Web Hosting

An Overview of Green Web Hosting

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To be completely honest, I’m a skeptic when it comes to most ‘green’ initiatives. I was on the first ever Sustainability Committee for my college, and I saw how numbers can be easily skewed and statistics created to make a university seem more green. Once we found out that the energy credits that the university had been purchasing to offset carbon emissions weren’t even being used; they were funneling into somebody’s pocket in Africa who simply claimed to be planting trees.

But I’m getting off topic. Several Green Hosting Companies have been brought to my attention lately: GreenGeeks and Fatcow, most notably. GreenGeeks advertises itself as powered by ‘300% wind energy’ and Fatcow ‘100%.’

Interesting. To run servers requires a lot of electricity. Like a LOT. The servers have to be running 24/7. And they can never shut off. EVER. Or else your website will stop running. And that wouldn’t be good now, would it.

After doing some digging, I found an interview in which Trey Gardner, CEO of GreenGeeks, explains how their 300% wind energy pledge works:

The Bonneville Environmental Foundation estimates the amount of energy consumption based on known factors and allows us to purchase credits to have the energy consumed by our company put back into the grid having been produced by wind energy companies. Bonneville in turn pays the wind farms we pull energy from with the credits we have purchased. We purchase three times the amount of credits needed so in effect we pull 1x from the grid and put back into the grid 3x of energy having been produced by wind farms, effectively making us 300% green.

The Bonneville Environmental Foundation helps give back to wind farms across the northwest. You can find out more about their work here. So it sounds legit. I mean it’s not as if the data center is in a basement under a wind or solar farm, which would be awesome. But it’s refreshing to hear a CEO in this millions dollar industry of hosting at least be thinking environmentally. Nice job, Tray.

I dug a little to find out about Fatcow’s policy. Their website simply states:

Our offices and our data centers are all 100% powered by wind energy. You can be proud that the machines hosting your website and email are fully eco-friendly!

I’m quite honestly not sure what that means, so I emailed them. This statement makes it sound as though FatCow’s data center is right next to a wind farm. Not the case. They too, purchase wind credits. Seems a little misleading to me.

So in the end, if you are wanting to be an environmentally friendly purchaser, you should go with GreenGeeks. The CEO seems like an overall good guy, and the wording of their green policy isn’t misleading in any way.

Environmentally friendly purchasing is the way of the future, and if enough people start signing up for Green hosting, the market may become even riper, inspiring more businessmen to open up legitamately solar or wind powered data centers. This would be pretty cool. For now though, if you want to run your website in an environmentally friendly way, GreenGeeks is the hosting company for you.

Questions about GreenGeeks, or hosting in general? Feel free to comment.

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