So you’ve created your vegan business. Congratulations!
You have your website designed and launched, and your products are thriving in the growing plant-based economy. You are probably very proud of your website and its functionality; rightfully so! It makes you an income while benefiting the animals and the world.
But have you ever thought about your website as a drain on environmental resources? I imagine that most vegan companies (and companies in general) have never considered their web hosting service as an eco- or non-eco-conscious decision they would have to make.
It is just assumed that, since this is on the web, the impact will be low. But the truth here can be a little shocking.
A drain on resources
You may be a bit surprised to learn that web hosting companies are actually very energy-intensive. These operations may have tens of thousands of high-performing computer systems in their server rooms, most of which are continuously run at peak performance levels (a.k.a. high-energy consumption). In addition to that energy source, all of those computers generate a significant amount of heat which typically requires an industrial cooling system to ensure the temperatures remain safe, and the machinery can continue to operate at these optimum levels.
In fact, the Web Neutral Project estimates that an average-sized website will emit approximately 4,700 pounds of CO2e in one year of operation. The EPA states that this quantity is equivalent to utilizing about 240 gallons of gasoline.
That’s a bit unexpected, right? But you just have one website and, in the large scheme of things –especially considering how much energy you actually save by having a website in place of a brick and mortar– perhaps this isn’t a super scary number. But when we consider the volume of websites in existence, recently estimated at nearly two billion and growing, that is a lot of energy and a lot of power requirements.
So if we could do something differently…something to help, rather than harm the earth we live on using only our website…why wouldn’t we?
What exactly is green web hosting?
All websites live on a server, which is usually centralized in a large data center owned by the host. We know from earlier that these data centers have a high volume of computers and have quite intensive cooling requirements. This is a simple reality of providing the service, no matter who you are.
But what green web hosts do differently is that they replace the power they consume in a form of renewable and sustainable energy. Sometimes the cost for these services is slightly more than a traditional company, but consider that they have added costs associated with the process, which may include modernizing their infrastructure and investing in REC’s (Renewable Energy Certificates) or VER’s (Verified Emission Reductions) as a part of their operation.
So you can expect to pay a little bit more for a green web hosting provider over businesses that take no action to offset their energy usage. But as these businesses grow, they are able to reduce costs and, ultimately, consumer prices as well — so they are becoming more affordable and accessible for online businesses of many kinds.
The greenest website hosting
We are going to go out on a whim here and say that we may just have saved the day. We are a vegan web design studio with eco-friendly hosting. All the energy used on our hosting is 300% matched, plus we plant a tree with every new hosting client.
This means you can feel safe in the knowledge that your website is giving back to the environment, and to saving the planet of course.
Alternative green web hosting
Okay, okay. This wouldn’t truly be a guide to the best green web hosting if we didn’t also mention other great web hosting services that are doing some amazing stuff for the environment.
We’ve compiled a list of carbon-neutral web hosting options that all put in serious effort to make their operations “green”.
These innovative web hosting services think a lot like us, in that we need to be doing something about our internet energy use to ensure we look after our planet.
GreenGeeks has been around since 2008 and plays host to more than 600,000 businesses.
Their platform is incredibly easy to use, even if you are brand new to website creation. Their simple drag-and-drop page builder lets you design stunning pages without any coding knowledge. Their dashboard displays every tool you need to manage your website (or websites) and their one-click installer makes obtaining all of the apps and plugins you want faster and more convenient than ever before.
GreenGeeks offers a LightSpeed web server that boasts a page loading speed that is 50% faster than the standard Apache model. Faster page loading means a better user experience for your visitors, as well as better organic rank potential in search engines like Google and higher conversions.
They also offer a multi-part security system to protect your website from malicious users. And all of this is done utilizing eco-friendly data centers and servers.
But possibly the most unique and notable thing that sets GreenGeeks apart from the competition? Their 300% renewable energy match. This means that for every bit of energy they consume on their grid, they match 3x that, making your website 300 percent green when hosted on their platform.
They make the migration from your old host very simple by offering an expert staff member to walk you through the process, one-on-one. There is no charge for this service, and GreenGeeks will help you through any hiccups that you may (but hopefully won’t) encounter along the way.
Acorn Host is a small business that was founded in 2002. They offer ethical, carbon-neutral web hosting with a staff available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their operation is run with 100% green energy that is harvested from only the wind and sun.
Acorn Host has a unique purpose for their business; they state, “instead of profit being the goal, profit can be a means to further social good. With a purpose and a vision, small businesses can change the world.” This fact sets them apart from a lot of other businesses in this field.
They also proudly state the types of businesses that they serve, which includes animal rescues, gay rights organizations, environmental groups, drum circle leaders and spiritual centers, documentary filmmakers, climate change activists, and many more. Plus, Acorn Host is women-founded and run.
Included with every plan that they offer, Acorn Host odders easy script installs, simple-to-navigate control panels, secure servers, website traffic statistics, and more. These key benefits make it easy to create, manage, and improve your website as the market changes.
DreamHost was founded in 1997 and has over 400,000 customers in their roster with over 1.5 million websites. They run both their offices and their data centers with “green” technologies to ensure their energy impact is as low as possible.
They were PCMag’s editor’s choice for 5 years in a row, offering truly impressive speeds that are “always up”, while ensuring your website remains safe and secure.
DreamHost has a customized control panel that makes your website easy to manage, as well as a full featured tool suite to ensure you can fully customize your design and features however you see fit. They are fast and reliable, offering 24/7 expert support from the US-based team that can help you day or night.
Simplified page builder tools and optional dedicated or cloud hosting is also available, giving you the freedom to choose what features you want for your services.
What is unique about DreamHost is that they are employee-owned, which keeps them focused on their customer’s needs and desires, their open source policy to allow for innumerable solutions, and their 100% uptime guarantee to give you confidence that your website will never go down. Plus, they clearly display a variety of promotions and special offers to take advantage of.
A2 Hosting was founded in 2003 and centers their business model around green energy, making it a piece of their primary brand image. Their eco-conscious web hosting solutions are blazing fast, fine-tuned for perfect implementation, and tailored to make your business’ website a stunning, highly-powered hub for your company.
Their impressively fast page-loading time reduces bounce-backs, improves your SEO ranks with search engine giants, and makes for a much more seamless user experience.
A2 offers 24/7 support all year round with a 99.9% uptime commitment and a money-back guarantee. They have been named the “industry best” by various organizations for their speed, developer’s options, and best-in-class service offerings.
Their ultimate goal is to protect the environment for future generations, while providing an unbeatable web hosting experience for their clients of all sizes.
Host Papa was the first web hosting company to publicly announce their commitment to green energy. Their business is 100% powered by Certified Green renewable energy sources for their entire business operations, including their data centers, offices, and web servers.
They are not shy about how energy-consuming their line of work can be. They state that, “Why should we burden the world just because we require [a great deal of] electricity to power our servers? If we need the electricity for our operation, let’s buy it from clean energy sources and contribute positively to our environment.” They also write about green energy in a way that can inspire other companies to make the switch, promoting the growth of this eco-friendly way of operating your company.
Their “PapaSquad” is available to help you and your business 24/7 and has received many awards throughout the years, consistently being ranked among the top 10 web hosting companies overall — add to that their commitment to green energy, and you’re found a great hosting provider for your eco-conscious business.
How to migrate to green web hosting
Changing your web hosting provider by yourself can be a little daunting, particularly if you aren’t familiar with your website’s cPanel and file manager.
But if you are committed to living an eco-conscious life, then migrating is really a very simple choice. And thankfully, most green website hosting companies offer free migrations, including us!
Find out more about our eco web hosting service and free migration.
Though the precise steps might vary a bit depending on your current and chosen new green web host, in general, the migration of your website can be accomplished in just three steps.
- Choose your green web hosting provider. We hope this article has provided plenty of education to help you make that choice. Open an account with this new host, and be sure not to close the account with your current host quite yet.
- Once you have both hosting accounts active, you can actually start the migration process. Depending on the complexity of your website, this can sometimes be as simple as a couple of ticker buttons to check off, or it can be more tricky and require some workaround solutions to ensure everything transfers without a hitch. To transfer, your new web host will have specific instructions that can help, and many of them also offer one-on-one service to ensure a smooth transition to their platform. Alternatively, many green web hosts will do this step for you, including us.
- After all of your files have transferred to the new host server and your new host has instructed you to switch your DNS, you can cancel your old host platform.
- Ok fine, we added a step four. But this one is great! Because all you have to do now is relax and have that extra helping of dessert knowing that you just made the world a better place.