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Green Web: Being Environmentally Conscious with a “Green” Web Hosting Provider

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Athena Jasper
August 04, 2010

Athena Jasper

This post is submitted by Vanessa. She  writes articles for Webhostingsearch.com, a web hosting guide that lists reviews of hosting providers that can help in finding cheap website hosting solutions and other available hosting plans as per ones' requirements.

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It’s impossible to go anywhere today without hearing about green initiatives. There are green homes, green restaurants, green appliances, even green collar jobs. Everyone wants to do their part to save the environment, which is great considering the years of damage that we have to undo. Apparently, web hosting companies are getting into the act, too. Some of them are offering “green” web hosting. But Internet usage in itself doesn’t seem to pose any great danger to the environment. So what is green web hosting all about?

When you consider almost any service that is provided, you realize it takes power to make it run, and finding clean and renewable sources of power is the major challenge of the entire green movement. Just like any other service, web hosts need power to operate.


How Web Hosts Operate

When a company offers to “host” your website, what they mean is that they are allowing you to put your website on their web server, where the Internet can access it. Since these companies host thousands of websites, they have many servers. In fact, they usually have whole buildings called data centers containing “server farms,” which are just rows and rows of racked web servers. To keep these data centers running requires electric power, temperature control, security and other maintenance, all of which requires energy.


How Green Web Hosts Operate

A green web host finds environmentally conscious ways to deal with their energy needs. They can generate their own wind or solar power, or they can buy renewable energy certificates that confirm that their energy will be generated in a manner that is environmentally friendly.

Usually a green web host will not be powered entirely by eco-friendly sources; they are simply too unreliable at this time. Many businesses that will be making use of the server, such as someone doing ColdFusion hosting or a site that relies on round-the-clock pay per clicks, cannot afford for their site to be down for eight hours because a cloud went in front of the sun. Downtime can cost websites thousands of dollars, and can lose a web host valuable business, so even the most environmentally conscious web hosts need to have a backup plan.


Other Eco-Friendly Web Hosting Possibilities

The most green web hosting companies will take steps to balance the scales when they do use non-green energy sources however. They might start green community initiatives, even volunteering their own employees to support them. They might plant trees or invest in other green businesses.

If you’re starting your own website and you need hosting, whether it’s jsp hosting or php hosting, you’ll need to decide whether a green web host is for you. You will have to balance your concern for the environment with your web-based business needs. If your site is about getting people to give back to the community, absolutely you should support a green web host. If it’s about selling 24 hours a day with super thin margins, reliability and minimal downtime need to be your overriding concerns. 

If you can patronize a green web host and still be successful at what you want to do with your website, great. If not, just do like some of these partially green web hosts do and offset your web host energy use by driving a hybrid car, buying an Energy STAR appliance, or sponsoring a recycling drive.


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