Go shopping for web hosting and care for the environment are probably not high on your list of priorities, but maybe it’s time to change that. With more than eight million data centers worldwide, they now account for 2% of global CO2 emissions, about as much as the aviation industry. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. GreenGeek’s environmentally friendly web hosting is not only ‘carbon neutral,’ the company explains, it’s also effectively ‘carbon-reducing.’ Here is our GreenGeeks Hosting review.
Signing up with GreenGeeks is easy. Choose your preferred plan, register a domain for free (or use a domain you already own) and enter your contact information to create an account. Choose a payment method (card and PayPal are supported), share with your money, and wait for your account to be activated.
The GreenGeeks site explains that new accounts must go to ‘internal controls’ to detect fraudulent orders, and if they fail, they may need to be verified by phone. However, this was not a problem for us. A few minutes after paying, GreenGeeks activated our account and sent us a welcome email with login details, a reference to a Getting Started guide, and other useful information.
GreenGeeks’ web account console is simple and straightforward and makes it very easy to find out what you will do now. There’s no scrolling through endless advertisements trying to convince you to buy more stuff, as we’ve seen with some hosts; instead, your new hosting plan is at the top of the page, and there are clear links to manage the account, launch cPanel, or open a support ticket.
GreenGeeks Hosting Review: Creating a website
Launching cPanel from the GreenGeeks web dashboard opens a full cPanel setup that offers several ways to create and manage a website. Access to Softaculous allows quick installation of WordPress, MediaWiki, Joomla, Drupal, and hundreds of other popular apps. There are more powerful auto-installers nearby – GoDaddy and Ionos use Installatron, which is full of features – but Softaculous supports more apps and has all the functionality that most users will need.
GreenGeeks’ cPanel also gives users access to the SitePad website builder. Unusual is that there is not just a single launcher; cPanel also shows thumbnails of website templates in a SitePad Themes section. This is a nice touch that makes it much easier for beginners to see what SitePad can do.
By launching SitePad, you get more templates to customize in a handy drag and drop editor. Replace the standard text and images, add new page widgets (buttons, multimedia, social media links, maps, contact forms, more), and you have a reliable site ready to use. Unlike some other hosts, GreenGeeks does not limit the number of pages or the size of your SitePad website and hopes you pay to upgrade. You can add as many pages, images, and other website elements as you need.
Further options are uploading your website files via FTP or adding them manually via a browser-based file manager. Whichever way you create a site, GreenGeeks bundles the excellent cPanel to help you manage it. Our account had a standard installation with options to view server status, create email accounts, manage databases, check security, and anything else we might expect.
There are also one or two bonus options, including integration with Cloudflare CDN. This doesn’t do much – you still have to set up your account separately, all you get is an icon that makes it easier to access your settings – but it’s still a small time saver, and we’re glad it’s included in the package.
If that seems a bit too complicated or time-consuming, keep in mind that GreenGeeks also offers a free website migration. That probably doesn’t apply to a large web store, but if you have a simple static site or a WordPress blog, tell GreenGeeks when you sign up, and the company should be able to transfer it to your webspace without you having to do anything.
GreenGeeks Hosting review: Performance
No matter how warm and comfortable you feel about GreenGeeks’ environmentally conscious hosting, it must be reliable too. There’s no point in having a website if it’s not accessible when visitors need it. We use Uptime.com to monitor the availability of a test site for over seven days. Every five minutes, Uptime downloads the main page of our site, recording the success or failure of the site and the server’s response time.
GreenGeeks managed a perfect 100% uptime, without a single failure over more than 2,000 checks. We would expect this in the short term, but it is by no means guaranteed. (Many hosts proudly claim they offer 99.9% uptime, and while that sounds good, 0.1% downtime still translates to about 10 minutes a week).
Geeks response time averages a respectable 292ms. Most shared hosting plans manage about 200-400ms, so GreenGeeks is somewhere in the middle of the package. (Keep in mind that we benchmark GreenGeeks cheapest hosting plans, though – upgrading may yield very different results).
Consistency was more of a highlight. GreenGeeks’ highest logged response time was a long 939ms, but only a handful of results were over 500ms. Usually, there was about 300ms, an excellent performance considering the price you pay.
GreenGeeks Hosting Review: Pricing and plans
Even the most basic Lite plan comes with unlimited storage and bandwidth, a free website migration, free domain registration for one year, cPanel site management, Softaculous one-click installer, unlimited subdomains, free SSL, CDN integration, and a choice of five data centers (two in the U.S., two in Canada, one in Amsterdam.) It is also generally inexpensive, with $2.95 per month over three years, $4.95 per year, or $9.95 per month billed.
These are standard prices, so you won’t be surprised when you renew. (HostGator‘s similar Hatchling plan can be $2.75 a month for the first three years, but after that, it jumps to $6.95). Support is available 24/7/365 via email and live chat, and GreenGeeks’ call center is open 9:00 AM to 12 AM EST seven days a week.
Upgrading to GreenGeeks $5.95 per month Pro plan gets additional performance and support for hosting unlimited websites. In contrast, the $11.95 Premium plan further boosts speed and brings in premium SSL and a dedicated IP.
The GreenGeeks website has a page on WordPress hosting, but this is just an alternative way to market the same shared hosting plans. It is the right product, but GreenGeeks does not offer WordPress optimized server caching site staging or the other more advanced extras you get with specialized WordPress plans from providers such as IONOS, Bluehost, and A2 Hosting.
GreenGeeks Hosting Review: VPS plans
VPS plans are of excellent value, with, e.g., a fully managed 2GB RAM, four-core, 50GB storage, and 10TB bandwidth setup costing just $39.95 per month, billed per month. (As with shared hosting, this is the standard price, not a discounted price that will double or triple).
However, there are hardly any configuration options. No unmanaged budget hosting, no choice of distro or Windows hosting options, no storage or RAID options, not even a selection of data centers (it’s only in the US.) Hostwinds has similar pricing but much more basic plans and is available in managed and unmanaged, Linux, and Windows types.
All shared, and a 30-day money-back guarantee protects VPS hosting. There used to be a catch that only covered cancellations ‘because of the inability to provide satisfactory services,’ but that has now expired. If you are dissatisfied with the service for any reason, you can ask for a refund.
GreenGeeks Hosting Review: Servers
GreenGeeks’ dedicated servers look a little more expensive, with even the entry-level dual-core Intel Atom, with only 2GB of RAM, priced at $169 per month. (And there is no option to order online – you will be asked to contact the sales team for more information).
However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a deal-breaker, especially if choosing green hosting is a top priority. Using a low power CPU makes sense; GreenGeek’s investment in renewable energy inevitably means additional costs; and while the company can’t compete with the energy-consuming price competition, it’s not too far away. If your conscience is more important than your money, the servers might be worth a look.
GreenGeeks Hosting Review: Customer support
Good customer service is one of the strengths of any major web hosting company. GreenGeeks know this all too well, which is why they offer multiple methods to help their customers or anyone interested in using their services. If you want direct help, the support team can be reached via email, phone, or live chat. Besides, GreenGeeks claims to deliver a waiting time of about 15-20 minutes when you contact them via email.
The environmentally friendly approach of GreenGeeks distinguishes their services from the busy web hosting industry. Their commitment to compensate used energy with 300% wind credit certainly sets the bar for other web hosts who want to reduce their environmental footprint. Whether or not to settle for GreenGeeks ultimately depends on your budget and hosting needs, plus how this company is doing against the competition.
Overall, GreenGeeks can be an exciting choice for price, reliable server performance, competitiveness, and green effort.
GreenGeeks is not a great web host, but his shared hosting plan is decent, and the 300% renewal energy investment is the best we've seen on the eco-friendly front.
- 300% power offset with renewable energy
- Loads of features
- US, Canada, and EU data centers
- Great value
- Setup fee with monthly-billed shared hosting
- Not much content on the support site
- Phone support isn't 24/7