How to be Greener online

What? How is this even a thing? How can your online activity negatively affect the environment? These are questions that I was certainly asking myself a week or so ago and may have also been your reaction to seeing this blog title. However, the massive spread of the internet in the previous decades has released hundreds of thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Nevertheless, there are many small changes you could make to the online habits that can help you be greener online.

Where are the gases coming from?

There are two main sources of greenhouse gases that you need to bear in mind. The first is the actual power that is needed to run computers, servers and other related hardware. These all rely on electricity, so whether your electricity is primarily generated by coal or wind can make a huge difference. The second source is more indirect such as the manufacturing of components as well as then shipping these components globally. 

What is referred to as the information communication and technology industry, (essentially the internet and everything attached to it) is responsible for around 2% of global emissions, at over 830 million tonnes of CO2 annually. As you will, every little action you do online requires processing power and contributes to your carbon footprint. 

Easy ways you can be greener online

Before we start in earnest, I need to make clear what CO2e is. There are many different polluting gases but CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) is the most infamous. To understand global warming potential more easily, CO2e (CO2 equivalent) was created as an umbrella term used to represent pollution. Rather than breaking down pollution by different polluting gasses, CO2e represents the number of metric tonnes of other greenhouse gasses equivalent to CO2. For a more scientific understanding of CO2e, click here.

1. Green email etiquette

It is estimated that an email can result in between 4gs and 50gs of CO2e. An email’s length, attachments and how many recipients it will have influence the amount of CO2e released. The average office worker’s email is responsible for an estimated equivalent to 0.6 tonnes of CO2e annually. This is equivalent to the annual per capita carbon footprint of developing Sri Lanka. The average office worker is polluting as much as the average person from Sri Lanka from their emails alone. Here are two specific positive changes you could make to your email habits right now to make them greener.

Only send necessary emails

It has become common in many businesses to CC everyone who is connected to a subject into an email chain. People then reply to this chain, sending many more emails than are probably necessary. Limit the use of “reply all” and be more conscious about sending emails only to those who really need them.

Unsubscribe from irrelevant email newsletters

Many email inboxes are filled with random newsletters that the user no longer reads or even ever considers reading. These are another example of pointless emails which only serve to pollute. If you have monthly newsletters from sites you are no longer engaged with, unsubscribe and stop them asap. When a retailer asks something like; “Do you want to hear about our latest news, offers and releases?”, only say yes if you really, really want to.  

2. Optimise your power usage

Do you ever leave your desk for a meeting and leave your computer alone to slowly enter rest/sleep mode? While this will save you a few minutes on your return, you have turned your computer into a polluting machine. 

An energy-efficient computer burns anywhere between 15 and 60 watts of energy while being used. This is much higher than the 2-5 watts used when in rest/sleep mode. If you are leaving your computer for more than a few minutes, put it straight into rest/sleep mode. This can be done automatically by setting how long the period of inactivity needs to be before it enters rest. You should set this to be as low as possible without really negatively affecting how you work. If you are away from your computer for more than a couple of hours, you should really shut it down. 

Rest/sleep mode is not a silver bullet to this problem because of the ominous-sounding issue of Vampire Power. This refers to the phenomenon that even when electrical applications are switched off, they still often draw between 0.5 and 2 watts of energy while still plugged in. Ensuring that you unplug things like chargers or lamps at the end of the day can make a huge difference in your energy consumption. This has the benefits of both reducing your impact on the environment and reducing your overhead costs.

3. Streamline your searches

The use of a search engine can emit between 0.2 and 0.7 grams of CO2e per search. This is because each online search requires multiple different servers located all over the world. Searches from tablets and smartphones emit at the lower end of this spectrum whereas laptops and computers emit at the higher end of the spectrum. 

Using a mobile device for non-work related searches as well as trying to limit the number of unnecessary searches you make daily can have a big impact. Obviously, I am not saying you should limit yourself to 5 searches a day or anything like that, just try and make efficiencies where you can. 

For example, when I am writing and want to find a synonym for a word, I used to just type the word into google followed by the word synonym. I would find a good synonym and close the tab, but more often than not, I do a couple of synonym searches every day. To stop making so many unnecessary searches, I now get up, pin the tab and utilise it throughout the day. It is steps like this which once worked into your online habits, can make a positive impact on your carbon footprint.

4. Choose a greener hosting provider

Websites must have a host. The current most common hosting method is via servers, which are responsible for considerable emissions. Keeping these servers operating smoothly and reliably takes considerable electricity. This is in terms of powering the servers as well as using electricity to cool the servers to prevent overheating. These emissions are so significant that it is estimated that the global network of data centres accounts for the same amount of emissions as the global airline industry. As the demand for hosting continues to increase, so will the environmental impact of both creating new servers and maintaining existing servers.

However, cloud computing provides a real opportunity as this system of hosting has a much lesser impact on the environment than traditional hosting options. As well as this, there are now companies that specialise in green web hosting. This is where the host aims to at least reduce, if not completely negate your hosting carbon footprint. This is done primarily by ensuring they use renewable energy sources to power their data centres. Some will also donate an amount of money to renewable programs for each new customer or expand their existing carbon capture schemes.

The market leader in this industry is Green Geeks, an American cloud-based hosting provider. Energy efficiency is a major tenant of the company and for every bit of power they draw from the power grid, they fund 3 times the amount in renewable energy. 

They also plant one tree for every new hosting account, further contributing to their carbon capture credentials. Follow this link to the Green Geeks homepage.

5. Design your website to be greener

There are certain resources that are very common on many websites, but require a lot of processing power. This makes them more of an environmental problem. Being on a page with many animated gifs, advertisements, and videos are responsible for much more CO2e than a more simple web page. This is because these resources require more processing power.  

Even if the difference between these examples could be only a matter of 0.2-0.5 grams of CO2e a minute, as this is scaled up to the dwell times of popular sites, it can have serious repercussions. There can also be benefits to your SEO, website speed and customer experience by streamlining your website in this way.

You should also endeavour to make your web page as print-friendly as possible. Let me paint you a scenario. You need to print information from a website so simply press ctrl-p. The printout however rearranges what you saw on your screen to split the page over multiple pages as well as printing ads and links which have no use. This then results in some editing and a reprint. If this is repeated by all the visitors to your website who need to print something else, you are indirectly responsible for a lot of wasted paper, electricity, and ink.

6. Understand your websites impact

Interested in seeing how green your website is? Website Carbon Calculator is able to work this out from your URL alone. The calculator tells you how dirtier your website is compared to the other websites it has tested. It tells you how many grams of CO2e is produced every time a visitor comes to the website, as well as how much CO2e is produced annually. This is presented by how many sumo wrestlers worth of CO2e is produced annually (not a joke), and how many trees would be needed to absorb the amount of CO2 the website is responsible for each year. 

It takes less than a minute to work all this out and is definitely worth a go. Click here for the link to the Website Carbon Calculator.

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admin January 18, 2022 0 Comments

The 4 Golden Tips for Working From Home

At the time of writing, offices all over Cardiff have fallen quiet. The New Year has brought back work from home in Wales due to the spread of the Omicron variant. Although I am sure many of you are already accidental or unexpected experts at working from home, in this unpredictable world it doesn’t hurt to brush up on your practices. Here are Levitate’s 4 Golden Tips to help you through the often uniquely challenging world of working from home.

1. Establish a work-space with set boundaries

If you have a home office, ideal. However, if you, like me, do not have a home office, it is crucial to establish where you will be working in order to tailor this area into a quiet, private, and focused workspace. Keeping all of your work-related devices, documents or anything else in this area helps you maintain a positive work-life balance. The last thing you want to be thinking about after a long, solitary day of working from home is work so boundaries are very important. 

Boundaries are also important if there are other members of your household who will be around when you are working from home. Depending on the flexibility of your specific work from home job, you may be able to use this time to spend some more time with your children than you otherwise would have. However, you should make sure that everyone in your household knows that you are not on holiday but still have to work.

Have a discussion with the people you live with and maybe discourage them from interrupting you when you are sitting in your workspace. Similarly, ensure that your employer does not take advantage of their ability to contact you easily in your home office. When you finish your shift, really try and put the days work behind you and spend some time with your loved ones or doing something you truly enjoy.

2. Routine, routine, routine

Similar to our last point, this tip aims to help you clearly demarcate between your work life and your home life. By creating, and sticking to schedules, you are able to become more productive at work and more relaxed when not working. I know this is easier said than done but humans are creatures of habit and once you proactively begin to design schedules and routines, working from home becomes a lot easier.  

However, you must craft a routine that is right for you, rather than changing yourself drastically to fit the easiest schedule. If you are someone who needs 8 hours of sleep to function, do not change this just because you want to start working earlier to finish earlier. On the other hand, you should try and avoid waking up 5 minutes before you are due to start and just work from your bed.

Why don’t you try and act as if you still have to go into work? Wake up and get ready as you normally would, getting dressed and having some breakfast. After that, you could use the time you normally spend commuting into work to do some exercise, listen to some music, or do whatever else you like to do when you have some spare time. This way, your body is ready for a proper workday and you have the benefit of some extra time before work!

3. Eliminate (or at least minimise) distractions

Without a home office, it can be difficult to eliminate the many distractions of modern life. Putting your phone on silent is one thing but this is often only the distracting tip of the procrastinating iceberg. Let me run you through a distraction I faced while working from home and how I have countered it.

Initially, during this pandemic, I would study on my desk right in front of the TV and my PS4. I do have some self-control but the temptation of a quick 15-minute gaming or Netflix session was sometimes too much to bear (I would like to make it clear that I am of course referring to a time before I worked for Levitate when I was still a university student). My solution to this problem? Move the PS4 into the living room during the week so I am not tempted. It is easier than you may think to make changes such as this to really focus your working environment.

If you live near the noisy neighbourhood bog, maybe look into noise-cancelling headphones or playing something to cover the barking like music, a podcast or some white noise. If you find yourself constantly tidying up your home in order to procrastinate, ensure your home or at least your workspace is as organised as possible before starting your shift. Finally, if you have small children, maybe buy a Disney+ account or some LEGO (I am not a parent and will not pretend to know what to do with children).

4. Be kind to yourself and everyone around you.

This should of course be something you should strive for in everyday life, regardless of whether you work from home or not. However, the nature of working from home means that by actively trying to cut yourself and others a bit of slack, it becomes a much less daunting prospect. 

For example, what tone you read an email in can sometimes drastically change its effect. If you receive an email that comes across as a bit snappy for no reason, just remember that it is probably not written in that way on purpose. Communication often involves facial expressions, tone of voice, and many other factors that are impossible to take into account with emails. Just be aware that sometimes you may be putting a tone on an email that was not intended by the writer.

When communicating with your colleagues, don’t be afraid to throw in the odd exclamation point or emoji! These little additions make it clear to everyone that you are not mean spirited or nasty (as some of those rushed emails may come across otherwise). It might be necessary to be a bit over positive and maybe even over-communicate a little.

Be kind to yourself as well. If you found yourself drifting into a rabbit hole about some non-work-related issue, ask yourself, would have I have done this in the office? Let us not over romanticise offices as some places of complete efficiency, as this is not the case. Everyone gets distracted sometimes, so avoid beating yourself up over the fact you’ve spent 10 minutes reading the news after 2 hours of work. By being overly harsh on yourself, you could end up hurting your productivity and overall happiness, a loose-loose.

Closing remarks

It’s sometimes easy to forget that you are not the only person working from home. When you are talking to colleagues, clients, customers, or anyone else for that matter, just remember that they are likely working from home as well and facing the same challenges as you. COVID-19 has changed the way we work, the way we enjoy our free time and everything between. We can all get through this together if we just strive to be kinder to everyone, including ourselves.

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admin January 11, 2022 0 Comments vs

What? Are they not the same?

The differences between and are as stark as the differences between The Republic of Korea and The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea and North Korea respectively). While that may be some hyperbole, hopefully, this blog will demonstrate the vast differences between and

For the sake of simplicity, will be referred to as “.com” and will be referred to as “.org”. Now, both .org and .com initially appear as free but in reality, neither are. However, the free services of .org are much more extensive than those offered by .com. Let us begin by looking at the pricing of the two different sites.


On .org, costs will be incurred when buying a domain name, setting up and maintaining hosting, accessing pre-made themes, using some plugins, as well as any additional developer or security fees. The free offer of .com includes 3GB of storage space but all the aforementioned features will still have to be purchased. There is the additional indirect cost of having to display ads on your websites for no monetary benefit.

There are however paid plans provided by .com. They are the Personal Plan at £36 ($48) annually, the Premium Plan £84 ($113) annually, the Business Plan at £240 ($322) annually, and the eCommerce Plan at £432 ($580). None of these plans offers anything that is impossible on .org. The unlimited email support offered by all plans and the live chat support available to owners of the Premium, Business, and eCommerce Plans is the only real aspects of this paid service that would not be available through .org. The support that .com offers is highly regarded by customers, but as you will see throughout this blog, it is about all that .com can claim they do better than .org and this comes at a hefty price.

There are some crucial features on .org that can never be replicated for free on .com. If you want an eCommerce or membership style site, these features are available on eCommerce Plan and Business Plan respectively. This means that what can be achieved through plug-ins on .org can only be achieved by paying for the top .com plans.


In terms of plug-ins, .org is the clear winner. The open-source nature of .org has encouraged thousands to create specific plug-ins to meet specific needs. See our previous blog on our top 5 most essential plug-ins. As well as this, existing plugins can be customised and moulded by one who has the skills. On .com however, there is no free access to plug-ins with them instead offering plug-in-like systems. These can not be modified and can be quite limited in reach. To access plug-ins on .com, you must have at least a Business Plan, costing £240 a year.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

SEO is an incredibly important aspect of every website so if you are unfamiliar with the process, see our earlier blog. Presuming you have a good grasp on SEO, let us take our focus back to the .com vs .org dynamic. On .org, there are extensive SEO features as well as access to third party SEO plug-ins such as Yoast SEO. These ensure your website is as optimal as possible in terms of SEO and continues to be into the future. The in-built SEO features of .com are much weaker and the lack of customisation the site provides will likely damage your SEO further. Only with the Business Plan at £240 per annum can you install some plugins to try and improve your SEO.


.org allows you to sell as many ads on your website as you desire. If you want to cram your website with ads or completely leave ads from your website, .org gives you the freedom to do either. Additionally, you will receive 100% of the ad revenue as .org takes no cut. This is in stark contrast to .com who does not allow low or medium traffic websites to independently sell ad space. Only when a site becomes high traffic will .com offer you the choice to start selling ads on your website and sharing the revenue with them.

So just to be clear, they will not let you sell ad space until you are a large enough site and if you decide to host ads,  they will take a noticeable cut. The benefit of a paid plan here is that you are allowed to sell ads before becoming a high traffic website (.com will of course still take their share).

On .com sites, you are forced to display “powered by” as well as ads of their choosing from which you will see no revenue. The Personal and Premium Plans (£36 and £84 annually respectively) allows you to remove their ads from your site. Only with the Business and eCommerce Plans (£240 and £432 annually respectively) will you be able to remove the powered by link.


.org provides access to countless themes from free default themes to 3rd party designed themes, .org enables you to find the perfect theme for your site. If you can not find one that is quite right, the open-source nature of .org allows you to modify and customise any part you would like. Unsurprisingly, .com is very limited in terms of what pre-existing themes you can choose from and these can not be modified very easily. Users of the Premium Plan at £84 a year will gain the ability to customise aspects of the themes. Only those with an eCommerce Plan at £432 can import 3rd party themes.

How has this happened?

This situation of .com vs .org seems needlessly complicated and nonsensical. How and why do two such different services have such similar names? Let me bring you up to speed with the histories of these two sites.

.org was developed in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. What began as a program made primarily for bloggers, its open-source nature eventually led the site to become the most popular content management system on the web. Matt Mullenweg would go on to use his fortune to establish the WordPress Foundation. The not-for-profit foundation aims to ensure is a “free… (and) stable platform for web publishing for generations to come.” 

.com came onto the market in 2005, 2 years after the launch of .org, owned by a company called Automattic. Automattic also makes some of the most well-known .org plug-ins such as WooCommerce and VaultPress as well as owning social media network Tumblr. Weird how there are two ts in Automattic right? Well here is the big twist moment of this blog; the MATT in AutoMATTic refers to none other than Matt Mullenweg, one of the founders of and are both primarily owned and founded by the same guy.

As shown, they should be seen as very different and separate entities. However, the common histories and the fact they have the same owner and founder creates an intertwined and complex relationship. They probably should have just used more distinct names for their different sites, unless… this confusion is not accidental (please don’t sue me).

Closing remarks

In almost every case, you are better off going for a site rather than a site. In terms of features, value for money, and potential for a great website, .org is the king. Anyone who knows anything about web development and web design will take you much more seriously if you have a .org site. The only benefit of the .com site is its competent customer support features. However, countless agencies would be able to provide you with better service at a better price, while being able to utilise the superior .org to make your website.

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admin January 4, 2022 1 Comment