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(Actually) Green Web Hosting

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TechSoup.org posted a blog a couple of days ago about choosing green hosting services. The challenge for an environmentally-conscious organization is that while that there are many hosting services who claim that they are green, not all of them actually are.

The IT manager from Enviromedia decided to find out for himself which web hosting services were actually green and could accomodate his need for 25 live sites. He narrowed it down to two: Canvas Dreams and AISO, which both use 100% renewable energy. (Note that the search likely didn't include Canadian hosting providers, and both of these options are based in the US.)

In the process he came up with 15 questions to ask a potential hosting services to find out how green they are and how well they do their job. Whether or not green hosting is a priority, these questions are valuable to ask of any hosting provider: 

  1. Does the hosting provider use renewable resources to power their servers and datacenters?
  2. How are the resources utilized? (what percentage of their energy comes from solar, wind, water, and so on, and what parts of their operation most rely on renewables?)
  3. Do they provide 24/7/365 technical support?
  4. What type of support?
  5. What is the support service level agreement (SLA)?
  6. Has the hosting provider experienced any outages?
  7. How were the outages handled?
  8. Do the support specialists have a particular area of expertise?
  9. What type of physical security does the hosting provider use in their datacenters?
  10. What type of logical security does the hosting provider use on the network?
  11. What type of backups does the hosting provider use?
  12. What is the backup retention rate?
  13. What is the restoration turn-around time?
  14. Does the hosting provider allow IP access to the site before DNS is in place?
  15. Does the hosting provider allow access above the www directory for storing sensitive data?
(from 15 Questions to Ask Green Web Hosting Services by Jim Lynch)