How do you choose what to believe when it comes to web hosting? Not every company that claims to be the fastest, the cheapest, or the most secure can be, it’s just completely illogical.
There are things that can be qualified a bit though. If a company claims that it offers hosting powered by renewable energy or to use carbon offsets (we don’t really like carbon offsets), then these are things that can be proved or disproved, these are things that can be checked out.
There are various ways to do that, but a good starting point is to see if they are listed by The Green Web Foundation.
TGWF is a non-profit organisation that since 2006 has been working to show which sites on the internet are hosted ‘grey’ and which are hosted ‘green’. Green sites are those hosted by providers that use green energy or compensation, grey is… well anything else.
This isn’t actually as foolproof as it sounds, since sites that use Cloudflare as a reverse proxy will show up as green when the origin server might well not be, but it’s still a great first place to check.
Here at S4 we use 100% renewable energy to power our servers, mostly from hydropower, and we are happy to be listed in TGWF database of sustainable green hosts!
You can check out any site by entering the address at thegreenwebfoundation.org. Sites that are hosted green will get a results page with a big green smiley face, the name of the company the site is hosted with and a badge like this one:
It doesn’t stop there though, TGWF also has a very neat browser extension you can install that will show you the greenness of every page you visit, highlight green links on pages and show you which results in your search engine results are green hosted.
They also have an API so anyone can use the data they collect and actively work together with other partners to create open source tools for working towards a greener internet. You can check them out on their news page or their Github.