Q-Free’s website has gone cookie free, reducing energy use and improving the user experience
The internet has a dirty little secret
The Web. The Cloud. Cyberspace. These terms make us think of the internet as an ethereal construct when it’s actually servers, cables, computers, and electricity. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to store and transport the data generated by almost 5 billion daily internet users and 30 billion connected devices, leaving a massive carbon footprint behind. In 2016, the carbon footprint of the internet was estimated to be equivalent to the total energy used by the United Kingdom over the same time. By 2030 the internet could be gobbling up 20% of total energy used. Data storage centres, some using as much energy as a small city, fuel the exponential increase of energy use expected in the coming years.
How does Q-Free’s website fit in?
Sustainability is a core focus for Q-Free, one of our premium members. The goal of solving traffic includes the mission of environmental improvements that come with more efficient systems and strategies. The forward thinking that Q-Free brings to traffic also extends to our website. According to websitecarbon.com, our website is 89% cleaner than other pages tested. This is, in part, because our focus on sustainability extends beyond the products we make to encompass the way we develop, support, and conduct business. Compared to our top competitors, Q-Free’s website ranks much better in efficiency and sustainability. Our website:
- generates five to ten times less grams of carbon per visit
- runs on sustainable energy
- can be carbon offset with one tree per one hundred thousand page visits
Want to see how your site fairs?
Simply insert any website URL at websitecarbon.com and the Website Carbon calculator returns a myriad of results including:
- how clean it is compared to other sites
- the amount of CO2 generated per visit
- whether the energy used is sustainable
The cookie conundrum
Before examining the problems with traditional internet cookies, let’s first understand what cookies are used for. A cookie is a bit of information given to devices accessing a website. Think of it as a digital bar code your computer picks up from the website you’re on. That bar code tells the website to act in a certain way for that particular user. For example, when a website preloads your user profile, preferences, settings, or reloads your shopping cart, those are all because of first-party cookies. First-party cookies come directly from the website and generally aid in the function and use of the page. Comparatively, third-party cookies come from another provider through ads, links, or other means. Third-party cookies track your browsing, optimise advertising to your interests, or possible nefarious uses like system infiltration. Cookies also increase website energy consumption. Whenever data is transferred, stored, recalled, and updated, multiple cookies are used on a near continual basis. This has a drastic impact on the total energy used by the website and a big part of Q-Free’s decision to go cookie-free.
No cookie for you
Transitioning to a cookie-free website makes our website use as little energy as possible beyond what is necessary. When you load Q-Free’s website, you see beautiful scenes of Norway, nature, efficient traffic, and smiling people. There are no cookie permission boxes popping up, blocking the page asking you to read or accept a myriad of cookie terms allowing the company to retain or resell your personal data. Some sites require multiple clicks and decisions just to access their site All those wasted click-throughs, additional server calls, and longer browsing times are energy sinks the Q-Free website simply does not have.
Walk the walk
As companies continue to focus on sustainability efforts through products, goods, and services, the huge energy consumption of technology can get lost in the process. Starting small, as Q-Free has done by lessening the amount of energy our website uses, is a crucial step in generating a long-term positive impact. Plus, we believe it builds a better consumer experience. Keep your eyes peeled for more on our larger sustainability initiatives throughout 2023.
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