Sustainable Web Development – how this website is built sustainably
I have written a few articles about sustainable web development and why it matters. So I’d better practice what I preach.
The internet uses a whole lot of electricity, which is often coal-generated. As I state in another post, according to ClimateCare.org, our gadgets and the internet as a whole are responsible for 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To put that into context, that’s the same as the whole continent of Africa – and more than the world’s international aviation and shipping combined.
So, it seems like a good idea to try and minimise that doesn’t it? Below is a list of the things I have done on this website to try to minimise its environmental impact. And finally, how I try to make it a net positive for the planet 🌎.
✓ Powered by 100% renewable energy
I use Krystal as the hosting company for this site. They were one of the first hosting companies to be powered purely by from sources like the sun, wind and sea.
Their data centre is also in the UK where most of my site visitors are based.
✓ Static HTML pages served to most users
✓ CSS, JS files minified
Caching means that all the site assets (images etc) are not loaded fresh each time a user visits the site. This increases the loading time of the site and essentially recycles data.
✓ Optimised and compressed to give the smallest file size possible while maintaining quality
✓ Use of modern formats (webp, svg) where possible
✓ Only using images sparingly
✓ Not using video anywhere on the site
Videos are by far the most data intensive and processing intensive form of content on the internet. They should only be used where they are absolutely required.
✓ Reduced number of font variations
✓ Use of modern formats (WOFF, WOFF2)
✓ Highly optimised for SEO
✓ Helping users find the most relevant content quickly
✓ Clear and efficient copy designed to avoid unnecessary time reading
✓ Clear and simplified UX to help users to navigate with fewer clicks and therefore fewer page loads
Latest PHP version
✓ Latest version of PHP to ensure the most efficient use of server resources
Work still to do
✗ Create ‘dark mode’ version of the site to use less energy
✗ Load assets over a CDN
✗ HTML/PHP Minification
✗ Progressive Web App technology (PWA)
Volunteering, Donations and finally offsets
Once I have done all I can to reduce the impact of the WordPress websites I build, I try to make them environmentally positive by volunteering, donating and finally offsetting.
Other things I detail in this article, are actions such as sustainable travel, buying second-hand hardware & sustainable banking.
So, as you can see, I have done a fair bit of sustainable web development and even tried to go beyond it. However I still have a few things I can do, and I will edit this article as I go.