What is green web hosting?
Green hosting is the term that is applied to web hosting companies utilizing technologies that will allow them to become “carbon neutral” or reduce their overall carbon emissions in order to reduce the impact that they are having on global warming. There are a variety of different methods available and steps that can be taken to become a “green web hosting provider” and as the focus on global warming becomes ever more intense, more businesses are looking to improve their “green image” where possible and choosing green hosting is one way in which they can achieve this.
Electricity from Wind Turbines
Using green energy sources is one of the main methods that web hosting companies are taking on board to help improve their green hosting image. Electricity from wind turbines is one of the most cost-efficient ways of achieving this to power data centre equipment including servers and routers because they are fairly cheap to install and yield better results when compared to other options. In simple terms, wind turbines deliver power to servers in the following way:
- Wind turbines can be installed on the site of the data centre to reduce the need for the power to travel through the national grid as this can increase costs
- The power generated is exclusively used for the data centre, any excess power generated can be fed back to the National Grid as this will provide the data centre with an extra source of income
- The power can then be used to power the equipment that resides in the data centre, from servers to routers it is all covered and this is without the need for any modifications to the power supplies or the architecture of the power system.
However, the problem with wind turbines is that the generation of electricity is reliant on the weather conditions at the time because if there is no wind then there is no way for electricity to be generated. In such a situation any well-organized data centre will also have mainline power available for use if needs be. If a data centre can be built upon the idea of using renewable energy sources over traditional sources of energy then this will help to reduce the carbon footprint of the given data centre.
Energy Efficient Equipment
In an age where servers are becoming more powerful, people are becoming more cautious of their electricity usage and reliance on non-renewable energy resources. As power becomes more expensive, it is important for hardware manufacturers to develop new products and technologies that use less energy whilst still retaining the developments that have been made with faster processors and memory.
By adopting more energy efficient hardware in their data centres, web hosting companies will be able to reduce their monthly power bills whilst reaping the benefits of having access to more powerful hardware and routers. Such options for more energy efficient hardware may include:
- Using newer processors that have been manufactured to specifically use less energy at the current generation of server processors, whilst maintaining performance and offering new benefits
- Moving to use SSDs (solid state hard drives) that are based on more modern flash memory over existing disk-based hard drive solutions used by most server vendors.
Virtual hosting is another popular method being adopted to help save rack space and to reduce web hosting providers’ reliance on physical servers. Like VPS hosting, virtual hosting allows web hosting companies to purchase one powerful server and then merge existing servers into being separate virtual machines on the physical server. Virtual hosting is able to offer benefits such as:
- Consolidation of multiple servers into one server, saving on rack space and reducing a web hosting company’s overall power usage because only one server will be in use instead of several
- Virtual servers will be easier to manage over physical boxes because the daemon software that will be running on the virtual host node will provide you with additional software tools that will allow you to control the state of your virtual servers from the desktop
- Money will also be saved if you are only purchasing one server over several because you will only be paying for the rack space used by one server in comparison to having to pay for the rack space that is being taken up by several servers.
In conclusion, green web hosting providers can achieve the status of being “carbon neutral” through the adoption of several different techniques that will affect their hardware arrangements as well as how their hardware is powered. The investment in renewable energy sources is long-term which is a reason for not every web hosting company being so keen on it as some will prefer to see instant results over long-term benefits. However, in an age where more businesses are becoming more interested in green technologies, it pays for web hosting providers to research green hosting methods.