If you’re currently looking for a web hosting for your next site, chances are you probably haven’t considered the environmental impact of keeping a website running. Luckily for you, California-based GreenGeeks has, and the company has built a reputation for itself by offering the cleanest web hosting around.
Trey Gardner founded the company back in 2006 and he used his experience at several other large web hosting companies to create his own. However, GreenGeeks doesn’t just raise awareness regarding the environmental impact of web hosting, it is actually doing something about it by offsetting 300 percent of its power usage by investing in renewable energy.
So let’s take a closer look at the plans, pricing, features and support available from GreenGeeks to see if this eco-friendly web host might be the right choice for your website.
GreenGeeks offers its customers a variety of web hosting plans to choose from including WordPress hosting, Drupal hosting, Joomla hosting, cPanel hosting, reseller hosting, VPS hosting and even dedicated servers. In this review, we’ll be focusing on its shared hosting plans as they will likely appeal to a broader range of users.
GreenGeeks Ecosite Starter plan is aimed at small websites or blogs that are just starting out and includes one free domain, unlimited SSD disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email accounts, a free site builder, free website transfer, cPanel and Softaculous support and more for just $9.95 per month.
Next up we have the Ecosite Pro plan at $14.95 per month which includes everything the Starter plan does as well as support for up to 300 emails per hour and two times the performance. GreenGeeks says this plan is ideal for growing websites that need additional speed and resources.
Finally, we have the company’s Ecosite Premium plan at $24.95 a month which includes all of the features of the Pro plan as well as Premium Wildcard SSL, support for up to 500 emails per hour, PCI compliance and four times the performance of the base plan.
The prices we’ve listed here are what you would pay monthly but GreenGeeks does offer significant discounts if you decide to sign up for an annual, two-year or three-year plan. It would be better if the company was more honest about its prices but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a web host do this. However, one thing to keep in mind if you do end up deciding on a monthly plan is the fact that GreenGeeks charges a $15 setup fee for these plans.
Once you decide whether you would like to pay monthly or buy a longer term plan, GreenGeeks walks you through its fairly straightforward signup process.
After picking out your plan, the company asks you whether you want to register a new domain for free or use one that you already own. Next, you will have to enter your contact information (name, physical address, email and phone number) and choose your payment method.
In terms of payment options, GreenGeeks accepts both credit cards and PayPal but the PayPal button is hidden away behind a ‘See more payment options’ link. So if you do want to use PayPal as your payment method, keep this in mind during the checkout process.
After the signup process was complete, GreenGeeks explained that we would have to wait for our order to go through some ‘internal checks’ to make sure that it wasn’t fraudulent. The company reassured us that it would call to verify the order if there were any problems. It took 15 minutes to process our order and then we received several emails from the company which contained our login URLs, usernames, passwords, links to support documents and more.
Creating a site
GreenGeeks’ web account manager is a bit on the simpler side when compared to those of its competitors with only basic information such as your contact details, a list of plans you’ve purchased and buttons to view more information.
However, all of the company’s plans give you access to its website builder that provides you with hundreds of templates to choose from. The templates themselves were nothing special but they are more than acceptable for those who need to get a simple site up and running quickly. Each template can also be customized using GreenGeeks’ drag and drop editor. There is a limit to just three pages which may end up being a dealbreaker for some.
GreenGeeks also gives you a second site builder in SitePad. This drag and drop solution doesn’t have the same features as Wix or some of the other big name website builders but there are loads of templates as well as a decent number of widgets and customizations.
Adding more tools and apps to your site is easy thanks to the one-click Softaculous installer that comes bundled with every one of GreenGeeks’ plans. The tool provides you with scripts to easily install WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, PrestaShop, Magento and many other popular applications.
Whichever way you decide to build your site, GreenGeeks includes cPanel support to help you manage it. Our account came with a standard installation of cPanel with options to view server status, create email accounts, manage databases, control security and do everything else we would expect from the console.
cPanel isn’t the most beginner friendly but it is used by many other web hosts so the time you invest in learning how to use it won’t be wasted.
Regardless of whether you’re a first-time user or having been making websites for years, everyone needs help from time to time which is why we always look at the support options on hand when reviewing a web host’s performance.
On the GreenGeeks website, you’ll find a support knowledgebase with almost 200 articles carefully organized into categories such as Sales, General Hosting, Reseller, VPS, Billing and more. While there is quite a lot of useful information here, we did notice that most of the articles are out of date and in need of an update.
For instance the “How do I set up an E-commerce store?” article we found was from 2003 and since then a lot has changed, which could make the information in this and other older articles a bit less useful. GreenGeeks’ knowledgebase is still nice to have but in our opinion, it could certainly do with a refresh.
If you can’t find the answers you need in the knowledgebase, a separate Tutorials section has a number of step-by-step guides on common tasks. These articles were far more detailed and relatively up-to-date but they also cover very few standard web hosting topics. Instead, they show you how to setup and manage web apps such as WordPress and PrestaShop.
GreenGeeks also provides 24/7 support via a ticket system as well as live chat and you can access both from the service’s web console.
We completed our performance tests by using Bitcatcha to measure our server speeds. Overall our website offered the kind of acceptable performance we would expect from a basic shared hosting plan.
Verdict and Conclusion
GreenGeeks has a hard time competing with other bigger web hosts that offer better features and more competitive pricing. However, if you’re in the market for green hosting, you’ll be hard pressed to find a company that practices what it preaches the way GreenGeeks does when it comes to environmental issues.
- Want to see the competition? Check out our guide to the best web hosting