Best for the Environment
GreenGeeks serves over 40,000 customers through its five data centers, and performed well in our hosting research with an overall score of 4.1/5. But what really sets GreenGeeks apart from the pack is its commitment to the environment. For every amperage that GreenGeeks uses, it matches three times that amount in the form of renewable energy.
Web servers are housed in data centers, which pull energy from whatever power grid they rely on. Data centers generate a lot of heat – this means heavy air conditioning, which in turn requires a lot of electricity. Today, data centers account for 2% of the world’s carbon emissions, which puts their footprint on par with the airline industry.
To help combat this problem, GreenGeeks calculates its yearly energy consumption, and then purchases Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) equal to three times the amount of energy consumed by its data centers (you can learn more about RECs here). GreenGeeks then puts all of that energy back into the grid. In short, this means that your website will be carbon-reducing if you host it with GreenGeeks.
Thanks to this hard work, GreenGeeks has been officially recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a Green Power Partner since 2009.
GreenGeeks is an incredible hosting choice for the environment – but how does it perform in other areas? We’ll cover all of that in detail below, but if you’re in a rush, check out this quick snapshot:
Now, let’s dive in!
GreenGeeks Hosting Pros
- Free website transfer service: If you’re switching to GreenGeeks from another hosting provider, GreenGeeks will handle the entire process for you at no cost.
- 300% renewable energy match: GreenGeeks lives up to its name by restoring three times the amount of energy it consumes, so your website will be carbon-reducing.
- 98% uptime guarantee: This is well above many top hosts, and amounts to just about one hour and 45 minutes of downtime per year.
GreenGeeks Hosting Cons
- Servers on only two continents: GreenGeeks doesn’t have any data centers in Asia, South America, Africa, or Australia, which could impact server response times for website visitors in distant locations.
- No cloud or dedicated hosting: If you’re looking for a cloud hosting or dedicated hosting provider, GreenGeeks is not for you, as it doesn’t currently offer these plans.
No provider can offer a 100% uptime guarantee, but you’ll ideally want to aim for an uptime somewhere between 99.97% and 99.99%. Hundredths of a second might not seem like a lot, but actually, even upgrading from 99.95% uptime to 99.96% uptime means about one hour less downtime per year.
GreenGeeks’ Data Centers
All of GreenGeeks’ servers are housed inside climate controlled data centers with generators, fire suppression systems, and water detection systems, which means your website’s data is well protected from unexpected physical threats.
However, four of GreenGeeks’ five data centers are located in North America (the fifth is in Amsterdam). This is a reliable situation for people based in North America and Western Europe, but if the majority of your website visitors are located elsewhere, then your server response time could be slightly slower for them.
What GreenGeeks lacks in server location, it makes up for with free CDN integration. Every GreekGeeks hosting plan includes a one-click integration with a free Content Delivery Network (CDN), which allows pages to load faster via a more geographically distributed network of proxy servers.
Types of Hosting
GreenGeeks offers four different types of hosting: shared, WordPress, VPS, and reseller.
|Plan:||Cheapest Introductory Price:||Cheapest Renewal Price:||Features:|
|Shared||$2.95/month||$9.95/month||Shared plans are best for small to medium-sized personal websites, and small business websites. Each plan includes unlimited bandwidth and SSD storage, which means your site can accommodate a lot of traffic and will have plenty of room to grow. You also get free domain name registration for the first year of any shared plan.|
|WordPress||$2.95/month||$9.95/month||WordPress plans come with the same features as shared plans, and go for the same price. This is because shared hosting is a platform on which WordPress can operate, so shared and WordPress plans are essentially the same. WordPress plans are simply optimized specifically for the CMS, so they’re best for anyone hosting a WordPress website.|
|VPS||$39.95/month||Same price||VPS plans are best for medium to large-sized websites and online stores. VPS plans offer more dedicated resources than shared plans, but you’ll definitely notice the price increase as a result. Depending on which VPS plan you choose, you’ll get 2-8 GB RAM and 4-6 vCPUs.|
|Reseller||$19.95/month||$29.95/month||Reseller plans allow you to purchase web hosting space and then resell it to a client (or use it for your own multiple websites), almost like renting space out on the internet. Reseller accounts let you easily deploy WordPress and (other CMSs) with one click, and GreenGeeks will also help you register wholesale domains for your customers.|
GreenGeeks doesn’t currently offer cloud or dedicated hosting plans, which is why it only earns a 4.3/5 for “types of hosting.” If you’re dead set on one of these two types, then you may want to check out our reviews of the nine best cloud hosting providers or the seven best dedicated hosting providers to see the top GreenGeeks alternatives.
In our research, GreenGeeks scored a perfect 5/5 for features. Every GreenGeeks hosting plan (regardless of hosting type!) includes:
- 300% match with renewable energy: Every GreenGeeks plan is eco-friendly.
- Drag-and-drop website builder: All the basic functionalities of a website builder, including hundreds of customizable templates to choose from.
- Unlimited email accounts: Create an unlimited amount of email addresses in the format firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Unlimited MySQL databases: Create as many databases on one plan as you like.
- cPanel control panel: Easily manage and organize your website and email.
How Much Does GreenGeeks Cost?
GreenGeeks’ cheapest shared plan starts at $2.95/month, and its priciest VPS plan costs $39.95/month. Within that range, there’s a best fit plan for every budget, and we’ll cover each one below. Every GreenGeeks plan also comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
Each different hosting type (shared, VPS, etc.) comes with a few different pricing plans to choose from, so we’ve compared the cheapest plan for each type below:
What are renewal prices?
Like most hosting providers, GreenGeeks often advertises cheap introductory prices that seem too good to be true. And they are – after the first year or so, anyway. Renewal prices are the regular price that you’ll have to pay after the first introductory period.
Here’s where it gets complicated: Introductory prices often decrease depending on the amount of time you sign up for in advance. For example, GreenGeeks’ cheapest shared plan has an introductory price of $2.95/month if the first three years are paid for in advance. The introductory price jumps up to $4.95/month if only one year is paid in advance.
Heads Up: VPS Plans
Currently, GreenGeeks’ VPS hosting plans are only available in the US and Canada. If you’re located elsewhere and interested in VPS hosting, we recommend taking a look at some other top VPS hosting providers instead.
GreenGeeks Pricing vs Competitor Pricing
But you might be wondering why GreenGeeks ranks above A2 Hosting, despite GreenGeeks’ slightly higher prices. That’s because cheapest doesn’t always mean best value, so we’ve worked hard to make sure our value calculations reflect the quality and features you get for each price (and GreenGeeks has a lot of great features).
GreenGeeks’ data centers aren’t as geographically spread out as they could be, which means website visitors who are further away from GreenGeeks’ data centers in Canada, the USA, and the Netherlands will experience slightly longer load times. The good news is, GreenGeeks’ free CDN integration feature is an easy fix to the problem of server locations.
Plus, GreenGeeks uses an optimized LiteSpeed web server to ensure fast page loading times, without eating into memory or CPU.
In short, speed isn’t really an issue for GreenGeeks.
GreenGeeks’ Virtual Security
GreenGeeks plans come with:
- A free SSL certificate via Let’s Encrypt, with automatic (free) renewal every 90 days
- Automatic app updates for software such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla
GreenGeeks also offers free nightly backups to keep your data safe – but customers don’t actually get access to the backups. And if you need GreenGeeks to recover files for you, you get one free restoration per month. Any more than that will cost you $25 per restore. GreenGeeks does not back up VPS servers.
Like most hosting providers, GreenGeeks provides basic spam protection and proactive server monitoring to help prevent attacks and detect malware, which is a great start. But if you’re handling payment cards or other sensitive information through your website, you’ll want to invest in some more advanced security measures. You can upgrade from the basic Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate to a Premium AlphaSSL Wildcard SSL Certificate, which costs $99.95/year and provides a 256-bit encryption.
GreenGeeks’ Physical Security
GreenGeeks prides itself on its data centers, which are not only green, but also well protected. There are five data centers in total, located in Chicago, Phoenix, Montreal, Toronto, and Amsterdam. Each one is staffed 24/7 by technicians and engineers, and they are all equipped with a biometric and key card security system.
GreenGeeks’ security measures are definitely up to standard – but if security is a top priority for you, then you might want to look into A2 Hosting, whose in-house Perpetual Security Initiative sets it apart from the crowd.
This section explains the process of setting up a new website with GreenGeeks. If you already have a hosted website that you want to transfer to GreenGeeks, then feel free to skip ahead to our section on the switching process.
Signing up for a GreenGeeks account is quick and easy. You can search for the domain name you want or link an existing one, and from there, you’ll enter your preferred plan and payment details to get started.
One note on the signup process: don’t be confused by the wording on the checkout pages. You’ll probably see a green button that says “Good job, you’ve saved $X.XX” – all this really means is you’ve chosen to pay for 1-3 years up front, since the monthly cost gets lower the more time you’re willing to commit to in advance.
Basically, you’re not saving any more money than you already knew about!
Ease of Use
Once you’ve signed up for a GreenGeeks hosting account, you’ll receive a welcome email that will give you access to your own cPanel control panel. cPanel is a widely used management platform among hosting providers, and it’s a pretty clean and intuitive platform.
Your GreenGeeks cPanel dashboard also comes with the auto-installation tool Softaculous, which means you can install a CMS like WordPress in just one click. To access it, enter your cPanel and scroll down to “Softaculous apps installer”. From there, you can choose the software that you want to install – all it takes is literally one click!
GreenGeeks offers a free website transfer service for anyone wanting to switch an existing website over from a different hosting provider.
A lot of hosting providers offer paid transfer services, or let you transfer a site manually for free – which can get pretty technical. GreenGeeks’ free transfer service handles all of the complicated parts for you.
You’ll be eligible for the transfer service once you’ve signed up for a GreenGeeks account. Then you’ll just have to log in and submit a migration request. The only action you’ll need to take is to change the DNS on your domain name to GreenGeeks’ servers (for help with that, see step nine of this guide to manual website transfering).
The switching process can take as little as one hour to as long as 48 hours, but once you’ve changed your DNS settings, you can leave all the work to GreenGeeks.
During our research, we found that GreenGeeks struggles in the help and support category – in fact, it only scored a 1.3/5, the second-lowest performance out of the 14 providers we analyzed. But what’s the reason for the low score?
GreenGeeks actually has decent support services – but compared to other top hosting providers, you won’t enjoy the same level of instant help. For example, GreenGeeks offers 24/7 live chat. But HostGator (our top scorer for help and support) offers 24/7 live chat and phone support, meaning you can always speak directly to an agent if you want to. GreenGeeks just doesn’t offer the same level of accessibility.
Here’s what GreenGeeks’ support does offer:
- 24/7 live chat
- Phone support from 9AM – 12AM EST
- Email support with an approx. 15-20 minute wait time
If you’re not too fussed about 24/7 phone support, then you’ll be fine with what GreenGeeks already has to offer. Debby, a current GreenGeeks customer, had this to say about her experience with the support team:
“I have been extremely pleased with the customer support I get from GreenGeeks. They don’t just try to get you off the line (or off chat, which is my preferred way of contacting them). They answer your questions, and send you instructions that are easy to follow.”
It’s worth noting that, like most hosting providers, GreenGeeks also offers an extensive knowledge base full of articles and tutorials that you can search through whenever you like!
GreenGeeks is primarily a hosting provider, and you can’t really make use of any additional services unless you’re already signed up to a GreenGeeks account. However, once you do have an account, there are three convenient services to think about.
The first (and the most useful) service is domain registration. Once you have a hosting account, GreenGeeks will act as a domain name registrar that lets you purchase a domain name right from your GreenGeeks account (and don’t forget, you’ll also get a free domain name for the first year of your hosting plan).
Make sure to do some research on the cost of a domain name, so that you won’t be surprised when it comes time to buy! You typically won’t be paying more than $10-20/year for a domain name, but it’s always worth investigating.
When you register a domain name, your contact information is listed in the WHOIS database, which is a publicly accessible record of domain name owners. In order to hide your contact information, you’ll have to purchase WHOIS privacy from GreenGeeks for an extra $9.95/year.
This last add-on is free with a GreenGeeks hosting plan. GreenGeeks offers an optional, drag-and-drop website builder with hundreds of templates to choose from.
The builder is convenient, because you can get a hosted site up and running without any design skill at all – but since GreenGeeks is primarily a hosting provider, its website builder is more like an afterthought than a fully fledged tool (with GreenGeeks, you’re better off using a CMS like WordPress). However, if you’re interested, you can learn more from our ranking of the top 10 website builders on the market.
Read our GreenGeeks vs Bluehost guide to see how GreenGeeks compares to another top provider.
If green hosting is a priority for you, GreenGeeks is the best provider available – its 300% renewable energy match is something you can feel really good about!
While GreenGeeks is great, it’s not the best fit for everyone. If you’re more interested in customer support, then you might want to consider HostGator instead. And if security is your top priority, then it’s worth learning more about A2 Hosting.
So, what are our final thoughts? We think stellar features, free website migration, and a high uptime guarantee all push GreenGeeks to the front of the pack. In fact, it’s up there as a major competitor with Bluehost, which is our number one-ranked hosting provider overall.
Yes! You can definitely host a WordPress website on a regular shared plan. But since GreenGeeks’ optimized WordPress plans cost the same as its regular shared plans, we’d recommend taking the leap into WordPress hosting.
For GreenGeeks customers on a shared plan, you can use as much storage space as you want – as long as your media isn’t taking up too much of the server’s resources. This is very unlikely to happen, since it would take a lot of images and files to reach that point. So in most cases, shared plan storage really does feel unlimited. And if you do reach that limit, then it’s probably time to upgrade to a VPS plan.