Some webmasters are starting to look beyond the basic list of characteristics for a hosting service in order to find something a little deeper: a host that is environmentally friendly. This is not unique to the world of hosting. The past five years or so have seen a big movement towards what is commonly called corporate social responsibility, or CSR. It’s the idea that companies might want to take more explicit steps towards minimizing their environmental impact, increasing pay for their workers, and putting more of their profits into charitable causes. The green movement is decades old, but fusing it with web hosting is fairly new, especially considering the historically hostile relationship between business and the green movement. However, the recent trend towards greater CSR has kicked off interest in finding green hosting for all manner of websites. Whether you are looking for Joomla green hosting or are using a different platform to build your site, in this post we’ll examine the upsides and downsides to this concept.
How Green Hosting Works
There are two broad ways that hosting companies can make themselves green. First of all, they can make their operations less environmentally damaging. The simplest way to accomplish this is to reduce their electricity consumption, but they can also reduce their reliance on computers built from materials that harm the environment during the mining process, for example. The second way is to use their profits and revenue to invest in environmental offset projects. For example, they could put some of their money into companies that are working to develop more efficient solar panels or buy carbon offsets for their operations.
These two approaches are not mutually exclusive. A hosting company can both try to get green by using more efficient machinery and also spend some revenue by investing in green projects outside the company. One of the challenges of finding a good green host is to learn exactly where they stand on these two approaches. Historically, some green companies have claimed environmentally friendly status, but turned out to be relying almost entirely on the second approach. That is upsetting to some green advocates, because rather than actually lowering their environmental impact, the companies are merely channeling some money to projects which may- or may not- be good for the environment if they succeed. So be sure to take the time to learn about your potential green hosts in as much detail as you can.
Pros of Green Hosting
The most obvious upside to using a green host is the environmental benefit. This is more of a personal choice than a business choice: it is not related to the mission of your website and so is not relevant to your operations. However, this equation could change if you are running a site that has a green message of some kind. In that case, a green host could be an important sign that you are committed to that message. Otherwise, you are choosing a green host just because you want to reduce your environmental footprint, and you feel better after you know that you have done this through your host choice. It is certainly true that hosting consumes a lot of electricity. Hosts use giant data centers that must be as close to 100 percent uptime as possible. That is quite costly, but by supporting more energy-efficient hosts, you can know that you are doing something to alleviate this burden.
Cons of Green Hosting
You need to keep in mind that there are some important considerations for green hosting. First of all, it tends to be more expensive. There are few “free” efficiency gains available. After all, if it was really cheaper and more efficient to go green, we would see many more hosts doing it already. Whether it is investing in more expensive hardware and software or just compromising on the quality of the hosting in terms of capacity and uptime, a green host comes with costs that they will pass on to you, the customer. You cannot expect them to simply absorb those costs, because hosting is not a business with large margins and green hosts have a significantly smaller audience than regular hosts.
Next, finding a green host takes time. Depending on the scope of your site, this could add up to a notable cost. It generally does not take longer than a few days to find a good host and the right plan for your site. If you are already familiar with the major players and their offerings, then finding the right host might only take minutes. But finding a green host is harder. You need to spend the time to learn about each and every candidate service, vet their business plan and credentials, and then go over their plans to find one that fits you. All of that adds up.
It’s also important to note that your choices will be a little more limited if you restrict yourself to green hosting. There are many different levels of commitment among hosts, so this will depend on your personal standards of environmental impact. The stricter you are about your requirements, the fewer hosts there will be which can satisfy you. As a result, you might be forced to make compromises on the green side, the business side, or both in order to get a host that works for you.
Using Joomla green hosting can be a challenge, but it is also rewarding for those who hold the environment to be an important personal cause. It is not easy to find and maintain a good green host. However, this is starting to change. More green hosts are starting to enter the market to serve the growing demand for the service. This is in line with the rest of the business world, where social responsibility is becoming a big draw. Keep your eyes open, and you might be able to find a deal that will fit your standards.