Shared web hosting is also referred to as derive host or most popularly virtual hosting service. It refers to a hosting service where multiple websites are supported by a single web server. The server is partitioned into several virtual segments, with each website allotted a particular partition. This creates an illusion of multiple dedicated servers running independently. This is the most suitable choice for those who can’t afford high expenses of dedicated server but don’t want to go with shared web hosting. Virtually shared web hosting reduces server maintenance cost to a significant low as the total maintenance cost is distributed among all the users.
This hosting type involves system administration as it has ‘virtually shared’ characteristics However, it has both advantages and disadvantages. The system benefits those who don’t want to deal with the server but on the downside, does not support the users requiring more control. In other word, virtual hosting is not ideal for the users who need extensive software development than what is provided by the hosting provider. It features restricted usage. Despite its limitations, virtual hosting is the most appropriate choice for the budget users.
Getting to the depth of virtual web hosting
Shared hosting usually uses a control panel system which is web-based. This may be cPanel, Plesk, H-Sphere, InterWorx, DirectAdmin or any other control panel system. Many large web hosting companies have their own control panel. There are some web hosting companies selling the rights of using the control panel to the users. It is very common to recreate the functionality of a particular control panel and that practice often leads to lawsuit filing over infringement of patent.
Software characteristics of virtual web hosting
When it comes to server sharing, it is the web hosting provider who is in charge of server management, software installation, update of security, providing technical support and other critical aspects of hosting service. Most of the servers have Linux as their operating system. LAMP is another alternative which some virtual servers are based on. ‘L’ and ‘A’ symbolize Linux and Apache, exemplifying open source software, the security and reliability of which is the driving force behind LAMP.
Some web hosting companies provide FreeBSD or Microsoft Windows based solutions. For instance, Plesk control panel has compatibility with both Windows and Linux. Server-side facilities for both operating systems offer similar functionality (For instance, MySQL database) as well as many server-side languages for programming (For example, PHP which is extensively used as a web programming language) under Linux or ASP.NET and SQL Server under Windows.