Big List of Green Web Hosts

Welcome to the first edition of my Big List of Green Web Hosts. There are 22 here, and I am sure there are more out in the world that can be added later. I only included hosts with English language pages and specific information about what they are doing to be “green.”

I will be updating and fine tuning this list as I get more information. As some point I’ll be putting together definitions for some terms like carbon neutral, carbon credit, green credit, carbon offset, off-grid, carbon fixing and possibly more – doesn’t seem fair to feed nonspecific information to a nerdly audience. Also in the works are interviews with some of the providers.

Here they are, 21 green web hosts in alphabetical order:

  1. Athenaeum Ecological Hosting offers 100% green hosting by using energy credits to buy wind generated power. Hosting is accomplished through a solar powered data center in California. Their offices are in West Yorkshire, in the UK.
  2. A2 Hosting buys carbon credits from to offset their server emissions. Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  3. Acorn Host is a reseller, which means that they buy their hosting from a larger organization. They also buy carbon credits and give discounts to nonprofits. Headquarters in Portland, Oregon.
  4. AISO offers 100% solar powered hosting, from energy that they produce themselves. Uses energy efficient servers. In 2006 AISO was featured in Inc. Magazine’s Top 50 Green Companies. Located in Romoland, California, East of Los Angeles
  5. CWH, Canada Web Hosting, saves 90% on electricity costs by using Lake Ontario for a Deep Water Cooling system., with the help of the Toronto-based energy corporation Enwave. Facilities in Toronto, Canada
  6. Dreamhost calculates all possible environmental impact and then buys Renewable Energy Credits from ecologically sound power sources such as wind, solar, biogas or geothermal, as well as Emission Reduction Credits. Located in Claremont, California.
  7. EcoSky is a solar energy producer. Their offices are partially powered by renewable energy, through their own solar power as well as purchased renewable energy credits. In case of shortfall they purchase wind-powered energy credits. Uses energy efficient equipment. Located in Portland, Oregon.
  8. Go Green Hosting uses green certificates and “other renewable energy technologies,” such as wind power. Located in north eastern Oklahoma, USA.
  9. Green WebHost offers a solar powered option. They operate a virtually paperless office and are also an ISP. Aims to be better than carbon neutral. Plants a tree for each new broadband and web hosting customer. Located in the UK, though the solar-powered data centers are in the US near Los Angeles.
  10. Greenest Host uses 100% solar power, with propane and conventional on-the-grid energy to power their backup systems. “Our servers are located at a state-of-the-art data center just 90 miles northeast of San Diego in Romoland, California.” Greenest Host is located in San Diego, CA.
  11. Host Papa purchases enough wind and solar green energy certificates to completely offset greenhouse gas produced by their electricity providers. Located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  12. Ilisys is provides 100% carbon neutral hosting through solar and wind energy credits. Also plants trees to offset unavoidable pollution such as commuting by staff. Recently bought by MYOB. Offices and datacenter in Perth, Australia.
  13. Iron Mountain produces their own solar power, though I’ve read elsewhere that they also purchase energy credits. Located in Ponoma, California.
  14. Lightbeing Creations uses 100% renewable energy. They use a 100% solar powered datacenter in California, and have wind-powered offices in Trowbridge, between Bristol and London.
  15. pair Networks is carbon-neutral through green a carbon credit program. They also operate an energy efficient office that is an exceptional-sounding healthy working environment. Offices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  16. Planet Mind uses solar and wind power, “provided by a grid-intertied solar array.” Office located in Nederland, Colorado.
  17. Rackspace buys green energy credits and is investing in building green dataservers. Rackspace in London is carbon neutral through tree planting, and has green plans for a campus in San Antonio and a datacenter in England. Rackspace’s datacenters are located in San Antonio and Dallas in Texas, Herndon Virginia, and London, with offices in San Antonio and London.
  18. Solar Energy Host is off-grid and 100% solar powered – no carbon credits. They use a data center located in Romoland, California. Offices are in British Columbia, Canada.
  19. SustainableWebsites is 100% carbon neutral through purchased RECs (Renewable Energy Credits) from the Mountain View Wind facility in San Gorgonio Pass, California. Profits from web hosting services are re-invested in SustainableMarketing, a unique community giving green entrepreneurs advice and tools needed to bring their marketing to a professional level, in an ethical and sustainable manner. Uses a datacenter in Dallas, Texas, and another in New Jersey. Offices in San Francisco, California.
  20. WebCtel is a small solar energy producer. They use their energy to power two services: web hosting and an ISP. Located in Cambridge, MA.
  21. WebHostingBuzz is carbon neutral, through tree plantation projects, in partnership with the International Tree Foundation. Headquartered in Delaware, USA

Got suggestions and additions? Please leave a comment here or contact me.

Green Web Hosting Quest – turning a rant into an opportunity

My site was down for about 12 hours on Friday. 12. Hours. Aurgh! 12! When I called tech support I was told that they have backup servers that can be used if customers like me have an emergency need. “Techguy” said they’d get my files “moved to the backup within 24 hours.”

  1. “If,” huh? Ha.
  2. For “customers like me?” Does that mean they only have backups for the really really upset customers who catch on to an outage, call, and are ready to leave?
  3. If backups are available, why does it take 24 hours to get my sites up and running?

After a few hours, I called back to ask just how far into that 24 hours I would be likely to see my sites again. Errm… well, I told myself I was calling back for a forecast, but, really, I wanted to bite someone connected to the outage. No… that’s not quite it, either.

I was hoping they would reveal an understandable extenuating circumstance, and offer to put themselves on the line for me. They have a 99.99% uptime guarantee. I wanted them to put their money where their reputation is. This is not an uncommon customer hope.

Customers want to be loyal, but first a business has to confirm that we’re smart to trust them – show us, often and generously.

Tech Support: get your story straight

This time I got “Techgal,” who said there could be no guarantee of when my sites would come back online, because though their work to solve problems is ongoing, with an “intermittent server problem” they had no way of telling how long repairs would take.

Intermittent my eye. At that point my site had been down, completely down, for several hours. What’s more, she confirmed that they are operating without a net. Her “no way of telling how long repairs would take” strongly suggests that their contingency plans are about as solid as Swiss cheese. There was no confirmation of even a 24 hour backup.

I like budget hosting, but not at this price.

What can you do, besides bite the tech support person on the way out the door, and wish more of the world sat at the feet of Seth Godin and Steve Krug?

You just watch me. I can shop.

Next time, green hosting

Solar powered web hosting is a viable alternative. Its existence hadn’t even occurred to me until last month, when I was researching the idea of doing something special at Cre8asiteForums for Earth Day. Now that I know green hosting is available and trusted by people I trust, I want some, too!

A quick search brought up about a dozen alternatives, some of which look pretty good. They offer the whole range of standard web hosting services, often at prices that are in line with what you’d expect anywhere.

Question #1: Do you have an uptime guarantee?

I have a checklist and a plan, and a strong desire to be involved in consumer confidence fulfillment. I’m going to be calling US web site hosts that use renewable energy. I will compile the results into a blog post to share here.

I want facts and feedback before I make a move on something as important to me as web site hosting. If you are a green web host or have experiences to share about a green host, please contact me.

RSS Subscribers Got Green Hunger?

Recent ups and downs in my RSS subscriber numbers are making me curious. I’m wondering if there is an unmet need for information that would help bloggers who combine “green” or cause marketing with the usual WordPress-and-content stuff.

Early in the morning on April 22nd I published Cre8Green: Small Steps for Big Causes, my Earth Day post. At the end of the day my FeedBurner stats showed a 48% jump in my RSS subscribers, taking this blog to an all time high. I’ve had a few 20% subscriber ups and downs, but nothing larger. 48% is an anomaly.

I followed up with a post I’d been working on about my user statistics, and some of my own attitudes about goal setting and benchmarks. My Bouncing Baby Benchmarks seemed like a safe (and fun) bet. Let’s face it – I happen to know that are a few of you have a high likelihood to be stat-curious.

The day of my stats post, my subscriber number went back down to exactly where I was the day before my Earth Day post. I’ve returned to my previous gradual building, with occasional fluctuations in line with previous my history.

Pure Green Hunger Speculation

Now, statistics are crazy. Any change in a smaller readership looks more important than it is, as a matter of scale. A one-time 48% jump in the subscriber number of a relatively new blog is not as statistically relevant as a trend at a more established blog. The people behind that 48% could have subscribed and unsubscribed for 101 different reasons completely unrelated to each other, or my benchmark thoughts post, or the Earth Day thing.

However, if a demographic slice of blogging greenies are roving around looking for web nerd marketing blogs with a green focus, I’d like to know.

I think that cause marketing has some special challenges and opportunities. Though you could make a case for a cause being just another Unique Selling Position, in cause marketing there is also perhaps a deeper tension around trust. Causes need supporters. Support is in theory altruistic, given freely and linked strongly to trust.

Though the urge to support something good is strong, the backfire can be just as strong if trust is broken.

Cause-related sites that push their issues in an unbalanced way can lose credibility. On the other side of the equation, posturing to seem more attractive to cause evangelists is especially repugnant, and a disappointed evangelist is a force to be reckoned with.

You can be punished for doing wrong, just as much as you could be rewarded for doing what’s right. My intuition is that this would be more intense with cause-related marketing.

Do Cause Marketers Have Special Web Needs?

I wonder if budding “cause” bloggers need extra support, as they deal with both the cause related stuff and the need to learn about what makes a Search Engine friendly site.

I want to walk up to each and every one of the 48% who unsubscribed and ask them what they wish I’d said next. If you happen to be one of them, walk right up to my comments form and tell me and my readers all about it.

Speaking of which, this is a good time to tell me what you want, especially if web dev type blog theme tweaks are part of your needs. I am mapping out the game plan for a series of posts documenting a WordPress theme re-design, using the WordPress Default theme as a base. I will learn from you, with you and for you.

When my theme re-design series is completed it will be available for purchase as an ebook, screen shots and code and all.

This is also a good time to subscribe. The first week of the series, May 11-17, RSS subscribers will receive a special link where they can register to get the ebook for free.