Guest Post by Miriam Sheerin
I was kindly invited by Brenda to share some information about the green web hosting service that I offer. Thanks Brenda for the invitation, I was both touched and excited when I received the invitation as it’s the first time I’ve been asked to do a guest post. It was a very busy week as I also had an inspiration last week to offer Christmas Gift Vouchers on my website and was up to my ears writing voucher ideas and finding lovely photos to use.
My husband and I live off-grid in the lovely hills of Co Leitrim, although neither of us are from here, I’m a Galwegian and hubby is a Donegal man we joke that we had to split the distance between us. We started to build our own renewable energy system when we moved here back near the turn of the century so our home and businesses are all off-grid, using photovoltaic panels (PV or solar electric panels) and a home built wind turbine.
Naturally, people began to ask us how to make a renewable energy system so we fell into designing and installing renewable energy systems for other people. One year we met this fascinating man from Scotland, Hugh Piggott, who taught people to build their own wind turbines, we were so impressed that we invited Hugh to come and teach in Ireland.
Working with Hugh we learned how to run the workshops and so we also began to teach people to build their own wind turbines. http://buildyourownwindturbine.com/ You may have seen us on Nationwide some years ago, that was very exciting for us, filming was both nerve-wracking and great fun. It was really interesting to see how the Nationwide teamwork. We also featured on TG4’s great program Garrai Glas, although I was so nervous that I couldn’t remember my Irish well enough to converse as I would have liked to.
We wanted to be sure that our websites (we have a few) were not causing needless pollution so naturally, we began to look for a solution. It took quite some time to find reliable solutions that we felt we could trust, then we became aware that other people also wanted to reduce the carbon footprint of their websites so our green web hosting business was born.
My web hosting company, Osprey Hosting, was set up more recently and has a focus on working with women, writers and creative people who might not otherwise have considered getting a website. I love to encourage people who may yearn to write but feel a little bit shy about getting online. Really, if you can use a computer you can learn to blog. It’s wonderful to see people sharing their wisdom, their poetry, their travel stories etc in a blog.
Firstly I should explain what web hosting is because it’s a mystery to many people, even those who already have a website.
Every website has to “live” somewhere, or in other words, all the data of that website must be stored somewhere. Even all the information that is “in the cloud” must actually be stored in a real building somewhere. All this information is stored on “servers” which are basically computer hard drives. Lots of servers sit on rows of shelves in large warehouse style buildings. These buildings must be cooled as all the computer hard drives generate heat and the hard drives must be cooled to keep them in good working order.
These warehouses are called server farms and they use a lot of electrical power which is where my interest in green web hosting comes in. I find server farms that are plugged into renewable energy instead of using fossil fuels and so I can offer green web hosting to my clients. The internet is fast catching up on the airline industry as being a large polluter and anything that we can do to lessen this impact is good, especially as we do also enjoy travelling.
I help people to get a website name and I set up the web hosting for you, it’s an all-in service, only I offer a more personal service than the big boys yet I’m just as tech savvy as they are. There’s even a chat option on my website so that you can chat with me right there and then, assuming that’s it’s not in the middle of the night.
My parents instilled in me a great love and respect for the natural world, they were both reared on small farms and brought us camping for family holidays. I still have this connection to the natural world so I decided to use bird names my hosting products.
The smallest hosting package is called The Wren, however, the most popular product for people who blog is called The Starling, which costs only €5 per month. Other services that I offer include tuition in managing your WordPress blog and website management so that you don’t have to worry about the techy things like keeping your site security, plugins etc up to date.
Sometimes people who love to write ask me why they should get a website when they already have a Facebook page or a freebie website? One reason is that buying a good website name makes it easier for people to find you and your writing. Good website names should be memorable and easy to type in the browser. Not everyone is on Facebook and even those who do use Facebook don’t always stay logged in at all times. It’s really hard to find old posts on Facebook as they disappear quickly in the timeline.
By the way, a website name is technically called a “domain name” and along with the website name you also need to buy hosting in order for your website to be published. Once the name and the hosting are purchased I then set it up with WordPress because it’s a very safe and secure way to blog.
Not all web hosts will set you up with WordPress, some expect you to do this for yourself, however, this is one of the many ways that I like to encourage people to have a go. I take care of as much of the techy stuff as I can so you only have to play, write or create. You can choose from thousands of free themes or simply use the one I set you up with, changing colours and adding images to make it yours. I’m at the other end of an email if you have a query and I’m happy to do wee jobs for a wee charge.
I love to chat on Twitter, here’s where you can find me: https://twitter.com/OspreyHosting
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