The Green Programmer

About This Site

I have put this blog together to share the progress and results of my PhD research into the sustainability of software and software development. I hope to include reviews and analysis of relevant papers and articles, details of experiments I perform, as well as thoughts about academia, industry and the research process itself.

In addition to being a place of exploration, I aim for it to be a working example of my current understanding of best practices. I want to “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk”. The technologies and services used to host this site have been carefully chosen to meet these aims.

Website Software

This blog is a static web site, and does not use any dynamic blog software such as the popular WordPress. It does not use a database or run any PHP code on the server. Everything you are reading has been pre-generated in advance.

Each page on the internet is created once, but read many thousands of times. If you want to reduce processing costs and the associated energy consumption, then it makes sense to do as little work as possible when a page is served to a visitor. This not only has benefits in reducing the load on the server which hosts the site, but the unchanging nature of the pages means that they can easily be cached and reduce overall network traffic.

This site is managed using static website management software Hexo which allows pages to be written using friendly Markdown rather than needing to understand complex HTML, CSS and Javascript. The site is managed on my office computer and synchronized with the server using git.

My current understanding is that a properly configured static website will use a lot less energy overall, compared with a dynamic site of similar complexity. I am in the process of conducting some experiments and I will write up the results here as soon as they are available.

Website Hosting

This blog is hosted by GreenGeeks, the “greenest” hosting platform I have been able to find. There is not much comparative data in this area at the moment and I am hoping that my research will help to raise the profile and encourage experimentation.

Comparing environmental impact of complex systems is tricky, but for now I am using the nearest thing to a comparative measurement that we have, the “carbon footprint”. GreenGeeks use “carbon offsetting” to claim they are “300% Green”, and also state on their website that:

Our hosting platform has been designed with a maximum use, no waste of resources mindset. Every aspect of our hosting platform is built to be as energy efficient as possible

What can you do?

If you are concerned about the environmental impact of your web systems, I recommend that you both explore the possibilities of making your web presence static and take a look at GreenGeeks and compare them with your current provider.