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Shared Web Hosting
What Is Shared Web Hosting?
(also known as "virtual" web hosting)
Shared web hosting refers to the process of hosting multiple sites on a single, physical web server. In other words, multiple websites "share" the system resources of a single server. There is no noticeable difference to your visitors between a website hosted in a shared environment and one that is hosted on a dedicated web server.
Through shared hosting, a web developer can secure space on a web server and have shared access to the server's many technical features. Hosting companies provide this service by maintaining several large servers, and on those large servers they maintain a number of virtual web hosts. The machine examines which "name" it is being called by and then responds appropriately. Thus, visitors to the site enter through the domain name of the developer and therefore cannot recognize that another company's server in fact, hosts the site.
For most small and medium-sized businesses, a dedicated server, or a single web server hosting a single web site, is unnecessary. In addition to requiring a skilled staff member to devote his or her time to administering the server, most organizations simply do not require the capacity of a single web server dedicated to the task of hosting a single web site. Shared web hosting is also the most affordable hosting option.
To view some shared web hosting accounts, please click on our Comparison Chart.
Also see our article on Dedicated vs. Shared Web Hosting.
Shared Web Hosting Advantages:
How Does Shared Web Hosting Work?
A shared web hosting system has an IP address associated with its web services, and a web hosting provider can point multiple domain names to that IP address. By default, a web server considers the www/htdocs directory to be its root -- the directory that contains all of the files that are accessible through a web browser.
To enable shared hosting, the web hosting provider configures each of their shared servers to associate each domain that is pointed to it with a unique document root directory outside of the main site's document root directory. Therefore, when a request for a file comes to a shared web server, a different file can be returned, depending on the domain name that was associated with the request.
This should enable you to see the primary disadvantage of shared web hosting. With only one physical web server hosting several website domains, that web server's performance level can drop at times when one or more of the domains it hosts experiences an excessive amount of traffic.
Most hosting providers avoid placing too many shared accounts on a single server to prevent such disruptions to their customer's service.
Shared hosting can be provided not only for full domain names (www.yourdomain.com), but also for canonical domain names (client.yourdomain.com), which are also called subdomains.
Other Shared Web Hosting Articles . . .
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