The Internet devours energy. In Germany alone, data centers consume a good two percent of all electricity. So it’s better if we choose green web hosting. But does that even exist? If you are looking to compare web hosting providers, SuperBhosts could be among the right places to check.
The Internet and Electricity consumption
According to the IT industry association Bitkom, around 50,000 data centers were running in Germany alone in 2015, with a typical data center of 1,000 square meters using around 5.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. The Borderstep sustainability institute put the energy demand of data centers in 2016 at 12.4 billion kilowatt-hours ( PDF) for Germany – as much as four medium-sized coal-fired power plants – and at 287 billion kWh worldwide. The Blue Angel is a little more conservative: In 2014 it estimated that German data centers consume around 9.1 billion kWh per year.
Other estimates assume that in a few years, information technologies will have a greater impact on the environment than air traffic. The corona pandemic is currently accelerating this development: People travel less – and surf more.
Green web hosting: servers with green electricity
We took a look around and found green web hosts. The result in a nutshell: Everyone who runs a website already has the choice between conventional hosts – and those that work with green electricity.
In general: Economical data centers and climate neutralization are good – but it would be better if the electricity itself was eco-friendly and therefore climate-neutral. Ideally, of course, from providers who are actively promoting the energy transition.
Identifying features for green web hosts?
Unfortunately, there are currently no clear identifiers for green web hosting providers. Therefore, the following are recommendations:
- With the web hosting offer, make sure that the electricity provider used is clearly stated.
- Make sure that the green electricity provider named by the web host is recommended – for example by the Utopia best list or by EcoTopTen .
- Pay attention to other, clearly communicated efforts of the web host to work more sustainably.
- Avoid web hosting companies that do not use green electricity or do not make it clear where exactly their green electricity comes from.
The sustainability effects are correspondingly large if we switch to energy-efficient systems and green electricity here too. Of course, electronics itself also has some catching up to do when it comes to sustainability (raw material extraction, production, disposal, …) – and it is still a long way from “Green IT”. But that shouldn’t prevent us from leaving our money with providers who are already setting a good example.