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The internet is a boon to humanity, but it’s taking its toll on the environment.

Every time you load a webpage, an average of 0.5 grams of carbon dioxide is emitted. Likewise, if you run a website with 10,000 monthly page views, you will emit approximately 132 pounds of carbon dioxide every year.

But how does that work?

Websites are hosted on web servers located in data centers, which use electricity to operate. Around 60% of global electricity production comes from burning fossil fuels. These fossil fuels, in turn, produce greenhouse gasses — mainly carbon dioxide.

So, what can you do to reduce your website’s carbon footprint?

Green web hosting is one way to tackle the environmental issues posed by millions of websites hosted on the internet. In this article, we’ll see what green web hosting is and how it benefits the environment and your brand.

Green web hosting: What is it?

Green web hosting is a more sustainable and eco-friendly way of hosting compared to traditional web hosting. Essentially, it tries to minimize the impact of web hosting on the environment by reducing the carbon emissions created by the web host’s data centers.

Green hosting applies various strategies to accomplish this, such as using renewable energy sources, reducing energy usage and compensating for carbon footprint.

Green web hosting: Why is it important?

While 0.5 grams of carbon dioxide emitted per page load doesn’t seem like much, it makes a difference when you consider the browsing volume.

According to Statista, 64.6% of the world’s population uses the internet, approximately 5.19 billion people. To cater to this huge customer base, thousands of data centers operate around the globe.

For reference, there are 5,375 data centers in the U.S. alone.

In addition to data centers, the internet also needs network infrastructure and end devices like laptops and mobiles. According to a study by Huawei, electricity used by these devices could collectively contribute 23% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

So, web hosting companies should proactively reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint to ensure that their websites don’t continue to damage the environment.

Green web hosting: How does it work?

Green web hosting companies are aware of the impact of web hosting on the planet. They use various sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprint. These methods include:

Using renewable energy sources

Many eco-friendly hosting companies use power generated by renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy to run their web servers and network infrastructure.

Minimizing energy consumption

Green web hosting companies are mindful of their energy consumption and try to save as much electricity as possible.

For example, McKinsey estimates that 40% of data center electricity usage comes from cooling systems. So, green hosting companies invest in efficient cooling systems that help make their web servers and network infrastructure more energy-efficient.

Green web hosts also find innovative ways to save power. Take Bluehost, which saves energy by using outdoor air to cool its data centers.

Promoting an environmentally friendly business culture

Green hosting providers often follow sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprint. These practices include urging employees to use eco-friendly commute methods, conducting recycling drives and reducing the use of single-use plastic on company premises.

Compensating for carbon emissions

Green web hosting providers might not be able to eliminate their carbon footprint entirely, but they do try to compensate for it. For instance, many of them invest in projects that aim to reduce carbon emissions.

Giving green power back to the energy grid

Some green hosting service providers might still need to use power from non-renewable energy sources that end up emitting carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. However, they compensate for their energy consumption by purchasing an equal amount of energy generated by a renewable source and giving it back to the energy grid.

They do this by buying certificates. We’ll take a closer look at the different types of certificates in the next section.

Green web hosting strategies

Green web hosting: Types of certificates

Not all web hosting companies generate power from sustainable sources like wind or solar power. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be green web hosting services. Hosting companies can buy certificates that ensure they give clean energy back to the power grid and compensate for their carbon footprint.

Let’s look at the major types of green web hosting certificates:

Renewable energy certificates

A green web hosting company calculates its total energy consumption and purchases renewable energy certificates that allow it to replenish the energy grid with the same amount of energy it uses. These certificates are known as green tags or tradable renewable certificates.

When a company purchases one green tag, it essentially buys one megawatt-hour of electricity generated by a renewable energy source. Web hosting companies can buy a green tag from any of the green energy suppliers.

Carbon offset credits

Carbon offsetting is the process of compensating for one’s carbon footprint. Web hosting companies can acquire carbon credits to offset their carbon emissions.

There are two main ways to get carbon offset credits:

  • Direct investment: A green hosting website may directly invest in initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Examples of carbon offset projects are forest restorations, recycling projects and sustainable waste management projects.
  • Purchase credits: The hosting company can purchase carbon credits directly from a retailer or a broker. Green web hosting providers often buy carbon credits equivalent to their carbon footprint.

Now that you know how green web hosting works, let’s explore the advantages of choosing a green web hosting provider.

Green web hosting: Benefits

Green web hosting is increasing in popularity among hosting service providers and business owners. While providing all the features of traditional web hosting plans, green hosting has some additional advantages that we’ll explore below:

Environmentally friendly

The number of internet users and websites is rapidly increasing, and web hosting companies need to ensure their actions don’t threaten our planet’s ecosystem. Green web hosting minimizes the environmental impact of running data centers and network infrastructure by using renewable energy sources and investing in sustainability projects.

Promotes sustainable energy sources

Less than 15% of global energy is generated from sustainable energy sources like wind power. Green website hosting companies either use renewable energy sources or buy green tags equivalent to their energy consumption. By using clean energy or purchasing green tags, green hosting companies promote the use of renewable energy sources, which indirectly helps tackle climate change.

Good for your business profile

According to a customer interview conducted by IBM and the National Retail Federation, 66% of purpose-driven customers prefer sustainable products. Choosing a green hosting partner is a great way to start a sustainable business. The green label on your website will attract customers who want to choose environmentally responsible companies.

Benefits of green web hosting.

Green web hosting: Final thoughts

Green web hosting tries to protect the environment by reducing the hosting provider’s carbon footprint. Green web hosts offer hosting packages identical to traditional hosting companies but with the added advantage of being environmentally friendly.

There are many advantages to choosing a green web hosting provider. Not only does it allow you to run your website without harming nature, but going green is a great way to impress customers who are aware of the environmental impact of the internet.

In addition to looking for a green hosting provider, make sure you choose a provider that offers reliable support, uptime and malware scanning.

At Bluehost, we have WordPress hosting plans with a variety of features, including a free CDN and SSL, daily website backups for the first year and custom themes.

Contact Bluehost today to learn more about our plan options.

Green web hosting: Frequently asked questions

What is a green web hosting provider?

A green web hosting provider offers web hosting packages while trying to minimize the environmental impact of its operations. They often use renewable energy sources and promote sustainability projects to minimize their carbon footprint.

What is a green website?

A green website is identical to a traditional website, except it uses a green web hosting server. So, any website that’s hosted by a provider that follows green web hosting practices could be considered a green website.

What are the benefits of green hosting?

Green web hosting minimizes the environmental impact of web hosting and allows you to create a sustainable business.

How do I choose a green web hosting company?

Most green web hosting companies proudly display their green status on their websites. The best way to find the right one for you is to shortlist a few web hosting companies and check if they support green hosting. In addition, you may use green hosting directories.

How do I know if a website is green-hosted?

You may verify the green status of a website through online tools like Green Web Check. Just input the website URL to check if it’s hosted on a green server.  For example, Bluehost is a green website.
Bluehost website is hosted on a green webserver.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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