So, my web hosting contract came up for renewal again recently. It’s not something I have to think about very often as I tend to have 3 year renewal periods to make use of the best offers.
However, after a somewhat interesting (and ultimately positive) renewal experience with my current hosting company GreenGeeks, I thought it was high time I gave them some credit for their consistent efforts.
I’ve been with GreenGeeks for 6 years now. I’ve also encountered a number of situations in which I needed urgent assistance from them during that time too.
For example, there were the times:
- I accidentally deleted my websites (twice!)
- I needed a free SSL certificate installed and updated
- My sites got infected with mal-ware
- Renewal time came around and I couldn’t pay
That being the case, I thought I might be able to add some value to the webisphere, by sharing my personal experiences with GreenGeeks with you.
After all, I’m a big fan of loyalty being earned rather than bought. So what better way to show how GreenGeeks earned my loyalty than by taking you through the journey?
How I found GreenGeeks (and why I signed up)
I still remember when I signed up to GreenGeeks in June 2013. Not knowing too much about web hosting at the time, I spent hours looking for a suitable host.
I explored all sorts of web hosting comparison sites showing details like hosting costs, uptime, storage space and evaluation metrics. I read through lots of reviews, checking which host might be the best. At times, it felt quite dizzying with so many options available.
Around that time, I also started hearing and thinking about “Going Green”. Being eco-friendly wasn’t really something greatly talked about at the time, but I took to it immediately. I felt it was important.
That being the case, I was quite intrigued when I stumbled across GreenGeeks on one of the bigger web comparison sites I visited. Enough to click and take a look.
The value proposition and a little history…
One thing that immediately made GreenGeeks stand out was its value proposition. It was meant to be an eco-friendly web hosting company that re-invested 300% of the energy it used back into the grid via renewable energy credits.
(They recently released a neat video that explains how and why they do this really well!)
Having started in 2008, they had been around a little while. They also didn’t have many competitors in the “green space” either, which made things a little simpler.
After reading up on their offerings and some positive reviews, I made the decision to give them a try. Their service offerings were standard and up to industry standards. With a 30-day money back guarantee there wasn’t much to lose either.
I also thought every little helps in protecting the environment too. Why not do my bit to make the world a better place via web hosting if I could?
My experiences with GreenGeeks downtime
Since I know one of the most important aspects for a website is its uptime, I thought I’d start by outlining my experiences with that.
It’s actually an aspect of the GreenGeeks service I can confidently say I have seen great improvements in. Especially over the past couple of years.
I remember when I first joined GreenGeeks, I would get emails from them letting me know about scheduled downtime. While it could be inconvenient, it was due to routine systems maintenance and I appreciated the heads up when it happened.
Back then, downtime could last a number of hours. Fortunately, I didn’t have a lot of traffic on my sites, which meant it didn’t really have an impact on me. However, recently, with increased visitors on my site it has become an increasingly important feature.
That being the case, I was glad to see a lack of downtime notifications in recent years. I’m pretty sure that’s linked with the continued technological upgrades GreenGeeks has regularly been investing in. Getting emails on those is always a pleasure (especially when you get a free upgrade… like I did several times!)
Unfortunately, I don’t currently have personal statistics for the last 6 years I can share. I did request this information from GreenGeeks, but they were unable to share these metrics on a site by site basis.
My own experience
From a purely subjective point of view, I would say that the only downtime I have noticed in the past 3 years has been self-induced. That is, I would forget to update a certificate, I would accidentally delete my site, or I let malware infect my system… ah yes, the mistakes of a hobby site owner.
Nevertheless, the GreenGeeks website shows that they own 5 data centres across the US, Canada and the Netherlands with a reported 99.9% uptime. This is in line with industry standards, so I assume my good experiences with that are down to that.
Other tech reviews I have read on GreenGeeks have mentioned that any downtime reported tends to be around 1-3 minutes long.
I did see one reported incident of a 10 minute downtime back in 2018. However, that seems to be within the realm of 99.9% uptime and since GreenGeeks have upgraded their systems since then, I’m assuming that will not be the case moving forward.
Greengeeks site recovery services
Since I’m a bit of a tinkerer when it comes to technology, from time to time I get myself into a bit of trouble with it too.
In the case of my websites with GreenGeeks, this has led me to accidentally delete my websites from time to time. Specifically on two occasions, both in 2015 and 2019.
Luckily, GreenGeeks keeps all incident communications stored online, which actually shows their turnaround time pretty neatly.
It is, therefore, pretty easy to walk you through those two (pretty extreme) cases.
That time I deleted that one site in 2015
Back in August 2015, I embarrassingly sent GreenGeeks the following email…
Surprisingly, the follow up to this email was super quick.
- A technical response less than 3 minutes later (Level 1 Technician)
- A notification of completion for the full site restore within 25 minutes
Only 25 minutes to report and restore an entire site?
I’m not sure what the industry standard is for this one, but that seems pretty good to me!
That time I deleted 5 sites in 2019
Back in June this year, after another unfortunate incident with that thing called FTP (I’m sensing a pattern here), I sent GreenGeeks the following message:
The replies to this email showed me that something had definitely changed in the structure of the customer service organisation. The responses were definitely a little slower.
Luckily, I still managed to get my issue resolved in just over an hour though. Considering there were 5 sites to restore instead of 1 (albeit under the same account), I still thought that was pretty good.
In terms of communication, this time, I received:
- An escalation response within 20 minutes (Level 1 Technician)
- A request to confirm site restore within 30 minutes (Level 2 Technician)
- A notification of completion of the full site restore within 1 hour 6 minutes
GreenGeeks got bonus points for:
- Continuing to offer one free restore from a backup/month
This is really is a great offer as I know some other hosting companies, like HostGator, actually charge $15-$25 for each site restored.
GreenGeeks got dinged for:
- Backups only being available for the last 24 hours
In the case of my second deletion, I only noticed things went wrong about 23 hours after the fact. That being the case, I was not able to recover all my files in time, due to them using the newest backup that had just been taken.
Furthermore, I didn’t have automatic WordPress backups on Softacular either. That meant I only had 2 sites with a recent backups from a total of 5 sites.
I did manage to get most of my files back using Google cache from CachedView in the end (thank goodness for Google caches!). It did take a lot of manual effort to do that though and it’s not an exercise I wish to repeat!
GreenGeeks SSL Certificates
One of the more recent introductions into the GreenGeeks offerings has been the offer of Wildcard SSL certificates.
I first requested this service as they sent a notification saying it was now possible to request SSL for your website.
The email announced and offer of free manual installation and updates of WildCard SSL certificates by Let’sEncrypt. An automated paid premium Wildcard SSL certificates service was available too.
At first, I thought the idea of SSL Certificates was a great thing. However, it soon became a bit irritating when I had to manually update each site’s certificate every 3 months. That ate up some time for sure.
It also caused some downtime on my sites when I would forget to do the updates on time too. Not the best scenario for my busier sites.
Thankfully, however, GreenGeeks recently introduced automated updates for their free Wildcard SSL certificates. So with that in place, I’ve not had this problem anymore.
One more bonus point to GreenGeeks for putting that in place – thank you!
GreenGeeks Security and Mal-ware Protection
I first got to know about GreenGeeks’ security measures when I got an email from them letting me know that my site had an active malware infection.
They said they had blocked access to my public_html folder to avoid infecting other sites, which resulted in all my domains being forced offline.
The email they sent me had clean up instructions, which I followed. However, I ended up deleting my sites in the process as I didn’t have a Softaculous backup for all of them. Only some.
After a quick email to GreenGeeks asking for assistance, they offered to restore my sites (yet again…) and clean out the infection for me.
All in all, I was then able to get all sites up and running again within about 2 days. However, that was in part as I wasn’t there the whole time to address the issue.
They needed to partially be manually backed up and restored from CachedView to avoid any infected items remaining.
Whilst 2 days may seem like a long time to close this case, I am actually thankful to GreenGeeks for all of their assistance.
Without them letting me know about the infection, I would never have realised my sites had been compromised. It also showed me that they really take security seriously.
The fact they also provided free assistance in addressing the issue was greatly appreciated too. A statement on their website also shows that they have been making improvements to their Security and Abuse division, which I find reassuring.
Price and Renewals
So, after all that I bet you’re curious to know what GreenGeeks hosting might cost. Well I’ll let you know up front that you’ll get a much better deal on it these days than when I first signed up!
As of 2019, GreenGeeks hosting packages start from as little as $2.95/month if you sign up for a 3 year contract.
That wasn’t the case in 2013, but I’ll tell you what – I’ve seen GreenGeeks are pretty reasonable when it comes to their renewals!
You see, when I first signed up 6 years ago, 3 years of hosting cost $4.95/month standard. Luckily, I was able to get a $30 discount voucher at the time, which meant I paid $4.11/month for the first 3 years.
Considering it was one of the only green options, I was willing to pay the premium. In 2016, I was renewed at the rate of $4.95/month without a fuss too.
In 2019, however, I was’t quite so lucky to start with. Due to the recent systems upgrades my hosting plan shot up to $9.95/month. Something I was not best pleased about, I’ll tell you!
After writing GreenGeeks an email outlining my concerns, they originally offered me a renewal discount of 30%. However, since I hadn’t budgeted for an increase I asked them if I could keep my old rate.
As luck would have it they agreed. So, now I continue to pay $4.95/month for the next 3 years.
9 years at the same rate, with an upgraded system? Who says loyalty doesn’t count?
I’m sure if you have a word with them at renewal time, they’ll have a sweet deal for you too 🙂
I know that this review has not been the most technical review out there. I believe that every person reading this will have their own requirements for systems and such.
You’re free to look at GreenGeek’s technical spec offerings when visiting their site and choosing the kind of hosting you’re looking for.
However, as a long time customer, I felt the real value in writing this review lay in outlining my actual experiences of using GreenGeeks as a host.
Personally, I respect companies that provide a good balance of value for money, conscientious environmental impact and excellent customer service.
And in my personal opinion GreenGeeks gets it right so far – let’s hope the trend continues!