An initiative
by Wonderland

Thought Piece

Should Search Engines Prioritse Green-Hosted Websites?

The internet has become an indispensable part of our lives and the use of websites, apps and digital gadgets has surged over the years. This has resulted in an unavoidable cost to the environment and in recent years, there has been growing awareness about the negative impact our digital products and services pose on the environment. 

Several businesses have already taken the initiative to reduce the carbon footprint of their online activities by shifting to green web hosting, but this shift has been relatively slow. While there are companies that have made this shift, most of them are still using traditional web hosting solutions, which rely heavily on non-renewable energy sources.  Hence, it is important to start exploring the criteria search engines use to rank websites and whether green hosting should be factored in. 

What is causing this resistance?
One of the main reasons for this slow shift or resistance towards green web hosting is the lack of incentives that could motivate businesses to make this change. Despite the growing awareness of the negative impact of websites on the environment, businesses still tend to prioritise their profits over environmental concerns. As long as they can keep their websites functioning without any major concerns, they don’t find a real incentive or need to switch to green web hosting. 

Moreover, businesses tend to have a reactive approach rather than a proactive approach when it comes to environmental issues. For example, in the fashion industry, brands continue to produce and market fast fashion despite their environmental impact and it wasn’t until consumers started to demand sustainable and environmentally conscious options that some companies began to shift their focus. It is clear when businesses decide to take action, it is mostly a result of pressure from consumers or rules and regulations. 

Would making green web hosting one of the criteria for search engine ranking be a potential solution?
Let’s take the Google search engine as an example and explore this solution. Google’s search algorithm takes into account a multitude of criteria such as meaning, relevance, usability, quality, and context to determine search ranking and ensure that people can effortlessly find what they are looking for in the most efficient way possible. 

Businesses today are constantly working towards fulfilling these criteria by using relevant keywords, optimising page titles, using meta descriptions, and enhancing user experiences to improve their online visibility and appear at the top of the search page. 
By adding green web hosting as one of the ranking criteria, search engines like Google can encourage and promote sustainable practices amongst businesses. Through this incentive, businesses and website owners could feel more inclined towards switching to eco-friendly hosting solutions which could result in reducing the carbon footprint of the internet. 

The benefits of establishing green hosting as a website ranking criteria. 
If green-hosted websites are given priority over websites that are powered by non-renewable sources, businesses would have a greater incentive to shift to green hosting solutions to maintain their visibility and stay ahead of their competitors. 

In addition to encouraging businesses to make this shift, it can also reduce the overall energy consumption of the internet. Every time a person searches for information online, they are more likely to click and browse through the first few links that appear on the search engine results page and if the green-hosted websites appear first, people would be viewing more eco-friendly websites when compared to the other website, reducing the overall energy consumption of the internet. With the increase in demand for green web hosting from companies to fulfil these criteria, there is also a potential to spur innovation and create competition among web hosting companies to develop more sustainable solutions. 

Final thoughts:
By taking the first step and promoting sustainability and environmental responsibility, search engines can improve the quality of their search results and create a domino effect. This will allow businesses to adopt green hosting and contribute to a more sustainable future for the people and the planet. If you're in the process of looking for a new hosting provider, the most suitable resource to consult would be the directory compiled by The Green Web Foundation, which comprises numerous hosting providers from various regions globally, all of whom are committed to utilising eco-friendly energy sources in their data centres.

This article is written by Vaishnavi Bachala, a multi-disciplinary designer who is endlessly curious and passionate about creating engaging and memorable experiences. Her diverse academic background in business studies and interaction design allows her to approach problem-solving from both a people-centric and strategic business perspective, creating well-rounded solutions. Vaishnavi’s approach is collaborative and enjoyable, as she believes that a positive design process leads to the best results. Beyond design, She is an avid traveller who loves to explore different cultures and cuisines.

If you are thinking about new design concepts in digital sustainability or have implemented new techniques in your own work, we are keen to receive your input and hear about your experience. Please feel free to contact us at

Written by Vaishnavi Bachala

13 March 2023

An initiative
by Wonderland