Tech moves fast! Stay ahead of the curve with Techopedia!
Join nearly 200,000 subscribers who receive actionable tech insights from Techopedia.
A virtual ISP is an Internet service provider company that markets its own services while taking advantage of resources or services provided by other ISP companies. Essentially, the virtual ISP engages in the "re-branding" of conventional ISP Web services.
Like a traditional ISP, a virtual ISP will offer web services like website hosting, e-mail, domain name handling and more. In terms of practical business relationships, a virtual ISP may have a smaller physical footprint or territory than the top-level ISP whose services are being re-branded.
At its core, the operation of a virtual ISP demonstrates how different models can be used to sell Internet services. A virtual ISP, which is also sometimes called an "affinity ISP" or "wholesale ISP," may use its own methods to deliver these services to particular customers, including points of presence (POPs) or other local, specific setups. The issue of re-branding services depends a lot on what steps the virtual ISP takes to modify the service method or protocol, as well as the particular relationship between the two companies. The role of a conventional virtual ISP may also be affected by new cloud-hosting models where a wider variety of IT services are provided over the web.