Save the environment one line of code at a time.
Improving your website performance benefits you in many ways, most notably user experience and SEO. A lesser known benefit of a fast lightweight website is actually saving the environment.
Data centres account for an ever-increasing amount of power usage. Servers generate a lot of heat, and this must be dissipated or they would overheat and break down. A data centre uses so much power due to the cooling required to keep servers operating at their optimal temperature. Data centres now even outstrip the aviation industry in CO2 emissions.
Some of the technology giants such as Google and Apple have proudly announced that they are now 100% powered by renewable energy – largely through purchasing carbon credits and renewable energy from solar and wind farms around the world to offset their usage. The practice of simply buying carbon credits to offset usage is a little controversial since it doesn’t address the actual emissions, but it’s certainly better than not doing it. So it’s a good start, but there are still plenty of emissions (albeit offset) and huge energy demands from data centres and the technology industry as a whole.
Locations such as Iceland are a popular data centre location for global providers. The naturally lower temperatures combined with cost-effective geothermal energy generation allows data centres to run cooler and cheaper – and their geographic location halfway between Europe and North America is also convenient. Unfortunately for us our web hosting customers are in Southeast Asia and it’s hot here, so we have to look at other solutions.
It’s not just data centres that consume a lot of resources, it’s the consumer devices too. Producing all of our smartphones, tablets, and laptops also uses up precious metals and a huge amount of energy resources, only for many devices to become obsolete in as little as a few years. As the internet gets more and more widespread this energy consumption is increasing at an alarming rate – now even our lightbulbs are connecting to WiFi (although hopefully they’re energy efficient LED bulbs).
Many website owners got interested in website performance with a goal to improve their SEO ranking. While it helps, it shouldn’t be the main goal. The main goal is your user experience, giving your visitors a faster site leads to lower bounce rates and higher engagement. There’s no point going to the effort and expense of acquiring visitors if they don’t even stick around to load a page. More engaged visitors means more sales for you.
But faster loading websites have another benefit – a global benefit. If your website loads faster it also causes less demand on the hosting servers, on your network connection, and on the battery life of your device. This reduces energy requirements all along the chain. If every one of our customers had a highly optimised website then we’d only need half the number of servers we currently run. Sometimes all you need is static HTML instead of a power hungry CMS, so save a tree and keep your code lightweight.
While saving the environment is unlikely to be your primary goal, there are lots of good reasons to care about website performance. You can start making improvements right away by setting up caching, optimising images, or hiring our web development experts to help. It could be as simple as switching to a faster hosting provider in the same geographic region as your user base, or if you already host with us we can help optimise and streamline your website for faster page loading times.