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A virtual server is a server that shares hardware and software resources with other operating systems (OS), versus dedicated servers. Because they are cost-effective and provide faster resource control, virtual servers are popular in Web hosting environments.
Ideally, a virtual server mimics dedicated server functionalities. Rather than implement multiple dedicated servers, several virtual servers may be implemented on one server.
Each virtual server is designated a separate OS, software and independent reboot provisioning. In a virtual server environment for Web hosting, website administrators or Internet service providers (ISP) may have different domain names, IP addresses, email administration, file directories, logs and analytics. Additionally, security systems and passwords are maintained as if they were in a dedicated server environment. To reduce Web hosting costs, server software installation provisioning is often available.
An overflow of virtual servers in a physical machine may lead to resource hogging, and if a virtual server uses more resources than another, performance issues usually result.