Introduction

At a time when businesses have a greater responsibility than ever to reduce their impact on the environment, eco-friendly hosting solutions such as GreenGeek’s unlimited plan are experiencing a boom in popularity.

From their back-end offices to the very data centres that host your website, everything GreenGeeks does is fueled by 300% renewable energy sources.

Not that this focus on environmentally efficiency means the brand pay less attention to the basic web hosting essentials. Rather -as I’ll explain in the following review- it only adds to their appeal.

GreenGeeks Green Web Hosting

Pricing and Key Features

GreenGeeks Unlimited Web Hosting Plan

GreenGeeks are one of only a handful of companies featured on UK Web Host Review that don’t offer a choice of currencies. Even FatCow, the company’s main rivals in the eco-friendly hosting market eventually got wind that even those of us in the United Kingdom like low cost, unlimited green hosting, and started to display prices in British Pound Sterling back in 2015.

Though this does throw a spanner in the works when it comes to working out the exact cost of your hosting plan in your own currency, I decided to include GreenGeeks in a list of my favourite hosting companies anyway because, despite this small frustration, the group’s unlimited hosting solution does represent great value for money.

The current $3.95 price tag equates to £2.81 as of April 2016, whilst the regular hosting fee of $9.95 is equal to £7.07 in UK currency.

GreenGeeks Service Guarantee

Those prices put GreenGeeks in a higher price bracket than some of their competitors, though personally I found hosting with this particular plan to be a good investment.

Not only do you get all the standard unlimited hosting features such as a lack of restrictions on bandwidth, storage, MySQL databases and email addresses, but there’s also a free SSL certificate for greater data protection and improved Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), whilst the company’s use of top level technology means that their rate of performance and reliability more than justifies the cost.

Domain Names

Taking their cues from fellow all-inclusive hosting providers like HostClear, GreenGeeks go above and beyond the industry standard one-year free domain registration to offer what they call a ‘free domain for life.’

In basic terms, this means that you’ll never have to pay domain renewal fees for as long as you host your website with the brand. If you later decide to cancel your account, you’ll have to pay a small fee of $15 in order to keep your domain name. If you decide not to keep it, obviously that’s no problem, but the $15 is worth it so that you can keep running your website with a new hosting provider.

Addons and Sub-Domains

Since this is an unlimited hosting plan which supports multiple websites, there’s no limits to the amount of addon and subdomains you can use with your hosting plan.

Domain transfers

If you’ve already registered a domain name elsewhere but prefer the efficiency of having everything in one place, the company offer to transfer that domain from your old registrar over to your new account free of charge. Though this is certainly a good thing, I have to point out that the one time I used this service in the past, it took far longer than expected for GreenGeeks to complete the transfer and thus make my domain accessible.

Ease of Use

GreenGeeks Featured

Much like their competitors at SiteGround, GreenGeeks are one of those rare hosting companies who manage to get just the right balance of advanced technology and beginner-level tools, ultimately creating a low cost hosting package that is suitable for both novices and professionals alike.

Though the customer service does leave something to be desired (and trust me, I’ll talk more about that later), GreenGeek’s overall user-friendliness is commendable. Signing up for an account and paying for my hosting plan took me no more than a few minutes following a straight-forward process. Once logged in, I found that everything was very clearly laid out, thanks in no small part to the company’s easy-to-follow navigation and their enhanced cPanel dashboard.

Used by the majority of web hosts, cPanel this is a simple, clutter-free interface complete with numerous icons to help you do everything from managing your email accounts to launching a WordPress website at the click of a button.

I’ll talk more about this latter option when it comes to discussing website builders, but for now let me assure you that everything you could possibly hope to do with your GreenGeeks hosting plan is literally no more difficult than hitting the right button.

Whilst this is great news for newcomers, I do have to say that as someone who has been building and managing websites for a number of years now, I still got a lot of enjoyment out of my time with GreenGeeks. The advanced tools and support for different languages and scripts made launching high performance websites a breeze, and above all, I’m generally impressed with how quickly it took to get to grips with GreenGeek’s user controls.

Performance and Reliability

GreenGeeks Performance Monitoring

99.9% uptime and fast web page loading speeds are critical to the success of your website. Should pages load load slowly when visitors try to access them, there’s a greater chance those visitors will get fed up, hit the back button on their browser and simply head elsewhere.

Worse still, should one of those visitors happen to drop by your site at the same time your server drops off, even for the briefest of seconds, that’s one visitors -and potential customer- you’re unlikely to see again.

So, with solid, reliable technology playing such a vital role in your online success, can you really trust a company which uses nothing but 100% renewable energy sources to not only keep your website online 24/7 but also to ensure that it loads quickly no matter how many visitors happen to be landing on your page at the same time?

In a word, absolutely. In the independent monitoring test I ran on my GreenGeeks hosted website, I noticed that the company’s average monthly uptime levels were more often than not around the 99.99% mark, with only occasional brief drops below 99.9%.

GreenGeeks Data Centres

This is mostly down to the high powered technology at the heart of GreenGeek’s multiple data centres. When you sign up, you’ll be allocated SSD, RAID-10 storage in the nearest physical data centre to your location, meaning you’ll enjoy superior levels of performance and what I’ve found to be outstanding levels of reliability.

One of the only hosting companies I’ve seen so far who go into explicit detail about their data centres on their website, GreenGeeks make much of the fact that their state-of-the-art facilities boast 100% redundant technolgoy to prevent most common server issues. In case of emergencies, the company’s Dual-city grid power feeds come with a contingency plan which includes battery backup with automated transfer switch, and on-site diesel generator.

When it comes to taking uptime and performance seriously then, it’s fair to say that few shared hosting providers go the extra mile quite like GreenGeeks, and I’m happy to report that I’ve found their efforts to be well worth in terms of delivering consistently exceptional loading speeds and round-the-clock reliability.

Building a Website

GreenGeeks cPanel

In keeping with other leading web hosts, GreenGeeks offer multiple options for building and launching your website.

For serious developers, the unlimited FTP accounts I mentioned earlier will be more than enough to get your site from your hard drive to GreenGeek’s servers. Sounds a bit more advanced that what you were hoping for? Don’t worry, that’s not the only method on offer here.

First up, let’s look at the applications you can install with a single click from the cPanel dashboard I mentioned earlier. All the major players in the Content Management System world are present and correct here, with WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal getting special attention from the company.

Elsewhere, there’s another 150 tools and applications you can use to do everything from building a website from scratch to adding enhanced user interaction, blogs, email marketing and other features to your existing site.

greengeeks-webbuilder

Also located in your enhanced cPanel, you’ll find the highly intuitive drag-and-drop builder, a tool I’d recommend as the best option for those of you looking to build a website for the first time with GreenGeeks.

Using this, you can create a functional, professional looking website with no more technical skill than the ability to select a pre-designed template, drag elements like text boxes, images, and contact forms into place with your mouse, then selecting from a menu of options to customise each one.

The good news here, is that each of GreenGeek’s several hundred website templates are fully optimised to look and work well on mobile phones, tablets and other devices. The bad news, is that there’s a distinct lack of variety evident in their template library. Indeed, if I could levy one criticism at their website building tools, it’s that it really does take a while to find a template that stands out from a crowd of cookie-cutter templates and really makes your website feel special and unique.

Marketing and Advertising

Partly in an effort to make their shared hosting plans look like they represent even better value for money, partly because they understand that the more your website succeeds, the more likley you are to stick with them, many of the top providers in the industry bundle marketing packages in with their low-cost packages.

GreenGeeks are no exception to that rule, though I do have to admit that the group’s own offer is somewhat lacking compared to the bundles offered by their competitors. Whilst sites like eHost will offer you £100 in Google AdWords vouchers and a further £100 for the Yahoo!/Bing advertising network, GreenGeeks offer just a basic $50 (roughly £30) for the one service.

OK, so there are other marketing tools included, such as applications for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), social media, and email marketing, but these are nothing you won’t find elsewhere.

To be honest, I don’t recommend making a decision about your next hosting plan based purely on the quantity of free marketing tools, but it is at least good to know what you’ll have in store so that you can plan accordingly when it comes to spreading the word about your new website.

eCommerce

Here’s another area where I’ve got a lot of good things to say about GreenGeeks. With many shared hosting companies, their most affordable plan often lack some basic eCommerce essentials, meaning that customers who want to use that company to build an online store often have to fork out for the most expensive shared plan available.

Not so with GreenGeeks, who bundle the majority of essentials -and some extras- in with their affordable, all-inclusive plan.

Popular platforms like Magento and PretaShop are able to be installed with one-click through your cPanel, whilst the unlimited hosting plan also supports a range of shopping carts such as ZenCart, osCommerce, CubeCart and more.

That’s the basics, but at the more advanced end of the scale, you’ll also benefit from the inclusion of Open PGP/GPG encryption for better data security, password protected directories, and even access to an SSL Secure Server, a key tool in ensuring that your new web store is compliant with most online retail regulations and -more importantly- that your customers’ financial data and other sensitive information- are well protected.

If starting an online store on a budget is your primary objective for your new hosting plan, this is certainly one worth giving some serious consideration, as it provides all the tools you need at a much lower price than some of GreenGeek’s more famous competitors.

Customer Support

GreenGeeks Customer SupportAs you’ll have no doubt worked out by now, there’s a lot of things to like about GreenGeeks’ shared hosting plan. Unfortunately, their customer service isn’t one of them.

Sure, all the usual channels are accounted for. The brand offer tech and sales support via live chat, phone and email, whilst a decent library of how-tos, walk-through and advice articles should help those with some experience and expertise to tackle most common problems before getting in touch with customer support.

Support is available 24/7 too, which is always helpful, and though I could bemoan the fact that their support is entirely US based, I’m not going to simply because that isn’t the issue here.

The issue, dear readers, is that GreenGeek’s tech support team often seem incredibly lacking in people skills. OK, problems do get resolved, and I suppose all in all that’s what really matters, but when they’re resolved by staff who -in my own personal experience- treat you like you’re causing them a huge inconvenience by reaching out for help- that’s hardly the sort of thing that’s likely endear someone like myself to stay with them after my paid-up contract term comes to an end.

This is disappointing to say the least, especially when GreenGeeks get so many other parts of their shared hosting service absolutely spot on.

Final Verdict

GreenGeeks Web Hosting

 

In all the time that I’ve been hosting websites, I’ve yet to find one company that I thought was absolutely perfect. GreenGeeks certainly adhere to that rule.

The lack of people skills demonstrated by their cold customer service team is particularly a bugbear for me, whilst minor issues such as the delay with the domain transfer and the lack of currency options also work against this otherwise very appealing unlimited hosting package.

Countering those disadvantages, excellent performance, ease of use and a decent price tag are all in GreenGeeks’ favour, making them an attractive option particularly for businesses who need to manage their environmental responsibilities whilst at the same time launching a powerful website on a budget.

GreenGeeks About

Reader Reviews

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GreenGeeks Review

GreenGeeks Web Hosting

Website:www.greengeeks.com
Price:$9.95 $3.96 p/m with discount

Score:

Price: 75/100
Ease of Use: 75/100
Reliability: 75/100
Customer Service: 70/100

Key Features

BANDWIDTHUNLIMITED
STORAGEUNLIMITED
DOMAIN NAMEFREE
MySQLUNLIMITED
FTPUNLIMITED
DASHBOARDCPANEL

Pros

  • Unlimited Storage / Bandwidth
  • Green Hosting
  • Free domain name

Cons

  • Only US Currency for Payment
  • Customer Support Issues
  • Slow domain transfers

Website Building Tools

WORDPRESS:YES
JOOMLA:YES
DRUPAL:YES
MAGENTO:YES
PRETASHOP:YES
PHPBB:YES
DRAG & DROP:YES
TEMPLATES:100+
BLOG WIZARD:YES
MOODLE:YES

Uptime Performance

  • Uptime level as a % over the last six months

Email Features

DOMAIN-BASED EMAIL:FREE
POP3/IMAP:UNLIMITED
WEBMAIL:YES
FORWARDING:YES
AUTORESPONDERS:YES
SPAM FILTERS:YES
VIRUS CHECKING:YES

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