What is Shared Web Hosting

Shared hosting is in fact web hosting but differs because the hosting server provides different pages for multiple and unique websites, each containing a different Internet domain name, all from a single web server. Most web hosting providers support shared hosting. Shared hosting is a little more cost effective and cheaper for companies to create and manage a web presence. This method however is typically not sufficient to handle high volumes of traffic. High volume traffic generally requires a dedicated web server either provided by a web hosting company or via in house means. In general terms shared hosting can be inappropriate for customers requiring extensive software development and or intense data driven web applications. Shared hosting generally has usage limitations allowing multiple web services to run inhibited and most hosting providers have extensive and well protected reliability features. Typically all applications meant to run on a standard web server will run on a shared hosting platform.

Facilities of Shared Hosting

Shared hosting facilitates the use of a web based control panel or application such as cPanel, DirectAdmin, H-Sphere, InterWorx an Ensim and others. Some larger hosting providers use a custom produced control panel thought to help best serve the needs of its clients. Controversy does sometimes surround the web hosting industry as some companies claim that others have duplicated their own control panel software technology. And lawsuits and litigation over patient infringement are quite common.

With respect to the day to day maintenance and management of the servers, which includes the installation of security updates, technical support, and server software upgrades it is generally the responsibility of the hosting provider. Most web hosting servers are run on open based operating systems such as Linux or Lamp. Some hosting providers do offer the ability to run their servers on Microsoft Windows based operating systems.

World wide there are many shared hosting providers and they number in the tens of thousands. The small providers can range from Mom and Dad corner store providers who have 2 or 3 customers to large multinational companies with hundreds of thousands of customers. A large majority of the shared web hosting market is provided by affiliate programs or pay per click advertising. Shared hosting can also be achieved privately through the sharing of a running server located in a collocation center. This method of shared hosting is called cooperative hosting.

The process of shared web hosting can be accomplished in one of two ways: IP-based or name based. Some server control panels allow a mix of both methods on the same platform. Name based virtual hosting or Shared IP hosting has virtual hosts which allow the ability to serve multiple hostnames on a single platform with a singular IP address. In IP-based shared hosting platforms, each virtual host has different IP addresses on the same physical platform. The hosting server software knows to show the desired web site by using the connection of the IP address of the client. The reason to use a dedicated IP address is to allow authentication by an SSL certificate as opposed to a shared certificate which has the same level of security.

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