A Sustainable Approach to Website Hosting: 4 Eco-Friendly Web Hosting Companies

The team at Bocain Designs does its best to keep its business operation’s carbon footprint as low as possible.

We exclusively operate from home-based offices, which removes commuting, extra energy, connectivity, heating and cooling costs, as well as building and grounds maintenance. We are aware of and mindful of it, to say the least. All of this translates to lower prices for our clients and a greener footprint.

Whenever possible, we look for products, vendors, and merchant services that rely on or poise themselves as green businesses. We have even made sure to select a website hosting provider that values sustainability.

In this blog post, we will explore our top 4 web hosts that offer sustainable and eco-friendly web hosting solutions. We’ll discuss their unique features as well as the pros and cons of each.

Let’s address the “elephant in the room” first and answer a question some of you have.

HOW CAN A WEBSITE HAVE A CARBON FOOTPRINT?

A website has a carbon footprint through multiple factors associated with its functionality, content, and web hosting data centers. Here are the key aspects that contribute to a website’s carbon footprint:

Computing Energy Consumption: Websites require servers and data centers to store and process website data. These servers consume electricity to operate. The primary source of electricity for data centers is often non-renewable energy, such as coal or natural gas, which contributes to carbon emissions. In recent years, there are plenty of data centers making the shift to renewable energy and greener operations, but that isn’t the case for most. 

Server Infrastructure: The hardware infrastructure of servers and networking equipment requires the extraction, production, and transportation of raw materials, such as metals and plastics. These processes contribute to carbon emissions throughout the supply chain.

Cooling and Air Conditioning: Data centers generate significant heat due to the continuous operation of servers. Cooling systems, such as air conditioning and cooling towers, are used to maintain optimal temperatures, consuming additional energy and contributing to the carbon footprint.

Internet Traffic: The transfer of data from the servers to users’ devices requires network infrastructure and internet connectivity. The energy consumption of network equipment, routers, and transmission lines adds to the overall carbon emissions.

Website Development: The process of designing and developing a website involves the use of computers and software, which consume energy during operation. Additionally, if inefficient code or design practices are used, it can lead to increased server processing and energy consumption.

It’s important to note that the carbon footprint of a website is not solely determined by the website owner but also by the web hosting company that provides the server infrastructure. 

Opting for an eco-friendly web hosting company can significantly reduce the carbon emissions associated with website operations.

According to Wired, The average website produces 1.76g of CO2 for every page view; so a site with 100,000 page views per month emits 2,112kg of CO2 every year. The average American household is responsible for around 6359kg of CO2 each year.

WHAT IS THE CARBON FOOTPRINT OF MY WEBSITE?

The exact carbon footprint of a website can be difficult to calculate. As mentioned earlier, the energy usage will vary significantly depending the website’s complexity, website traffic, hosting infrastructure, and where they receive their energy from.

While it is challenging to provide an exact figure, several studies, and estimates have shed light on the carbon emissions associated with website operations. Here are some insights:

Data Centers: Data centers, which host websites and store their data, contribute a significant portion of the carbon footprint. The energy consumption of data centers can range from a few kilowatt-hours (kWh) to megawatt-hours (MWh) per year, depending on their size and efficiency.

Internet Infrastructure: The overall carbon footprint of the internet, including network infrastructure, transmission lines, and user devices, are all influencing factors.

You can use a website carbon calculator to get a general idea of what your website’s carbon footprint may be, but these tools are not 100% accurate and are for example purposes.

To mitigate the environmental impact of websites, businesses, and individuals can focus on implementing sustainable measures such as choosing eco-friendly web hosting providers, optimizing website code and design, employing caching techniques to reduce server load, and encouraging energy-efficient practices throughout the digital ecosystem.

By prioritizing sustainability and adopting eco-friendly practices, the carbon footprint of websites can be significantly reduced, leading to a more environmentally conscious digital landscape.

“The communications industry could use 20% of all the world’s electricity by 2025.”

Climate Change News (source)
Environmental Impact of Big Data and Communications

HOW TO REDUCE YOUR WEBSITE’S CARBON FOOTPRINT

To mitigate the carbon footprint of a website, businesses, and web hosting companies can adopt the following sustainable practices:

Select a Web Host That Uses Renewable Energy:  Choose web hosting providers that offer renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, or hydroelectric power, to power their data centers. This ensures that the energy used to run the website has a lower carbon impact.

Content Delivery Networks: Optimize load times for your visitors and reduce the amount of data transfer required to load the website by using content delivery networks. Why send data halfway around the World when you can use a CDN to have your website load quickly from a server close to the website visitor?

Block Malicious, Bad, or Bot Traffic: Yoast recommends blocking unnecessary bot traffic to your website for reducing your website’s carbon footprint.

If you find yourself getting flooded with traffic from countries your business can’t or doesn’t operate in, you can use an advanced tool, like Cloudflare, to prevent traffic from select countries from reaching your website.

Optimize Your Website’s Code: Employ efficient coding practices to reduce the data size of website files. This reduces server processing requirements, leading to lower energy consumption and faster website loading times. Optimize your website loading times and you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint while improving the user experience at the same time.

By implementing these sustainable practices, businesses and web hosting companies can actively contribute to reducing the carbon footprint associated with website operations and promote a greener digital landscape.

Renewable energy from natural sources

OUR TOP PICKS FOR SUSTAINABLE OR ECO-FRIENDLY GREEN WEB HOSTING COMPANIES

Green Geeks Web Hosting

As the name suggests, GreenGeeks takes an eco-friendly approach to web hosting. They are committed to offsetting the energy consumption of their servers with renewable energy credits.

Pros of Green Geeks Web Hosting

  • They boost a 300% renewable energy power system for their data center which reduces carbon emissions significantly.
  • Their web hosting solutions fit websites of all types, from personal bloggers up to large e-commerce websites and everything in between.
  • Reliable web hosting that has excellent uptime, responsiveness, and security practices.

Cons of Green Geeks Web Hosting:

  • Green Geeks pricing is by no means expensive, but they aren’t as affordable as many other well-known, entry-level non-eco-friendly hosting providers.
  • Limited data center locations may pose geographical constraints for traffic from select countries around the world.

DreamHost Web Hosting

DreamHost has been a well-known and respected web hosting company for several years and has done a great job at keeping their infrastructure eco-friendly. They have been recognized for their commitment to using sustainable energy sources.

Pros:

  • DreamHost is powered by 100% renewable energy, resulting in a minimal carbon footprint.
  • Eco-friendly hosting solutions for nearly every sized website and budget.

Cons:

  • The pricing can be confusing due to how they allow you to select add-ons and upgrades.
  • Server performance may not be as good as other eco-friendly web hosts, such as SiteGround.

SiteGround Web Hosting

SiteGround is a well-established web-hosting company that has made significant strides in sustainability by implementing various energy-efficient practices.

Pros:

  • Invests in renewable energy projects and purchases certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to power data centers.
  • Offers a user-friendly interface and excellent customer support.
  • Utilizes advanced caching techniques for improved website performance.

Cons:

  • Higher renewal prices after the initial discounted period.
  • Limited storage capacity on entry-level plans.

A2 Web Hosting

A2 Hosting is committed to sustainability and incorporates eco-friendly practices into its operations, aiming to minimize its carbon footprint.

Pros:

  • Utilizes renewable energy credits to offset server emissions.
  • Offers a range of hosting options with high performance and reliability.
  • Provides free site migration and a user-friendly interface.

Cons:

  • Additional costs for certain features and add-ons.
  • Limited data center locations.

Ready to Go Green?

Picking any of these eco-friendly web hosting solutions seems like a no-brainer. Either way, your website needs a good hosting platform, all of these provide top of the line website hosting while still being small business-centric in their features and pricing. 

If you aren’t sure which hosting provider is best for your business needs, or you’d like assistance migrating your website to an eco-friendly web host, reach out to our team. We’d love to help make your business a little greener!

Bocain Designs
Bocain Designs

Dan is a founding partner of Bocain Designs, a web design company that specializes in WordPress web design and WordPress management. We've earned over 2,000 five-star reviews for our work with 2,500+ clients from over 80 countries. Let's talk about how we can make your business awesome online!