Virtual hosting lets a single server accommodate multiple Websites, with each each site getting its own "slice" of server space. By partitioning a server into several smaller "virtual" servers, a hosting company can make the most of its server resources and minimize costs for each individual customer on the server.
Virtual hosting, though, doesn't mean that customers on the same server can access each other's Websites. Customers can manage only their own section of the server, usually by using a Web-based control panel. Control over the server itself remains with the hosting provider.
Because it uses only part of a server's resources, virtual hosting is cheaper than dedicated hosting. The Web-based control panel typically makes virtual hosting easier as well.
Also known as shared hosting, virtual hosting is common among budget and entry-level hosting plans. It usually provides enough disk space, bandwidth and functionality for most personal, hobby or small-business Websites, and is available for both the Unix/Linux and Windows operating systems. Many virtual hosting plans even offer the option of a shared SSL certificate for secure online transactions.
A virtual hosting account usually comes with many features, including a file manager, email accounts, WebMail, email forwarding and autoresponders, FTP access, password-protected directories, database, Server Side Includes and site statistics. Many virtual hosting providers also offer additional features like a site design wizard, search engine submission services, shopping carts and scripts for Weblogging, discussion forums, form generation, content management and more.
If you’re considering a virtual hosting services provider, look for a company that can also provide 24/7 customer service, how-to guides or FAQs. And if you expect your Website needs to change over time, you might also want to seek out a host that offers add-on services such as additional disk space and bandwidth. When you are considering purchasing a virtual server hosting plan, customer service definitely needs to be in your thought process. When we compile our top web host rankings we not only take into account the cost and features, but also the level of support provided. All of the companies on our list offer best in class support.
Virtual hosting is usually the best and most cost-effective choice for basic hosting needs.