Shared Web Hosting is one of the cheapest ways to get your website hosted on the Web. Really the only cheaper way to go would be Free Web Hosting. Shared Web Hosting has a couple other names associated with it they are virtual hosting service and derive host. Basically what these all mean is that many website reside on one web server. Besides being so economical this type of hosting is great for the mom and pop websites because there is little maintenance and is very reliable. Because it is a shared host there are normally limits to the number of files, space, and usage you can use. Because of this it is not a good choice for a heavily trafficked website or a website with a high load/file amount. Most of your shared servers are going to be on a WAMP (Windows Apache MySQL PHP) or a LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) server. There are shared servers that handle ASP.net (Microsoft programming language) and SQL Server. Most all shared web hosting accounts come with a control panel. Most of the time these consist of cPanel, DirectAdmin, Plesk, InterWorx, or H-Sphere. There are tons of other control panels, these are just the most used for a shared hosting service. There are different kinds of shared hosting types (IP-based and Name-based)
In IP based shared virtual hosting also called Dedicated IP Hosting, each virtual account has its own IP address. This is good because it distinguishes your website from all the other website on the shared server with an IP. One of the positives with having a IP based shared host is that you can still use a SSL Certificate for your site rather than using a shared certificate.
In Name based shared virtual hosting also called Shared IP Hosting, all the account use one IP address. The reason this is possible is because modern web browsers request a hostname when connecting to a website. Now this isn’t to say that you have a chance of a browser screwing up your site because it is too old. As long as your browser is dated after 1999 you are good and personally I don’t know anyone that uses a browser from before 2003. The major downfall with Name based is that you are not distinguished from all the other websites on the shared server so you can not use a SSL certificate and would have to use a shared certificate.