Virtual or shared web hosting is where multiple
customer hosted web sites are supported on the same server infrastructure,
configured for personal or business use, supplied by a hosting service provider,
which results in the provision of a very low service cost, when compared to the alternative
of using an expensive dedicated
server. This is by far the most popular form of web hosting chosen by the
majority of web publishers today and can be found on offer at very competitive rates.
The benefits of using such a service in addition to the
low running cost, due to economies
of scale, is that the web publisher only needs to
maintain the web pages, while the day to day management/security of the servers
will be maintained by the hosting company.
Disadvantages of virtual servers are they are reliant
on one system structure which could be a single point of failure, or suffer from
performance issues, but many hosting providers will have backup systems and will
monitor performance, to ensure capacities are not exceeded, to ensure optimum
reliability and uptime.