The carbon footprint of your website and how to reduce it

The carbon footprint of your website and how to reduce it

Climate change is the most serious threat we’re facing as the human race. We must keep our greenhouse gas emissions in check to keep climate change manageable, as failing to do so will result in irreversible consequences, affecting every generation to come. To achieve a net zero carbon emission status, every country, industry, and business must do everything possible to reduce its carbon footprint. That includes our website, yours, and every website on the internet. In this post, we want to discuss with you the environmental impacts of websites. Then, we’ll suggest the things you can do to reduce your site’s carbon footprint. Let’s dive in!

Many of us don’t think about the carbon footprint of our online activities. After all, that is probably the least of our concerns while we watch funny videos on social media or browse the web to buy new clothes.

However, every action we do online produces a carbon footprint, no matter how insignificant that action seems to be. Digital technologies and internet usages are two massive players in polluting the environment, as they use a considerable amount of electricity. Take a look at some of these terrifying statistics:

  • Digital technologies are responsible for roughly 4% of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The energy consumption of digital technologies is increasing by 9% a year.

As you can see, the internet and digital technologies have drawbacks, however excellent they are. And if you own a website – however large or small – you also leave a carbon footprint that pollutes the environment. That’s a serious accusation, but we’re guilty of this, too. So, where does the carbon footprint of your website come from?

Every interaction on your website

As we mentioned above, every online action, including every interaction with your website results in electricity being used. This energy usage applies to both your website and your website’s visitor.

For instance, whenever someone visits your website, their browser needs to make an HTTP request to your server asking for information. Your server needs to respond to this request and returns the necessary information. Whenever this happens, your server must spend a small amount of energy to complete the request. On the other side, the browser also needs the power to process data and present the page to the visitor.

Even though the energy needed to complete a request like this is minute, when you consider all the interactions on a website and all the websites on the internet, this is not so minute anymore. The heavier and more complex your webpage is, the more energy is required to send and process data.

On the host side

You know that your website needs a hosting provider to host your server and store your site’s files and data. But how do hosts do this? By keeping all this information on computers in large data centers.

In these data centers are thousands of computers processing

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This article was written by Edwin Toonen and originally published on SEO blog • Yoast.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the product, We may receive an affiliate commission.

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