The web hosting world is going green. One of the biggest trends in the world of hosting is for companies to advertise themselves as “eco green,” meaning that their services are designed to have as minimal impact on the environment as possible.
Is it worth it?
If you are a professional photographer and are thinking of going with such a company, the first thing you should note is that the decision you are making here is mostly irrespective of the kind of hosting you will be receiving. In other words, whether or not you should go with a company which advertises itself as green is really not related to the kind of service you should expect as a customer. For example, there are no known studies yet about whether, for example, web site response times are faster with green companies than non-green ones.
So if the company you are most interested in just happens to be eco-friendly, then there is virtually no reason not to go with them. If, on the other hand, you are in a position where you might want to give your second or third choice your dollars because you are as concerned about the environment as you are about your web site, then you should look carefully at the company: specifically, you should take a close look at exactly what being “green” means for them.
Look at the fine (foot)print
Green hosting is a business model. Like all marketable business models, it is corruptible by those who want to lay claim to the label but not actually follow through on the spirit of it (think, for example, of how loose the term “all natural” is in food products).
There are different reasons that companies declare themselves green, and not all of them stand up as well to the scrutiny of investigating their impact on the real world. For example, some companies will award themselves this descriptor due to their receipt of carbon credits or some other type of “eco-currency”, you might call it. Unfortunately, the accuracy of these metrics in terms of their positive ecological impact has long been the subject of much debate.
Find some friendly voices
One good idea, then, is to find forums where this debate is occurring. The people who are most concerned about this aren’t often fooled by corporate double-talk. You can find good, detailed information from the people who are most impassioned about this.
Green hosting, in fact, is such a growing field that a number of web sites exist just to discuss the merits of said companies. As stated above, environmentalism is an extremely high calling for those who feel drawn to it, and as a result you will find lots of people who will go over the science with a fine-toothed comb.
Check the numbers, but in the end, you are probably best to just trust your instincts. Combine the quality of service they offer with their efforts to help the world, and let your instinct guide you from there. There are plenty of providers doing great work in this area. With a little clear-headed investigation you should have no problem finding one.
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