Dirty Websites: Worst URLs for the Environment, Ranked

MacBook with Earth on fire on screen

Greg Nichols/DALL-E

Surfing the net, it’s easy to forget that the digital space we move through has non-digital consequences. When it comes to the environment, big sites have a surprising footprint.

A research group at Power doesn’t pay Rated about 50 popular websites based on environmental impact. Anyway, how much CO2 does one site visit represent? Do any of these sites use sustainable energy-powered servers and infrastructure, and how does that change the equation?

These findings represent an exciting part of raising consumer awareness.

While consumers may not completely shy away from, say, a large e-commerce platform because of the footprint of a digital storefront, there is a welcome reminder that small choices that consumers offer, from the brands they support to things like packaging and delivery times and methods, add up.

Also: How to give off carbon credits this holiday season

So how are the great sites fair? Spoiler alert: Amazon is a pretty dirty site, but at least two major government websites devoted to the environment are downright dirty.


A clean rating system used to determine site rankings that takes into account whether the site is powered by sustainable energy, such as solar and wind, the amount of CO2 the site generates per visit visit and per year as well as the number of trees needed to absorb the site’s emissions. CO2 emissions.

Payless Power based on Carbon Calculator Website at for its calculations. Carbon Calculator, is a project of Wholegrain Digitala sustainable WordPress agency, highlighting how big the carbon footprint of the Internet is:

The Internet consumes a lot of electricity. Exactly 416.2 TWh per year. To give you some perspective, that’s more than the entire UK.

From data centers to transmission networks to the billions of connected devices we hold in our hands, all of which consume electricity and thereby generate carbon emissions equal to or greater than the global aviation industry. Sorry!

We have developed the first method to calculate the carbon emissions attributed to a website and this free carbon calculation website is here to help raise awareness and inspire a more sustainable internet. .


The three worst sites for the environment based on Payless Power’s testing are BlockFi, GameStop, and (in the latest case online brick and mortar) Nordstrom.

Cryptocurrencies in general had a bad performance, with the now defunct FTX also taking a high place on the list and in the top 10.

More interestingly, NASA, which has a multimedia website, ranks 11th on the list, right ahead of the EPA at 12th. The Census Bureau website is no less competitive, ranking dirtier. 81% compared to other tested websites. Amazon is dirtier than 61% of the sites tested, but it still beats NOAA, which is ironic.

The worst performing sites have a mix of rich media and lack of renewable energy.

Also: 5 best solar gifts for the holidays

For example, Google has performed very well, generating the least CO2 out of all tested sites (5,480 grams per year). That’s not surprising considering the sparsity of landing pages for and the use of renewable energy in its web infrastructure.

For a complete list of results check report. And for a list of low-impact but still beautiful and high-performing sites, check out the cool list at


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