10 Ways to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Your Website

February 9, 2023

Websites can have a significant impact on the environment.

Websites can have a significant impact on the environment. However, there are many ways to reduce the environmental impact of your website and make it more eco-friendly. In this article, we'll discuss ten ways to do just that.

However, there are simple steps we can take to reduce our online carbon footprint and make the digital world more environmentally friendly.

1. Optimise images

Images can greatly increase the size of a website, causing it to take longer to load and consume more energy. Optimise your images by reducing their size and using a format that compresses well, such as SVG or WebP. To find the most efficient file format, save images at the appropriate size and compression level. Several free tools are handy, including https://shortpixel.com/ and https://tinypng.com/.

2. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A CDN helps to distribute the load on your website, reducing the energy consumed by your server. This also helps to reduce the time it takes for your website to load, improving the user experience.

3. Use a green-host

One of the first steps to get your website to be eco-friendly is to choose an eco-friendly hosting provider, a green host. Many hosting providers are using renewable energy sources to power their servers, so look for one that uses wind or solar power. By selecting a hosting service that is powered by renewable energy, you can significantly reduce your website’s emissions. Data centres are responsible for a substantial amount (around 15%) of the internet’s overall emissions, so making this change can have a significant impact.

4. Minimise the use of plugins

Plugins can significantly slow down your website and consume more energy. Minimise their use by only installing the plugins you really need, and consider alternatives that are more lightweight.

5. Get your website audited

Eco-Friendly Web Alliance (EFWA) provides a comprehensive website audit for free, covering not just one page but the entire website. Our audit offers insights into a website’s carbon footprint, as well as suggestions for improving its eco-friendliness.

6. Enable browser caching

Browser caching allows your website to be stored in the user’s browser, reducing the amount of data that needs to be transferred every time the user visits your website. This can significantly reduce energy consumption.

7. Use a responsive design

A responsive design ensures that your website adjusts its layout to fit the screen of the device being used. This reduces the amount of data that needs to be transferred, and reduces energy consumption.

8. Minimise the use of JavaScript

JavaScript is a powerful language that can greatly improve the functionality of your website, but it can also slow it down and consume more energy. Minimize its use by only using it where necessary, and using alternatives where possible.

9. Reduce the use of heavy animations

Animations can slow down your website and consume a lot of energy. Minimise their use by only using animations that are necessary, and using lightweight alternatives where possible.

10. Take responsibility for website emissions

The first step is to calculate the amount of carbon produced by your website. This can be done by multiplying the number of monthly page views by the average emissions per page view. For example, a website with 10,000 monthly page views and an average of 1g of carbon per page view would result in roughly 100 kg of carbon per year. This could rise to 1 tonne for the year with 100k monthly page views.

In terms of taking responsibility for these emissions, we recommend insetting over offsetting. You can support projects that reduce emissions, such as rewilding, regenerative farming or planting trees.

Written by Team EFWA