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Virtual hosting is a method for hosting multiple domain names with separate handling of each name on a single server or pool of servers. The term virtual hosting is usually used in reference to web servers but the principles do carry over to other Internet services. One widely used application is shared web hosting. The price for shared web hosting is lower than for a dedicated web server because many customers can be hosted on a single server. It is also very common for a single entity to want to use multiple names on the same machine so that the names can reflect services offered rather than where those services happen to be hosted. There are two main types of virtual hosting, name-based and IP-based. Name-based virtual hosting uses the host name presented by the client. This saves IP addresses and the associated administrative overhead but the protocol being served must supply the host name at an appropriate point. IP-based virtual hosting uses a separate IP address for each host name, and it can be performed with any protocol but requires a dedicated IP address per domain name served. Port-based virtual hosting is also possible in principle but is rarely used in practice because it is unfriendly to users.
A virtual private server VPS is a virtual machine sold as a service by an Internet hosting service. The virtual dedicated server VDS also has a similar meaning. A virtual private server runs its own copy of an operating system OS , and customers may have superuser -level access to that operating system instance, so they can install almost any software that runs on that OS. For many purposes it is functionally equivalent to a dedicated physical server and, being software-defined, can much more easily be created and configured. A virtual server costs much less than an equivalent physical server. However, as virtual servers share the underlying physical hardware with other VPSes, performance may be lower, depending on the workload of any other executing virtual machines. The force driving server virtualization is similar to that which led to the development of time-sharing and multiprogramming in the past. Although the resources are still shared, as under the time-sharing model, virtualization provides a higher level of security, dependent on the type of virtualization used, as the individual virtual servers are mostly isolated from each other and may run their own full-fledged operating system which can be independently rebooted as a virtual instance. Partitioning a single server to appear as multiple servers has been increasingly common on microcomputers since the launch of VMware ESX Server in The physical server typically runs a hypervisor which is tasked with creating, releasing, and managing the resources of "guest" operating systems, or virtual machines.