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How virtual web hosting works
Many domain sites on one IP
By Red Squirrel


Virtual web hosting, used by many sites such as this one, is a method to host more then one domain name on the same server, but yet each domain can point to a completely different root directory. This is transparent to the end user viewing the website, or even the webmaster, to some extent.

Virtual hosting is what hosting companies do for each site it hosts. When you open an account, they setup a virtual host on their server and you can rent that space off the server that everyone else uses. This is also known as shared hosting, because the server is shared with others.

This is usually a security issue since with some file (ex: ftp) server access, even through an uploaded php script it is fairly easy to access data from someone else's directory, but most modern security measures can stop this, but there's a way around everything. But for most normal sites, the risks are not that big, and it's much cheaper and easier to go with shared hosting then a dedicated server. I can't recall any site that has been defaced by someone on the same server. Usually they would get their account canceled and no money back so it's just not worth it.

Dedicated servers, on the other hand are not shared - you have the whole server to yourself, which requires some very good knowledge about Linux (or whatever server OS you choose), while limited to remote access, so stuff like reinstalling a messed up OS is simply not possible. Virtual hosting eliminates the need to know allot about the OS the server is on so you only have to worry about the site, and not the server. If the server gets compromised or something else goes wrong, the host will deal with it. But for very large sites, dedicated is the only way to go, because of resource demands.

In most cases, shared hosting is done by a company that has leased a dedicated server, if they are a small company and can't afford or don't have the ability to have their own dedicated connection and servers. The problem with this is that it creates a longer chain to rely on for your site to work. You need to rely on yourself (obviously) for the site to be available, you need to rely on the hosting company, the hosting company has to rely on the server provider/data center, and in some cases the server provider is actually leasing the server from a data center, so they need to rely on the data center. It does not end here, since the data center needs to rely on the ISP providing the connection! The ISP also has to rely on the Internet infrastructure, or bigger ISP providing them the connection.

Any telecommunication service most likely including data centers are required by law to have backup lines, so the connection failing is not likely. In most cases a problem with the site not being up (downtime) will lie between the host and the server provider.

On the next page we'll look at how this all works.





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Latest comments (newest first)
Posted by Pyr-O-Rgasm on January 01th 2006 (21:00)
QUOTE (Everick @ Jan 26 2006, 08:56 PM)
The information was very useful in helping me to understand what Web Hosting is all about. This is all very new to me and I am not sure how to proceed or even if I am doing the right thing. Perhaps I should explain my situation.

I am an independent associate marketing legal expense plans. I currently have a Web Site hosted by the parent company (I think) of which I am a member and an indenpendent associate. I am afraid that my web site as it is currently set up, is not seen by anyone unless I personally give them the web address. I would like that if someone did a Google search for Legal Expense Plans that my site would have a fair shot at coming up on the search, or that my page may be linked from another web site. My question is, does Web Hosting solve my problem, or would I be paying for something that I don't really need.

Thank you

Email: evericka6@yahoo.com

If you're web site is hosted.... Then you have web hosting.

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