How to Increase Energy Efficiency in Web Hosting

Energy is the talk of the town and for good reason too. Rising prices and the looming climate threat mean that reducing energy consumption is moving up the priority lists of businesses and individuals. With data centers estimated at 1% of total global energy consumption, websites have their part to play in this conversation.

Performance and aesthetics will likely always trump other website priorities. After all, if a site doesn’t fulfill its purpose and doesn’t appeal to the end user, what’s the point? But that doesn’t mean energy consumption should be swept under the rug.

Of course, data centers hold a huge share of this responsibility. But website owners should be aware of energy saving factors and consider them when choosing or changing web hosting providers and website builders. We need to move away from energy-guzzling solutions towards a situation where more efficient and greener choices are the norm and not a sacrifice of budget or performance.

Check capacity

You shouldn’t stick your head in the sand when it comes to excess capacity. There will of course always be a need for flexibility in your infrastructure, allowing for traffic spikes and a consistent user experience. Still, that shouldn’t be an excuse for constantly having idle resources.

Ensuring you have visibility into your resources and tracking your usage is a great place to start. Even if you’ve had your hosting service for years and it’s working well for you, you may still be wasting significant resources without realizing it.

Dedicated server hosting, for example, offers excellent levels of security and if your website needs all the capacity, they can be a great option to guarantee performance. But if you find that your site rarely uses all of your server’s available resources, you should consider a switch. Cloud hosting offers a great, more energy-efficient alternative, if that’s the case.

Rather than paying for the whole machine and the energy to power it, data in the cloud will be stored on a number of servers that could be spread across multiple sites. You can easily scale up and down the capacity you need, so if you know website visits are likely to increase tomorrow, you buy more capacity to meet it. Good providers will allow you to do this in your dashboard, making it an easy choice.

Monitoring how much of your server capacity you’re actually using, and understanding when that might increase over the course of the day, week, or even year, will allow you to better optimize the amount of resources you actually need. This in turn optimizes your site’s energy consumption, while saving you money.

Understanding Data Center Credits

To some extent, hosting-related energy consumption is at the mercy of colocation and data center operators. In the industry, steps are being taken to make data centers more efficient and greener. If website owners want to reduce their power consumption, they need to be tuned in to how their data center of choice works.

Inefficient data centers can easily use as much energy for non-IT processing, such as center cooling, as they do to power their servers. The market is working hard to address this imbalance through the development of cutting-edge immersion cooling solutions, but not all centers are as dedicated to introducing this new technology as others. Check to see if your provider is taking action in this area or has plans for it soon.

You may also be able to get information about how new your equipment is. Newer servers tend to have newer processors, which are increasingly developed with performance per watt in mind. These processors can deliver more calculations for every watt of power consumed. This not only means the server can deliver more with less energy, but it will also reduce the heat produced by the server and therefore the energy used to cool the center.

If you can’t reduce your website’s power consumption further for some reason, you can control what kind of power it is. There are data centers that operate partly or entirely with renewable energy. Check your provider’s website to see if it’s part of their offer, as it’s a quick win to help you do your part.

Keep abreast of developments

There are exciting new upgrades to this space popping up all the time. In recent years, this has included the rise of more efficient microservers. If you make sure to keep up to date with industry progress even once a year, you could arm yourself with the information you need to make the most energy-efficient decisions.

My eye is firmly fixed on the rise of serverless platforms. These allow your software to automatically increase the amount of infrastructure needed when the site is busy, and shut down immediately in a lull, meaning you only pay for the infrastructure you actually use. This instant scaling will take the power-saving qualities that the cloud can offer to the next level, while making it easier for the website owner to save power because it won’t require anyone one logs into the dashboard and makes changes manually. These types of developments are only going to become more and more relevant and more accessible in terms of cost over the next few years.

Of course, changing hosts or plans every year would be a time-consuming task. There are some hurdles to overcome, including the possibility of the website experiencing downtime when data is physically moved to a new machine. However, it is not as difficult as one might expect. As long as the end user is made aware that between a few hours they may experience disruptions, the decision to upgrade to a more energy efficient solution will be met with joy rather than frustration. If the move is good, then it’s important that it gets done.

Arming yourself with resource visibility and information about how your data is stored will help you make that choice. Data centers should continue to work in the background to increase the availability of power-saving solutions, and website owners should be sure to keep tabs on these credentials and available options. want to reduce their consumption. Over time, these changes will add up, and energy efficiency may become the norm in web hosting.

  • Do you need web hosting, but want to minimize any impact on the environment? These are the best green web hosting providers for the job.

James S. Joseph