GreenGeeks which is the subject of this review is one of the first “Green” web hosting companies. I for one am happy that the green movement has even spread to the hosting industry.
I don’t want to get into politics of it too much but let me just say this, if every one of us did our part, no matter how small, we would have a much cleaner and better planet to live one.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. I got an account with GG about a year ago when I needed a new host for one of my smaller niche sites. What you are about to read is my personal experience with this web host.
Who Is GreenGeeks?
A Californian web host, GreenGeeks.com, started life in 2006. Its founder, and CEO is Trey Gardner, a web hosting veteran with more than 13 years exposure to the industry.
GG boasts of an impressive array of data centers; each equipped with solid infrastructure such as raised floors, climate control, round the clock security, fire retardant systems, water detection systems, UPS & generators.
It may not be in the business for a long time yet. But Gardner has definitely been, with a marquee resume that shows off 15 years experience with outstanding companies like iPowerWeb and Lunarpages. Interestingly, GG was conceived when Gardner found out that the web hosting industry collectively is set to be among the world’s biggest polluters.
The name GreenGeeks was inspired by the green energy movement, but the staff employed were serious web hosting buffs. By the time the company was launched in 2006, the employee showed off a combined 40 years of web hosting experience.
GG is discerning enough to stick to only the most modern and powerful servers and hardware, which ensure maximum reliability of its service.
True to their earth preservation commitment, the company buys wind power credits and the company undertakes to help fund the production of three times the energy (green) used to run their data centers.
As for their Better Business Bureau rating, when I checked bbb.org, I was given this message:
BBB is currently updating its files on all businesses in the Greater Los Angeles area and pending that review, a BBB rating is unavailable. However, this business is Accredited by BBB, which means that the business has committed to meeting our standards.
I will check back and update this page if and when the BBB changes that.
That said, it does mention that GreenGeeks is a BBB accredited business and it has been so since 2009.
What impressed me the most though was the very small number of complaints against the company. Usually, big companies have lots of negative reviews and complaints against them on BBB.org.
For example, comparing GreenGeeks vs HostGator, you can see that HostGator has more than 120 complaints against it (Read more about complaints against HostGator), whereas GG Hosting has only 8 complaints in total which all of them seem to have been resolved. That certainly is a good sign.
GreenGeeks Hosting Plans & Pricing
Only Linux/Unix-powered servers are employed here. Due to the obvious absence of Windows server, its service does not cover ASP or .NET technology.
- Shared Hosting – $6.95
GreenGeeks’ shared web hosting is packaged into ONE simple price plan that is competitive by any industry standard. The plan covers unlimited disk storage space, bandwidth and allows for unlimited domains.
- VPS Hosting – Starting from $39.95/mo
For VPS hosting, there are 5 different plans; with the lowest starts from 25 GB of RAID-10 storage space, 500 GB of bandwidth and 512 MB of memory, and the top end offer 125 GB storage 1,500 GB bandwidth and 2,048 MB of memory.
- Dedicated Hosting – Staring from $169.00/mo
Though dedicated server hosting is among the services on offer at GreenGeeks, as mentioned in their website, but an interested customer would need to write in to request for a quote as no pricing information is available on their website.
- Reseller Hosting – Starting from $19.95/mo
For its network of resellers, there are 5 different plans on offer. They promise unlimited disk space and bandwidth for all plans, but there are different price bands, in accordance with the number of resold accounts. The most basic one is the Seed account, with 10 resold accounts allowed, and followed by Sprout that allows 25, Plant (50), Tree (100) and Forest (250).
Please do keep in mind that just like many other hosts, they do run promotional offers as well, combine that with coupons and discount codes you can find online and you can get the same plans for much lower than the listed prices.
What Kind of up Time Can You Expect?
In term of uptime guarantee, the magic number claimed here (like any other host) is 99.9%. Consistent with the practice of other web hosts, no data is published on their site to substantiate that figure.
But the company seems confident enough about that 99.9% uptime that they include it in their service level agreement, but they make no mention if customers do get any refund should they can’t keep to this guarantee.
The company hosts their data center at Chicago, IL in the US. These Supermicro rack-mounted servers are powered by the latest power-efficient Intel quad-core processors, with close monitoring round the clock and backup performed nightly.
Security is administered throughout the data center 24/7 and there is also a UPS system to boot.
Good Support or…?
Support are available through live chat and email on 24/7/365 basis. These support channels are manned by North America (Toronto, Chicago and Los Angeles) based technical staff; all direct employee of GG. There is also telephone support available, but this is not a 24/7 service.
The Help Center is planted directly into the GreenGeeks main website. One can find a huge amount of video tutorials, illustrating the different capabilities of cPanel, Drupal, WordPress and more.
The Help Center also includes a knowledge base and FAQs to help users sift through the tons of information made available.
The website also covers an Education Center where one can find regular articles and ‘how to’ information.
They also sponsor a blog on their website that both adds to the wealth of information as well as features promotional offers.
They are also active in social media, namely Twitter and Facebook, they use these extensively to supplement support and also as a platform to further engage customers.
Regardless of the hosting plan, all customers are provided with the latest version of cPanel, instead of some custom built control panel. This makes it easy for most webmasters as cPanel is obviously the most popular form of the control panel. In that sense, there is no relearning here.
Extras Features Included in GG’s Plans
Admittedly, most customers of GreenGeeks are sold because of their commitment to earth preservation. Their investment in wind energy credits works out to be 300% of energy consumed by their facilities.
They further demonstrate their eco-friendly stand through green policies in all their offices; the idea is to cut down carbon footprint for the entire operation to the maximum extent.
They also contribute directly to worthy causes like the World Vision, an organization that tasks itself to bring clean drinking water to Africa and Haiti. They would match 10% of all donations from customers.
eCommerce operators would favor GG with the presence of SSL secure server, OS Commerce Shopping Cart and Zen Cart. ‘One Click’ installation can also be expected as they bundle in Fantastico and Softaculous script installers, so installation of PHP 5, Perl, Joomla, Python, WordPress, Joomla and more would become a breeze.
Throughout the active life span of customers’ account, a domain name is offered for free.
Additionally, they also throw in free website builder and a free website migration service. Free marketing credits are used to encourage users’ signup.
There is also an affiliate program at GreenGeeks, which rewards customers in exchange for successful referrals. The incentive is paid out in accordance to the number of referral customers on a monthly basis.
Can You Get Your Money Back If Their Hosting Sucks?
The company says it is committed to a 30-day money-back guarantee that covers all customers on hosting services, but the cost to register a domain name is not covered.
Cancellation is straightforward as customers can issue this request through the customer services team.
Other Reviews of GreenGeeks
Of course, in order to include other voices in my review to give you a complete picture of GG Hosting and their services, I did read what many other webmasters and bloggers had to say about it as well.
I specifically check reviews of GreenGeeks on Cnet and WhoIsHostingThis as these seem to have more real reviews than other similar websites.
Let me break down the most mentioned positive and negative points about GG.
- They have a 30-day money back guarantee, so that is a solid insurance if you worry about online marketing scams (as employed by some unscrupulous hosting companies)
- Real efficient and fast activation – a great help if you are in a hurry to get your site up straight away 99.9% uptime ( They are good and well supported by the market (their data center is hosting some 100,000 sites)!
- Linux/Unix exclusively environment – if you are into Windows, they are not for you
- Less than upfront attitude on their dedicated server offering
Just one type of shared hosting package – meaning you can’t upgrade if your traffic spikes
Should You Choose Green Geeks Hosting?
Lately, there has been some negative feedback making their rounds on the web with regards to GreenGeeks customer support. So if you are new in the web hosting environment, then you may want to find a provider with a reputation of a solid support.
But if technology is your thing and you are at ease with hosting operations, GG can be an interesting choice, for both price competitiveness and ‘green’ effort.
The environmentally friendly approach makes this company stands out from the rest, and they commitment to replace the used energy with 300% green energy is certainly exemplary. (By the way, the EPA has just come out with its 2013 National Top 50 Companies participating in The Green Power Partnership. I am really happy to see some of the biggest companies in America on that list.)
And the company is not run by some dreamy young punks, but seasoned industry veteran with over 15 years experience under his belt.
In fact, the longevity of the founder/CEO is an indication that the company is not attempting to milk as much as possible with its ‘green label’, and elopes with your money later. Consistent with the trademark of Garner, GG is a stayer.
So, keeping all that, my own experience, and reviews I have read, in mind, I think GreenGeeks is a decent and affordable web host that you should consider.