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How Green Web Hosting Works

by Josh Biggs in Tech on 17th November 2019

Green hosting is designed to be more environmentally friendly and as energy efficient as possible. Green web hosts like GreenGeeks, A2 Hosting, and InMotion all use different techniques to reduce their company’s carbon footprint and ensure they are contributing as little as possible to the environmental cost of good web hosting.

The trouble with web hosting is that the electricity used to power your hosts’ servers 24/7 has to be generated by a power plant. Many power plants around the world (including the United States) are powered by coal, which is a renewable resource that produces a great deal of toxic smog when burned on a mass scale. Electricity is also needed to power cooling units, climate control, electronic security, and the infrastructure of the building. The process of assembling all of those servers has a negative environmental impact as well. Not only does the manufacturing of server hardware require a lot of power, but the process involves mining for raw materials, chemical processing, industrial waste, and distribution of the newly made servers from the factory to warehouses and retail locations around the globe.

The goal of green hosting companies is to reduce their part in all of these environmentally harmful processes as much as possible. Not every web host uses the same techniques to reduce their carbon footprint, so if you want to know more about a specific company, you can find information about their green policies on their company website. However, there are a few common practices that many different web hosts employ.

The first is using energy-efficient hardware for their servers. Since most of the environmental toll taken by web-hosting is power consumption, the number one consideration for most green hosts is to find a way to reduce power consumption without damaging the quality of their service. There are a number of different designs and techniques out there to make servers more energy-efficient, and more and more server manufacturers are building their machines to be as energy-efficient as possible. One of the most popular of these energy-saving designs is the use of a solid state drive. Unlike spinning-disk drives, solid-state drives don’t require a motor and therefore use significantly less power.

It’s not just efficient hardware that makes web hosting companies green. The more computing power a server uses, the hotter it gets. The hotter it gets, the more energy it’s using, and the more energy is required to cool it down. As such, faulty or inefficient software can also take a toll on the environment. Green web hosts are typically committed to making sure their operating systems, code, and applications are as efficient as possible.

Green web hosts also place a great deal of importance on utilizing server space efficiently. Rarely do green hosts purchase more machines than they need, and many of them have relatively limited options as far as private serving options go. The majority of green hosting plans are shared or cloud hosting, simply because these hosting types are the most efficient use of server space. If every single customer wants their own private server, that means that more servers have to be powered by the web host, and that results in a lot more power consumption. On the flip side, many web hosting companies will purchase way more machines than they’ll probably ever use to ensure that they always have space ready for new customers. Green web hosts, on the other hand, don’t follow this model. Instead, they keep a much more realistic eye on how many customers they have and how many new customers they can expect to acquire each year so that they are never in the position of powering servers that no one is actually using.

Categories: Tech