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The Web Hosting Industry

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I've always wondered a few things about how the web hosting industry actually functions on a technical level. Hopefully someone here has some first-hand experience with this.

First, I know IIS and Apache can host multiple websites on the same base server - but is this the route hosting companies really take? It seems the most efficient (resource/cost wise) but to me it seem incredibly insecure if this were the case. I can't imagine that each website gets it's own "micro-vm" (for lack of a better word) coming from a cost stand point. How exactly are the sites actually hosted on the servers?

Second, I know not all web hosts are registrars as well - so how do they go about registering the correct domain to the correct IP at the time of purchase of the domain? Do they purchase the IPs in blocks at a time from an ISP, or is it more of a dynamic "buy-as-needed" scheme?

Finally, and this may seem idiotic, but how do most perform their routing at their data center? Direct-to-server, or is it NAT'd in some fashion at all?
    
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post #2 of 6
With shared hosting, like blue host for example, you would get a login into a linux server as your account. The company has preset rules for usage on CPU and ram for each user so you can't use more than another. Not a vm, just quota's for the users on how much resources they can use.

Yes, each webhosting company will buy IP blocks. A lot of newer servers will have 2, and sometimes 4 gigabit ethernet connections, and each one can have multiple IP addresses with virtual devices. I work for a college and our webserver has 10 ip addresses assigned to it for the different subdomains, and it's only running 2 ethernet connections. Most won't do that for subdomains, they will just use host name tagging on the incoming connection and go from there. But it shows that a single shared hosting server could have numerous IP addresses receiving requests for websites.

Also routing, there is no nat or home network type setup. The routers installed will act as gateways. The computers don't hide behind them, but use that router to get out, to "route" them to the next router, that will keep routing you until you get to the destination. These computers already have addresses that are public like the wan port of your home router.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by herkalurk View Post
With shared hosting, like blue host for example, you would get a login into a linux server as your account. The company has preset rules for usage on CPU and ram for each user so you can't use more than another. Not a vm, just quota's for the users on how much resources they can use.
Ah, so it's just an extremely limited (or more accurately, narrowly defined permissions) user account on the main server. Wouldn't have thought about that.

Quote:
Yes, each webhosting company will buy IP blocks. A lot of newer servers will have 2, and sometimes 4 gigabit ethernet connections, and each one can have multiple IP addresses with virtual devices. I work for a college and our webserver has 10 ip addresses assigned to it for the different subdomains, and it's only running 2 ethernet connections. Most won't do that for subdomains, they will just use host name tagging on the incoming connection and go from there. But it shows that a single shared hosting server could have numerous IP addresses receiving requests for websites.


Also routing, there is no nat or home network type setup. The routers installed will act as gateways. The computers don't hide behind them, but use that router to get out, to "route" them to the next router, that will keep routing you until you get to the destination. These computers already have addresses that are public like the wan port of your home router.
So effectively the virtual NIC given to web server is just bound to the WAN side and there isn't an actual LAN that the websites are touching, only the host OS/NIC has a LAN connection, for example for management?
    
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post #4 of 6
Not necissarily....., most of these boxes have lots of scripts to do the work. It's all automated. Why would you put an interface internally? That would reduce the total # of interfaces they could use to push out more websites. Those are public IP addresses, so they can manage the server anywhere in the building.

My college owns a /16 subnet, so every computer on campus has a public ip. Some shouldn't, but I don't make those decisions. Anyway, all computers on campus, minus a few secure ones, are reachable by all computers. Easy to manage a Windows Active Directory domain when all computers can talk. Same with corporations like target. Target only has 1 IT office. You call that office in like Tuscon and they can remote into your computer and work on it, and you could be in Alaska. By having all computers be on a huge public subnet, management of a large spread out network is easier.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Oh, so there is no concept of a LAN whatsoever between even the host servers? Wouldn't have guessed that.

So essentially it goes something like this:

Pool of public IPs -> Datacenter T1/T3/etc line -> Datacenter head router -> WAN IPs direct to server the website resides on.

And individual sites sit comfortably next to each other in IIS/Apache on the same host, I take it separated by both OS permissions and platform (in the sense of cPanel or H-Sphere) access restrictions? I wasn't aware that the NICs would handle multiple WAN IPs without some sort of virtualization.
    
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post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboTurtle View Post
Oh, so there is no concept of a LAN whatsoever between even the host servers? Wouldn't have guessed that.

So essentially it goes something like this:

Pool of public IPs -> Datacenter T1/T3/etc line -> Datacenter head router -> WAN IPs direct to server the website resides on.

And individual sites sit comfortably next to each other in IIS/Apache on the same host, I take it separated by both OS permissions and platform (in the sense of cPanel or H-Sphere) access restrictions? I wasn't aware that the NICs would handle multiple WAN IPs without some sort of virtualization.
Remember to a nic, an ip is an ip is an ip. It doesn't care if it's 192.168.1.203 or 140.242.38.3, it just has to be properly configured. As for the multiple IP addresses on one port, it is a form of virtualization. For the most part, you could have 100 websites all resolving to the same IP and then the server determines which folder each request is going to. In IIS I just tell it, if you receive a request for "blank.com" then it's this site, and your webroot is this directory and if you receive a request for "home.blank.com" then you go to this directory for webroot. You can do the same for apache in linux. It's how those shared hosting sites stay so cheap, they can cram bunches of puny sites together on one server. Think of all the wordpress accounts. They are very low key php scripts that call a mysql database. The biggest space user on them are the pictures and media. If they have a proper storage solution then they will never run out of space.
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