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What is virtual hosting – sharing your machine with others?

What is virtual hosting - sharing your machine with others?

Virtual hosting or shared hosting is a process with which one can host multiple web sites on one machine under a single I.P. (Internet Protocol) address. It is the direct opposite of dedicated hosting wherein only one web site (domain name) is hosted on a machine.

Virtual hosting is provided by almost all web hosting companies and involves dividing the server into several virtual servers each acting like separate entities. It follows that web sites hosted on a virtual hosting package have to share server resources with all other web sites on the server. The resources include hard-disk space, bandwidth, the processing power etc.

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For this reason, virtual hosting is much cheaper than dedicated hosting. Also usually virtual hosting packages come with powerful control panels with which one can manage and administer the web site such as creating email accounts, databases etc.

Most articles in this section pertain to virtual web hosting because it is an ideal solution for beginners. In virtual web hosting, the onus of maintaining the server uptime and prevention of attacks from hackers lies on the web hosting company unlike dedicated hosting servers which might require configurations, regular maintenance, etc.

Who should take virtual hosting?

Virtual hosting is recommended for all beginners and startups. I have popular web sites getting more than 10,000 unique visitors per day hosted on virtual servers and there have been no problems.

In fact, I would not be wrong in saying that virtual hosting is the best solution for small/medium sized and personal web sites. Remember, no web site gets millions of visitors in the first few months of its launch. Your web site, like everything else, will take time to popularize. And if it does, you can always shift to a dedicated server.
But when you are starting off, a virtual hosting package would be sufficient for your needs. These cost a lot less than dedicated servers, require little or no maintenance and come with reasonable levels of security. You can, thus, direct your efforts in building and popularizing your web site that worrying about server uptime, hacker attacks etc. Finally, Virtual hosting packages provide reasonable levels of security.

As mentioned before, typical virtual hosting packages come with an ease to use control panel through which you can administer your web site which includes creating email accounts, databases, installing software, protecting directories with passwords, taking backups, uploading files etc.

Take a look at some of the recommended web hosting companies I have on this page. All these companies provide virtual web hosting package that are ideal for beginners and startups.

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