What is Virtual (Shared) Web
Virtual or shared Web hosting is the business of
housing and serving files for a Web site. Typically, an individual or small to
mid-sized business cannot afford to independently obtain an extremely robust
connection to the Internet for their Web presence. Virtual or shared Web hosting
thus provides these consumers with the option to outsource their Internet
Using a shared hosting service allows these companies to share the cost of a
fast Internet connection for serving files. It is the most basic entry-level,
fee-based hosting service a consumer can select.
Shared hosting offers clients the ability to host their Web site on a powerful,
professionally managed server at a low monthly cost. Shared servers provide
individual Web sites with redundant connectivity and guaranteed uptime. These
services provide an excellent solution for entry-level hosting needs because
they are designed to host small-scale, e-commerce sites and static Web pages.
Shared hosting is also popular amongst first-time webmasters because it can
provide a reliable Web presence without advanced technical skills. Such a
service is also advantageous to the smaller consumer because it assures them
that they will obtain transparent services and that their Web site will have its
own domain name and set of e-mail addresses.
Virtual hosting services are thus extremely popular because they offer the
smaller consumer fast deployment, strong resources and most importantly, low
cost. By paying an affordable and predictable monthly fee to a shared Web
hosting service, consumers obtain reliability, expertise and faster connections
than their dial-up service can provide.
Such a service is also advantageous to the smaller consumer because it allows
them outsource a high-traffic, content-rich Web site for a small percentage of
what it would cost to hire a single employee to develop it and run it in-house.
For this reason, most individuals and small businesses opt to select a virtual
hosting service because it is inexpensive and usually provides the basic
services that they require.
Convenience is another factor that drives popular interest in shared Web hosting
due to the service's fast setup time and bundled features. Typically, site
activation can take minutes after you have purchased services with a credit
The most characteristic feature of virtual Web hosting is that services are
usually bundled. For an inclusive monthly fee, consumers can obtain a variety of
high-quality, multi-platform Web site solutions.
Usually the bundle of services includes a minimum amount of disk storage space
for your Web pages. The bundle will normally also include a minimum amount of
data transfer, or a capped amount of data that your can send to individuals that
access your Web site. Most virtual accounts will also include e-mail forwarding
services along with hardwired, physical e-mail boxes. Mail forwarding services
allows you to create e-mail aliases at your domain name that will forward to an
external e-mail address.
A descent shared hosting firm will also include free 24x7 technical support in
all of its service bundles. It should also include unlimited file transfer
protocol (FTP) services so that you can update your Web site at anytime.
For your own reference, a shared Web hosting service should also provide you
access to Web statistics, so that you can gage how many Internet clients are
visiting your site. For the sake of accuracy, a reliable Web host should also
provide its customers with access to raw statistical logs, so that consumers can
use their own statistical Web packages for site analysis.
Other services that are typically characteristic of a shared Web host include:
daily tape backup of your Web site; anonymous FTP server so that you can provide
distribute your file for public access via file transfer protocol format; and
full CGI-BIN access so that as you upload scripts that will add functionality to
your Web site.