Green web hosting is a new approach that many web hosting companies are taking with the way in which they are offering their services, providing businesses that are looking to cut down their carbon footprint with another way in which this can be achieved. Through a variety of different methods web hosting companies are able to reduce the carbon footprint of their web hosting services so that the use less energy without compromising the quality or the performance of the service that is being offered. Any web hosting company can take a few basic measures so that they can say that they offer green web hosting, but there are some specialist web hosting companies that go one step further and invest greatly in power generation technologies so that they are able to deliver a truly green web hosting experience to customers. Depending on how you go about it green web hosting may only be available at a premium, but most web hosting companies have now invested in power-saving equipment that uses less electricity whilst providing more power which will help to reduce their overall carbon footprint without having to increase the costs of their web hosting services.
What defines green web hosting?
Green web hosting is a type of web hosting that is defined by several different features that may differ between web hosting providers. These features consist of:
- Power usage of equipment – the power usage of equipment can play a big factor in how green a web hosting company is because if they are using old and outdated equipment then this obviously wouldn’t have been manufactured to meet the current standards with regards to energy consumption – in order for a web hosting company to be able to provide green web hosting services, it is important for them to have invested in modern servers and networking equipment that are much more economical with the way in which they use energy and are able to provide a higher level of performance whilst using less energy – however, it is still going to be the case of the more powerful servers using up more energy than smaller, less powerful servers, but techniques can be applied to help stem the need for further servers such as the use of virtual machines
- Where the energy comes from – one of the most important factors for web hosting companies to consider if they wish to promote green web hosting is where the energy that powers their servers and network equipment comes from because if it is provided by fossil fuel-powered power stations then this isn’t going to aid them with the promotion of green web hosting to any extent – many data centres are now adding wind turbines on their own sites as this will allow them to generate their any electricity, whilst any spare capacity can be sold back to the National Grid which will provide any data centre with the opportunity to generate an extra source of income whilst reducing their own electricity costs through the reduction in reliance on external power suppliers
- Community involvement – some web hosting companies may choose to get involved with the local communities in which they are based with activities such as tree planting as these will allow the company to offset their carbon emissions to some extent by planting new trees that will be able to absorb the carbon dioxide produced by the web hosting provider’s activities – tree planting schemes can be costly and so for the most part web hosting providers don’t get involved to a great extent, but at the end of the day involvement in such schemes help to promote a positive company image and will aid them with the promotion of green web hosting services.
Are there any disadvantages to using green web hosting?
For individuals there can be some downsides to using green web hosting that need to be considered when weighing up the advantages of green web hosting. Such disadvantages may include:
- Cost – because of the extra investment that takes place in more expensive technologies in order to allow web hosting companies to offer green web hosting services, the cost of green web hosting services can be more expensive than web hosting services that are hosted on older hardware appliances and less energy-efficient data centres and this can place green web hosting services outside the budgets of many smaller businesses that are simply looking to establish their web presence, as at this time it is generally larger businesses that are looking to develop their green presence in multiple ways as a method of improving their corporate image
- Verifying green credentials – in some cases, particularly with smaller web hosting companies, it can be hard to verify the green credentials of the web hosting business because although some claim to be participating in tree planting schemes and using energy efficient hardware, verifying such claims can be very hard – however, most web hosting companies host their hardware in large data centres that usually put in efforts to offer green server hosting services meaning that if a web hosting company does claim to be using a data centre that offers green hosting then such claims are easier to verify than others.
In conclusion, green web hosting will allow businesses to reduce their carbon footprint which in-turn will allow them to improve their corporate image, especially to customers who are conscious of a business’s ethical and environmental policies. There are many different measures that web hosting companies can take to claim the green web hosting badge, but in order to offer carbon neutral web hosting services a web hosting provider will need to be actively engaged in community projects which involve growing trees and other environmentally tasks, whilst investment in modern servers and other hardware will need to take place to reduce a web hosting provider’s overall energy consumption. However, the investment will need to be passed on to the customer and so you may find that some green web hosting services carry an extra premium, this usually being with web hosting companies that specialize specifically in green web hosting.