Most people are not even aware of the incredible threats servers pose to the environment. As far as they are concerned, you pull up Google, search for something, collect the information you need and shut down the computer. But, as responsible citizens of the world, one needs to know the footprint of their browsing activity is leaving behind; how adversely it is affecting the very balance of the world we live in. today, our world is host to thousands of servers located in different parts of the world. Most of them work continuously and is powered by sources that are not always eco friendly. Added to this is the immense heat generated and released into the atmosphere, thereby aiding global warming. All this had made nature enthusiasts to muse for servers and web hosting services that are eco friendly. And thus, green web hosting was born.
Green signifies an eco friendly process. By this logic, green hosting means a web host service provider that offers hosting services that are environment friendly. So how do they do it? How is their process different from the not-so-green web hosts? Let us find out.
There are primary two ways by which a web host can claim that they are offering ‘green hosting’ services.
- By switching to renewable energy sources from traditional power sources
- Purchasing Carbon Credits.
Both these options are with their own set of merits and demerits as you will see below
Switching to Renewable Energy Sources
Most datacenters across the world today are powered by conventional energy sources. Understandably, they produce a lot of greenhouse gases which in turn increases global warming. By switching to green energy sources like wind, solar, tidal or hydel power, they reduce their carbon footprints considerably. Technology related to clean energy production has increased considerably over the years making it a viable endeavor.
But the downside of this method is that the capital and operating costs associated with clean energy production is considerably higher than conventional sources. More often than not, companies are not willing to pass down this added cost to customers because they find it difficult to explain it to average customers. They end up losing customers, which is an unacceptable situation at any cost. Moreover, the power production from solar panels is considerably lower than that from conventional sources and requires much sophisticated infrastructure as well.
Although, this is a noble venture and we salute the pioneers in green web hosting, unless they make it more feasible for regular web hosts, it won’t find many takers in the long run.
Purchasing Carbon Credits
Now, this is an alternative most companies have preferred. Under this scheme, they can continue using their current power source from conventional energy. To offset the carbon footprint they leave behind, they can buy carbon credits in emission reduction projects. There are many such undertakings by governments and NGOs worldwide, thus allowing them to be a part of rejuvenating the very environment they harm.
So, the next time you consider hosting your website, you might want to check the color first!