Shared Web Hosting: How Does It Work?

Posted on December 12, 2012 by

Why do businesses share networks? Are there any advantages of sharing resources? The core aim of any private enterprise is to make profit—whether it meets by increasing market share or decreasing costs. Now, if a single server is shared by a range of websites, each ‘sitting’ on its own partition/section of the server, such a service is categorized as ‘shared web hosting’.

The basic advantage of shared hosting is that it is economical; since many people share the same resource, the overall maintenance and management costs are distributed – each paying only a portion of the overall bill.

Management Facility

In most of the cases, the hosting service also provides ‘system administration’ support to the customer along with server space, bandwidth and other facilities. This helps users to greatly reduce their management costs as they no longer have to hire experts to deal with the server. Since, the running costs are distributed among all the users, the outlay is substantially reduced.

However, some users prefer having a high degree of control over their host server, which is not possible with shared hosting. Reliability is another very important factor when it comes to web hosting; a user has to trust the host completely for the entire web activities that are being hosted on the server.

Server Operating Systems

The Linux operating system is commonly used by host servers as it provides reliability and security assurances of open-source software. However, Microsoft Windows and FreeBSD-based solutions are also being utilized by some web hosting providers.

Implementation Procedures

When it comes to implementing web hosting services, providers use two methods: IP-based or name-based. A combination of the two is also employed by some control panels.


Here, an IP address is the differentiating element among virtual hosts. The same physical interface hosts to a number of virtual network interfaces and the server software identifies the website demanded by the user, from the IP used by the client. But, with the introduction of IPv4 address exhaustion—IP addresses have increasingly become harder to get. Hence, most servers have now resorted to providing dedicated IPs to websites.


This is the exact opposite of IP-based hosting since multiple websites share a single IP address. So, the question is, how does the server identify the requested user site? It’s simple. When a person requests any resource from the server; he/she uses a hostname as a part of the request. The server identifies this hostname and determines the demanded website.

Shared web hosting allows users to split their web space to a larger audience with minimal costs. Nonetheless, its limitations shouldn’t be ignored while making the choice between a dedicated and a shared server. Extra effort should be made in making sure that the chosen server provides the reliability and security to the hosted site. Fortunately, a number of websites and forums provide detailed reviews, pros and cons of various hosting services. For instance, you can log on to to evaluate different web hosts, offering shared web hosting.

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