Top 10 Green Hosting Companies

What is Green Hosting?

Environmental issues have become an increasingly important subject, as the result you can find many green hosting plans in the market. If you want to help the Mother Earth, choosing a green hosting can help her immensely, as a typical provider can indirectly emit 20,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. It may be difficult to know which company is “genuinely” green and which company simply “paints” its business operation green. You should also question your own definition of green.

Hosting companies are among energy-intensive businesses, as they need a large amount of electricity to run the equipments and to prevent those equipments from overheating. A significant amount of electricity is still generated using dirty, fossil fuels, which contribute to global warming due to the release of massive greenhouse gasses. A green hosting provider should be able to use only “clean” electricity to run their servers, air conditioning and office equipments. Clean electricity should be generated only from renewable source, such as solar panels and wind turbines that emit no pollutants. Sometimes water, geothermal, biogas and biomass can also be used, although it is more difficult to ascertain whether the provider does get clean electricity from these sources, because it is unlikely for a data center to be established near a hydroelectric plant or a geothermal source.

For this purpose, hosting providers purchase RECs or Renewable Energy Certificates. These certificates are issued by companies that generate clean electricity, because once the electricity is integrated into the grid, we can’t distinguish which electricity comes from a green source. Each certificate may have a value of one MW-h of electricity or more, which can be used by providers that have concern in helping the environment. Some providers rely only on RECs to make them green providers, which is considered by some experts as a dubious policy, because the providers don’t do a real step to help the environment.

Some hosting companies choose to generate their own power using wind turbines or solar panel, due to the promise of cost-effectiveness in the long run. This direct approach can assure customers that they’re employing the service of a real green hosting company. When maintained and managed properly, solar panels and wind turbines can pay for themselves in just 5 years, with an economic lifespan of more than 25 years. Of course, there is no such thing as a completely green hosting, because the manufacturing process of solar cells and wind turbine still emits some greenhouse gasses, but this is still a cleaner option than using conventional power source for decades. Many providers don’t stop with running their equipments with clean energy; they may also purchase green energy credits to further offset the indirect impacts of their business operation to the environment. Some also urge employees to use cleaner transportation means when they go to work.

To attract more environment-conscious customers, some hosting providers offer additional perks such as planting one tree for each purchased hosting plan. Because trees can absorb some carbon dioxide, they can make the hosting providers cleaner. Big green hosting providers donate some of their profits to non-profit environmental organizations such as World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace. A genuinely green provider often sends mails to webmasters about latest campaigns and tips in green hosting.

A green provider should make some adjustments in business operation. For example, an efficient layout of servers and networks in a data center can improve the cooling efficiency and reduce energy requirements. Regular management and maintenance of servers can also maintain energy efficiency throughout the data center. During the winter, some providers use the filtered outdoor air to cool the data center and use the warm air from the data center to help heat the office rooms up.

You need to ask a green hosting provider about their policies and methods to know whether they are genuinely green providers.

The Future is Green Hosting

It’s no secret that the biggest buzzword of the new decade is “green.” Though environmentalism has been around for quite some time — there were even solar panels installed on the White House in the 1970s — it is only recently that the effort has gone mainstream. Amid skyrocketing energy prices, a dwindling economy, and increasing natural disasters, green technologies and energy sources have been promoted as a way to save the weather, save the economy, and get on the road to less-expensive utility bills. It makes sense, then, that green technologies are absolutely the future of web hosting.

Defining the Problem: Exponential Growth Burdens the System
The internet isn’t just growing at a modest rate. Even though many people in the developed world consider the “digital revolution” to be largely over, those in developed countries are only beginning to get online. As they do, the need for web hosts will grow exponentially in order to serve new markets and include new voices in the only conversation. Conservative estimates project that the number of web hosts — and the energy required to power them — doubles every five years. Those who are more aggressive with their estimates believe it takes only three years for this to happen. Either way, that’s a significant burden on the world’s energy supply.

And it should be noted that web hosts, in general, do not consume a small amount of energy. Indeed, they are running tens, hundreds, or even thousands of servers at once — 24 hours per day, seven days a week. And those servers are in facilities which rely on advanced and demanding heating and cooling systems that further tax energy sources and create complications for utility companies and web host operators — especially as energy prices continue to rise.

Consequences of the Problem: Escalating Prices and Unsustainable Growth
It’s largely true that, as a service provider experiences higher costs to provide their services, they’ll raise prices on their customers accordingly. So it is with web hosting. As energy prices continue to skyrocket around the world, the cost to get online will only increase. This is not only inconvenient to those who require web hosting, but also to the large-scale spread and development of the internet itself. The technology has had a hard time breaking through in more underdeveloped parts of the world largely because it is already quite expensive. If the cost of hosting and sharing content were to increase, its expansion — and the myriad benefits that come from being connected to the internet — would likely stagnate.

Furthermore, the drain on resources itself is simply unsustainable. Web hosts, and their many servers, are competing for energy right alongside America’s more traditional businesses, government institutions, and homes. And yet all of those places rely on the internet for their day-to-day operation. Without relying on green technology, it will be hard for anyone to rely on internet connectivity.

Solutions to the Problem: Green Energy Sources
All is not lost for the many servers, data farms, and web hosts out there — and the hundreds of thousands of new ones that will pop up in the next few months or years alone. A small but growing number of web hosting companies is making the switch from traditional sources of energy — from nuclear power to coal and natural gas — to greener alternatives.

Green hosts constitute a growing number of web hosts and they power their data centers and server farms by using everything form solar panels on the exterior of their buildings to energy from wind farms provided by their local utility company. Many of these hosts have committed so strongly to green hosting that they don’t get any of their energy from non-renewable sources. In turn, they can charge their customers just a bit less than those hots which still rely on traditional utilities — as well as guarantee that they’ll be around even when energy prices increase as exponentially as the number of web hosts per year.

Tips to Choose Green Hosting

Selecting green hosting can pertain to understanding first the concept of ‘green hosting’. Mostly people know what a web hosting service is, but how can such a service be eco-friendly or green in nature. The web is a data center with millions of bits travelling from one place to another. The amount of power that is being consumed in a data center gives rise to a major energy concern.

Power consumption can be reduced to an environmentally friendly rate by using energy efficient servers. They reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. Not only being environment friendly but selecting green hosting can help reduce costs and be more attractive for consumers.

Understanding this concept of green hosting the work required now is choosing from a pool of green website hosting companies available. There are ways to find the right one to fit your needs by focusing on certain factors.

Selection Criteria for Green Hosts
There are several lists of green hosts available online to choose from. Here are some of the points you can consider before selecting green hosting companies.

1 Firstly jot down the services you want for hosting your website. Server requirements, bandwidth, space, supporting tools, customer service and anything that you would be wanting from a hosting company.

2 To have an idea of the budget requirement, the list of green hosting companies will be providing different packages. Comparing prices will give a good idea on the budget requirement for selecting green hosting company.

3 It is a good idea to read reviews about different green hosting companies. There are many communities that have consumer reviews on hosting companies. This can be very useful in evaluating the services and performance of the company and knowing how green they are.

4 There might be some free service providers for hosting, but the aim is to select green hosting companies. The free hosts might seem attractive but they are doing nothing for the environment. Green hosting companies are not yet providing free services.

5 To confirm a green hosting company check for the green certificates the companies have been accredited with. This will prove their credibility in being green hosts. Only those companies that use energy efficient sources for generating power are eligible for the green tag.

6 Check out the services they are offering for website hosting. Some might be providing simple hosting service with a customer support. Some will also include website development support and even provide tools to make the job easy. It is always beneficial to have a service that helps in building the website for those who do not have the skill and knowledge about programming.

7 After browsing through all the information make a list of pros and cons for each green hosting company to know the best service provider.

It is important that when people select a service provider they consider factors that are based on their own limitations. Price is the priority, ease of accessing and startup should not be a hectic process, the service shall offer a good customer support available any time and lastly how reliable their services are with respect to being green. Selecting green hosting cannot be difficult for those who understand the importance of these factors.