Estimates say that around 1-10% of all energy consumed worldwide is used to run the data centres in which our servers are located (see energyinnovation.org).
No matter which estimate you believe – what all agree on: the amount of energy that we consume through the internet is rising rapidly and so is the number of websites. There is no end in sight to an expanding internet.
This is why we need to make sure that a shift to a sustainable use of the internet happens the same way it needs to happen in any other part of our lives.
That is also why, if sustainability is something that matters to you and your business, it should also matter when choosing your web hosting provider.
Kostas, who is currently working with me, shared this very useful link: The Green Web Foundation. On their website you can check if your web host is using green energy. But even if your web host is not listed there, just check their website yourself. Like most lists on the internet this is not 100% complete.
Either way, it is quite fantastic to see how many providers do use green energy and that even more are joining, because people in the tech industry are quite aware that it is the only way forward. If you want to sustain yourself, your family and your business, you need to sustain our planet.
If you already feel comfortable with your website where it is, but just found out that they haven’t switched to renewable energy yet, write to them and tell them that you are considering switching to a green web hosting provider. You might be the tipping point for them, or at least start a process.
What is a green web host?
A green web host uses green energy and technologies and/or reduces its environmental impact. This can mean a lot of different things.
In Germany, most providers use renewable energy to run their servers – same in the Netherlands, but not every country can provide the amount of renewable energy needed to run a data center. In these countries providers plant trees or buy energy tickets in order to make up for their CO2 omissions.
A lot of the companies who truly care about the environment, truly care about their employees and customers as well. They look to find a good work life balance, how to make the whole workspace environmentally friendly, carefully pick their partners, and a show generally ethical approach to creating a business online.
If you choose a good green web host, you get the full package and can truly live and work according to your values.
Very small providers, sometimes even run by one single person:
freethought – Friendly, dependable, ethical.
What they say: “There is no planet B (Unless Elon Musk gets his way) and so we need to look after planet Earth, one of the most important things we need to do is not just reduce but reverse carbon emissions in our atmosphere to pre-industrial levels.”
greneIT – We specialise in IT & we love our environment!
What they say: “I was working to live, supporting my wife in raising our children but with no time to ‘smell the roses’ and so we decided to reassess how we could combine our priorities of family, work-life balance and caring for the environment. This led me to found Grene IT (grene is is Old English version of green) a business that capitalises on my expertise and experience, but does so in a green and environmentally sound way.”
Medium size providers, specialized in charities and organizations:
Kualo – Passionate about websites for over 15 years
What they say: “As ephemeral as it all seems, it’s easy to forget the real-world mechanics that go into keeping the Internet running. The equipment and servers behind the scenes make the internet a filthy, carbon emitting monster. With Kualo, you can rest assured that your slice of the net will be 100% powered by renewable energy.”
Dreamhost – Web Hosting with Purpose
What they say: “We’re making a conscious effort to reduce our impact on the environment with optimized facilities and policies that put respect for natural resources at the core of what we do.”
And bigger allrounders:
A2 Hosting – our speed, your success
What they say: “Since our launch back in 2003, A2 Hosting has been headquartered in Ann Arbor (AKA “Tree Town“). Take a walk around town and you’re bound to come across one of Ann Arbor’s 50,000 trees or 150 parks. This is just one of the reasons we feel it’s our duty to contribute to the fight against global warming. The goal of our FutureServe Green Hosting company initiative is to protect our environment for our future generations.”
HostGator – Web hosting made easy & affordable!
What they say: “HostGator switched to wind power in 2008 with the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits equal to 130% of the power needed to run and cool our shared and reseller servers. The move allowed us to reduce our carbon emissions and provide green hosting services to more than 1.3 million customers without raising rates.”
But like in most cases, size isn’t all that matters and while it might make for cheap prices it might not make for the best deal.
Because a reliable website and good service are worth more than the one Euro, Pound or Dollar you save per month on a cheap provider.
Would you like to find out why? Then take a look at the next post with me.