If you’ve spent any time looking into the whole business of websites and hosting, you may have come across the term “virtual web hosting”.  Although it sounds complicated, in practice, it’s really very simple.  Virtual web hosting is the name given to the practice of running several “virtual” web servers on one physical computer.  It’s a way for a single computer to host thousands of websites, using the virtual hosts to “serve up” all the text and graphic files as complete web pages every time somebody clicks on to them.

Virtual Web Server

If you’re looking to run your own website, it will be hosted on a virtual web server.  This in turn will be running on a computer in a secure data center somewhere, fully protected against fire, power failure and data loss.  Companies that provide this service are known as virtual web hosting providers.

There are four types of virtual web hosting, the most common type being shared hosting.  With a shared host, hundreds, if not thousands of websites are run on a single server.  This means the company can offer economies of scale, so it’s cheap, but the downside is that you have to accept slower server response times.

Dedicated Virtual Web Hosting

The next type of virtual web host is dedicated hosting.  With this type of hosting, each customer has their own designated web server.  This allows the customer to run multiple websites, higher bandwidth and greater amounts of site traffic.  None of this comes cheaply, of course, and prices can easily range from $200 to $500 per month.  It tends to be used by larger businesses or concerns.

Co-location hosting is where the customer owns the actual web server.  This is obviously the most expensive option, as you’re buying physical hardware, and you’re contributing towards the costs of the secure data center.  This type of hosting can run into four figures per month, and is obviously for high traffic, heavy bandwidth sites, such as government departments or large corporations.

Finally, there is reseller hosting, where a parent company will sell off large amounts of virtual web hosting space as package.  These are bought by third parties, who divide that package up into smaller amounts of web hosting space, which they sell on to their own customers.  Reseller hosting means becoming a mini virtual web hosting company, in effect.

Virtual web hosting, then, is a way of organizing hosting space on single servers, to improve efficiency and profitability.

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