Virtual Hosting:

Pros and Cons
Virtual hosting is the term used to describe multiple domains that are hosted on the same server. Virtual web hosting can be compared to leasing an item as opposed to purchasing it. In this case, you are leasing a service offered by a provider that generally includes the following:

  • Basic server features

  • Internet connection services

  • Domain name registration

  • File storage and directory services

  • An email account with related services

In addition, a provider of virtual hosting may provide website and web page design. Like most other leasing situations, whether likened to tools, cars, or apartments, there are advantages and disadvantages to virtual web hosting.

Advantages of Virtual Web Hosting

  • Support: Providers generally offer round the clock support, providing you with the security of available help when you need it most. In addition, many companies have measures in place to keep your site from hackers.

  • Flexibility: You are can try a variety of features without the burden of long-term commitment. You can also customize your virtual hosting arrangements with the bandwidth and database access that matches your business needs.

  • Cost:  Virtual web hosting is a great value for small or medium companies on a tight budget. With no major equipment purchases required, it is also ideal for start up companies trying to minimize their initial investment.

Disadvantages of Virtual Hosting

  • Limitations:  Since you share the virtual host's services with your provider's other clients, your customers compete for access. As a result, your site may have slower server response times during peak periods and could time out with "Website Not Responding" messages as visitors try to browse your pages.

  • Risks:  You may end up sharing an IP address with scammers, spammers, or adult sites. Since all hosted sites are treated as a group, you could easily end up banned from search engines that actively seek to block questionable activity.

  • Control:  Users share software components. The result is an inability to configure individual settings independent of the other clients serviced by your virtual hosting provider.

When sharing a virtual web server, you are receiving a low cost service with others. Be sure to think through how this might impact your business. There are definite advantages and disadvantages to virtual web hosting. Evaluate them in light of your business goals, budget, personal style, and target audience.

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