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What to Look For in Green Website Hosting

What to Look For in Green Website Hosting

One of the major emitters of CO2 in the business world are data centers, both corporate, government, and for other business users. More and more web-based businesses are demanding green website hosting. Not only are hosting companies offering this now to be competitive, but they are also finding they can save money.

What exactly is green website hosting? Any hosting that uses renewable energy to power the data center, or purchases offsets can be called “green”. The purpose is to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that result from high power use by the host. Certainly, there are likely some hosting companies who take the bare minimum steps in order to slap a green label on their hosting site. However there are generally two main ways that hosting can be provided more sustainably.

First, some hosting companies will purchase carbon offset credits. This works by taking steps to reduce carbon emissions elsewhere to cover 1-for-1 the carbon emissions the host is responsible for. An example might be investing in a local wind farm. Some people feel that purchasing offsets is not as environmentally friendly as other options, because there is no net reduction in CO2 use, however, loosely speaking, there is no net gain either.

A second way to reduce a data center’s footprint is to purchase renewable energy from the local power company. In this situation, a hosting company is buying renewable-source power such as hydro, wind, solar, or a combination of these. Note that this may not mean the host is directly getting renewable power right to their lines, but rather there is an investment by the power company in using renewable energy in an amount equal to what the company using.

Lastly, some companies may be installing local power generation right at their plant, for example, putting solar panels on their property. A very well known example of this is GOogle’s large investment in solar arrays to power it’s plants. This is usually the most expensive option, but it does give a company bragging rights as a green host.

Regardless of which option is used, and whether you feel one option is more “sustainable” than another, at least hosting companies are now taking the path of reducing their large CO2 footprint both for their own and the consumer’s future environmental success.

Find reviews of green website hosting and other best website hosts for your online business. Paul Wilde writes about best website hosting practices at BestWebsite.Biz.