“Green” lifestyle is definitely a trend of 2009. Thanks to green incentives and environmentally-friendly strategies of major technological companies, “green” trend is very distinctly seen in IT. Check for yourself simply searching for #green on Twitter.
One of the main approaches in Green IT is, definitely, “green hosting”. Companies like Green Hosting.org, Go Green Hosting.com, Host Gator and many others offer servers powered by renewable energy power such as wind generators.
Still, it is important to remember that a website hosted on “green” hosting must be optimized for environment, if a website owner wants to contribute to a better way of life. We have created a list of 5 checkpoints you should be aware of while making “green” websites.
1. Make sure the website loads as fast as possible.
The faster your site loads, the less energy is consumed by servers of a hosting company and by your computer. Complex scripts, not optimized queries, large graphics contribute to the excessive machine loads and irritate users. Making your website load fast is a number one criterion to be checked for green websites. You can evaluate performance of your web pages with free utilities like Page Speed or YSlow.
2. Green websites must follow Internet standards.
The logic is simple: browsers are made to follow the standards, therefore the best use of browsers’ resources is possible when they open standard-made websites. Of course, it does not mean that all green or optimized websites look the same. They just follow a number of guidelines documented in HTML and CSS specifications. It is very easy to check if code of your website follows them: enter your URL in validators: CSS and HTML
3. Use of Flash is justified and fair.
While British Energy creates a Flash game to raise awareness of sustainability challenges in the energy sector, Adobe Flash is known to consume too much memory and CPU, especially in Linux. Due to its inefficiency, it makes your computer consume more electrical power than usual. It is easy to check by unplugging your laptop and running it from a battery: it will die much faster with a Flash application running.
4. Check content of your website.
Greenness of your website is contained not only inside, in the backend or source code. It can also be clearly seen from outside, just looking at the content. Promoting green practices just by placing a small button, logo, or statement in the footer will keep the public aware and distribute the green ideas throughout the world.
5. How about far-reaching consequences?
If you stop and think how people may be using your website, you will inevitably come to an idea that people may be printing your website. Printing means using paper. Without being paranoic, you can optimize what gets printed by using special CSS print stylesheets. A giude to print stylesheets can be found here. For example, you can remove headers, make fonts smaller and send to printer only the valuable content, reducing the amount of paper needed to print a web page.
For those of you who are ready to check their websites for “greenness”, we have developed a special tool called GreenOrMachine. This tool examines your website against 10 criteria (i.e. 5 more than described in this article) and provides a report how your site performs on the green scale.