Green Hosting

Until we manage to create ships capable of reaching other planets, Earth is all we have. While there are plenty of conversation efforts out there trying to protect our natural resources, what can online businesses do to support these kinds of green efforts? As it turns out, there are a number of green web hosting companies that you can support by purchasing your server space from them.

Today, we’re going to look at what green hosting entails, followed by the top 5 green hosting companies currently in operation.

The Top 5 Green Hosting Companies
Before we look at the inner workings of green hosting, let’s take a look at the top 5 green hosting companies, and how they are earning their place on this list.

1. iPage
Our top company earns their place by being an EPA Green Power Partner. This certifies that their data centers and web servers are powered entirely by wind energy. On top of this, they also purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to offset the amount of energy they use with additional wind energy. They do this by 200% and put renewable energy back into the power grid.

It gets even better! Their focus on renewable energy has been shown to prevent an annual release of 1,144 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This benefit is the equivalent to planting 244 acres of trees or taking 224 cars off the road each year!

If you want a 100% green hosting solution, this is the best option.

2. GreenGeeks
GreenGeeks is also an EPA Green Power Partner. They purchase RECs to offset their energy usage by 300% each year. These certificates replace 615,000 kilowatts of energy with green energy like wind power. They utilize energy efficient servers in their data centers, and even offer a green hosting banner to post on individual sites who are proud to participate.

They offer competitive options for hosting plans, and plenty of features. All of this, while knowing that you’re working with an environmentally conscious company.

3. HostGator
HostGator is one of the most well-known companies currently offering hosting. They contribute to the green cause by offsetting their shared and reseller servers energy consumption by 130% through the purchase of RECs from Texas-based wind companies.

Since they are based out of Houston, they do this to also bolster the local economy and their community’s green efforts. Beyond an entire suite of options for hosting, HostGator also offers a 45-day money-back guarantee.

4. HostPapa
HostPapa is known for purchasing 100% of the energy they use through RECs, thereby giving them their green rating. This ensures that every aspect of their business is powered by renewable energy. While a solid hosting company, they find themselves lower on our list because they don’t purchase more than the equivalent amount as some other companies do.

5. FatCow
Our final host is also an EPA Green Power Partner. They offset their energy uses by 200% by purchasing RECs. Every kilowatt they use is offset by twice the amount of energy generated by wind power. Through this, they are able to prevent the release of 999 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each and every year.

FatCow has been offering their signature service since 1998 and is known for their simple “one plan, one price” option.

How Does Green Hosting Work?
As the saying goes, “the internet never sleeps.” This means that hosting companies have to keep their data centers up and running every hour of every day. It’s difficult to imagine how much energy that requires, especially when you think about the hundreds of servers hosting thousands of websites in total.

US data centers consumed roughly 70 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2014 alone! That number represents a full 2% of the total energy consumption for the entire nation. Between 2010 and 2014, this represented a full 4% increase in data center energy needs.
This is the equivalent to about 6.4 million American home averages put together. You may be wondering how something like servers and energy consumption can possibly affect the environment, but let’s look at some ways that data centers do indeed have an impact on our planet:

Water for cooling systems – A 200,00 square foot data center uses up to 30 million gallons of water per month!
Batteries – Backup systems use lead-acid batteries to keep servers running if the power goes out. These are made using hazardous mining materials, and require proper disposal when they die.
Cleaning materials – to keep dust out and keep servers clean, toxic chemicals are used in cleaners like bleach, ammonia, and chlorine.
Diesel Fuel – data centers have backup generators that are often powered by diesel fuel. They must be used periodically or the fuel goes bad, causing carbon dioxide emissions.
Computer waste – When components go bad, they must be disposed of. Many end up in landfills where harmful materials can soak into the ground.
These are just some of the ways data centers create their own carbon footprint. That’s why it’s important to support green hosting companies as they are at the forefront of minimizing things like emissions and energy use.

The number of people purchasing hosting has only gone up until now, and as more and more people are finding out that they can purchase hosting and start a blog online, the number of data centers will only grow from here.

Green hosts, also known as “eco-friendly” hosts, seek to save as much energy as possible and supplement their energy through renewable resources. Many of today’s top hosts are switching out their diesel generators for things like solar and wind power.

Top green hosting companies also have safe disposal plans for their computers, batteries, and anything else containing toxic substances so these things don’t get placed into the environment. They do recycling and responsible disposal methods to achieve this.

Another way they “go green” is by purchasing RECs or “renewable energy certificates” that outweigh their use of non-renewable energy. These certificates go towards projects that are using renewable options like wind power, solar energy, hydroelectricity, and other options to provide power.

Some data centers plant trees around their buildings or purchasing “energy star” approved servers as well to become as green as possible.

Let’s look at how you can be sure that your chosen host is actually as green as they say.

How to Tell if Your Hosting Company is Actually Green
Any hosting company can claim that they are green, but if you want to be absolutely sure, you’ll need to do a little research. Here’s what I recommend you look at when considering a “green” host:

Check Their RECs – Find out which agency the host is purchasing their renewable energy credits from, and check that they are a reputable seller of these credits.
Go Through Their Terms and Policies – Take a look at the host’s legal documentation to see what they actually do to claim that they are green.
Check Their Servers – Take a look at the servers they use. Are they energy star rated and certified to reduce power consumption?
Keeping these things in mind will help you ensure you’re actually choosing a green hosting company.

Final Thoughts
Green hosting is a great way to do your part as a business or as a website owner. By supporting these types of companies, we can continue to reduce the strain that massive data centers have on the environment.

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