We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Virtual Hosting?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In a technical sense, virtual hosting is a way for a server to have multiple domains on the same machine. This type of virtual hosting may either use a shared IP address for the entire machine or multiple IP addresses.

In common usage, virtual hosting describes any situation in which a web host offers space on one of their machines for webmasters to rent. This is in contrast to both co-location and dedicated servers.

With a dedicated server, the webmaster has purchased an entire machine from the host, including the connection to the Internet, an IP address (or multiple IP addresses), and usually set-up and technical support. With co-location, the webmaster supplies the actual hardware himself, but the domain is hosted by a third-party with a connection to the Internet.

Virtual hosting is a much cheaper alternative to these two forms of hosting. By having many different webmasters use a single machine, the host is able to charge less money to provide server space and an Internet connection.

Since virtual hosting is usually targeted to smaller businesses, individuals, and those without much experience with network issues, it nearly always comes bundled with an assortment of services. These may include: help setting up a domain name, technical support, e-mail addresses, installation of server software, database assistance and even basic design services.

Virtual hosting usually comes with a single IP address, but it may come with services to allow for multiple domains pointing to the same IP address. This allows a single virtual hosting account to have more than one domain name, usually simply redirecting to the same site.

Virtual hosting accounts often use a bit of redirection to deal with a single IP address for one machine hosting multiple accounts. When a user enters the website they wish to visit, they are taken to the corresponding IP address —- when they reach that machine, the server asks which site they want to visit and sends them to the appropriate directory on the server. So a user who goes to http://www.test.com/ may be sent to http://127.0.0.1/accounts/test/www/.

For all intents and purposes, a virtual hosting account appears to be its own server. From a webmaster's perspective and a user perspective the integration is essentially seamless. Webmasters concerned about sharing resources, or some security issues, often find co-located or dedicated servers to be more to their liking —- but for most small- to mid-sized businesses and individual webmasters, virtual hosting is an ideal solution.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Kristin1234 — On Feb 19, 2009

I actually prefer dedicated virtual hosting. It eliminates all the disadvantages of shared hosting (overcrowded, performance issues) but is still a low price. I have been hosting with Infinitely Virtual for over a year and have been happy with my experience so far.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.