From time to time a business may need to host several websites. For instance, a business might want to have a separate core business and e-commerce websites. How they go about this depends on the architecture they are using to support the web-server environment, Open Systems running Apache, or Windows IIS for example, but the basic principles are the same.
What are the Basic Considerations?
Some decisions need to be made about the overall site architecture, never mind the web-server software being used.
The first is that a website needs an external IP address and DNS entry so it can be found either directly or via a search engine:
- Is there to be a separate IP address for each website on the server, or is each website to be found by the user choosing from an options list on the main website? Separate IP addresses imply separate network interfaces on the server, increasing cost and complexity.
- Is the web-server software to manage the site selection, with each site appearing to the user as an independent entity? The answer will depend on the website management software.
This is a fundamental question that must be answered when considering the domain structure and developing the site(s).
How many websites can a domain have?
You will probably already have a domain name. That allows you to create different subdomains.
You can operate without subdomains by putting each website in a different folder.
Look here for a tutorial.
The answer is therefore as many as you like, limited only by the resource constraints of the physical web server and the web server software.
Website Server and Website Considerations!
Your website needs to be hosted on a computer permanently connected to the Internet. And that’s your first problem. Your ISP probably won’t let you host a website over a permanent connection, so you will need an external web server hosting service. There are also a few other complications involved, so a web host is a necessity to make your own single or multiple websites.
Most, if not all, web hosts allow you to create subdomains and link them to a website. Depending on the host, this might have a fee.
Depending on your web host and the hosting package you are signed up for, your web host service provider can host more than one domain name. There are three main ways to do this:
- Addon Domains
Simply put, Addon Domains are additional domains created by the webserver administrator. They are created using cPanel for example and can be self-managed or managed by a managed service provider. Find more information here.
- Reseller Hosting
Reseller hosting is an extension to Addon Domains. In Addon Domains, there is a security hole, in that having access to one website is having access to all. Fine if you own all the websites, but a showstopper for sites hosting websites owned by different clients. An application like WHM allows websites to be associated with a user account, making a user’s systems and data secure from another user.
What is included in reseller hosting varies from MSP to MSP.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS)
A VPS environment is where a physical server supports multiple virtual servers. Each looks like an independent server but shares the resources of the underlying physical server. Each can support an independent website or multiple websites.
Which one you choose depends on your needs. Addon Domains allow you to have multiple websites without needing an account for each one. The downside is that an administrator has access to all websites. This is a severe restriction for managed service providers.
Reseller accounts are better because they overcome the security hole.
For clients needing more power and flexibility, a VPS solution is ideal.
Contact us, to discuss your requirements or just have an informal chat.