Web Hosting Explained

What is Green Web Hosting?

Green Hosting

Website hosting is like renting a virtual plot of land, but each website’s information is stored in a physical location (data center) too.

These data centers have servers and there is a lot of computer part waste. Computer parts stop working and need to be replaced. Some can be recycled, but it’s not clear which web hosts recycle parts.

It also gets incredibly hot in these data centers. Heat and technology are not a good mix. Computers work well when it’s cool, not so much when it’s hot. Therefore, it’s necessary to cool the data centers to keep the servers running at their best. One way web hosts cool their data centers is with AirCon, which emits lots of carbon dioxide through the use of diesel fuel and coolant.

Jack Amend, the founder of the Web Neutral Project has said that the average website creates 4,500 pounds of CO2 each year, according to Tech Radar. But, as said by Ragnar Loobrok, CO2 output is not the only concern: energy use, electronic waste, and harmful chemicals also play a factor in the web hosting scheme. There are also difficulties caused by the lead-acid batteries that are used in case of power fluctuations.

One way some web hosts have naturally keep their servers cool is by going to a cool environment. For example, Advania, an IT company, has several Olympic swimming pool-sized buildings that house their servers in the southwestern tip of Iceland where the weather stays cool year-round. The data centers are cooled mostly by just allowing the cool air inside. This brings down operating costs for the company and helps reduce their carbon footprint, naturally keeping their company more eco-friendly.

Advania isn’t the only company harnessing the natural cooling power of Nothern countries. Facebook opened a naturally cooled data center in Sweden. Even Google and Apple are already planning to build data centers in Northern countries.

How to Choose a Green Web Host

Choosing a green web host is a lot like choosing a traditional web host. You’ll need to check their customer service reputation, uptime, features, and page loading speed. However, when looking for an eco-friendly web host you will also need to verify that they are what they say they are. You can do this through certifications called RECs and VERs. A REC is a Renewable Energy Certificate and a VER is a Carbon Offset Certificate. A REC shows that a web host helped to generate a certain amount of renewable energy. A VER shows that greenhouse gases have been reduced.

According to the EPA, “Offsets and RECs, however, are fundamentally different instruments with different impacts, representing different criteria for qualification and crediting in the context of inventory or emissions footprint.”

Offsets represent emissions avoided or being reduced, while RECs represent the generation of renewable electricity.

Native Energy is an organization that certifies green web hosting companies. To be certified, every company must meet their basic requirements, as well as having a known and reliable carbon offset with an approved way to measure it.

According to Tech Radar, “Going green does tend to have some hosting consequences, in particular with the price”. But that doesn’t seem to be true. Green web hosts pass their savings on to their customers, making the cost of going green with your web host about the same (or even less) than what you’re already paying.

Go green with your website hosting and brag about it on your website. You can show your customers (current and potential) that you care about the effects your business has on the environment. It gives an added benefit of shopping on your website and gives you a boost over competitors. 

5 Green Web Hosts

Green Geeks

  • Certification: REC
  • Energy Offset: 300%
  • Powerful shared hosting plan
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

A2 Hosting

  • Certification: VER
  • Energy Offset: Carbon Neutral
  • Impressive server speeds
  • Quality Support

Dream Host

  • Certification: VER
  • Energy Offset: Hard to Evaluate
  • Company offices are LEED Platinum and EnergyStar-certified
  • 97-day money-back guarantee

Host Papa

  • Certification: REC
  • Energy Offset: 100%
  • Experienced in green hosting
  • Unlimited bandwidth and disk space

iPage

  • Certification: REC
  • Energy Offset: 200%
  • Excellent Functionality

4 Honorable Mentions:

  1. Acorn Host (REC)
  2. Eco Hosting (VER)
  3. InMotion Hosting (Green Cooling)
  4. Host Gator (Wind Power and 130% Offset)

 

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