The Cost of Web Development

Posted By Josie Moran23/06/21

The Top 10 Most Visited Sites (& Their Carbon Impact)

We’re a local, Warrington-based business. We develop websites. And we love it. But, as nosey people, we take a great interest in the carbon emissions produced from our digital creations. Why isn’t their web development as clean as it could be? We thought it would be interesting to look at the top 10 websites in the UK in terms of popularity, and what the statistics on these were. 

Most people aren’t aware of the cost of the internet. Did you know that clicking on a website produces carbon emissions? Did you also know that the top websites get millions of clicks, every day? And perhaps, when those two things combine, it equates to a LOT of emissions. Yet if the web development had this in mind when making the site, perhaps it wouldn’t be such a big issue. Perhaps.

Looking at some of the top 10 websites in the UK brought about some interesting figures. Sharing is caring (and all that jazz), but we thought you should know either way.

The Rankings

1 & 4

Their web development is strong, but company ethos not so much so

0.25g- Google.com & Google.co.uk

Taking 1st place for Google.com, and 4th place for Google.co.uk, both versions of the site generate only 0.25grams of carbon per page visit- which is fair considering how big of a name it is! 

Yet when looking at greener alternatives such as Ecosia, which offers a very similar output, but also actively campaigns for environmental causes and partakes in carbon offsetting, you question why Google is not doing something similar. Surely with such a global company, the web development teams, and indeed every team, would be looking at ways to reduce emissions?

2

Web development hasn’t had carbon emissions in mind and this is evident.

1.99g- YouTube

Unsurprisingly Youtube has larger emissions- as videos take up more data and therefore energy. As another conglomerate, you can presume there’s going to be a LOT of plugins. Helping to push the company outreach further, through the likes of sharing, and app integrations. 

3

Simple design and user experience leads to less emissions

0.2g- Facebook

Facebook leads the way so far, in terms of visitors and emissions. As something that links into different areas of the site with ease, this is fairly understandable, with its own gaming portal, and messaging services- it’s all Facebook. 

Judging from the emissions alone, you can presume that plugins are limited. Meaning ease of use for its users, and clean layouts.

4- Google.co.uk

5

Chaotic layouts and more difficult navigation, web development hasn’t been a focus.

2.59g- Amazon

Speedy deliveries, not so speedy site… Amazon is quite simply lacking when it comes to ethical responsibility. You would presume that something as “simple” as reducing emissions would be implemented into their e-commerce, but alas. You win some, you lose a chunk of earth with each delivery? 

6

Chaos. Pure chaos. The ads, the clutter, need we say anymore?

3.5g- eBay

As an older site, the emissions aren’t as surprising as we’d like to say they were. In addition, almost everyone has visited the charming and somewhat clunky site. With sellers enabled to add almost endless plugins, you can begin to understand why this leads to problematic emissions. Put as simply as possible, more plugins=more emissions and more problems. 

7

Not a strong approach with overall web development.

3.08g- BBC

Another company with a somewhat unexpected score, as a news outlet that so often reports on global warming, carbon emissions, and things like deforestation, you would imagine that more would be done from a company perspective. And again video will impact this, but there’s the question on why there has not been an active effort in carbon reduction,  as global leaders.

8

From a video perspective, their web development exceeds YouTube…

1.27g- PornHub

Well, it beats YouTube. What more can we say? It’s the eco-alternative?

9

Strong web development, but with the sheer volume of users, it still has a massive impact on emissions.

0.84g- Twitter

As a simple and easy user interface helps Twitter a lot- and the notion that sending a tweet emits less carbon than a text- is mind-boggling. Yes, the 0.02g for a single tweet isn’t much, but looking at the 8,000 tweets written and published every second… Adds up. Massively. 

10

The best of the web development results on the page!

0.04g- Wikipedia

What’s not to love about Wiki? Boasting the lowest score, Wikipedia is a favorite for many reasons- simple and easy to use with one simple goal. To educate! Whilst it isn’t the most modern, or “trendy” site, it’s an invaluable resource. That is used by millions- and without any doubt, takes a firm spot of favorite on this list.

So, what’s the solution? How does our web development differ?

Simplicity can be the key, and it can push your company further than it currently is, which is great because we can help in your efforts with this. 

Just get in contact today, and our team would be happy to chat about what we can do for you in terms of web development. Our focus is reducing the carbon impact of the internet as much as we possibly can, and want to help as many companies as possible.

For the purpose of this, we’re using data from https://www.websitecarbon.com/