The best green web hosting makes it simple and easy to host your website(s) online with providers who have environmentally friendly credentials.
Best green web hosting: quick menu
The truth is that web hosting is very energy-intensive. Data centers may have tens of thousands of high-powered computers, most of these with permanently high CPU and drive usage, generating so much heat that the provider will usually need a massive cooling system to keep temperatures manageable.
The sums behind all this can be surprising. Web Neutral Project founder Jack Amend calculates that powering the average website produces 4,500 pounds of CO2 a year, equivalent to driving the average new car for more than 10,000 miles. We’re not quite sure what ‘average’ means in that context, but whatever the precise details, the message is clear: hosting has a very real environmental impact, and it’s much more significant than you might think.
So if you’re thinking about going green when it comes to your web hosting, check out our pick of the best green hosting services on the market.
We’ve also rated the best WordPress hosting.
The best green web hosting services of 2024 in full:
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Founded in California back in 2008, GreenGeeks now proudly claims to be the ‘world’s #1 green energy web hosting provider.’
That’s because, unlike some of the competition, GreenGeek’s green credentials aren’t just based on energy efficiency. The company also promises that “for every amperage we pull from the grid, we invest three times that in the form of renewable energy.” So in theory at least, your hosting isn’t just carbon-neutral, it’s carbon-reducing.
That’s great news environmentally, but it does come at a cost (and literally, in some cases.) GreenGeeks doesn’t offer dedicated hosting, where customers rent their own server to power the most demanding sites, presumably because it’s so inefficient. And although there are some capable VPS plans, they have some of the highest prices around.
There is a very big exception (at least for the first term) in GreenGeeks’ powerful shared hosting range. Even the cheapest Lite plan offers 50GB storage, unmetered bandwidth, free SSL, Cloudflare CDN, 50 email accounts, nightly backups, one-click WordPress installation, free website migration, and, because this is green hosting, one feature you won’t have elsewhere: a promise to plant one tree per plan.
Opt for the annual plan and you get everything for a very reasonable $2.95 a month, with a 30-day money-back guarantee. That rises steeply to $11.95 on renewal, but it’s still a fair deal, and shows that green hosting isn’t just about making eco-friendly gestures: you can find some very capable products, too.
Read our full GreenGeeks review.
DreamHost doesn’t do much to highlight its eco-friendly credentials, but that’s a surprise, because when you dig into the detail, it has a lot to boast about.
The company’s data centers are powered by grids which use many renewable sources, for instance. It’s a partner in state-level ‘clean wind’ programs. Cooling systems are designed for efficiency, and the evaporative cooling plants use both municipal and reclaimed water.
The company offices are LEED Platinum and Energy Star-certified. Optimized heating, ventilation and air conditioning plants keep energy demand down all year round, and the working environment is designed with sustainability in mind: recycling bins everywhere, electronic forms to reduce paper usage, disposable cups and plates are replaced by ceramic, and so forth. There are even financial incentives to use public transportation and work-from-home policies to keep some staff off the roads entirely.
All this environmentally-friendly infrastructure powers a good-looking range of highly specified and fairly-priced products. Shared hosting gives you unlimited everything from $3.95 a month on a 3-year plan (renewing at $10.99 a month thereafter). The entry-level shared plan (for just a single website) starts from just $2.59 per month (initially), and there are other options besides, like fully managed VPS hosting which starts from $13.75 a month (also on the annual plan).
DreamHost has its issues, too – the control panel isn’t the best, there’s no Windows hosting – but it’s a capable web host in many areas, and an exceptional 97-day money-back guarantee shows the company is very confident that you’ll love it, too.
Read our full DreamHost review.
Best for deals
Green web hosts make all kinds of claims about their eco-friendliness, but it’s not always easy to figure out what these mean. A provider might say it’s using an energy-efficient cooling system, for instance, but how does that compare to the rest of the industry, and what could the savings be, if any? There’s no way to tell.
iPage sidesteps this problem by avoiding the usual vague chat, and instead presents a clear and definitive green policy in a single sentence: “For every KWH of energy that iPage uses, the company purchases Renewable Energy Certificates to offset that amount with wind energy by 200%”.
Simple, straightforward, and it outperforms most claimed carbon-neutral providers by offsetting twice its energy usage (although recall that our number one provider GreenGeeks manages triple).
iPage’s hosting products are also impressive, which is obviously crucial too. Prices are sometimes a fraction higher than rivals, but there some excellent introductory deals – like three years of feature-packed shared hosting for $1.99 a month, renewal at $8 – and a range that also includes managed WordPress, capable VPS plans and powerful dedicated servers.
This is well worth a look for demanding users who are more interested in functionality than getting the lowest possible price.
Read our full iPage review.
Best for performance
A2 Hosting is another provider that doesn’t boast about its green credentials. There’s not a word about the topic on the website’s front page, and unless you’re in the habit of browsing ‘About’ pages you might never know anything about A2’s green-friendly aspects.
This is a little surprising because, in reality, A2 Hosting has more to shout about than many providers. This starts with a Carbonfund.org energy offset scheme which has allowed the company to be effectively carbon-neutral since 2007. This isn’t just about buying energy from wind farms: Carbonfund.org also works on reforestation and promoting energy efficiency in many other areas.
A2 Hosting highlights some of its green hosting practices, too, covering everything from using coffee mugs instead of disposables, to allowing telecommuting for its staff as much as possible.
Whatever you think of its environmental attitudes, A2 Hosting’s plans have a lot of appeal. Starting prices are a little higher than some, but that’s mostly because the company is focused on delivering power and functionality, rather than barebones products which only exist to create a low headline price.
Even the most basic shared hosting account gets free site migration, for instance. On top of that it provides Let’s Encrypt SSL, Cloudflare CDN integration, and regular virus scanning. Oh, and performance-boosting AnyCast DNS. You don’t just get one-click installs for WordPress, PrestaShop and others: A2 gives you optimized performance settings, too. And there are data centers in the US, EU and Asia. Not bad at all for a starting price of $1.99 a month (3-year plan), rising to $10.99 on renewal.
Read our full A2 Hosting review.
Best for bandwidth
HostPapa was one of the first hosting companies to commit to going green, and we’re not just talking vague claims about energy-efficient data centers: it’s making real and significant promises.
The company explains that it “purchases ‘green energy tags’ or certificates from a certified green energy supplier. That supplier calculates the total energy consumption of our operation and uses their suppliers of green energy to pump in 100% equivalent energy back into the power grid.”
Essentially, although HostPapa’s operations aren’t directly powered by green energy, it purchases the equivalent amount from green providers, a carbon offsetting system that balances out emissions overall.
HostPapa’s products include shared hosting, managed WordPress hosting and a website builder. Prices are a little higher than some of the competition, but individual plans could appeal in other ways.
Even simple shared plans offer unlimited bandwidth and disk space (although the Starter plan has 100GB disk space), for instance. And although there’s no dedicated hosting, the company has some monster VPS packages, with the high-end Jupiter plan giving you 12 CPU cores, 32GB RAM, 1TB storage and 8TB bandwidth for $250 a month (on a 3-year plan).
Read our full HostPapa review.
Green web hosting FAQs
What is green web hosting?
Green web hosting refers to web hosting service providers make a conscious effort to care for the planet through utilizing sustainable practices.
These web hosting companies that place high levels of importance on being eco-friendly try to address environmental issues by investing in some form of carbon offsetting scheme, so that for every unit of energy they use, they pay to generate the same amount of energy (or sometimes more) from renewables, and pump that into the grid.
This doesn’t negate their environmental impact entirely – building and disposing of all those computers produces issues of its own – but it does at least mean that your individual website isn’t adding to the problem.
Going green does tend to have some hosting consequences, in particular with the price: it’s often a little higher than the competition. That’s no surprise when a company is paying a second energy bill to generate renewable power, though, and the extra cost usually isn’t significant.
How we tested the best green web hosting services
Testing the best web hosting services is far less complex than testing these same providers on just how eco-friendly it is. There’s a green web check tool created by The Green Web Foundation where we put the URL of a web hosting company into its search directory, which then gives an instant result on the site’s green status.
Although not all web hosting providers on our list past this test, it’s a great tool to start off with when looking to make a quick decision about which green web hosting service to choose.
We found that providers such as GreenGeeks and HostPapa use green energy or compensation for its services.
We also carry out our tests on features and compare pricing as we do for the best web hosting and best website builder services on the market. We choose the top one based on the providers that tick the most boxes in terms of affordability, ease of use, customer support and useful add-ons.
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