S4 and the Sustainable Web

I’m going to write yet again about the carbon footprint of the internet and how we should all be doing something about it, but there is a big difference this time. This time I’m going to also announce the launch of S4, a new sustainable hosting company built by us that we have spent the last year developing.

First, my obligatory internet moan though…

As I sit and write this, it is early May 2020, deep in the times of the global coronavirus crisis and associated travel bans, quarantines and social distancing. This affects the planet in many ways, there is a huge reduction in travel related carbon emissions, due to hardly anyone flying internationally and cruise ships being cancelled everywhere. A lot of non essential industrial activity has also stopped.

So, while dolphins have returned to the lagoon in Venice and sheep have taken over Welsh villages the amount of data that the world is using has gone up massively. Millions more people are working from home, schools have gone online and outdoor social activities have been replaced by Netflix (other streaming services are available πŸ™‚ )and since the amount of carbon released by powering the internet is actually higher than that of air travel in normal times, it’s even bigger now.

In ‘normal’ times, we can follow these year old and pretty conservative estimates. There are:

  • 3.5 billion internet users
  • 70 million servers
  • 20 milligrams of CO2 emitted per user per second for simple websites
  • 1.54 gigatons annually of greenhouse gases emitted by 2020 (3% of all emissions)

Right now, depending on which estimates you choose to listen to, and there a lot of very different ones, that could be up by as much as 50%.

So it is that, completely without planning it this way, now in these times of massive data is the moment that we are ready to launch a project that we have spent the last year working on, our answer to the question of how you should host a web site sustainably.

Say Hi to S4

S4 Hosting makes your sites not just Sustainable, but also Speedy, Stable and Secure. Hence, S4!

There are literally tens of thousands of companies out there that will offer you web hosting. Many will claim to be the fastest web host on the planet, some will claim to be the most secure, the cheapest, or to have the best support. They might make any one of a million other possible promises, but somehow they will almost all be β€œbetter” than all of the competition.

Oh, and some of them will claim to be ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’, and of those who make that claim some will be. Not everyone has the same definition of what that might mean though, we host your sites in the most modern and sustainable data centre in Europe (at the moment of writing, but hopefully one day all data centres will be like this).

Why should you choose S4 over any of these myriad of other options then? Well, I’m going to answer that by shamelessly copy-pasting the next few paragraphs from my launch blog post over at S4, so if you want to read more you can find it here.

Firstly, we care about sustainability, we care about it a lot! A lot of β€˜green’ hosting companies think that offsetting the CO2 emissions of a data centre by buying carbon credits makes them super sustainable. We don’t agree and we go a lot further than that to be sure that we are offering the most sustainable hosting possible.Β (read more about our sustainability)

We are passionate about the internet and the technology that empowers it. We are proud of the choices we have made and the systems and services we are developing around them. We will keep updating, improving and pushing forwards to keep your sites as Sustainable, Secure, Stable and Speedy as possible.

We also strongly believe in things like net neutrality, accessibility, and open source software. We also have a strong sense of ethics.

Finally, we believe you are getting amazing value when you host with us. This is not the cheapest web hosting you will find out there but you won’t find many offering the same level of hardware, software stack and managed services for these prices.

If these are the kinds of things that are important to you when you are choosing who to trust with hosting your web presence, then we’d love to work together with you!

Even if you are still not so sure, all of our plans come with aΒ 7 day free trial, so why not sign up and let us show you how we think web hosting should be?

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