Frank Gresslin https://frankgresslin.net WordPress websites powered with 100% renewable energy Sun, 16 Aug 2020 18:19:52 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 How to migrate to a green web host https://frankgresslin.net/how-to-migrate-to-a-green-web-host/ Sat, 15 Aug 2020 17:59:02 +0000 http://frankgresslin.net/?p=1486 Migrating your website might seem time-consuming and a leap into a risky unknown but that might not be the case at all. Since pretty much all hosting companies do offer free migration services, moving your website could be as quick as one or two phone calls. But even if it takes a bit longer, have […]

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Migrating your website might seem time-consuming and a leap into a risky unknown but that might not be the case at all. Since pretty much all hosting companies do offer free migration services, moving your website could be as quick as one or two phone calls. But even if it takes a bit longer, have a look at the latest emission gap report or recent climate change scenarios and ask yourself if leaving climate change to governments and the fossil fuel industry is enough and if there really are such things that are too small to matter.

If you consider migrating your online presence, first, choose a green hosting company. In a recent blog post, I listed several providers that are running 100% on renewables already, but the ones that caught my eye are Raidboxes and Krystal if you have specific technical requirements, Eco Hosting if you want to keep your costs to a very bare minimum, and WHC if you are in North America.

Then decide what you want to move? Your website only, email accounts and Name Servers as well? 

The three options you have is a full cPanel migration, website migration with a plugin or a manual migration. 

The cPanel migration can be handled by your new provider for free and includes the migration of your entire cPanel including mail accounts and website. 

The website migration with a migration plugin might be handled by your new host for free as well, if offered, or by yourself. Methods vary depending on the plugin you are using. Here is a tutorial that provides a full walkthrough using the plugin “Duplicator“. (Krystal is recommending Updraft, Raidboxes is providing its own raidboxes-migrator) If you also need to migrate email accounts, your new host likely has an email migration tool that you can use to migrate all of your emails too.

Or you can migrate your site manually, which is what I do in order to have a local copy of the website installed throughout the migration process. Here are the general steps so you get an overview. The tutorials I link to go into a bit more detail. But this is just informational. If you want to keep costs low, best to make use of the free migration services that providers offer. If you need safety and reliability get in touch for a quote.

Step 1

Make a backup of your current site and install a local copy e.g. on MAMP. Then make a copy of all DNS entries if you are planning to move your Name Servers as well.

Step 2

Sign up for a new web package with your new host. 

Step 3

Sign in to your new control panel and create a new MySQL database, an FTP account and create any email mailboxes or forwarders. 

Step 4

Upload your website to your new webspace. Update wp-config.php with your new database settings and any other settings you might need to change. Get the support team of your new provider to update all file and folder permissions to WordPress defaults, just in case (644 for files, 755 for folders) and import your database into phpMyAdmin. Make sure you also upload your .htaccess file from your old server so your site navigation works right away when you update your A-Record or Name Servers.

Step 5

Migrate all mailboxes if needed. (e.g. with KARMA on Krystal)

Step 6

Once your website and your emails have successfully been migrated, update the A-Record with your registrar or get the IPS tag or EPP code and transfer your domain to your new provider. If you only want to update your A-Record, change the TTL well ahead of time to a very low value (e.g. 3600 for one minute). Then your website will become available on your new server right away when you update the IP address with no downtime at all.

Step 7

If you do decide that your domain should also be hosted green, enter the IPS tag or EPP code and initiate the domain transfer. It might take a short while until your domain shows up as active in your new control panel. Before you change the Name Servers, make sure you add all DNS settings that you might need, such as external MX servers, SPF records etc. to your new DNS. Once that is done, you can update your Name Servers as well. Now your website might become unavailable for a short while. Usually, the propagation period should not be longer than 4 hours, but some Internet Service Providers update their records only every 24 hours which means that your site might be inaccessible for some people for a while.

Step 8

Create an SSL certificate, e.g. Let’s Encrypt and enforce HTTPS redirect.

That’s it. Now your website is hosted carbon zero.

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WordPress 5.5 update could break websites https://frankgresslin.net/wordpress-5-5-update-could-break-websites/ Fri, 14 Aug 2020 12:57:52 +0000 http://frankgresslin.net/?p=1443 A few days ago WordPress released the latest update, version 5.5 “Eckstine”, with many improvements. However, one change that is causing significant issues on websites which are running themes or plugins that have not been updated for a while, is that a jQuery helper script, jquery-migrate, which is meant to make older jQuery scripts compatible […]

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A few days ago WordPress released the latest update, version 5.5 “Eckstine”, with many improvements. However, one change that is causing significant issues on websites which are running themes or plugins that have not been updated for a while, is that a jQuery helper script, jquery-migrate, which is meant to make older jQuery scripts compatible with the latest jQuery library, has been dropped. So if you are updating WordPress now or if your hosting company is updating WordPress automatically for you, your website might look quite distorted after the upgrade or you might experience other jQuery related issues. 

Luckily this can be fixed quite easily. All you have to do is to either manually add the jquery-migrate script to your theme, or even simpler, just install the “Enable jQuery Migrate Helper” plugin, which was specifically released by WordPress for this reason. 

To do that, just log into your WordPress dashboard, go to “Add Plugins”, search for Enable jQuery Migrate Helper, install and activate the plugin and your site should be back to normal. After activation, you might see an admin notice, warning you of deprecated jQuery functions that have been found in your site. This will help you identify which plugins contain outdated code.

Install "Enable jQuery Migrate Helper"

Re-adding this helper script should solve your immediate issues for a while. However, since this script is only needed for backward compatibility with older plugins and themes that use deprecated jQuery code, the next step is to check which plugins and themes do need an update. Once you updated all of them, provided that all jQuery scripts contained in these plugins and themes have been updated by their developers, you will be able to safely remove the migration helper plugin again.

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How to Reduce Your Website’s Carbon Footprint https://frankgresslin.net/how-to-reduce-your-websites-carbon-footprint/ Sat, 01 Aug 2020 20:33:17 +0000 http://frankgresslin.net/?p=1375 We have known about climate change for a very long time. The greenhouse effect was first discovered in 1824 by French physicist Joseph Fourier. In 1966 the Mining Congress Journal predicted “vast changes in the climates”, the “melting of the polar ice caps”, and “inundation of many coastal cities, including New York and London as […]

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We have known about climate change for a very long time. The greenhouse effect was first discovered in 1824 by French physicist Joseph Fourier. In 1966 the Mining Congress Journal predicted “vast changes in the climates”, the “melting of the polar ice caps”, and “inundation of many coastal cities, including New York and London as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels”. And in 1982, when atmospheric carbon was still at relatively safe 340ppm, Exxon Mobile forecasted carbon levels of 418ppm for 2019. Their prediction of the future was just off by 5 months!

Now we are already in 2020 and even several decades after we first learned about the catastrophic consequences of burning fossil fuels, country leaders, like Australia’s Scott Morrison, are still justifying their support of fossil fuel projects by saying that their country is too small to matter. (that might be exactly very same thought you might be having when thinking about your website – c’mon it’s just a website.) And instead of decreasing emissions by now, as necessary to meet the Paris climate target, we are still steadily increasing carbon output year after year.

The internet

This is where we are at. Since I spend a lot of time with web development, naturally I was interested to learn more about the impact of the internet and websites on global warming.

Generally, the web is not talked about as one of the main carbon emitters but it’s good to know that emissions generated by the web are quickly rising too. Some reports speak of a data centre increase from about 500.000 data centres in 2012 to over 8 million last year. Others report an increase of 100 hyperscale data centres from 400 to 500 in the last two years alone. Carbon dioxide emitted by the internet is already the same amount as that of the aviation and shipping industries, contributing currently to about 2.5% of global greenhouse gases. The web even consumes more energy than Britain for several years now. And in 2018 a study by the McMaster University in Canada predicted that global emissions caused by the entire Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry will increase to 14% of total emissions by 2040.

Greenwashing with RGOs / RECs

And while there are several very positive developments aimed at making data centres more efficient with the help of AI or by building them in colder climates to reduce the energy required to cool servers, data centres that run on 100% renewable energy are not that widespread yet. What is more common is that service providers market themselves as being green by purchasing certificates, REGOs in the UK and RECs in the US, a practice that is commonly known as greenwashing.

Google, for example, is promoting their green credentials for many years, saying that they match their global energy consumption by purchasing the same amount in renewable energy. But at the end of last year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai explained that the internet company will only be fully carbon neutral by 2030. While supporting green energy providers elsewhere by buying certificates is helping to build and expand more sustainable power plants overall, it is not reducing emissions by ending the burning of fossil fuels. And as long as we don’t primarily focus on reducing emissions, we don’t flatten the CO2 curve at all. That’s why we need to migrate to providers who are running on 100% renewable energy already.

100% renewable hosting providers

Luckily there are a few genuine green web hosting companies who disclose their energy source or electricity provider and who declare that they oppose the use of certificates.

There is, for example, Raidboxes in Germany, a high-end website hosting company who specialises on WordPress hosting. A similar range of services is provided by Krystal and Eco Hosting in the UK who are using Netwise‘s (now Krystal’s) data centre in south London, that is fully powered by Ecotricity, one of the most highly rated British green energy providers, who’s energy mix consists mostly of wind energy from offshore wind turbines. Web Hosting Canada discloses their energy source, like Raidboxes (who even publishes their official TÜV certificate on their website that certifies that their electricity is solely being generated on the upper Rhine) as 100% hydropower. Other providers are Green Hosting (UK), Data Center Light (Switzerland) and Positive Park (UK).

Differences from conventional providers

Technically, these providers offer the same services as other more popular fossil fuel burning hosting companies. Raidboxes (who is also featured in Yoast’s listing of vetted partners) and Krystal both provide managed WordPress hosting. Raidboxes also offers optimised WooCommerce hosting while Krystal prides itself that it’s Onyx platform is faster than that of leading WordPress hosting competitors WP Engine, SiteGround and Kinsta. Krystal also offers PCI-DSS compliant hosting with 4-hour full backup intervals, as well as cloud and dedicated servers, while Eco Hosting’s budget plans on the other end of the spectrum start at an exceptionally affordable £1.50/month – monthly payments, no contract.

The only downside I noticed after migrating several websites from SiteGround and IONOS to Krystal and Eco Hosting, was that I had to put up with an old fashioned cPanel again. But that is hardly any inconvenience in comparison to now being 100% carbon zero.

Conclusion

After having done some thorough research into green website hosting and having migrated several client sites from other providers to Krystal and Eco Hosting that all went very smooth, there is no reason at all to wait with a migration to a green host. As scientists remind us, we have to start flattening the CO2 curve THIS YEAR if we want to meet Paris targets and with most hosting companies providing free migration services, there is no reason not to move. And if even the free migration services that all of these hosting companies offer don’t provide enough incentive to make a phone call and start the process, then have a look at my post on how to migrate a WordPress site. It gives you an overview of what’s involved with moving your site so you can start making preparations.

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