The Services Thing
Do you offer domain registrations?
We do! Our prices are great, too, with all the goodies like private registration and email forwarding included. We’re an authorized domain reseller, but we don’t do automated domain sales because bots and other bad actors flood those systems with compromised credit cards. Also, we ideally like to catch clients before they register. That domain name in many cases is your most important brand asset and it’s important to get it right… and aligned with your social media handles. Brand consultations are free, btw – give us a call.
Do you do SEO & Social?
I'm an organic/local producer. Do you really offer free hosting?
Yep. We do. It all starts with food. If you grow, produce, are associated with the Farm to Table or Buy Local movements, we want to help you! To the extent we can afford to, hosting will always be free, and we guarantee at least two years free ‘cuz we know it’s a hassle to switch. Get in touch as obviously we can’t afford to host every farmer, and let’s make sure it’s a good match.
The Green Thing
How green is your hosting?
This gets complicated pretty fast. The ideal setup puts your website close to your audience, because most of the CO2 emissions are actually beyond the Web host – in the electricity powering the transmission of data and the devices the website’s being viewed on. Weird right? So first and foremost we help clients select the greenest data center that is close to their audience. The greenest – reliable – servers, we should add. If you’ve ever had a bad Web host, you know what we’re talking about. Our unofficial motto is “green hosting that doesn’t suck”, because bad hosting is worse than no hosting. Right now the greenest rock-solid hosting in North America is in Council Bluffs Iowa, with an impressive 78% renewable energy, predominantly wind. So our Colorado and Chicago clients, e.g. are hands down getting the greenest reliable hosting on the continent. Similarly with European clients on our Eemshaven data center in the Netherlands, which gets 61% of its energy from renewables, a mix of wind and solar power. Clients closer to the U.S. coasts and farther afield rely on our Cloudflare partnership, which delivers their content from a network of local cloud servers across the globe. The Pacific Rim is more problematic, with less renewables available, and other factors impacting our commitment to reliability. Before selecting sites we also look at political, environmental, and even tectonic stability. Hurricane Sandy knocked out servers in New Jersey, and the Fukushima earthquake broke undersea Internet cables off Japan. Our Singapore data center is politically and tectonically stable while also lying well south of typical typhoon paths. This stability comes at the cost of some CO2 – Singapore relies heavily on fossil fuels. Our data center there uses twice the renewables as Singapore generally, and solar is coming. But here we’ve chosen reliability, knowing that 1) a locally hosted site is actually greener, 2) we’re offsetting with carbon credits, and 3) we’ll loose the client if our hosting sucks, so better to offset CO2 than have them jump to 100% fossil fueled hosting.
Yeah… a little complicated. But I’m glad you asked! There’s actually a ton more if you want to discuss it. I could go on and on about this stuff.
How green are your designs?
So really in essence we are still researchers, advocates, proponents for these smaller CO2 footprint sites that should be possible but sometimes aren’t… either because the client wants a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, wants video backgrounds, or has other expectations that blow the CO2 budget out the window. We try and our clients fund our research and efforts.
Hot takes – If you need a CMS, the Twenty Twenty-One theme will really slice your carbon footprint, if you can live with its limitations. Have a look at our ICEED design and see if you can grok with that theme. It clocks in with a 67% score on the Website calculator. Likewise Astra – it advertises itself as a fast CMS theme but that speed comes from sparse code, which gives it a light CO2 footprint. We are excited to be making the jump to Astra for our WordPress sites. We’re also super excited about Webflow, a super-low carbon solution that has a large enough user base that we feel comfortable enough recommending.
The Farm Thing
I don't get it. Did you put some servers in your chicken house?
Haha no. There are a few of those kinds of hosting shops left, and we’ve worked with the most famous of those. But the reality these days is that even the biggest hosting companies are relying on others to provision their servers. The efficiencies of scale, alas, just don’t make the small data center model work anymore.* There’s a lot of consolidation in the industry and more hosts are relying on Google and Amazon to provision their server “farms”. We use Google through our wholesaler, because Google data centers are considerably greener. And because our wholesaler is incredible.
*We do believe an alternate, decentralized hosting/data model is on the horizon. It’s crazy that 70% of the world’s Internet traffic goes through Loudoun County, when local traffic is exploding. Strategically, we want to be at the forefront when decentralized, oil-cooled servers finally become the norm. Because oil is waaay more efficient, and transmitting and requesting Internet traffic actually sucks more juice from the grid than hosting, according to Whole Grain Digital.
Are you guys just farm hicks with lame IT skills?
Also no. Mike grew up on a farm, surrounded by engineers. Generations of engineers and farmers, which makes for some weird dinner conversations. One grandfather built his own ham radio equipment; another practiced organic, regenerative agriculture before it was vogue. Mike’s father worked at the secret Radiation Lab at MIT and directed CBS’s first color broadcasts. And a bunch of other crazy stuff. Growing up you could stay outside in the woods as long as you wanted, but there was no escaping tech. Four out of seven cousins in the current crop are engineers or I.T. professionals. Two work with animals. So yeah, we’re a pack of technologists with strong environmental convictions. OrganicHost is a multigenerational tech company that works to make that tech more friendly for the farms and forests that we cherish so deeply. But please, check out our bios if you’re still unsure on our skizzles.
So why the farm motif?
We can’t escape our farm values and actually have no desire to. You’re only as good as your word. You reap what you sow. Hard work and diligence over the long haul are more sustainable than “cash crops”. Our 100% client-retention rate speaks to how well this farmy thing is working… for us, and for our clients. We actually call them friends, because that’s what they are.
So who is your wholesaler?
We make no secret of partnering with SiteGround for hosting. They are only one of two companies currently endorsed by WordPress, and they are hyper-focused on speed, security, and support. Hosting companies are getting gobbled up, and customer support, speed, and reliability are all taking hits. It’s like the days when budget airlines were gutting the decent carriers, and planes were literally falling from the skies. SiteGround is bucking that trend. If you don’t pick us – *sniff* – those links will direct you to their best deal and also send me a referral bean.
I'm just going to use your wholesaler. Haha I win!
Go for it. Use this referral link and get their best current deal. I also pocket a little cash if you do. To be 100% frank, we aren’t looking for customers that prioritize cheap. And because we buy wholesale, you might not save that much, and may actually pay more if you get peak traffic that exceeds your account limits. You won’t get our carbon offsets, our amazing customer support, larger bandwidth, and we won’t get to be friends. But you wanted cheap, so go for it.