Virtual Web Hosting

A virtual hosting provider is sometimes called a Web or Internet “space provider.” Some companies providing this service simply call it “hosting.” Typically, virtual hosting provides a customer who wants a Web site with: domain name registration assistance, multiple domain names that map to the registered domain name, an allocation of file storage and directory setup for the Web site files (HTML and graphic image files), e-mail addresses, and, optionally, Web site creation services. The virtual hosting user (the Web site owner) needs only to have a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) program for exchanging files with the virtual host.

Virtual hosting is a method for hosting multiple domain names (with separate handling of each name) on a single server (or pool of servers). This allows one server to share its resources, such as memory and processor cycles, without requiring all services provided to use the same host name. The term virtual hosting is usually used in reference to web servers but the principles do carry over to other internet services.

Technically, if you were a computer whiz you could do this yourself, but if you are more interested in ecommerce it is better to let someone else do it. The web site hosting company has many servers (computers) and they will charge you a monthly fee to store your website on their computer and let users view it. If you would like to launch an ecommerce store, the web hosting company will supply you with ecommerce tools and even help you build your website.

One widely used application is shared web hosting. Shared web hosting prices are lower than a dedicated web server because many customers can be hosted on a single server. It is also very common for a single entity to want to use multiple names on the same machine so that the names can reflect services offered rather than where those services happen to be hosted.

With virtual hosting, you will also have more control over e-mail names, subdomains and other features that you cannot get with shared hosting. Many midsized businesses enjoy virtual hosting because it can handle the business of their company, but also because if they have an IT on staff, the website will perform much better and changes can be implemented quickly.

Virtual hosting is also much cheaper than dedicated hosting. Some webhosting companies will also not make you sign a yearly contract, so you can change hosting companies more easily if necessary. Virtual hosting also gives you more access to the technical staff at the webhosting company if you need it. So while shared web site hosting is fine for websites with less traffic, and dedicated hosting is suitable for larger companies, virtual hosting is perfect for small ecommerce businesses with a fair amount of traffic. 

There are two main types of virtual hosting, name-based and IP-based. Name-based virtual hosting uses the host name presented by the client. This saves IP addresses and the associated administrative overhead but the protocol being served must supply the host name at an appropriate point. In particular, there are significant difficulties using name-based virtual hosting with SSL/TLS. IP-based virtual hosting uses a separate IP address for each host name, and it can be performed with any protocol but requires a dedicated IP address per domain name served. Port-based virtual hosting is also possible in principle but is rarely used in practice because it is unfriendly to users.

There are different web site hosting plans, much like when you get a mobile device like a phone or a laptop computer. Different plans will let you do more and have more options like more disk space (data storage) or more bandwidth (so more users can visit each month). As well, different hosting plans will give your website more advantages over others.

The three different types of hosting plans are dedicated, virtual and shared hosting. Dedicated hosting means that your website will get its own server (computer). This can be a great advantage if you have a large website where you plan to do a huge volume of business. A shared hosting plan means that you will share the server (computer) with many other websites.

Some virtual hosting providers make it possible for customers to have more control of their Web site file system, e-mail names, passwords, and other resources and say that they are providing each customer a virtual private server¬†which includes linux virtual privated servers and window privated servers – that is, a server that appears to be entirely their own server. When a customer does indeed want to have its very own server, some hosting providers allow the customer to rent a dedicated server at the hosting provider’s location. If a customer is allowed to place their own purchased equipment at the provider’s location, this is known as colocation.