By Pete Griffin
If you want to save the world while you grow your business, green hosting is the way to go. There is no greener host that GreenGeeks. By using windfarms to power the operation, GreenGeeks produces three times the amount of energy that it burns. It’s great to be environmentally friendly, but more importantly, the company provides expert hosting services. Founded in 2006 by hosting guru Trey Gardner, GreenGeeks hosting houses over 100,000 websites. The company offers shared, reseller, VPS, and dedicated hosting plans at competitive prices with 24/7 U.S.-based service and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
I wanted to learn a little bit more about this eco-conscious hosting provider, so I did some investigating. My GreenGeeks review will cover everything from features to technology to prices. Together, we’ll find out if it is worth it for your business to go green.
GreenGeeks has a plan that should be a fit for nearly every type of online project, from cheap shared hosting to a fully dedicated server. Its one-click application installer and integrated cPanel control panel are easy for first-timers to use. Technology like server-grade solid-state hard drives makes Web developers drool, but still, those same easy-to-use tools and cutting-edge tech features are offered by many providers.
Because of the general ease of use, GreenGeeks WordPress hosting is a very popular option. Those familiar with the popular content management system should have no trouble creating a high-performance website.
What separates GreenGeeks apart from the rest of the hosting crowd is its eco-friendly approach to its data centers. Powered by wind, the company actually produces 300 percent more energy than it uses. With that in mind, the ideal user is not necessarily someone looking to start a personal blog, or even a large operation establishing an online retail outlet—though the company is a solid option for both of them. The ideal GreenGeeks customer is someone that wants to create an online presence with a minimal carbon footprint. That could be a new user or someone preforming a GreenGeeks domain transfer and bringing their site over form another provider.
GreenGeeks is much more than a one-trick pony. As evidenced in so many GreenGeeks Web hosting reviews, it cares about the environment, but the company offers full-featured hosting services, as well. Even its basic, $9.95 per month shared hosting plan includes unlimited storage, domains, and email accounts; secured shell (SSH) access; GreenGeeks domain registration; and Google apps integration. The company does not skimp on the features at the expense of its ecological focus, either. E-commerce websites will benefit from multiple shopping cart choices, an SSL secured server, a dedicated GreenGeeks IP address, and password protected directories. I like that the company included cPanel for its control panel because so many users are already familiar with it. Little touches like that make it easy to consider making the switch.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that GreenGeeks’ environmentally conscious efforts are woven into its system whenever possible. In addition to using wind to power its data centers. The company incorporates other green practices into its technology. The floors of the facility are raised, allowing better airflow to reach and cool the servers. Also, GreenGeeks uses solid-state drives—which are much more energy efficient that spinning disk drives—and balances their workloads for even further efficiency.
When it comes to the technology that is more obvious to the user, the company doesn’t hold back there, either. GreenGeeks’ SSH access and anonymous FTP make it easy and safe to login to the control panel from anywhere and securely send files. From the control panel, Fantastico and Softaculous script installers offer a simple method to adding apps onto your Web page. The GreenGeeks nameservers and DNS give users control over the hierarchy of their unlimited domains. Another service feature I really like is the fact that the company runs nightly backups on its entire Linux operating system network.
From a purely business perspective, one of the benefits of running a green hosting company is reduced overhead due to lower energy costs as a result of alternative power, more efficient machinery, and load-balancing. I appreciate that GreenGeeks passes some of this savings along to its customers—not all green hosting providers do so.
The company is almost always offering some sort of promotion, especially on its shared hosting plan. The table below reflects the current prices from the GreenGeeks website. To avoid any confusion, I did not include any promotions or special pricing.
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Here is my expert tip of the day for anyone interested in starting a hosting business: incorporate the cPanel and Softaculous into your customers’ interface. You can never go wrong with the familiar and the easy to use. As evidenced by its widespread usage, cPanel is the industry standard, so new customers won’t have a learning curve. Even if this your first time with the cPanel, GreenGeeks has a demo version that acts as a set of training wheels to help familiarize you with it. The Softaculous one-click auto-installer makes it almost fail-proof for even the least experienced user to add applications, scripts, and widgets to their website. Beyond cPanel and Softaculous, GreenGeeks also has one-click Google app integration and other free site building tools. Not only is GreenGeeks nice to the environment, it looks out for its customers, too.
I appreciate that the company offers a lot of choices to its customers, but the Web builders it uses is one area where I could have done without. It offers two builders, the RV Site Builder and the GreenGeeks Website Builder. Both of them are fairly easy to operate for users with limited technical abilities. You can access both of them from inside the control panel and then start building away.
The GreenGeeks Website Builder is an add-on service. Depending on your intended usage (personal, premium, e-commerce, and so on), you’ll enjoy features like customizable forms and logos, the ability to add music and videos, and metadata editing for SEO maximization.
As good as its proprietary builder can be, the company even openly admits that the RV Site builder is the more popular option of the two and is easier to use. The third-party software features one-click tools, WYSIWYG functionality, and mobile responsive templates (something that the GreenGeeks builder does not have).
My advice to the great folks at GreenGeeks: Scrap the in-house builder and use RVs. Then, in true green fashion, repurpose the Web builder resources for customer service tasks.
I don’t need to exaggerate or sugarcoat anything regarding GreenGeeks. It is a solid hosting option for nearly every online project. Certainly, there are areas where it is outperformed by its competition. However, there are things that GreenGeeks does better than the rest of the industry, too. The great thing about being solid, as it were, is that the company’s pricing scheme reflects it. GreenGeeks offers industry standard hosting plans, run on energy efficient equipment that is powered by the wind.
These are some of things that I like about GreenGeeks and a few places where I’d like to see the company improve a little bit.
In most of the reviews I have read for GreenGeeks, customer service consistently gets the lowest grades compared to the rest of the provider’s features, technologies, and hosting plans. The company offers a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee, phone and live chat help, 24/7 email support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. On the surface, it doesn’t seem that there is anything really wrong with that. However, the live chat and phone help is not 24/7, and the GreenGeeks support staff could be better trained in order to provide timelier responses. That said, GreenGeeks does offer a ton of support on its main website. Users can rely on an extensive knowledge base, an FAQ section, and a video tutorial page explaining some of the company’s third party integrations.
As with nearly every hosting provider, GreenGeeks offers special pricing from time to time. Currently, the company is offering its shared hosting for $3.96 per month instead of the regular price of $9.95. I did a search for GreenGeeks coupons and found a few deals. However, I could not confirm if they worked in addition to, or instead of, the current special. Some of the GreenGeeks promo codes were for $30 off the annual hosting plan. If the company allowed for that to be used alongside the $3.96 a month deal, the final cost would be less than $1.50 a month! As with any special offer, I recommend consulting the website for the most up-to-date information.
At press time, I could find nothing in the way of free offers from GreenGeeks. It did have the current discount in effect for its shared hosting plan, though. That alone makes the company an attractive offer for the basic shared hosting customer. Beyond that, though, every GreenGeeks customer can benefit from the company’s 30-day, money-back guarantee. New users for higher-end services like VPS and dedicated hosting may not receive a discount, but they will get peace of mind knowing they can back out if GreenGeeks does not live up to their expectations.
The GreenGeeks cPanel integration is so thorough that, at some places on its main website, the company has its shared hosting plan listed as “cPanel hosting.” I don’t want to make this an entire review of cPanel, however, I must note—for the uninitiated—that the intuitive control panel is designed to be used by anyone from a fledgling freelancer to an experienced e-commerce expert. With one GreenGeeks cPanel login, users have access to the apps, files, and databases needed to create great-looking and high-performing online projects. GreenGeeks does many outstanding things on its own, but integrating the cPanel is a wise way to incorporate third party features and enhance the customer experience.
In addition to its shared Web hosting, the company offers VPS hosting. GreenGeeks VPS affords the user reliable scalability to handle seasonal or viral spikes in traffic. Housed in a dedicated container within one of the GreenGeeks’ servers and provisioned on a blacklist-free U.S. IP address, VPS customers enjoy added firewall and configuration security, a VPS-specific version of cPanel, and free migration of their existing online project. Depending on storage and bandwidth needs, the company offers five tiers of VPS hosting ranging from about $40 to about $160 a month.
Shared Web hosting comprises the bulk of GreenGeeks’ business. For a very affordable price (the base is about $10 a month, and there is a current special for under $4 a month), customers can create anything from a personal blog to an online retail outlet. One-click installation tools and the cPanel allow for simple set up of WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla content management systems (CMS), as well as Magento, OS Commerce, and PrestaShop shopping carts. The plan includes a free domain name, website migration, and site builder, in addition to unlimited Web space, emails, and MySQL databases.
Even though its specialty is basic shared hosting, the company does have a dedicated hosting option, too. As with its other services, the GreenGeeks dedicated servers use more current technologies such as Intel Xeon processors, SATA hard drives, and gigabit connectivity. Additionally, the eco-consciousness is on display with raised floors, climate control, and 300 percent clean, renewable energy. If your online project demands complete control over the internal and external server environment, dedicated hosting is an ideal option. You pay more, but you get the control you desire, along with the security that you need. Because of the scale of the type of projects that typically require demand server hosting, I appreciate the fact that GreenGeeks have specialists specifically trained for dedicated server support. I recommend contacting them for more detailed information.
As of the publication date of this review, GreenGeeks did not offer a cloud hosting option. It does, though, have multiple data centers that make up its network infrastructure. With built-in redundancy, the network actually mimics a cloud environment, providing the security and accessibility that is typically associated with cloud hosting systems. Even though there is not a cloud-specific hosting option, the good folks at GreenGeeks were able to link their established resources in such a way as to replicate the benefits of the cloud.
In terms of the email features associated with its services, GreenGeeks performs exactly as I expected. That is to say that the company offers a solid email package. Users get unlimited POP3 and IMAP email support, transfer bandwidth, forwarding accounts, and auto-responder abilities. The GreenGeeks login gives access to manage all of these features through the control panel. Additionally, users can set up GreenGeeks webmail so that they can checkin with their business communications remotely. I’m not blownaway by the company’s email services, but nor was I left wanting more.
Many GreenGeeks Web hosting reviews say pretty much the same things. The company is an eco-friendly provider, offering quality hosting services at a competitive price; it just needs to improve its customer support. True as that may be, that’s not the whole story.
GreenGeeks is more than simply eco-friendly. Returning three times the amount of power to the grid compared to what it uses is incredible! Even more, the company has its servers configured for maximum efficiency, lets its employees telecommute to reduce the number of vehicles on the highways, and sponsors recycling projects in the workplace.
With awards going beyond green hosting accolades, the company’s hosting services and technologies are better than average, too. Name brand server parts, solid state drives, and Intel Xeon processors serve as the hosting foundation. Incorporating third party features like cPanel, Softaculous, and the RV Site Builder improve the user experience.
Finally, delivering the environmentally conscious, high-tech service at such an affordable price is perhaps the best benefit of all.
About Pete GriffinPete is a digital strategist with 15 years of experience in media production
and web project management, in PR and broadcast media environments.
He’s the owner of "We Are Digital Vision," a Cardiff based digital communications
consultancy the offer consultancy, content and design services