Article by Jerry Low
Geek dad, SEO data junkie, investor, and founder of Web Hosting Secret Revealed. Jerry has been building Internet assets and making money online since 2004. He loves mindless doodling and trying new food.
Recently even industries in highly commercialized countries have held meetings regarding the impact of Global Warming. The harmful gases produced from industries in clouds of dark black gases and ashes have caused a lot of ecological disasters. Therefore, industries have been asked to take measures in order to reduce the destruction caused by heavy industrialization world wide. Similarly some web hosting companies have decided to play their part in preserving the ecosystem. When they join this cause – they are called “Green Web Hosts”.
The main concept behind Green Web Hosting is using renewable resources for energy. Previously fuels and coal were used to produce electricity (the so-call ‘Dirty Power) which industries use at a very high rate. The normal electricity consumption by industries causes production of a lot of harmful fuel gases which go into the surrounding environment. These harmful gases affect all life forms and destroy the ecological balance.
An increase in air pollution has caused acid rains, increased air borne diseases and even extinction of some animal species in various countries. As an attempt to reduce these negative impacts on our natural environments (and also, to use this as a marketing strategy), web hosts have decided to use other energy sources.
These Green web hosting companies are as good as the regular web hosting services.
In fact, half of the web hosting companies that I reviewed here are using green energy: iPage, Hostgator, FatCow, and GreenGeeks. All these Green Web Hosts offer all the standard services to their customers without any hitches. There are no limitations and people using Green web hosting services have full access to their accounts all the time. They can easily make use of the POP accounts, Sub-domains, MySQL, and even use extra FTP accounts. There are no limitations. Green web hosting have faster operating systems and their servers are driven by FreeBSD, making them more stable and reliable.
One may wonder if there will be more server-down scenarios as compared to that of the normal web hosting services. It is in fact better than what most normal web hosting services offer. This is because they are less prone to over loads and fluctuations being independent from the main electricity providers. Even if they have power outages they can quickly revert to reserves. So they are targeted toward offering 99.9% uptime service guarantees. Hostgator, for example, is doing remarkably well in term of server uptime.
Green Web Hosts have started using alternative energy sources such as, solar panels, bio-gas, wind electricity and hydro-electricity. The benefits of these forms of energy has been a marked reduction in air pollution and improved climate. This is because using these alternative sources of energy has reduced carbon emission.
Web hosting requires non stop working of servers to provide good and reliable internet services to their clients. Therefore constant electricity supply is non-negotiable, and it is important to have a good source of energy. This is why web hosting companies interested in going green have started installing solar panels to support their servers using solar energy. Wind mills too have become important for those who choose to use the wind as a source of carbon free energy. The solar energy and wind energy sources are almost 90% recycled, however hydro-electricity is not as efficient as the first two. Nonetheless it has also been adopted my most web hosting companies in an attempt to preserve the environment.
These companies need to install these machineries. In most countries the government has started providing solar panels for interested companies and industries. All they need to do is inform the appropriate authorities of their interest in going green.
BUT WAIT! Web hosting companies installing solar panel and wind mills? This does not sound financial-wise for a web host that sells green hosting at $1.99/mo.
Okay, this proves that you are actually reading my words. :) Yes, in fact it is (almost) impossible for a hosting companies to build wind mills and solar panels (think about the extra maintenance cost and the extra technical expertise!).
So how, actually, Green Web Hosting go green?
Short answer: Energy Credits Certificate. These are best explained as non-tangible commodities which serve as proof that solar panels or solar energy is being used. A renewing of energy credits certificate is bought for every 1megawatt per hour of energy generated and returned to the power grid. This means that any company can generate 100% clean electricity without the hassles to build wind mills and solar panel (so to say).
My choice of Best Green Hosting, GreenGeeks for example, replace, with wind power, 3 times the amount of energy used by their servers. So if their servers pull 1X of power from the grid; the company purchase enough wind energy credits to put back into the grid 3X of power having been produced by wind power. For reference, figure on your right is the certificate of purchase of 2.3 million MW of clean, renewable energy of GreenGeeks.
That’s how green web hosting “go green”.
In case you wonder, yes, there are still other ways to go green but I don’t see it being used by any hosting company. One of the options that I read online is the Cold aisle containment. This option helps companies minimize the carbon footprints. Leakage of cold air into the warm air is prevented. This works by reducing the consumption of power by improving the cooling system. Similarly, the chloride power protection system is also as a good source of uninterrupted power supply. This is a chemical mixture which conserved power up to 100% and recycling the resources. Thereby it is very profitable and economical.
The idea of Green Web Hosting is aimed at convincing internet users that there are no negative effects on their natural environment. Yes, theoretically, it does reduce your carbon footprint and perhaps make you feel better, that you have done some good for the earth. But in reality, I believe (read: personal opinions with no fact support) the impact (of using a Green Web Host) is rather small. Hey, these hosting companies actually did not reduce ‘dirty’ energy consumption directly. These hosting companies are just purchasing Energy Credits Certificate and offsetting their power consumption. It feels like the same argument of Is E-Reading Really Greener?, don’t you think?
Personally, I do not take in the ‘green factor’ when I am searching for a web host. Rather, I am more concern with the server uptime, response rate, prices, and so on. If the web host is green, great; if it is not, I’ll live with it. There are tons of better ways to make our earth a better place and I would say going green on web hosting is not the most effective ways.
But then again, that’s me.
Should you factor ‘Green’ in the checklist when shopping for a web host? Well, that’s up to you! ;)