What uses as much carbon every year as a Boeing 747 flying to the moon and back 5,674 times?

The transportation industry? Agriculture?

You might think of industries known to be big polluters, but the action answer is the internet. 

According to Earthtimes, the internet uses as much carbon as the countries of Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Singapore, The Philippines and Mongolia combined. It accounts for 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, a percentage similar to that of the entire airline industry. Experts predict that that amount will double by 2025, since more advanced technology -- like machine learning algorithms, data processing, content recommendation, and cyber security -- burns even more energy.

Why is the internet such a gas guzzler? All the content on the internet is hosted on web servers, most of which are in huge data centers. Those servers have to run in cooled, controlled environments, which take an enormous amount of energy. Data centers alone account for 0.3% of the world’s carbon emissions. YouTube, just as an example, uses the same amount of carbon as the city of Glasgow. 

The internet’s impact on the environment isn’t as obvious to the average person as plastic littering a beach or exhaust fumes stinking up a city street. But it has a huge effect.

The good news? That means the internet can also be part of the climate change solution.


Make your website part of your green transformation


If you have a company, you likely have a website. That website is part of your business’s carbon footprint -- so it can also be part of your green transformation.

Green web hosting lets companies and individuals reduce the environmental impact of their websites. It’s an important part of going green for any organization, and for digital companies, it’s even more essential. If your business runs mainly online, then going green online will have a big impact on your carbon footprint.

Green web hosting services take active steps to mitigate the effects of their servers on the environment. Unfortunately, most web hosts aren’t able to significantly change the conditions at the data centers where their servers run, because web hosts make up only a small portion of any data center. But green web hosts can take other steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their clients’ websites. Most green web hosts do this through carbon offsets and renewable energy credits (RECs).

Carbon offsetting is when a company invests in environmental initiatives, like tree planting or forest preservation, that remove carbon from the air. When a company’s carbon offsets equal their carbon use, they are carbon neutral. Green web hosts may use carbon offsets to make up for the carbon their servers use. (Your company can invest in carbon offsetting directly, as well.)

RECs are sold by renewable energy companies. If a company buys an REC, they contribute to generating a certain amount of renewable energy. Since green web hosts can’t make their data centers use exclusively renewable energy sources, many green hosting companies invest in enough RECs to equal the amount of non-renewable energy they use. The idea is that they’ve put as much renewable energy into the power grid as the energy they took out.

Green web hosting services qualify as green for other reasons, as well. They may run green offices, have green certifications, and more.


How to choose a green web host


Here are a few things to look for when choosing a green web host:

  1. Uses carbon offsetting to make their web hosting carbon neutral.
  2. Runs their web hosting with 100% renewable power or invests in RECs.
  3. Has green business certifications.
  4. Uses the latest methods to run servers as energy-efficiently as possible.
  5. Follows green practices in their own business: paperless work, energy-efficient lighting, recycling, and more.


If you’re interested in switching to green web hosting to minimize your carbon footprint, a quick google search will return many options. You could try a web host that makes minimizing their environmental impact the focus of their company, like Eco Web Hosting, Green Geeks, or Acorn Host. Or you could go with more well-known hosting companies like HostGator or HostPapa that are green web hosts as well. These three are our favorites.

Whichever green web host you choose, congrats on taking a big step to reduce your business’s environmental footprint. Don’t stop there! There’s always more to do to protect our planet.

November 10, 2022
Impact & Inspiration

More from 

Impact & Inspiration


View All