GreenGeeks Review (2023) Good for the Planet, But What About Your Website?
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We awarded GreenGeeks our Best Hosting Provider for Server Speed badge for 2023!
With an average page load time of 1.29, our web host speed tests showed GreenGeeks was the fastest of all hosting providers tested.
Fun fact: do you know why Facebook moved its massive data center to Northern Sweden?
That’s because servers run hot, and cooling them down is expensive. Might as well keep them in a cold part of the world.
But more to the point in this GreenGeeks review: maintaining servers uses a ton of energy.
In fact, the Internet is one of the largest polluters in the world. Data centers account for 2% of the world’s CO2 emissions, about the same as the airline industry.
Well, if that’s a concern for you, I’ve got good news because the ‘green’ in GreenGeeks refers to their commitment to providing eco-friendly web hosting.
This is how it works, according to their website:
- The platform is designed with a maximum use, no waste mindset.
- For every amperage the company pulls from the grid, it matches it x3 in the form of renewable energy via the Bonneville Environmental Foundation
- For every hosting account opened, they plant one tree via One Tree Planted.
While a growing number of hosting providers claim to take the problem of energy seriously, (here’s an example from DreamHost), GreenGeeks really puts their ethos front and forward.
But what about other pros and cons, features and alternatives? Let’s put GreenGeeks through the wringer to see how it fares.
Video GreenGeeks review
Check out the GreenGeeks video-review below if you want to see this hosting service in action:
Let’s first look at how much it costs per month to host your website on GreenGeeks. The first option is for shared hosting (the one most website owners need). You’ll also find that they offer WordPress web hosting. As far as I could tell, there is absolutely no difference between the WordPress and the shared hosting option.
As always, we’ll only be mentioning the regular price, which is what you pay after a first year at a discounted price. The first 12 months can be 50 – 70% cheaper.
|Feature||Ecosite Lite||Ecosite Pro||Ecosite Premium|
|Web space||50 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Monthly data transfer||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Emails per hour||100||300||500|
|Domain name||Free for 1 year (around $14 a year thereafter)||Free for 1 year (around $14 a year thereafter)||Free for 1 year (around $14 a year thereafter)|
|Physical memory (RAM)||1GB||2GB||3GB|
|Price (after renewal)||$10.95 / month||$15.95 / month||$25.95 / month|
You can purchase the plans for 12, 24 or 36 months. There is a significant discount for the longer terms, as you can see below:
GreenGeeks also offers VPS hosting, which comes with better performance, but a lot of limits depending on the plan you choose.
|Feature||2GB Plan||4GB Plan||8GB Plan|
|RAM (yes it’s what gives the name to each pan)||2GB||4GB||8GB|
|SSD Disk Space||50GB||75GB||150GB|
|Monthly data transfer||10TB||10TB||10TB|
|Price||$39.95 / month||$59.95 / month||$109.95 / month|
Finally, I should also mention that GreenGeeks has a few add-ons you can purchase to expand your web hosting capabilities. These include:
- Dedicated IP address: $48 per year
- Premium AlphaSSL Wildcard: to secure SSL on multiple subdomains all at once.
- WHMCS license: useful for resellers who want to bill hosting to their clients (note that GreenGeeks does offer a reselling option).
Last but not least, you’ll have to pay $25 for every backup restore, if you do it more than once per month (the first one is free).
What can you expect from each GreenGeeks plan?
As you can see in the above table, there’s a lot of unlimited stuff with their shared hosting and WordPress plans. That includes:
- Unlimited bandwidth (or data transfer, which means the same thing)
- Unlimited disk storage
- Unlimited databases
- Unlimited email accounts
- Free SSL
The key limits to keep an eye on are maybe the number of inodes, which is another way of saying the number of files on your site. It’s a very large number, mostly there to ensure you don’t abuse GreenGeeks’ generosity by hosting a file sharing website.
GreenGeeks Pros & Cons
GreenGeeks is attempting to offset their server’s electricity consumption by using as much renewable energy as possible.
Unlimited data bandwidth
You can host one or multiple sites with complete peace of mind when it comes to visitor numbers and bandwidth.
Unlimited data storage
Your site can be as large as you like, so good for video, high-res photos and ecommerce with loads of products. Just keep an eye on the number of files. Hosting more than 150,000 could void your plan’s contract.
Three continents to choose from, the US, Canada and Europe.
Heavily reduced long-term plans
It’s not unusual to pay less for 24 or 36 month plans, but GreenGeeks is slashing their monthly prices by up to 70% for long-term users.
GreenGeeks was one of the fastest providers tested, and the uptime rates are excellent.
When to use GreenGeeks hosting?
I’d say GreenGeeks is best for website owners with green goals in mind. You can even show one of their green badges, to highlight on your site.
The generous bandwidth and storage is advantageous for those who own multiple sites. As far as the performance to price ratio goes, it’s good, and becomes more acceptable when you buy a long term contract of 24 or 36 months.
When not to use GreenGeeks hosting?
Anyone managing a team should consider that inviting others to join the account isn’t possible, and the lack of developer-friendly features could be a big no-no for certain businesses.
* Limiting files instead of size is pretty common practice with these “unlimited” hosts: it’s mostly a precaution to stop people from building file sharing websites.
Backups and restore are one of the areas I start considering a lot more these days when it comes to choosing a web host. A Sod’s law states: if something wrong can happen, it probably will, and at the worst possible times. This happened to us, and please learn from our mistakes when I say you should backup as often as possible.
GreenGeeks cPanel Backup Feature
Anyways, this is how it works with GreenGeeks. Option 1 is to use the cPanel backup tool. I’s a bit clunky and manual but by no means too difficult to do:
- Login and click on the appropriate site’s cPanel button
- Click Backup in the Files section
- Click Home Directory under Download a Home Director
- You can also download a database instead, or a full Zipped account backup, which is what you’ll need to keep on your local drives.
A couple of important things to note:
- If your account is larger than 10GB in size, the whole cPanel backup option will be disabled. You’ll have to pay $5 per backup.
- cPanel backups saved to your home directory will be deleted automatically after 48 hours, so it’s better to download the ZIP file locally.
- The first monthly restore is free. After that, each restore costs $25. Note that it’s not unusual to restore at least a couple of times if there’s an issue (e.g. you chose the wrong backup to restore).
Option number two is to download files manually using an FTP program. If you use a CMS like WordPress or Drupal that also means you’ll need to backup databases. I always find that a big pain to do, and also slow. Which is why a better backup tool would have been useful.
GreenGeeks and WordPress
Although GreenGeeks has a special section on their website for WordPress hosting, I couldn’t find a difference between these plans and the share hosting ones.
In any case, here’s what you get for both if you want to install the world’s most popular CMS.
- Easy installation: it’s not 1-click, but they use an install app called Softaculous, which simplifies the process for you. Maybe 4 or 5 steps, which you can read about here.
- LiteSpeed Cache plugin: it’s a caching plugin that will make WordPress run faster on your site when properly configured. Be aware this is not GreenGeek’s own solution, but just a generic plugin they recommend.
LiteSpeed Cache Settings
To be honest, I feel like all the WordPress-optimized stuff is mostly there for marketing purposes. If you are really serious about WordPress experts (and you have the budget for it), I’d consider other options like Kinsta or WP Engine.
Testing GreenGeeks’ hosting
As mentioned above, GreenGeeks offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee. In our independent tests, which we ran for a few months, we saw it went down to 99.97%, which isn’t bad at all.
In any case, if the rate were to drop below 99.90%, you’d get some money back towards your next monthly payment.
For reference, this puts GreenGeeks in 9th place in our ranking table for the best uptime. It has performed pretty well over the last three years:
To monitor uptime I use StatusCake, a tool that checks each website every 5 minutes.
Is GreenGeeks fast?
In terms of page loading speed, GreenGeeks was lightning fast, coming first in our web host speed tests:
In fact, GreenGeeks has been consistently fast over the last three years:
|Page Load Time in Seconds|
Results in seconds
Our own research shows the importance of loading speed for the success of a website, so this is a definite plus point!
Final GreenGeeks Review Comments
GreenGeeks is certainly the provider we’ve tested that’s the most committed to protecting the environment. It’s an admirable choice, and businesses with a green goal will certainly be pleased to hear that they can host a website with a low carbon footprint.
On top of that, its performance is excellent!
But there are nevertheless a few downsides to consider. The lack of advanced options like team management features can be a dealbreaker for professional business owners. The limited backup features may be not enough for most.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can pay via all major credit cards and PayPal. No checks, money orders, wire transfers or Western Union payments.
Yes. Just keep in mind that there is a limit on the amount of files you can keep on your sites, though. It’s a really high number, so mostly a precaution against file-sharing websites.
There is an unconditional 30-day money back guarantee offer.
Yes, if your website hosting drops below a 99.9% rate, GreenGeeks will refund some of your hosting fees.
They’re certainly advertising as such. In practice this is how it works: GreenGeeks tells the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) how much electricity they use. The foundation calculates how much green energy they’ll need to use to make up for it. GreenGeeks purchases that amount in renewable energy.
So it’s not like their servers use less energy than standard hosting. However, they are certainly committed to making up for what they consume, and using as much green energy as possible.
We keep our content up to date
8 Jun 2022: Corrected staging provision and added tree planting commitment
25 Now 2021: Video-review added
17 Sep 2021: New performance tests & new rating
19 Mar 2021: New prices
6 Nov 2020: First review
THE BEHIND THE SCENES OF THIS REVIEW
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