I am a web developer who was looking for a good host to place client websites on Shared Hosting and Virtual Private server packages.

I have profiled a LOT of hosts over the years and have experienced all kinds of service levels and issues related to hosting. My experience goes far beyond just a user with a site and includes everything fro Shell access, MySQL management, INI file edits, and log troubleshooting.

My point is I am not a spring chicken when it comes to using hosting and knowing about their services.

Green Geeks Started out as a good host, but after several years things began to changed on several different client hosted sites. Remember these are all different shared hosting accounts and they are NOT on my Virtual Private Server so the problems cannot be compared.

Green Geeks Issues we have had on multiple sites over the last 3 years:

1. Servers began to continuously slow down in early 2013 and would often timeout completely. This went on for months and resulted in us having to move one site to another host by the summer of 2013.

2.Support told me on 2 different hosting accounts all using a standard WordPress installation that we caused a DDOS attack? We aren't Anonymous over here how did we exactly cause a DDOS attack?

3. Without consultation they installed authentication plugins on our account that did not work well and wouldn't function on tablet and smartphone that severely compromised our ability to access our Administration area for both wordpress and joomla Content Management Systems for the site.

4. We were told that 2 different sites were not optimized even though we spent lots of time and money installing and optimizing cache systems that reduced HTTP requests, resources, and queries to negligible levels. When we asked them to clarify we were offered NO details and told to optimize our site using the same canned response that we received the first time.

5. We were charged for add ons that we did not want (SSL and Static IP Address), This was partly my fault for not cancelling the account right away (Which is buried on their site). Once I submitted a cancellation request they continued to charge us for additional Addons to our account!!! I asked for a refund and they told us Addons are not refundable. Basically taking our money after we cancelled and then refusing to give it back.

6. Finally after we managed to Cancel our account we were told that our site would remain active, and that we would have to submit another ticket to get rid of it otherwise it would remain active till 2016!

7. Out of numerous support tickets over 10 different shared hosting accounts, and 2 different VPS accounts I can say with a high degree of certainty that Green Geeks support system is generally a rapid series of canned responses.

Now here is the rub. All the cheap shared hosting are generally the same. Green Geeks refusing to refund stuff is unique however. I have generally been given a refund by other hosts, even some hosts who have 30 day hosting policies have returned money when asked after the 30 day period.

Green Geeks to date has taken rough $110 dollars worth of payments hostage from 2 different accounts with Add ons. Not to mention about 2 hours of back and forth time with their support system that I wont charge my client for.

Comments

JamesOakley’s picture

Sorry to hear your tale. A shame given you used to have a good experience of them.

I've noticed that Green Geeks keep a close eye on this Drupal forum section, so I don't doubt someone will be along and seek to respond to your points. It will help others if you also keep an eye on it, so that you can engage with their response.

I'm not sure all cheap shared hosting is the same. That's precisely the problem with hosting - not just at the cheap end. Price isn't always an indicator of quality. One person can pay $3 per month and fare fine, but with a different host things fall apart. But the same thing can happen at the $40 level. It's why actual reviews from real users (like you) are so helpful for people looking for a provider. (It's also why Green Geeks will be keen to give their side of the story).

Thanks again for posting - ... and welcome to Drupal.org. Please stick around and help make the Drupal community stronger. :-)


Solid VPS providers that I've used and can recommend first-hand:
  Managed VPS Providers  ||  Unmanaged VPS Providers
Jaypan’s picture

1. Servers began to continuously slow down in early 2013 and would often timeout completely. This went on for months and resulted in us having to move one site to another host by the summer of 2013.

This could be a result of your site(s) getting more traffic, or another site on your shared plan. Both are risks of shared hosting.

3. Without consultation they installed authentication plugins on our account that did not work well and wouldn't function on tablet and smartphone that severely compromised our ability to access our Administration area for both wordpress and joomla Content Management Systems for the site.

If this is true, it's unforgivable.

5. We were charged for add ons that we did not want (SSL and Static IP Address), This was partly my fault for not cancelling the account right away (Which is buried on their site). Once I submitted a cancellation request they continued to charge us for additional Addons to our account!!! I asked for a refund and they told us Addons are not refundable. Basically taking our money after we cancelled and then refusing to give it back.

The reason you cannot get refunds for SSL and static IP are that the hosting companies have to purchase these from a 3rd party. Not offering refunds on these is actually quite common with hosting companies. The question is if they charged you for these after your account was canceled. If that was the case (it wasn't clear from your post), then that's their fault and they never should have charged you. If you left it and tried to cancel the account after they had already been renewed, I can see their side of it.


Currently looking for employment in Canada, USA or Asia. My portfolio is at Jaypan, and you can checkout my Japan podcasts.
JamesOakley’s picture

2.Support told me on 2 different hosting accounts all using a standard WordPress installation that we caused a DDOS attack? We aren't Anonymous over here how did we exactly cause a DDOS attack?

Anonymous are a group that are (allegedly) responsible for DDOS attacks against websites.

Any site can find itself the target of a DDOS attack if they upset someone who has the money, the means and the complete lack of scruple to resolve their grievance in that fashion.


Solid VPS providers that I've used and can recommend first-hand:
  Managed VPS Providers  ||  Unmanaged VPS Providers
GreenGeeks-Josh’s picture

Hello Jerry,

I'm sorry to see this has been posted here. I've been trying to reach you via email and telephone since the post on your personal blog last week. This included reaching you on your [number deleted] telephone number and at your [email deleted] email address.

Please note that as I outlined in my email to you, GreenGeeks values our customers privacy so I am unable to go into length regarding all of the accounts you have referred to us as you have not been granted permission/full access on their profiles. I will however try and provide as much insight on what has taken place to hopefully help explain what has taken place.

1. Their servers began to continuously slow down in early 2013 and would often timeout completely. This went on for months and resulted in us having to move one site to another host by the summer of 2013.
Unfortunately you are correct that our network did suffer for a few weeks in early Q2 2013 and I apologize to any and all clients that were affected by this. Your website slowdowns were a result of an organized DDoS/Bruteforce attack specifically targeted towards WordPress websites (which all of your referrals are operating). Unfortunately these attacks were industry wide with some hosts reporting well over 500,000 IP's associated with the attack.

GreenGeeks was able to mitigate the majority of the attacks thanks to our network infrastructure and on demand firewall services. What happened from here however was a mutation of the attacks, leading to traditional firewall implementations to fail. Since these attacks occurred globally all major hosting providers began immediately consulting and developed numerous systems to prevent future attacks. Part of this prevention system was a Captcha security feature (which I'll highlight more on in your other point of concern).

While GreenGeeks was able to mitigate and had developed some resources to further block and prevent the attacks, the final stages of the attacks could not be parsed out prior to the website being connected to. As a result some of these attacking calls would reach the cPanel account and generate CPU, Memory resource allocations and could potentially cause timeouts well the system identified and blacklisted the IP's.

During these attacks customers we're continually informed and post attack we aggressively recommended customer enable either the developer approved plugin (WordPress Login Limit) or CloudFlare to prevent against future attacks. I certainly apologize if this information was never sent to you, but was likely a result of your name/email not being associated with all accounts.

Additionally for your reading pleasure, I've highlighted supporting articles about the attacks in 2013 along with some recent attacks that GreenGeeks has successfully defended against thanks to our continued infrastructure improvements. :
http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/04/13/brute-force-attacks-on-wordpres...
http://blog.cloudflare.com/wordpress-pingback-attacks-and-our-waf
http://blog.cloudflare.com/patching-the-internet-fixing-the-wordpress-br
http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1255387
http://blog.greengeeks.com/2013/04/11/industry-wide-wordpress-brute-forc...

2. Support told me on 2 different hosting accounts all using a standard WordPress installation that we caused a DDOS attack? We aren't Anonymous over here how did we exactly cause a DDOS attack?
I do apologize if no specific information was provided. Unfortunately these attacks wouldn't be so much a fact that you were to blame (as in you invited the attacks) but more so that the issues on the server were related to abusive traffic reaching your individual websites. This would likely be a result of the previous attacks mentioned above indicating that your websites were insecure and an easy target for future attacks.

3. Without consultation they installed captcha like authentication plugins on our account that did not work well and wouldn’t function on tablet and smartphone that severely compromised our ability to access our administration area for both wordpress and joomla Content Management Systems for the site.
You are correct that GreenGeeks does configure a security provision on WordPress & Joomla based admin areas upon recognizing a large amount of bruteforce based attacks. This is only configured should the customer not have a plugin/security rule preconfigured on their website and should GreenGeeks deploy this script customers are notified immediately via email.

Again this is a step we take to prevent attacks such as what was seen in early 2013. Customers have the ability to request this be disabled and the script will self remove upon the attacks subsiding. These rules are simply .htaccess based and have zero impact on the core operation of a customers website. Additionally GreenGeeks points out how to prevent your website from these attacks to insure all of our clients experience a safe stable environment.

4. We were told that 2 different sites were not optimized even though we spent lots of time and money installing and optimizing cache systems that reduced HTTP requests, resources, and queries to negligible levels. When we asked them to clarify what wasn’t working we were offered NO details and told to optimize our site using the same canned response that we received the first time.
I am equally upset to hear you were provided no satisfactory responses related to issues optimizing your website. I'd love to review what has taken place on these tickets if you are able to provide the Ticket ID Reference. GreenGeeks is certainly here to help customers optimize their websites, however there will also be times when optimization is no longer enough and a hardware/plan upgrade is required.

GreenGeeks also provides numerous tools for our customers such as CloudFlare a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that can help dramatically reduce the connections to your server by caching all static content (css, javascript, images). Additionally CloudFlare helps to reduce "bad" traffic from ever reaching your website as they indicate in a few of the articles I referenced above. GreenGeeks is also an official Optimized Hosting Partner and provides CloudFlare's Railgun service for FREE (regular $250/month when dealing directly with CloudFlare.com). This service further assists in optimizing and reducing the page load times of your website.

Outside of CloudFlare, GreenGeeks does provide security/malware scanning tools and the ability to near fully customize your individual PHP server (including installing APC, Memcache) at a click of a button.

5. We were charged for add ons that we did not want (SSL and Static IP Address), This was partly my fault for not cancelling the account right away (Which is buried on their site). Once I submitted a cancellation request they continued to charge us for additional Addons to our account!!! I asked for a refund and they told us Addons are not refundable. Basically taking our money after we cancelled and then refusing to give it back.
Unfortunately this is where it becomes difficult to provide clear concise answers as your core hosting services "[domain deleted]" remains active and online with GreenGeeks. This account has no addon services and no cancellation requests. I do see that you have recommended a few other accounts some of which have since cancelled.

In regards to our Cancellation Request portal, this is outlined in multiple locations on our website including our Knowledgebase & Terms of Service. Additionally for ease of use, cancellation request information is included in all invoice notices. Unfortunately since these accounts are associated with other customers, it would make sense that it was difficult for yourself to locate.

In regards to refunds, should a Cancellation Request be placed prior to the due date of your invoice any charges that may occur during the cancellation process are refunded. This for example occurred with one of your customers accounts (which you are associated with) "[domain deleted]", a Cancellation Request was placed in Februrary 2014 and upon replying to the request for final confirmation we received no reply.

We continued to reach out via email including 24 hours prior to both due dates for the service addons and received no reply via email or phone. Upon finally hearing from the customer regarding the charges there account was terminated and the SSL & Dedicated IP address were refunded in full. The transaction reference numbers for the invoice renewals [invoice numbers deleted].

Please note that our official policy (as outlined in our Terms of Service) is as follows:

Should you become dissatisfied with our services within the first 30 days of your account activation, GreenGeeks will refund your hosting fee subject to the money back guarantee terms listed in this agreement. Refunds are not available for customers after the 30 days of account activation. You may however cancel your account at any time in order to make sure that your account is not renewed. You will need to contact customer service and verify information before cancellation takes place. You will be charged in full for the entire month in which you cancelled your account. Accounts which have negative balances will be sent to collections and all services will be terminated, including domain registrations. Refunds are never available for domain registrations. Domain Names transferred to our service incur an additional year of registration and therefore are considered a domain registration. Domain registration fees are $24.95/yr. Domain names of customers which leave our hosting service will be refunded the package price total less the domain registration fee if the customer leaves GreenGeeks hosting service within the 30 day money back guarantee.

In addition refunds are not available for additional services which you may purchase at GreenGeeks for instance an additional domain name we may purchase for a client is not refundable and a dedicated IP which we may setup for a client for a charge is not refundable.

6. Finally after we managed to Cancel our account we were told that our site would remain active, and that we would have to submit another ticket to get rid of it otherwise it would remain active till 2016!
I do apologize however in reviewing all of your accounts, this point is unfortunately slightly twisted. This may be a result of miscommunication/communication breakdown as again you would be the third party in this scenario.

I do see in one of your referrals cancellation requests our billing department informed the client that they were no longer eligible for a refund as per our Terms of Service and asked the customer if they wished to maintain the hosting service until its expiry in 2016. Upon a response indicating they wished to proceed early the account was terminated.

Now as a whole, I would like to again apologize for any inconveniences you faced. GreenGeeks is nearly ready to launch an improved Account Manager which will allow web developers to better assist their customers and will likely reduce most of the added frustration you faced. Additionally we have recently announced on our blog that our hardware/network fleets are being upgraded to keep current with technology. With these new additions we will be introducing SSD Accelerated Raid-10 disk arrays which have so far presented a 50-100% increase in page responsiveness. I would be more than happy to migrate any of your customers who are still potentially facing issues over to this new platform, just shoot me an email!.

[post edited to remove potentially private info]

Jaypan’s picture

I'm quite disturbed by these three comments:

I've been trying to reach you via email and telephone since the post on your personal blog last week. This included reaching you on your ***-***-***3 telephone number and at your @********.com email address.

your core hosting services "********.com" remains active and online with GreenGeeks.

This for example occurred with one of your customers accounts (which you are associated with) "********.com"

[I've removed the personal information]

You should not be connecting this user to any of their private information on a public site, even if you have not shown it in its complete form.

Can a moderator please edit the post to remove the private information? It's unprofessional to have posted it.


Currently looking for employment in Canada, USA or Asia. My portfolio is at Jaypan, and you can checkout my Japan podcasts.
GreenGeeks-Josh’s picture

Hello Jaypan,

I can appreciate your concern, however none of the information posted was of sensitive/exploitable nature and was posted as to provide the client with some information should they review their thread they have opened. This customer has failed to reply to any communication that GreenGeeks has attempted over the course of the last week. It is possible they have outdated information on their account with GreenGeeks and by posting this it allows them to recognize and take appropriate action.

Jaypan’s picture

Life's not fair, so the fairness of the matter is irrelevant. The fact is that you chose to divulge information that the user did not choose to divulge themselves, information that you only knew because they provided it to you in what they likely expected to be confidential circumstances. If your terms and conditions don't state that personal information is confidential, then that alone is a reason not to use Green Geeks. If it does state that such information is confidential, then you are in violation of your T&C, again a reason to not use Green Geeks.

The correct way to handle these issues is to apologize for any misunderstandings, and maybe make a few broad points in defensive of your position, with an invite to the claimant to contact you directly so you can try to come to a mutually satisfactory solution. The wrong way to deal with it is to defend your position unbudgingly while divulging personal information. You are only hurting your own brand with that type of response.

I suggest you read some books on how to deal with PR issues, as your above response has ensured that I at least will never use Green Geeks, and I'm likely not the only one. When you consider such an outcome, your response has been counter-productive.


Currently looking for employment in Canada, USA or Asia. My portfolio is at Jaypan, and you can checkout my Japan podcasts.
WorldFallz’s picture

I've edited the post above to remove any potentially private information. You were way out of line posting it without permission-- it doesn't matter whether or not you consider it acceptable.

I'm not sure how the drupal.org forums got hijacked into the green geeks support forum, but no more, post locked, as will be all such future posts.

_
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