Green Web Hosting And SiteGround's Commitment To Sustainability
Table of Contents
Data centers play a big role in the Internet industry: they store, process and deliver all the websites’ information on their non-stop running servers. They are usually part of massive facilities which need a controlled and artificially-cooled environment to run properly. That requires a huge amount of energy, indeed, according to recent studies, global data centers are estimated to consume 1% of global electricity use, issuing high quantities of CO2.
As an international hosting provider that manages more than 2 Million domains and 5PB of data, we are fully aware of this impact on the environment and it is in our hands to actively mitigate it by committing to provide green web hosting services as much as possible. From designing our hosting operations and services with the highest efficiency in mind, to implementing several policies that support an environmentally-friendly mindset, we take it seriously because we truly care.
Since today is Earth Day and we want to celebrate that day with joy and gratitude, it seemed relevant to give you some background on what it means to be a green web hosting provider, what to keep in mind when choosing one, and what actions SiteGround is taking towards sustainability.
What is green web hosting and how hosting providers can mitigate their environmental impact?
Green web hosting means that the hosting provider is committed to contribute towards the health of the environment and proactively takes eco-friendly actions that involve either carbon offsetting or renewable energy usage in order to reduce or mitigate the environmental impact of their servers’ energy consumption.
There are two main actions a hosting provider can take on the way to offering green hosting service:
- Use renewable energy to power up their data centers and facilities. This means that the electricity they use comes from natural resources that are replenished naturally, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat.
- Buy carbon credits. With this option, the company can buy a permit to emit one ton of carbon dioxide per credit or its equivalent of any other greenhouse gas with the aim to offset their carbon footprint.
As the internet industry evolves, so does the amount of energy and resources needed to process all the operations that the content storage and traffic implies. Choosing a hosting provider which is actively running actions towards better efficiency of their data centers and fostering initiatives to reduce their business environmental footprint is becoming ever so important, as it all makes a great impact on climate change, in addition to having several advantages for you. Three of the main ones are:
- Carbon footprint reduction of your e-business and online operations, since green hosting providers usually opt for renewable energy usage or buy carbon credits.
- Better efficiency of your website, as their efforts towards sustainability may include the adoption of latest technologies and resources optimization.
- Easiness to be part of the green change, as at the very moment you host your website with a hosting committed to the environment, you are already making a difference compared to others in regards to climate change.
Actions SiteGround is taking as a green web hosting provider:
Reducing our carbon footprint by partnering with commited providers
Since we are not a data center provider, and are not operating our own data center facilities, we need to rely on the green policies of our main data center partners. That’s why, a key motivating factor for our decision to move our infrastructure to Google Cloud Platform was their commitment to sustainability. Google’s data centers match 100% of the energy consumed by their global operations with renewable energy and maintain a commitment to carbon neutrality. Choosing such a leader in energy efficiency as our infrastructure partner is something that we are very proud of.
Optimizing resources by providing customers with top-notch technologies for better efficiency of your website applications
Efficiency is another key factor of green web hosting. Simply put, every website operation is managed and executed by its hosting server processor, and requires CPU, RAM, and storage resources. The heavier your website is, the longer its server processor and resources are in use, the more electricity it consumes.
At SiteGround, we are constantly optimizing our server software to get the most out of our technology and reduce the resource usage of our clients’ websites. As a result, the better optimized our servers are, the less resources and less energy your website will use for the same volume of tasks, making our operations and clients’ websites “greener” thanks to our software performance. For example, our Ultrafast PHP can speed up website performance up to 30%, making it consume proportionally less energy. Our latest RAM optimization of our cloud MySQL setup on our servers additionally increases client websites’ resource usage efficiency.
We also constantly look for ways to optimize our internal operations for maximum efficiency – for example, performing regular backups at certain hours when the overall server resources usage is relatively low, to avoid putting extra load on the server processors, thus balancing energy consumption. Overall, our policy to always strive to make the latest website technologies available for our clients to use not only helps you reach top website performance, but promotes energy efficiency, as well.
Reducing the environmental impact of our workplace
In early 2019 we finished the building project of the new SiteGround Headquarters building. One of our main goals was for it to be built entirely in accordance with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) requirements. LEED is the most widely used green building certification in the world, globally recognized as a symbol of sustainability achievement.
Encouraging a more conscious lifestyle among our team members
In addition to our efforts on a business and company level to become a green web hosting provider, we constantly try to maximize our impact by encouraging every single employee of SiteGround to lead a more conscious lifestyle. We are running several internal initiatives to help us do that:
- Company E-cars, e-bikes and free e-charging stations at the disposal of our employees during work hours or for running small errands. Following this benefit, we saw more colleagues opting for electric cars in their own households and others seriously considering it!;
- No plastic water bottles, containers, or water coolers in the office: we installed water filter dispensers across all our offices to replace plastic use due to daily water consumption;
- Using custom green-friendly tissue for our company gifts: For all SiteGround-branded gifts and packages that we send to employees and partners, we use a custom-design eco-packaging by Noissue’s Eco-Packaging Alliance. For every order made they plant a new tree, contributing to global reforestation and carbon neutrality;
- Our last (for now) team building event in 2019 was dedicated entirely to the Zero-waste idea, which was reflected not only in all team workshops and activities, but across the whole event organisation, banning single-use plastics, separating and recycling all our waste from the event, etc.
Having in mind all of the above, we are fully aware that sustainability is a process – it starts with an intention and only goes on and improves with time. We will continue looking into adding even more meaningful actions to continue delivering green web hosting features. But the future depends on all of us. We all need to realize that our personal choices have public consequences, and be more conscious about what we can do in order to sustain our business or way of life, but in a way that is also considerate for the environment.
In addition to us sharing our efforts towards sustainability, we’d love to hear from you! Share in the comments below what you are individually doing to achieve a greener way of living, working, and doing business. It is always comforting to know every single step that is done at every level, as when put all together, they will sum up to turn into a big leap towards mitigating environmental issues.