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What is Green Web Hosting and How Does It Work?

UPDATED
April 23, 2024

 

A lot of companies are already actively trying to lessen the negative effects on the environment, whether it be through supply chains, energy use during daily operations, or product CO2 footprints.

 

But, one thing that a lot of organizations fail to notice is the carbon footprint of the internet, particularly from their web hosting service.

 

The internet emits billions of greenhouse gasses annually, and if we keep going at the pace we’re going, the communications sector will account for 20% of the world’s electricity consumption by 2025.

 

Luckily, companies can do their part by going for green website hosting, and we’re here to let you know all about it.

 

 

What Exactly Is Green Website Hosting?

 

green website hosting uses of sustainable energy sources

Green web hosts use sustainable energy or electricity. (Credit: IGyani)

 

Generally, ‘green web hosting’ refers to a web hosting company or data center that makes use of sustainable energy sources, or makes a conscious effort to offset their emissions and minimize waste.

 

What this means is that their energy needed to power these data centers should come from sustainable sources, such as solar, wind, or water power. Some data centers even go the extra mile by sending out the excess heat produced by running their servers, and then using it to heat water for the residents of a nearby city.

 

Other hosts may purchase offsets – such as GreenGeeks, which works with Bonneville Environmental Foundation to put back 300% of the energy they use into the grid in the forms of renewable energy.

 

Another popular initiative some hosts take is planting trees to compensate for the amount of CO2 emitted while operating their servers.

 

There’s quite a handful of ways to be green and the things we mentioned are just a few of them. So, if you’d like to make more conscious decisions while running your brand or business, a good way to start is by making sure to choose the web hosting company that shares your interests in being green.

 

 

Green Web Hosting Certification Types To Know

 

green web hosting certification types

The two most common green web hosting certifications are REC and VER. (Credit: HostPapa)

 

Although there are many different levels of green web hosting certifications, we’ll only focus on the two most popular ones: Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) and Carbon Offset Certificates (VER).

 

1. Renewable Energy Certificates (REC)

 

The most popular type of certification, the REC guarantees that all of the electricity used to run a data center comes from a renewable source, like wind, solar, or water power. Web hosting companies are given this certificate when it’s 100% proven that the energy they use comes from a renewable source.

 

2. Carbon Offset Certificate (VER)

 

A less popular certification, VER is given to companies that adopt additional initiatives like recycling, planting trees, or purchasing carbon credits to partially compensate for the CO2 emitted annually. A lot of companies like GreenGeeks are known to be very transparent about their efforts, one of them being planting a tree for every customer that signs up for their web hosting services.

 

Though, some people tend to be choosy when it comes to what certificate their green web hosting has, mostly because they believe certain initiatives are more impactful than others. If this sounds like you, then it’s important to do thorough research on how a green web host runs their business before selecting them.

 

 

Why go green anyway?

 

going green gives us a chance to fight climate change

Going green can give you a chance to combat climate change.

 

It’s easy to understand why green hosting is so popular. The first and one of the most obvious reasons is because green hosting gives you a chance to take action against climate change. You can start by making a wise decision to lessen your carbon footprint, switch to renewable energy sources, and care more for the environment.

 

After you’ve transitioned, even more benefits start to kick in. Being able to say that you use green hosting can really enhance your reputation because environmental issues are becoming more and more important to people all over the world. This shows your audiences that you’re a responsible and thoughtful business, which gives potential customers more reasons to choose you.

 

These customers also now have a fresh tale to share with their own network of contacts, clients, and friends. Your reputation will be contagious, and the impact it has on other people could result in further recommendations and referrals.

 

With that said, green hosting is a simple and practical way to demonstrate your commitment to environmental sustainability, and starting to use it now can actually put you ahead of your competition.

 

 

5 Amazing Green Web Hosts To Consider

 

many web hosts have transitioned to green web hosting

A lot of web hosts have already transitioned to green web hosting.

 

Deciding to switch to green web hosting is the first step. Once you’ve decided to either build your website on a green web hosting server or move it there, you can begin looking for green services that are available.

 

With that said, here are 5 great web hosts to consider:

 

  1. GreenGeeks
    They take their responsibility to the community so seriously that they pay for three times as much energy as they use. This REC-certified company purchases credits from the wind industry and also lessens its footprint by utilizing energy-efficient hardware in its data center servers. They also plant a tree for every new hosting plan purchased.
  2. A2 Hosting
    They have servers in the US, UK, Canada, France, and Australia, and are associated with some of the world’s most eco-friendly nations. They also have a partnership with the Carbon Fund and are VER-certified. Plus, A2 Hosting has donated carbon emissions offsets totaling 2.3 million pounds over the past ten years, which is the same as planting 27,000 new trees.
  3. HostPapa
    They purchase RECs to run everything from their laptops and office computers to web servers, data centers, and even the office space they operate out of. They also favor and actively use solar and wind energy.
  4. DreamHost
    They locate their server equipment in data centers with water reclamation systems for cooling. These same data centers use high-efficiency cooling, take part in clean wind programs, and only use electricity produced by renewable sources.
  5. Acorn Host
    They initially started by giving discounts to charities and organizations that supported the environment. These days, they have a REC certification, and their connections to data centers reflect that. Both their partners ServInt and Liquidweb, use low-voltage servers, support reforestation efforts, and recycle hardware parts that have reached the end of their lifespans.

 

 

Never Too Late To Go Green

 

Green web hosting companies are good news for the environment.

 

A lot of web hosting companies have already decided to go green too, so it won’t be that hard to find one that performs fantastically. Taking part and choosing to go for one gives you the opportunity to combat climate change.

 

With that said, it’s never too late to start with a green web host or transition your website to one. It’s a simple and practical way to help the environment.

 

 

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