I’ve been a paying customer for GreenGeeks for the last 11 months. During that time, I’ve monitored their performance – avg. load time and uptime.
This review relies strongly on data, such as uptime, load time (speed) and customer support experience.
What is GreenGeeks?
After it’s founding in 2008 by Trey Gardner, they’ve shot up to now hosting over 300,000 websites (with data centers in the U.S., Canada, and soon-to-be Amsterdam).
On their website, he goes on to make two bold claims:
- 99.9% uptime
- 100% customer satisfaction
So what’s the verdict?
Excellent, wind-powered uptime and support?
Or are their promotional claims just full of hot air? (Environmental pun!)
In order to see for ourselves, we purchased the GreenGeeks ‘Shared Plan’ in June of 2015.
We set up a basic WordPress test website (that can be seen here) to run performance tests over the course of six months. Detailed performance stats, like uptime and speed, can be viewed by clicking here on ‘History’ for more information.
Pros of GreenGeeks
GreenGeeks has a lot of good things going for it. Including solid uptime, support, and an important mission-driven service. Here are the details.
1. Strong, 99.92% Uptime
Earlier, GreenGeek’s founder Trey Gardner made the bold claim of 99.9% uptime. Seems that he wasn’t BS-ing at all.
Our in-depth, 8-month analysis backs this up, coming in with an average uptime of 99.92% during our testing period (still .02 worse than average industry uptime). That’s also good enough to put it just below the industry standard 99.94%.
Take a look for yourself:
- September average uptime: 99.93%
- October average uptime: 99.98%
- November average uptime: 100%
- December average uptime: 99.54%
- January average uptime: 99.99%
- February average uptime: 100%
- March average uptime: 100%
- April average uptime: 100%
2. Good Performance
We also tested GreenGeeks page load times during our 8-month review process and found their speed to be better than industry average, clocking in around 36% faster than their competitors (569ms compared with 890ms).
You can see the results, broken down by month:
Last 8 month average load time (2017 – 2018)
- September average speed: 1254ms
- October average speed: 512ms
- November average speed: 494ms
- December average speed: 400ms
- January average speed: 382ms
- February average speed: 423ms
- March average speed: 490ms
- April average speed: 596ms
3. Good Support with Quick Answers
Customer support was the final ‘big’ element to review.
We were connected to a customer support agent within a minute, who then answered questions quickly and succinctly.
There were a few grammar mistakes along the way. If you’re being picky (Hey – that’s our job here, right?!), you might be able to read into that a little bit.
- Support might be outsourced to non-native English speakers?
- Their customer service reps might be overworked and stretched thin?
- Or they might just lack some attention to detail?
Whatever the case, overall we were happy and satisfied with our experience. And a background check revealed that other customers are happy with GreenGeeks support too.
That’s an awesome perk if you prefer self-help over asking a customer service representative for assistance.
They have tons of different article categories and subcategories to select from, including sales questions, general hosting, reseller hosting, VPS hosting, billing questions, video tutorials, and more.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for within the categories, you can always use the search bar to search for a word or phrase that relates to your issue instead.
That way, you always have access to the help you need, even if GreenGeek’s live chat feature is offline for some reason.
4. Free Domain Name & Website Migration
They offer free domain name registration and transfer. If you get your domain name through them, they will keep it free for as long as you use their services.
Kind of. We’ll review the fine print and fill you in on the details soon.
If your website is already hosted elsewhere, they can help you transfer your site to their servers for free.
5. Environment Friendly
GreenGeeks claims to be, well, green. But what on earth does that mean? And how does it work?
They will purchase 3 times the wind energy credits to make up for the energy used by their services to power your website.
Over their eight years in business, they’ve replaced over 615,000+ kilowatt’s a year.
I’m not sure what that means exactly, but it sounds impressive. And kinda like what the Delorean in Back to the Future runs off.
GreenGeeks is a recognized Green Power Partner with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), too.
6. 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
If you’re unhappy with moving over to GreenGeeks, they have a full 30-day, ‘no-questions-asked’ money back guarantee on most hosting plans. Again – kinda.
Sounds simple, but you’ll see in a minute how this gets a little more complicated.
7. Nightly Backups
Sometimes, bad things happen.
Maybe it’s self-inflicted. Or nefarious people try to hack their way in.
Regardless, GreenGeeks provides free night backups (in addition to SSH access).
For additional security measures, they also offer real-time security scanning, automatic brute force detection, Spam Assassin protection, SSL secure server and the ability to password protect your directories.
8. Multiple High-Quality Server Locations
GreenGeeks offers data centers in:
- Chicago, US
- Phoenix, US
- Toronto, CA
- Montreal, CA
- Amsterdam, NL
Choosing the right server location can have a huge, positive impact on your website’s SEO. Plus, if you pick a server closer to you, you’ll experience faster speeds.
GreenGeeks also promises customers that they will keep servers up to date with the following specifications:
- Never oversold
- Gigabit Connectivity
- The Latest Generation Energy-efficient Intel Xeon processors
- Minimum of 64 GB DDR3 ECC-Registered Memory
- No desktop hardware whatsoever
- BGP4 Gigabit connectivity to several Fiber GigE Tier 1 Backbones
- Name brand server parts
- RAID-10 SSD Storage Arrays to give you maximum performance & redundancy
- Solid State Drive (SSD) Acceleration
And it doesn’t stop there. Each data center includes the following features:
- Biometric and key card security system with man-traps and a rack-level locking mechanism
- SAS 70 Type 1 certified (with audit report available on request)
- FM 200 server-safe fire suppression system that has an early pre-fire detection mechanism
- Dual-city grid power feeds, plus battery backup that includes an automatic transfer switch and a diesel generator on-site
- Staffed 24×7 by SingleHop data center engineers and technicians and monitored remotely
- Automatic climate control and temperature system with temperature and humidity sensors throughout the facility
Talk about state of the art!
8. Free CDN
Everyone interacts with a Content Delivery Network (CDN) on a daily basis if they browse the web, whether they’re looking at news sites, social media pages, or doing some online shopping.
GreenGeeks offers a CDN to users that is powered by Cloudflare. That’s great news for your site optimization, especially if you’ve got a global reach.
The best part? It’s absolutely free.
Cloudflare allows users to cache content and use servers closest to website visitors to get it delivered. As a result, web surfing is much faster for those who come to your website.
Cons of GreenGeeks Hosting
Unfortunately, all that glitters is not gold. Err, green.
Despite all of the upside to GreenGeeks, there are a few things you should be aware of before making a final decision.
Here they are.
1. Industry-Standard Pricing Manipulation
GreenGeeks follows the tried-and-true industry standard practice of advertising a super low monthly rate of $3.95 on their website, only to find out that you actually have to sign up for three years in advance to get it.
Otherwise, if you want a true monthly option, it’s going to set you back $9.95 each month.
2. Questionable Refund Policy
Many web hosts will throw in a domain name for free when you create a new account with them.
GreenGeeks says you can get a free domain name with them too.
Otherwise, the cost might range from ~ $3.00 – $9.99 for the year.
But here’s the fine print:
IF you request the aforementioned ‘money-back-guarantee’ and you took them up on that ‘free’ domain name offer, your refund will be deducted $24.95 for a domain name registration fee.
Which means that domain name MIGHT NOT really be free. It also means their money back guarantee MIGHT NOT be ‘no questions asked’, either.
GreenGeeks Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts
Here’s a quick overview of the hosting plans offered by GreenGeeks:
- Shared Hosting: Unlike most other web hosts, GreenGeeks has just one shared hosting plan. The plan costs $3.95 (you need to pay 3 years in advance. Actual cost is $9.95 per month if you pay monthly). It comes with unlimited web space, unlimited data transfer, support for unlimited domain names, and unlimited email accounts and MySQL databases. This plan also comes with a free domain name and free nightly backups. It is powered by RAID-10 SSD storage for performance.
- WordPress Hosting: Their WordPress hosting is basically the same as their shared hosting plan, but it seems to be specially enhanced for WordPress. We haven’t tested it yet, but will do it soon.
- Free domain? Yes.
- Ease of Signup: Easy signup process.
- Payment Methods: Credit Card, PayPal.
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: Your account must not use more than 100 percent of 1 CPU core and/or 1GB memory, or 20 concurrent connections or 75,0000 files or you will risk account termination. If a due invoice is not paid within four days, your account will be suspended and you will need to pay a reactivation fee of $15 to have your account back online.
- Upsells: No upsells. Yay!
- Account Activation: Quick account activation.
- Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: cPanel.
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): 1-click install tool to easily install popular apps and CMSs.
Do We Recommend GreenGeeks?
GreenGeeks has a bigger mission than just simply providing web hosting, and we dig that.
They’re not necessarily the best we’ve seen, but they do provide solid uptime and good customer support (albeit, slower-than-average page speeds).
For those reasons, you should possibly consider giving them a look.
Just be aware that you’ll need to sign up for the long-term if you’d like their lowest rate. And that your ‘free domain’ and ‘money back guarantees’ might not be so iron-clad if you ask for a refund.
P.S. If you want to see hosting providers that ranked above Greengeeks, check our best performing hosts here.
What’s good about GreenGeeks?
- Good uptime (99.92%)
- Fast performance and loading speed times (569ms)
- Fast, knowledgeable customer support
- Free website migration and domain names
- Environmentally friendly
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Nightly backups
- High-quality servers in multiple locations
- Free CDN through Cloudflare
What’s bad about GreenGeeks?
- Pricing manipulation
- Sketchy money back policy
Do you have any experience with GreenGeeks – positive or negative? If so, please leave a transparent and honest review below!