Most of us are concerned with the impact that we have on our environment and want to choose the green option when it is available. Web hosting is no different, and many people now consider the environmental impact that they are having as an important part of their purchasing process. This is especially the case for businesses that are promoting themselves as being environmentally friendly and only partnering with green businesses. In cases like these it will be important to be able to give their websites a green certification, but at the same time, the service still needs to be fully featured, cost effective and user friendly as well.
There are three ways that a web host can be friendly to the environment; either by buying carbon credits to offset their emissions, investing in sustainable energy sources like wind or solar electricity, or by using the best, most efficient technology that uses the energy that is consumed as efficiently as possible. To make sorting through the variety of options easier, we have reviewed the top web hosting companies and compared their services for how easy they are to use, their value for money, and their environmental friendliness, and chosen the best three.
1st: HostPapa Review
HostPapa is a privately owned web hosting company that has been in operation since 2005, and it is focused on the smaller Internet user. Located in Niagara Falls, New York, and Ontario, Canada, HostPapa provides a single, shared web hosting plan that has all of the features that users expect to find. Their deal also includes a free domain and comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
The simple shared web hosting plan from HostPapa allows unlimited use of storage space and bandwidth, and users can host as many add-on domains on the same account as they want to. There are also all of the e-mail features, like unlimited addresses and POP3 e-mail support that you need to go with your website, and autoresponders are also included for free in the package. HostPapa also provides Spam Assassin Protection and other e-mail virus protection, as well as password protected directories as standard security features.
All HostPapa web hosting accounts include SohoLaunch web builder software, which is a template based web design platform that allows users to easily customize their websites and includes a built-in shopping cart and other handy features. Of all of the website building programs being used at the moment, this rates as one of the most user friendly and has a constantly expanding set of templates to draw on that are provided by other users. For the more technically minded webmaster, HostPapa also includes the cPanel website management system that allows users to install over 50 scripts with a single click via the Fantastico application. The inclusion of cPanel also adds several more e-mail and security options that users need to make a working e-commerce website.
HostPapa’s shared web hosting plan also comes with all of the SSL pages and certificates, a dedicated IP address, and is also PayPal Merchant compatible so that everything necessary for conducting transactions on your website, including a choice of shopping carts, is included as a standard part of the deal. Other features of shared web hosting from HostPapa include great multimedia support, with both Flash and Shockwave being specifically catered to. There are also a host of statistical analysis tools so that you can stay on top of all of the traffic metrics for your website once it is running.
HostPapa is also certified as being 100% green, which it achieves by buying energy credits called Green Tags for sustainable energy suppliers to offset its own power usage. HostPapa is certified by several environmental organizations, including Green-e.org. This enables HostPapa to supply green certification for the websites that it is hosting, allowing users to promote their own websites as being 100% environmentally friendly too by using one of the logos provided by HostPapa on their website.
The shared hosting comes with over $500 worth of added features like Google and Facebook credits, and at $3.95 per month, is one of the least expensive web hosting packages available. The service is very user friendly and when the environmentally friendly protocols are considered as well, it all adds up to HostPapa offering the best value for money green web hosting service available.
BlueHost has been in operation in Provo, Utah, since 1996, and in that time they have become one of the largest web hosting companies and an industry leader. Like HostPapa, they provide only a single, flat rate shared web hosting package that comes fully featured for a low rate of $6.95 per month. For this price, BlueHost provides a lot of website building tools as well as unlimited disk space, bandwidth and domain hosting, complete with as many e-mail addresses and MySQL databases as you need to create. This makes BlueHost one of the best value for money shared web hosting services on the market.
Although BlueHost accounts include a simple template-based website builder, the focus is on using cPanel to install one of the many website scripts BlueHost has available, which may not suit the less experienced webmaster. On the other hand, it does give users access to all of the security, e-mail and analytical features that are needed to maintain a website. BlueHost also provides a generous variety of e-commerce solutions like shopping cart software, an SSL secure server for transactions and other features that go into making an e-commerce website. BlueHost includes a free domain name with every shared web hosting account and supplies $100 in Google credits, which is much less than the marketing package that comes as standard from HostPapa.
While BlueHost doesn’t advertise itself as being green because they use the latest technology with blazing fast servers, they are providing the most efficient service possible. Their data center and offices are also in a single location, which reduces their overall energy usage and greatly improves the efficiency of their service. This is reflected in the superb service and technical support that is provided by BlueHost. Overall, even though BlueHost is offering a value packed web hosting service, HostPapa is a bit more user friendly, it is less expensive, and being 100% green is more environmentally friendly than BlueHost.
Even though HostGator is offering a very environmentally friendly web hosting service, they come in third because of the limited nature of their shared hosting plan. While HostGator is offering some of the services available at both HostPapa and BlueHost, their basic shared web hosting plans don’t include many of the features that are needed to operate a retail website, which makes them less cost effective than the others. Although they are still a better option than many of the other web hosting services we reviewed, including HostMonster hosting.
The cheapest plan, called the Hatchling Plan, allows for only one domain to be hosted, and users can’t park domains in their account. There are no dedicated IPs or SSL certificates included, and for the fully featured shared web hosting plan that includes these commercial features, the price rate jumps from the much advertised $3.96 to $10.36 per month, making HostGator one of the more expensive web hosts. The focus at HostGator is really on its VPS and dedicated server packages, which are among the most affordable on the market at the moment. They also have an excellent range of reseller packages that give users access to everything that they need to host websites for their own clients.
HostGator supplies SohoLaunch web design software as well as cPanel to make creating a website or installing a script like WordPress or Joomla a simple process, and most users will have their website online within a few hours by using these tools. All of the e-mail features, as well as unlimited disk space and bandwidth, are a standard part of every plan and backed up by HostGator’s award winning service and technical support.
HostGator is a very environmentally friendly web hosting company and is purchasing 130% of its energy from green sources, which means that it is putting energy back into the environment. It has achieved this by investing in wind power in Texas, where the company is based, as well as by switching to servers that are 36% more energy efficient to further reduce their impact on the environment. As is the case with accounts at HostPapa, using a HostGator account allows users to display a green accreditation badge on their website.
Even though HostGator is probably the most environmentally friendly web hosting company, because the cost of a fully featured web hosting package is so high, it means that their customers are paying for it. They do provide excellent service and reliability and their web design tools are very user friendly, but in the end even the greenest option still has to provide good value for money. For an all-around, simple shared web hosting package that has the right balance of features at a reasonable price that is also friendly to the environment, it is hard to find one that offers as much as HostPapa.
Our #1 Rated Web Host is HostPapa