Just over a week ago, Greta Thunberg’s team released an amazing little video titled, Our House is on Fire. In just 60 seconds, the video makes a heated argument (pun oh-so-intended) about the planet and the damage we’re all collectively doing to it.

In a nutshell, everything is on fire and it’s not OK.

Ads like that are great for spreading awareness. If you’re scrolling through your timeline and that video pops up… you’re going to share it. It’s just that well made.

However, once you’re done watching, there’s not a lot of advice for would-be climate warriors aside from the somewhat vague advice to, “React.”

Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 7.18.07 AM

OK, but… how?

More specifically, how can businesses “react”? Well we had a quick brainstorm and came up with one of the easiest ways to run a greener brand without making too many changes to your overall structure and processes.

The solution— host your website somewhere green.


What is ‘green’ web hosting?

On the surface, your website doesn’t look like something that would be particularly damaging to the environment, right? It doesn’t operate on a gas-spewing combustion engine, it doesn’t require chemicals or finite resources to create, and you don’t have to remove any plastic packaging to use it.

However, the digital world still makes a considerable impact on our physical environment.

As a whole, the web hosting industry is responsible for generating 2% of all carbon emissions worldwide. That’s insane. To put that in perspective, that’s the same amount of environmental damage as the entire airline industry (what?!).

That’s because websites require a ridiculous amount of energy to keep up and running. You see, all websites are stored somewhere in the world. The places that store these websites are typically large, powerful data centers with hundreds or even thousands of computers all running simultaneously.

Those computers get hot. So hot, that hosting companies spend a fortune on air conditioning costs every year. And, if you’ve ever lived somewhere hot enough to require always-on AC, you know exactly how energy-intensive that can be

To make matters worse, most modern websites are actually hosted in multiple data centers at the same time. This helps ensure that your site is quick to load from anywhere in the world and won’t stop working if one of your data centers experiences technical issues. That’s great news for reliability, but can be a huge strain on the environment.

Not a good look.

Fortunately, there’s already a few web hosting companies out there that recognize this problem and are working to fight it. These ‘green’ web hosts use a number of tricks to help reduce the overall carbon footprint of their data centers.

Recently, we moved our entire website over to one of these green hosts. In the process, we looked at a bunch of different companies, weighed all the pros & cons, and finally decided to work with GreenGeeks.

After conducting all our research, we thought we’d share it with you so you can make the right decision when it comes to reducing your own company’s environmental impact. If you’re not already hosting with one of them, we hope this list helps you, “react,” and make the switch.


#1 GreenGeeks – 300% Carbon Footprint Offset

Full disclosure: these are the guys we ended up going with. That said we don’t have any ties to the company and we’re not getting paid to promote them or anything gross like that. They make the top of this list simply because they’re the most eco-friendly web hosting company out of any of the others on this list, effectively reducing the carbon cost of your website by 300%!

GreenGeeks accomplishes this by following a 3:1 ratio when using energy. In their own words, “for every amperage we pull from the grid, we invest 3 times that in the form of renewable energy via Bonneville Environmental Foundation.”

So not only do they do everything they can to run environmentally-friendly data centers, they’re also investing in the future of energy. Hard to argue with that kind of dedication.

As far as services go, GreenGeeks offers:

  • Web hosting starting at $2.95/month.
  • Unlimited domains, email accounts, bandwidth, and storage.
  • 24/7 phone, email, and live chat support.
  • 99.99% uptime.
  • Free website migration.
  • Free daily backups.
  • 30-day money back guarantee.
  • Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting plans available.

For our purposes, they’re as powerful as we could ever need. But our website plays an absolutely vital role in our business (second only to coffee). If you’re running a smaller, less critical site we suggest you take a look at iPage below.


#2 iPage – 200% Carbon Footprint Offset

Starting at just $1.99/month, iPage’s pricing is hard to beat. We originally considered hosting with them, however we changed our mind due to GreenGeeks’ bigger environmental impact and better hardware, uptime, and page speed.

However, iPage is still a great option if you run a smaller website that isn’t 100% mission critical. One of the coolest things about them is that they run everything off of renewable wind energy. When you host with them, you’ll get a nifty, “Powered by 100% Wind Energy,” badge. But just like GreenGeeks, the company also invests in enough renewable energy to offset your website’s carbon footprint by 200%.

Here’s how they stack up for services:

  • Web hosting starting at $1.99/month.
  • Unlimited domains, bandwidth, and storage.
  • 24/7 phone, and live chat support.
  • 99.94% uptime.
  • 30-day money back guarantee.
  • Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting plans available.

That 99.94% uptime was a huge factor in our decision to go with GreenGeeks. But again, if you’re running a smaller, personal website the cost savings might be worth it. On the other hand, if you’re operating a bigger, bulkier eCommerce site or SAAS apps, you may want to look at HostGator.


#3 HostGator – 130% Carbon Footprint Offset

HostGator is the closest we could find to an enterprise-ready hosting provider that also contributes to a greener planet. We’d recommend HostGator if your website gets a lot of traffic, runs complicated code, or is simply so important to your bottom line that you can’t afford to settle for less. Environmentally, they do a pretty good job, managing to offset your website’s carbon cost by 130%.

Surprisingly, there’s not a huge price difference despite the company being more of a robust, B2B option. Plans start at $2.75/month (promotional, limited time price) for shared hosting. However, compared with GreenGeeks, you actually get a little less bang for your buck (only one domain, no free backups, etc.).

Their basic plan looks like this:

  • Web hosting starting at $2.75/month.
  • Single domain.
  • Unlimited email accounts, bandwidth, and storage.
  • 24/7 phone and live chat support.
  • 99.99% uptime.
  • Free website migration.
  • 45-day money back guarantee.
  • Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting plans available.

Overall, HostGator is probably the best option for reliability and peace of mind. Great for brands who are less concerned about the environment and instead need a robust platform to build their apps and websites with.


In Other Words, You do You.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to web hosting.

In fact, when we originally started this article we compared over 22 different web hosts that all claimed some level of eco-friendliness. However, the three we’ve listed above are the only ones we could find that actually made a significant contribution to a greener future, while remaining both affordable and reliable.

Plenty of carbon neutral companies, not a lot of carbon negative ones.

But again… your website is a personal thing. Only you know what you need from a hosting company. We only hope that while you consider things like pricing and uptime, you also take a second to “react” and consider your environmental impact, too.

January 29, 2021
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