to use, and has a few more features than we’d expect for a free tool. Furthermore, there’s no limit on the number of pages your site can have, and you can even create a tiny web store for up to five products. 

Weebly Free is a fun app, and could be perfect for, say, allowing your kids to build their own personal sites. But the basic templates, limited features and Weebly ad on each page footer mean this isn’t something we’d recommend for serious use. And although you could pay to upgrade, Weebly isn’t the best website builder around, and we’d recommend you consider some alternatives.

Wix is a power-packed alternative with far better (and more – 800+) templates, vastly more features, a well-designed editor, and the ability to create truly professional business sites. Plus, it’s a website builder that can grow with your site, and fairly-priced $16/month and $27/month plans mean that it’s within reach for most users – and there’s also a free plan that gives you plenty of time to try before you buy.

Then there’s Hostinger’s AI website builder, which is available with its hosting plans starting at just $2.69 a month (renews at $7.99 a month). Upgrading to the Business Website builder plan ($3.59 a month, renews at $8.99 a month) gets you additional AI tools, such as AI Writer, AI Blog Generator, AI Image Generator, AI SEO Tools, and AI Heatmaps.

Web store WooCommerce

(Image credit: WooCommerce)

Can I build a web store with GreenGeeks? 

GreenGeeks has a WooCommerce hosting range which is very capable of building a top-quality web store (WooCommerce is one of the best ecommerce platforms around). As with GreenGeeks’ WordPress range, though, this is really just the shared hosting range underneath, with the same names, features, and prices.

This isn’t necessarily a problem. The plans can automatically install WooCommerce for you within seconds, and it really does have the power to handle even the largest and most demanding stores. However, because these are general-purpose shared hosting plans, GreenGeeks doesn’t offer you any helpful ecommerce extras or specialist WooCommerce support. 

That makes these more suitable for experienced users with some ecommerce experience, who are happy to set up and learn WooCommerce largely on their own. Plus, you can also purchase a dedicated IP address for your eCommerce store through GreenGeeks – for as little as $48/year.

If that’s not you at all, there are other options. As we discussed above, website builders are not only the easiest way to create a site, but many also support adding a web store. Most builders have only a fraction of the power of WooCommerce, but they’re enough for many stores. HostGator’s Gator website builder and Hostinger’s website builder can build basic stores for a few dollars a month, while GoDaddy and Wix cost more but include many extra features.

GreenGeeks web control panel

(Image credit: GreenGeeks)

How easy is GreenGeeks to use? 

The GreenGeeks control panel launches with a simple startup wizard, giving you useful advice on migrating or building your site, then getting it up and running.

Elsewhere, the control panel is refreshingly simple. Technical language is kept to a minimum, and sensibly-named options in a left-hand sidebar (Hosting, Domains, Security, Support) make it easy to find what you need.

Even when you drill down to more complicated areas, GreenGeeks does its best to keep life straightforward. Create an email account at DreamHost, for instance, and it prompts you with 12 options, including some you may never know existed (do you want to get daily warnings if your Inbox is nearly full?) GreenGeeks just asks you to enter an email address and password. You can still tweak more advanced settings; they’re just not displayed up-front.

GreenGeeks Softaculous application installer

(Image credit: GreenGeeks)

Best of all, GreenGeeks provides users with top-quality, industry-standard tools to manage all the most complex tasks, including Softaculous to automatically install WordPress and other apps, and cPanel to keep it running smoothly and perform tasks such as setting up email accounts, domain management, SEO tools configuration, and more.

Hosting can still be tricky at times, and you’ll have the occasional complicated challenge to overcome. But that’s the same with every provider, and GreenGeeks does a better job of simplifying the process than most.

GreenGeeks uptime score

(Image credit: Uptime.com)

How fast is GreenGeeks? 

Web host performance matters, even for simple and low traffic projects. If your site is slow or regularly down then you’ll annoy your visitors—and some may leave and never come back.

To find out how a provider performs, we sign up for a shared hosting package, set up a simple WordPress site using a standard template, then run various tests and compare the results with others. (Although this gives us useful information, keep in mind that we’re comparing basic shared hosting plans; our results can’t tell us anything about a provider’s VPS, dedicated or other plans).

We measure a host’s uptime by using Uptime.com to check our test website every five minutes over 14 days. GreenGeeks scored a perfect 100%, which means Uptime.com was able to access our test page every time it tried (that’s zero fails out of 3,744 tries).

Uptime.com also logs how long it waits for the server to respond to a request. GreenGeeks was speedy at 0.302 seconds (some providers took a second or more), and even better, response times were very consistent, varying by only 0.032 seconds across all 3,744 tests (only GoDaddy and SiteGround scored better in our last 15 tests). That’s good news, as it suggests GreenGeeks’ shared servers aren’t overloaded, and they have enough resources to cope with the websites they’re hosting.

However, it’s well worth noting that GreenGeeks officially offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee, which is admittedly decent, but rivals such as InMotion Hosting offer a rock-solid 99.999% uptime guarantee; then there are Liquid Web and DreamHost that knock it out of the part with 100% uptime guarantee.

GreenGeeks GTMetrix performance result

(Image credit: GTMetrix)

We check website performance by using GTmetrix to load a test WordPress site and calculate how long it takes to load the main page content (in technical speak, it’s called Largest Contentful Paint, or LCP). The lower your LCP, the snappier and more responsive your site feels, and the more likely it is that your visitors will stick around.

GreenGeeks’ LCP was a decent 0.691 seconds, similar to top names like Bluehost (0.603) and GoDaddy (0.667), and far ahead of budget providers such as Domain.com (1.5 seconds) and iPage (1.6 seconds).

GreenGeeks performance result

(Image credit: K6)

Finally, we use the online service k6 to measure how our test WordPress site handles many visitors at the same time. GreenGeeks fractionally underperformed here, with our site able to cope with a peak 19 requests per second and an average of 15 (most providers managed a peak 20 and an average of 15). But that’s not a difference you’re likely to notice in real life, and overall GreenGeeks performed very well.

GreenGeeks support page

(Image credit: GreenGeeks)

What is GreenGeeks support like? 

GreenGeeks offers 24/7 support via live chat, email tickets, telephone, and a website knowledgebase.

The support site isn’t very well organized, and it can be difficult to find the content you need. Fortunately, there are quite a few useful all-in-one tutorials covering various topics, which should suffice for most users. 

For example, the Getting Started with GreenGeeks guide links to articles on registering and setting up domains and DNS, creating email accounts, building your website, and managing your bills and accounts. That’s good to know and will point you in the right direction.

If the knowledgebase doesn’t work for you, then you can always contact the support team. We raised some test questions to see how it performed, and the results were excellent. 

Live chat responses were quick and helpful, and even opting for ticket support (often more appropriate with complex problems) didn’t leave us waiting for long. GreenGeeks’ free Weebly version isn’t enabled by default, for instance, and you must raise a support ticket to ‘activate’ it. 

We did, and GreenGeeks read our request, activated Weebly and replied to let us know, all in just a fraction under 50 minutes. What’s more, general queries via email have around 10-20 minutes of wait time; that’s a very acceptable response time, and suggests to us that GreenGeeks has plenty of support staff available to deal with questions as they arrive.

Final verdict

GreenGeeks’ has excellent shared hosting, with the features and speed to handle most personal and many SMB sites, as well as affordable prices. It’s admittedly weaker on WordPress and ecommerce, and the VPS hosting plans don’t have as much power as some of its top rivals, but there’s still plenty to like here.

For instance, GreenGeeks is hands down the best choice for anyone after an eco-friendly hosting provider. It’s also very easy to use, has great customer support, offers a wide range of security tools, and performance is pretty neat, too. The best part is that all of its plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can try it on for size without risking a single penny.


GreenGeeks FAQs

What payment types does GreenGeeks support?

GreenGeeks accepts payment via card only.

Does GreenGeeks offer refunds?

GreenGeeks has a simple 30-day money-back guarantee for all its main hosting products, regardless of the length of subscription. Unlike some providers, there’s no 30 days for this hosting product range, 15 days for that, something else again for monthly plans (GoDaddy only gives you 48 hours for subscriptions of less than a year). It’s 30 days and that’s that.

There are some restrictions for add-on products. You won’t get your domain registration or SSL certificate fees back, for instance, but that’s common to most hosts. (Although, as a plus this time, GoDaddy does offer refunds on some domain purchases.)

More significantly, renewal fees aren’t included. At SiteGround, you can cancel 15 days after renewing, and the company will give you all but your first month’s fees back. At GreenGeeks, the small print warns you must cancel your account at least five days before the renewal date ‘to ensure the billing date can stop any renewal charges’, and if you forget, and you’re charged, you’ve no right to a refund.

Does GreenGeeks have an uptime guarantee?

GreenGeeks claims to offer a ‘99.9% uptime guarantee’, but that’s no more than a hope, or a goal. If your site is down for more than 0.1% (or 43.83 minutes a month), you won’t get any form of compensation.

Some hosts do significantly better. SiteGround also has a 99.9% network uptime guarantee, for instance, but if your downtime is actually 99%, you’ll get a month of free hosting, and there’s another free month for every further 1%.

GreenGeeks data centers

(Image credit: GreenGeeks)

Where are GreenGeeks’ data centers?

Sign up with GreenGeeks and you can choose whether your site will be hosted in its US, Canadian, Netherlands or Singapore data centers.

That’s better than many providers, and good news for performance. If your website has a mainly European audience, for instance, hosting your site in the Netherlands means visitors are closer to your server, automatically giving you a little extra speed.

GreenGeeks IP address

(Image credit: GreenGeeks)

What is my GreenGeeks IP address?

Log into the GreenGeeks control panel.

Click Hosting, find your hosting account in the list and click Manage.

Your website server’s IP address is displayed as ‘IP’ in the Server Information panel.

What are GreenGeeks’ nameservers?

GreenGeeks shared hosting nameservers are chi-ns1.websitehostserver.net, chi-ns2.websitehostserver.net and ams-ns1.websitehostserver.net. 

How do I cancel a GreenGeeks product?

You can cancel a GreenGeeks hosting plan from the website cancellation request form.

Choose the service you’d like to cancel, complete and submit the form. You’ll receive an email from GreenGeeks, click the Confirmation link, and your request is processed within seven days.

Although this sounds simple enough, there are a couple of potential gotchas.

First, the company automatically renews your package 24 hours before the hosting date, so don’t leave this until the last minute.

And second, when you’re prompted to enter your email address in the cancellation form, you must enter the same address linked to your GreenGeeks account. If you don’t, the cancellation won’t be accepted, and if the renewal date is close, there’s a chance you’ll be billed again before you realize there’s a problem.

https://www.techradar.com/reviews/greengeeks

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