Posted on Sep 2, 2014

Green Hosting: The What and Why

Green Hosting: The What and Why


Having green and eco-friendly initiatives in your company is becoming increasingly important. There are lots of reasons for going green, including protecting the planet and its resources. But it also makes simple business sense – if your customers are concerned about the environment, you should be concerned too. It’s not surprising then that green hosting is an option that more companies are choosing. But why do you need green hosting and how does it work?


First, you’ll need to make sure you don’t fall into the traps of the many charlatans that exist on the internet and beyond. These are the companies that bluff their way through green questions without really doing anything that will have an impact. This applies to website hosting companies as much as it does to anyone else. In fact there is a burgeoning industry in bloggers who expose companies who say they are green but don’t back it up with actions. So the real questions become: What is proper green hosting? And how does it work?


Like its 1985


Before answering those questions, let’s look at why green hosting is important. According to one study, the world’s ICT (information and communications technology) infrastructure is using 1,500 terawatt-hours of power every year. That’s a number that means nothing to most people. But it’s the same as the total amount of electricity used worldwide in 1985. All the computers, phones, data centers, and servers around the world now account for 10% of the total electricity we use. Ten percent!


Websites contribute to this significantly. Your website is stored in a datacenter which is basically a room with lots of powerful computers. Those computers need large amounts of power to run but they also need an environment that is cool and well ventilated. This too uses up power.


So it is a sensible option to use a green website hosting service to limit the impact that your website is making on the world’s resources.


How Green Hosting Works


There are several ways that website hosting providers go green. One of the most common and effective methods is by buying Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). This is the method that iPage uses to make its services green. It allows hosting providers to offset the electricity that they use with electricity created from a renewable source. In the case of iPage, that source is wind. iPage purchases enough RECs to cover double the energy that it uses. As a result, customers who host their website with iPage can display a badge certifying their site as eco-friendly.


Buying a REC achieves the same end result as powering website hosting servers directly from renewable energy sources, although some companies do adopt the direct approach. Another option is to buy Carbon Credits which are similar to RECs. They use reductions in carbon dioxide emissions to offset energy use.


Finally, some website hosting companies choose to adopt general environmentally friendly practices in their offices and data centers. This includes things like optimizing servers to ensure they are performing as energy efficiently as possible.


How to Make Your Website Green


There are two main ways you can make your website more environmentally friendly. This is not an exhaustive list. But these two steps will set you on the right path:


  1. Ensure your website hosting is eco-friendly, and that the method the website hosting company uses is legitimate.
  2. Make your own website run well. If your website is badly constructed and loads slowly it is using more electricity than if it ran quickly and smoothly.


These two things are not difficult to implement and they don’t cost much. You need hosting anyway and you need a quick and efficient website for your customers as well as for the environment. And you get the added bonus (if you implement the steps) of telling your customers about your new green credentials!