Have you ever wondered how green your website is? The collective carbon footprint of our gadgets, the internet, and all of its systems contributes 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions (source). That’s similar to the amount attributed to the entire aviation industry. And, what’s worse, this figure is expected to double by 2025. Clearly, building a more sustainable internet is imperative if we are to reach net zero by 2050. But how do you design an eco-friendly website? And where does green hosting come in?
Squarebird are a multidisciplinary website development, design, and digital marketing agency based in Bristol. We’re passionate about building slick, seamless websites, but take our responsibility seriously too. That’s why we offer green hosting options to our clients, and make sure we’re continuously improving on the sustainability of our business. From offsetting carbon to encouraging cycling to work to planting trees with the Woodland Trust, we’re committed to the environment.
In the first of our two sustainable web articles, we guide you through green hosting and explain why it’s so important.
What is Green Hosting?
Green web hosting is a term used to describe when a hosting company seeks to minimise the environmental impact of its service. There are various different methods used to achieve this. Some companies produce or pay for renewable energy to power their servers or purchase Renewable Energy Credits to offset what they use. They might also contribute to environmental non-profits that plant trees in order to counteract some of the carbon their business emits.
But a truly green hosting provider won’t stop there. They will also consider how energy efficient their hardware is, the impact of their electronic waste, and the sustainability of other aspects of their business. And, in terms of the hosting itself, choosing shared hosting where the server space is divided between multiple users is generally the greenest option. This is because instead of a whole server being powered just for you, the footprint will be shared.
Despite this, shared hosting can pose some issues for high traffic websites. If in doubt, get in touch with our friendly team and we’ll work out the best hosting option for you.
Why is Green Hosting Important?
The internet itself consumes large quantities of electricity, most of which is used by data centres. Though terms like ‘the cloud’ make us think of something insubstantial, the data making up the web as a whole is stored in the very physical location of a data centre. Or lots of data centres, to be precise.
A data centre is a building that contains a huge number of computers, all storing, processing, and disseminating information. And because these computers are always running, they tend to get fairly hot. That’s why data centres have vast air-conditioning or cooling systems in place, requiring even more energy and electricity, and emitting even more carbon dioxide.
If we think about how that translates for a single website – your website, perhaps – we’re talking about 1.76g of CO2 for every page view (source). The simpler a website is, the less energy it will require to load. By contrast, websites with lots of multimedia will have a much greater carbon footprint.
Your website is your digital shopfront, but that shiny window could hide a dark, polluting secret! As environmentally minded businesses, it’s important we do anything we can to mitigate the impact of our online presences.
From a simple, quick-loading design to eco-friendly hosting, there are many ways to make your website green. In fact, the slicker and quicker, the better!
Find out more: How to Make Your Website Faster
Benefits of Green Hosting
If we still haven’t convinced you, let us break down what green hosting can do for you. Here are the three main benefits.
Better for the Environment
Finding a host who can minimise or even eliminate your website’s environmental impact means you’ll have a clear conscience and know that your digital presence is not contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. With businesses all over the world pledging to reach net zero by 2050 or sooner, opting for green hosting with a sustainable provider can help you get one step closer to that goal.
Boosts Brand Reputation
If you care about the environment, chances are, your customers do too. In fact, IBM found that 57% of consumers were willing to alter their buying habits to reduce environmental impact (source), and according to other research, 50% of consumers say they will only buy from eco-friendly brands.
In today’s highly competitive digital marketplace, standing out is key. Alongside a well-designed website with eye catching branding, some eco-credentials to shout about will make all the difference when it comes to securing this valuable half of the market.
Put more simply, going green might be just what your business needs to start driving those conversions!
It may seem surprising, but how ‘green’ your website is may become an important ranking factor on search engines. This could involve factors such as hosting, load speed, and user experience (the faster a user finds their goal and leaves your site, the better for the environment!). Don’t worry – this isn’t a key ranking factor… yet.
As we all turn our attention to the environment, and spend our money with eco friendly businesses, search engines may well take note of the trend. And by starting your environmentally friendly website efforts now, you’ll be way ahead of the competition if (and when) it does happen!
Eco-Friendly Website Development Agency Bristol
At Squarebird, we’re passionate about operating sustainably. From going carbon negative to supporting local environmental initiatives to promoting better habits in the office, we take our responsibility seriously. If you’re a business looking to minimise your website’s impact, we can provide super-fast green hosting alongside an eco-friendly, user-friendly design.