It's hard to imagine something intangible, like a website, contributing to climate change. In fact, with millions of servers and thousands of datacenters drawing massive amounts of electricity, the web hosting industry is on pace to surpass air travel as one of the world's worst polluters.
With that in mind, CEO Trey Gardner — an avid surfer, hiker, and skier, in addition to helping build seven other hosting companies — established GreenGeeks in 2008 to leave a positive energy footprint. The company purchases wind energy credits to restore more than three times the energy that the company consumes.
The honorable quest is impressive enough, but GreenGeeks provides superb hosting packages that stand on their own. Powered by modern SSD storage and name-brand hardware, the company has grown to serve more than 35,000 customers and host more than 300,000 websites in roughly a decade in business.
After putting the company's shared, VPS, and dedicated services through the wringer, in addition to testing the managed WordPress and site builder options, we were impressed by the multitude of tech-savvy features that ensure hosting happiness for both first-time site owners and experienced developers.
We're suckers for SSD storage, and GreenGeeks up the ante with RAID-10 configurations and nightly backups. Around-the-clock knowledgeable support, coupled with free migrations and rapid provisioning, makes growing through the VPS and dedicated hosting ranks a breeze.
One of the earliest hosting companies to power its datacenters with renewable energy, HostPapa is an established provider that furnishes customers with plans backed by award-winning customer service and covered with a bevy of features. Currently hosting more than 500,000 websites, HostPapa is the epitome of a high-value, low-cost provider.
We went straight to the source to find out what sets HostPapa apart from other hosting companies and sat down with CEO Jamie Opalchuck, who said HostPapa is "a little bit different than the average beast" in the hosting industry. The privately-owned company considers itself less of a straight-up hosting provider and more of a one-stop shop for small businesses looking to grow their brand and online presence.
Whether through CRM tools, automatic backups, or unlimited storage, we found that HostPapa excels at giving its customers a seamless, easy experience.
Each user gets a dedicated account manager and a single bill, no matter how many services are added. That account manager will recommend products, such as email platforms, based on your needs — even if it means suggesting Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365 instead of HostPapa's proprietary platform.
"We want to act as consultants and help our customers reach new heights," Jamie said. "It's a different take on the hosting industry."
With locations in 18 countries and support in four languages (English, French, German, and Spanish), customer support is a major component of HostPapa's modus operandi. Representatives are available to assist users around the clock, including for one-on-one video chats.
Perfect for small business owners, bloggers, or web developers, GreenGeeks offers an impressive blend of features that appeal to all types of site owners.
More experienced customers will appreciate the unlimited domain names, SSD RAID-10 storage, and unmetered data transfers, along with nightly backups and built-in caching programs. First-timers, however, will enjoy the free website builder, marketing and SEO tools, and hands-free migration service.
Additionally, GreenGeeks offers the array of components at prices very competitive with other top hosts relying on SSD-powered infrastructure. Plans powered by newer, more-performant solid-state drives tend to be a few dollars per month more expensive than the most affordable hosting plans that utilize traditional hard-disk drives. Instead of simply touting the SSD upgrade, however, GreenGeeks includes a comprehensive suite of services that combine cutting-edge technology with sheer usability.
Customers can manage their GreenGeeks hosting account using the company's intuitive and recently updated online interface, which provides simple paths to requesting domain or site transfers, registering a domain, or changing billing information. From there, users can access hosting resources using the most recent version of cPanel, the industry's leading control panel.
Backed by the industry's standard 99.9% uptime guarantee, 24/7/365 responsive support, and 30-day money-back guarantee, GreenGeeks hosting plans are a worthwhile hosting investment long before the environmental benefits kick in.
Where HostPapa shines is with its shared hosting, which offers affordable and feature-rich plans geared toward helping both website and small business owners grow their online presence.
HostPapa wants to be more than just a web host, according to CEO Jamie Opalchuck, who told us that the company aims to be a 1-stop shop for small businesses looking for a seamless and simple experience to help them grow.
"We're looking for a person that we can bring in for $4 a month and help him become more and more successful," he said. "Our goal is to find that person that just doesn't have the IT support they need. They can call us, and we'll actually answer the phone."
Once we signed up and got our hands dirty with HostPapa's services, we found they are poised to achieve that and more. A ton of features make marketing, eCommerce, and email a breeze. Beyond Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365, HostPapa also offers two in-house email plans with a user-friendly interface and modest functionality. HostPapa's email storage limits pale in comparison to the Gmail or Outlook offerings, but the price — less than half of Google and Microsoft — makes HostPapa a great alternative.
"Our plan might be more economical, but it's not necessarily for everyone," Jamie said of HostPapa's email packages. "We want to act as consultants and help our customers reach new heights."
In addition to unlimited bandwidth and CloudFlare's content delivery network, Business Pro plan customers can also boost speed and performance with Rocket Fast Premium Servers — double the RAM, double the hard drives, and up to three times faster. HostPapa's 99.9% uptime guarantee isn't spectacular but should be plenty sufficient for most users.
Need extra help getting started? HostPapa is the only hosting provider that offers one-on-one sessions with one of their support experts. The 30-minute conference, done via phone or video chat, is included in HostPapa's Business or Business Pro plans.
The free site migrations offered by GreenGeeks makes sticking with the company a worthwhile venture as your website or application grows to new levels of hosting. The company's elastic platform allows for easy resource upgrades to make sure your growth is supported.
All of the GreenGeeks dedicated server hosting plans come with five IP addresses, up to 10TB of data transfer, and server-grade Intel processors. DDR3 memory ranges from 2GB to 16GB across the four dedicated hosting options.
Disk space ranges from 500GB to 1TB, which is pretty standard for the industry. Interestingly, however, dedicated servers are the only GreenGeeks hosting plans that don't include SSDs. The strange decision, coupled with the lack of upfront information about features, add-ons, and support, gives us pause when considering GreenGeeks for dedicated hosting.
The company's prices outpace many mainstream competitors, placing them among luxury boutique hosts, without clear justification. The company's excellent offerings in the shared and VPS tiers give us confidence in the dedicated servers, but we'd recommend some more research instead of blindly signing up for service.
GreenGeeks connects hosting infrastructure with Gigabit speeds, using Juniper and Cisco for network switching and routing. Customers can choose in which of the company's four datacenters their data is provisioned: Chicago, Phoenix, Toronto, or Amsterdam. In addition to the name-brand and energy-efficient hardware, GreenGeeks houses its equipment in datacenters designed to be environmentally friendly.
Geared for rapidly growing businesses and enterprise-level companies, GreenGeeks VPS plans provide the computing resources and scalability required to support and adapt to your growing traffic. Virtual servers are deployed in less than 60 seconds, and we appreciate the included cPanel and WHM licenses, root access, and site migration.
The GreenGeeks storage capacity range of 25GB to 125GB is on the lower end of the spectrum, especially given the company's relatively high prices, but GreenGeeks goes above and beyond with the combination of super-speedy SSDs and RAID-10 configurations that provide added redundancy and performance boosts.
GreenGeeks VPS containers come with ConfigServer Security and Firewall, along with Login Failure Daemon and added protection from ModSecurity and well-tailored Apache configurations. The company backs up customers' files every night and stores backups for 48 hours. Unlike many hosts that tout free backups, GreenGeeks will restore a site for free once a month. Additional restorations, if needed, are very reasonably priced.
Reseller plans, adorably named Seed, Sprout, Plant, Tree, and Forest, are fully loaded with the impressive GreenGeeks features, including site transfers and a free website builder, that you can pass along to your customers. The 100% white-label platform allows for a custom logo and private nameservers. VPS and reseller customers will receive a free eNom domain reseller account, and resellers enjoy unlimited cPanel accounts along with a free ClientExec license to automate customer invoicing, support, and provisioning.
If you've outgrown shared hosting and are ready to take on new challenges and customers, consider expanding with HostPapa's high-performance VPS hosting.
The company's Linux plans simultaneously give users high levels of both control and flexibility. The affordable, fully managed solution is easy to scale as your site or application grows. We found HostPapa's 1.5GB RAM and 50GB of SSD storage to be a touch shy of competitors, but users can quickly scale resources to upward of 24GB RAM and 1TB of storage.
HostPapa makes up for the slightly limited specifications with fully managed services, however. "Managed" can mean anything to hosts, but HostPapa definitely puts its technicians to work for you. Included in those services are automation, performance and firewall troubleshooting, email and backup configuration, software upgrades and migration, and security audits.
"We're doubling down on support," CEO Jamie Opalchuk said. "We're doubling down on a lot of things that make the client experience better."
Pair that with HostPapa's award-winning support teams, who are available 24/7/365 via telephone, email, and chat, and you've got a solid managed VPS hosting plan ready to help you move on from shared hosting.
The GreenGeeks comprehensive suite of added features resonates particularly well with the company's managed WordPress hosting plan. Modeled after the GreenGeeks shared hosting package, the managed WordPress services will resonate with a wide cross-section of the ultra-popular content management system's enthusiasts.
Effectively hosting WordPress can be challenging for lower-tier hosting providers, but GreenGeeks has both the technical know-how and high-powered infrastructure to optimize the experience for both customers and their site visitors. In addition to the unlimited storage and data transfers, the company's SSD RAID-10 storage configurations are perfect for hosting the resource-heavy CMS.
GreenGeeks utilizes the one-click Softaculous installer for WordPress, but plans come pre-installed with Git and WP-CLI. Customers have SSH access to their hosting account and can select which version of PHP to use.
On the security front, GreenGeeks isolates each managed WordPress hosting account and automatically updates WordPress core files. The company actively scans for vulnerabilities and blocks attacks, even including built-in DDoS protection.
GreenGeeks maximizes WordPress performance with server-grade, name-brand hardware, and optimized HTTP and MySQL. Customers can add the Cloudflare CDN with just one click while they sit back and enjoy server-side software and hardware caching to accelerate page loads.
Nearly all hosts these days include easy installations and support for WordPress, the world's leading content management system. While HostPapa is no different, we discovered the company's ultra-attentive support team can help new users navigate the sometimes challenging platform.
Available through Softaculous, we found the WordPress installation to be incredibly simple — find the WordPress logo in your control panel and follow the prompts to set up your site with the appropriate title and tagline.
Paired with all the apps and features HostPapa offers for marketing, ecommerce, and email, WordPress hosting opens the door to millions of plugins that should take care of all your needs. Also, you can give WordPress an extra boost by taking advantage of HostPapa's partnerships: CloudFlare's content delivery network for speed, SiteLock protection for security, and Let's Encrypt SSL certificates for additional safety and ecommerce capabilities.
"Our play is what we can supply a small business owner to help in any kind of way with their web properties," CEO Jamie Opalchuk said when we sat down with him. "Keep it simple; that's our place."
If you run into trouble, PapaSquad support is only a phone call, email, or chat message away. Technicians are available 24/7/365 to help, as are HostPapa's video tutorials, downloadable manuals, and knowledgebase.
"We're doubling down on support," Jamie said. "We're doubling down on a lot of things that make the client experience better."
WordPress can be challenging at times, and HostPapa is the only hosting company that provides 30-minute sessions through video or phone with one of the company's support experts. Those sessions are included in Business or Business Pro plans but are available to other customers for a fee.
Shared hosting customers can easily request access to the GreenGeeks website builder through the account management portal. Our site builder installation was ready to go within 40 minutes, and we appreciated the clear instructions on how to get started.
Users can choose from among 16 responsive templates or hundreds of free and premium options. We have a soft spot for site builders that let users switch to a different template without losing content, like the GreenGeeks platform does, but we wish the themes were easier to sift through when looking for a particular feature or design conducive to a particular industry or project.
The drag-and-drop interface will seem very familiar and comfortable to customers. While intuitive enough for the earliest of beginners, the GreenGeeks site builder also enables more experienced developers to adjust and tweak the HTML and CSS code.
In addition to the standard color adjustments, image uploads, and navigation settings that come with most website builders, customers can add functionality through the use of widgets that cover a variety of tasks, such as embedding forms, YouTube videos, and maps. Adding an eCommerce component seems easy, until clicking on the button to upgrade redirects you to the GreenGeeks homepage.
When you're ready to go live, the site builder will let you preview your designs on desktop and mobile. All in all, GreenGeeks offers a solid, if not exciting, site builder option — great for beginners, perhaps a little clunky for developers.
Despite a few limitations that might not matter to rookie site owners, HostPapa offers an easy-to-use web builder with a surprising number of features.
Coding experience or not, designing a website can be a long, confusing process. Hiring someone to do it for you can be expensive, stressful, and still doesn't guarantee you'll end up with something you like. CEO Jamie Opalchuk told us how HostPapa's site builder lets you avoid all the hassle and get a beautiful, professional website by yourself in a matter of minutes. Build and manage your site on your own, whether you're starting from scratch, getting a fresh look, or looking for a better tool.
We dug into the drag-and-drop editor, which is intuitive for the earliest of beginners — just click on the text you want to edit or area where you'd like to upload an image. For the more advanced users, you can customize your site even more by taking a swing at the HTML or CSS code. When we started our site, HostPapa showcased more than a dozen responsive template options. Once we made our selection, we could see more than 100 other choices. Not many site builders allow you to change templates once you've started adding content, so we appreciate the flexibility that HostPapa allows.
HostPapa's builder really shines, however, in the number of widgets you can add to your site. Easily add text, images, maps, videos, and social media widgets right from the start, or upgrade to include one-click publishing to Facebook or an ecommerce store. You can build forms with HostPapa's own tool or through Wufoo, just like you can add email marketing features through a Constant Contact integration.
"Our play is what we can supply a small business owner to help in any kind of way with their web properties," Jamie said. "We want to provide a seamless, easy experience."
Once your site is set up, you can preview how it will look on both desktops and mobile devices. You can always update on the go, from any web browser. The site builder is included for free with HostPapa's shared hosting plans, or you can buy builder-specific plans to add even more features.
If all else fails, HostPapa offers Do It For Me managed web design services. The company will write your copy, design your site, and optimize it for search engines and mobile devices. Contact HostPapa when you need to update your site, and they'll take care of you.