A website is known to be very energy-intensive and not very ecological, its electricity consumption is indeed among the main causes of digital pollution. According to a 2019 study, digital technology will account for nearly 3.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Typically, web hosters' data centres have several thousand computers and high-powered servers that use CPUs and hard disks all the time. They thus generate so much heat that air conditioning systems to maintain tolerable temperatures where they are installed are necessary.
For these reasons, some players in the web hosting industry have understood the importance of going green. In order to have a marketing impact, driven by financial concerns or by real eco-responsible motivations. A relatively large number of them are now offering green web hosting solutions.
Why create a website ?
Whatever your activity or profession, a website can help you generate business and promote your notoriety to your customers and prospects. Whether your business is small, large or intermediate, well-established or brand new. Having a website is an essential investment, and it is no surprise that 97% of companies owners say that their online reputation is important to their business.
A website is also a way to share your passion with the world. So, whether you choose to create a website to communicate about your passion for travel, music, animals or like me ecology. Thanks to the internet you will have no more borders.
How to host a website ?
The first thing to consider when creating your website is to choose an internet host. It will provide you with the space (i.e. servers) where your website files are stored, as well as the technology and services needed to make it available on the internet.
Additional services provided by an internet host generally also include
- domain name registration;
- data backup;
- firewall protection;
- technical support;
- e-mail services;
- website creation tools and applications.
You will then have to decide which type of hosting suits you best. You can also find a wide range of services in web hosting, such as:
You share the physical server with other website owners. However, you will have your own separate account (secured by login credentials). Shared hosting is very affordable because the cost of running the server is shared between you and the other owners.
VPS Hosting (Virtual Private Server Hosting)
Each website is stored on a very powerful server that is divided into several virtual compartments. The server software is configured separately so that each unit can operate independently. This is the preferred option if you have high security concerns but do not want to invest in a faster but also more expensive dedicated server.
Dedicated hosting offers a complete server just for you, which makes it faster, safer... but also more expensive. It is the ideal solution for high-traffic websites and large companies, as it allows maximum customization, configuration, installation and flexibility.
It allows several virtual servers (cloud) to work together to host a website or a group of websites. It offers an unlimited capacity to manage traffic peaks. A website hosted in the cloud is not limited to a single server, and the resources allocated to it can decrease or increase dynamically, depending on the amount of traffic. It is an ideal solution for large websites, including e-commerce sites, newsletters and blogs.
What is the environmental impact of a website ?
Internet and digital technologies are often pointed at for their environmental impact. The main causes of digital pollution are both the manufacture of equipment and the electricity consumption of the network and equipment.
Some sites result in an annual energy expenditure equivalent to the energy consumption of thousands of households. It is even estimated that by 2025, digital will certainly pollute as much as the world's car traffic.
In this regard, Website Carbon Calculator allows you to calculate the carbon footprint of any website by entering its url. As you can see, the results of my page are not that bad. Indeed, my site runs on renewable energies and is therefore "cleaner" than 72% of the pages tested. However, it still emits the amount of carbon that 3 trees absorb in one year. That is 0.49g of CO2 each time a user visits the page.
How to choose a green web host provider ?
Many players in the industry offer green web hosting solutions, their commitments range from offsetting carbon emissions to the promise of being 100% powered by renewable energy.
Some, such as Infomaniak, a pioneer in ecological internet hosting in Europe, are going further, notably with the introduction of an environmental charter. In which 20 commitments are set out, for example:
- energy from 100% renewable energy sources;
- cooling system using outside air, without air conditioning;
- energy-efficient servers;
- waste recycling.
To help you choose, here is a comparative table of different basic green web hosting offers:
Other ways to reduce your digital pollution
Green solutions are obviously quite numerous when you are a blogger, just as if you simply want to create an eco-responsible website for yourself or for your company. But what about reducing the impact of digital pollution on a daily basis? In this respect, as users, we can also act to minimize these impacts.
Digital equipment has environmental consequences throughout its life cycle. The production of their components requires a lot of energy, chemical treatments as well as rare metals. Always remember that the best waste is the one you don't produce! So, before you buy, always ask yourself if the purchase is really necessary. Or, is the electronic device you want to dispose of still in working order? If so, consider reselling it. There is a growing market today for reconditioned appliances. On the other hand, if it no longer works, always remember to recycle your electronic waste properly.
Lastly, note that online videos account for 60% of the global data flow and are responsible for nearly 1% of global CO2 emissions. So, to reduce their impact, consider disabling automatic playback in application settings. Give preference to downloaded music or audio streaming platforms rather than those with music clips.