Green hosting, commonly known as eco-friendly hosting, refers to the practice of providing web hosting plans that use technologies, power sources, and services which are much friendlier to the environment than those used by regular web hosts. As people are becoming more environmentally conscious, it's natural that some webmasters and bloggers are willing to extend that consciousness to their choices of web hosting service providers. Several hosting companies have recognized the importance of the market this "green" trend has created within the hosting industry, and they have stepped up to the plate to provide green options for the environmentally conscious customers who want to help protect the environment with eco-friendly hosting solutions that create small carbon footprints.
The efforts to provide green alternatives in the web hosting business are very laudable because the importance of achieving a significant reduction in overall carbon emission levels is hard to overstate. The climate change can have potentially catastrophic consequences if the environmental concerns are not given enough consideration or if such considerations do not take a concrete enough form. Green hosting can be seen as one such concrete effort to take steps toward the goal of reducing negative environmental impact and securing a brighter future for our environment.
There is no way to provide effective and reliable web hosting services without consuming significant amounts of energy. Even though there are many important ways to optimize the power consumption of the web hosting data centers which can result in saving energy, the amount of power required to run the servers will always be large enough to make the sources of energy the number one consideration in green hosting. In one way or another, truly green hosting companies rely on renewable energy. The energy that is used in green hosting is generated with wind turbines and solar panels, or less commonly by using geothermal and biogas power.
Some hosting companies may be able to generate their own green energy, while others need to use external suppliers. Proper certifications regarding the use of green energy are prominently on display on green hosting company websites. A credible web hosting company that advertises itself as green should be willing to provide solid evidence that supports their claims. In addition to the certifications, some companies provide detailed explanations of the efforts that they have made in order to achieve their eco-friendly status.
This means compensating for an emission of greenhouse gases or carbon dioxide by reducing such emissions elsewhere by such means as supporting financially certain green initiatives around the globe. The rationale behind this method is the idea that what ultimately matters in the green status of a company is the overall carbon footprint left by the operation of the hosting company. If carbon offsetting is used to totally compensate for the emissions, the company can be said to be completely carbon neutral. There are several criteria that must be met for the carbon offsetting to be considered credible, and proper certifications are used as the evidence that legitimate carbon offset efforts have been made. VCS (Verified Carbon Standard), CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) and CAR (Climate Action Registry) are entities that provide carbon offset validation.
Many green hosting companies have taken additional steps in trying to form a "green" identity for their business. Perhaps the most visible manifestation of such efforts are seen when trees, plants, grass and other shrubberies are planted around and even over data centers of hosts that take pride in their greenness. This may seem to be rather trivial outside decoration in comparison to the all-important use of renewable energy and carbon offsetting in order to make the data centers actually green, rather than just looking green, but presumably the companies that have made their best efforts to actually be green are entitled to advertise and market their greenness in such visible ways. Usually the websites of green hosts are designed in a way to accentuate their eco-friendly pursuits.
If you care about the environmental impact of your online business and are currently evaluating your options in choosing a web hosting service, you probably should take the green hosting options into very serious consideration. While green hosting companies offer the same features as other companies do in their hosting plans, you will most likely have to pay a little more with the green options. However, the price difference is not all that significant, and obviously you should be willing to pay a little bit more if that will make a real difference for the good of the environment. Your own online business may even see benefits and extra interests from clients when you mention the fact that you employ a green hosting solution. This is a good way to highlight the environmentally conscious nature of your business, which will help you in developing a positive image.