A web server has to work non-stop round the year and it consumes a lot of energy in the process. Now think of a datacenter that houses a number of web servers, and it won’t be difficult to imagine the scale of operations that goes in to keep it working. It is said that the amount of energy consumed by the US datacenters is equivalent to that consumed by 5 million houses put together. If all of this energy is to come from conventional, non-renewable sources like burning of coals, gas fired furnaces and generators, obviously you as a responsible netizen are not going to appreciate it.
So, how can you host your website or application without causing harm to the planet we live in? This is where green web hosting comes in.
What is Green web hosting?
Green web hosts or ‘eco-friendly’ web hosts are those web hosting providers that have a plan to save energy as much as possible and even to generate energy from renewable sources. The huge amount of energy used by data centers to keep your website up is usually produced from carbon emitting generators. (A carbon emitting generator is one that burns non-renewable fuels to generate electricity and gives out too much of carbon and other pollutants.) A green web host strives to minimize the energy consumption of their servers in the first place. They usually employ machines that consume less energy and cuts energy usage wherever possible. Apart from this, many of these hosts generate energy from wind, solar and other renewable resources to power their servers. Solar and wind power are gaining huge popularity nowadays and are ideal sources of energy for green web hosts.
Other than saving on energy, green web hosts also have a safe equipment disposal plan. Computers and related equipment have a lot of toxic substances used in them. Green web hosts also make sure that damaged and old computer equipment are disposed properly in a way that won’t affect our environment. Most of these electronic components can be recycled and green web hosts just do that with their machines. Here is some more insight on how web hosting companies actually go green.
How does it work?
Most of the green web hosts buy REC or ‘renewable energy certificate’ in order to outweigh their normal energy usage. It’s not just the energy they save that makes them green; these certificates they buy too play an important role. For the power usage that is vital for a web host to work, they buy into projects aimed at eliminating carbon from the atmosphere and that’s what RECs are. RECs are issued for buying into renewable energy generation projects such as hydroelectricity, wind power and solar power. Some projects are involved in planting more trees to reduce the carbon footprint and the other harmful effects of pollution. There are some green hosts that plant their data center surroundings with trees for the same cause. Green web hosting providers also use ‘energy star’ approved servers and other energy efficient hardware to cut down their power consumption.
Why go green?
The number of websites online is sky-rocketing every year and to power all these websites, more electricity becomes vital. Most of the conventional web hosts that you are familiar with probably consume electricity that is made from carbon emitting generators and this could take a toll on our planet. Conservation of energy is becoming more and more essential and most companies have started doing their part to save energy. Web hosts are one of the biggest energy consumers among the tech world and if they can be green, what can be better than that? By choosing a green web host as your hosting provider, you could be doing your bit towards saving our nature and preserving it for future generations.
Is that host you found actually green?
When you want to do your part towards a greener earth, it’s not easy to find the hosting provider that actually is green and concerned about our nature. Not all the web hosts that have a green badge on their site are truly green. It is very easy to claim to be green on the website and you may not know what’s actually going on down there.
However not all of them are fake, there really are eco-friendly web hosts that generate their own energy from renewable sources to stay awake. Such web hosts are few in number and they use solar panels, wind generators and other harmless methods to power their servers. These green web hosts don’t make any negative impact to our planet and even take up many carbon reduction projects themselves. They are truly green and it would be great if you could go with one such host.
Here’s what you should look for when you want to go with a real green host and not just a fake one:
- Check their certificates: Many different agencies offer certificates, so it’s important to cross check the authenticity of the certificate that the web host has.
- Go through their policy carefully: It’s not enough to just go with a host that claims itself green, go through their policy statements and understand what they actually do to be green.
- Energy star servers: Make sure your green host uses energy star rated servers to reduce power consumption or else, they aren’t what they claim to be.
There are always pros and cons to everything, but when it comes to green web hosting I think the pros outweigh the cons.
There is no reason why someone wouldn’t want to save our planet and keep it green while having their website hosted as well. This actually has more benefits than what meets the eye at first. Going with a green web host and proclaiming it on your site helps you build client loyalty and that’s something really good. You are also demonstrating your company’s responsibility towards the planet by choosing a green web hosting provider. This might even motivate others to follow your path and that’s even better. Besides, there is nothing better than the feeling of doing no harm to our environment in your process of becoming a successful business entity.
Having said that, don’t forget to ensure that the green web host you are planning to go with is reliable as well. You want your website to be up all the time, right? If the green host you choose is not reliable, there is no point in going with it; so choose wisely. And last but not the least, don’t not end up paying more. If done right, green hosting shouldn’t cost the service provider anything more than non-green hosting. Actually, they might even cut some cost by going green, so do not go with a very costly one.