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yyh

What is the advantage that two hosts map to the same IP address?

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There is a limited amount of IP adresses, and (nearly) unlimited supply of hostnames. A company leases IP address ranges, and they are not cheap.

The most common use of this is virtual hosts on web servers, where you can point several domain to a single computer/IP and let the HTTP server select the correct "virtual host" for that request. It would be pretty expensive for a hosting company to need an individual IP address for every of the 20.000 web sites they host. This does not work with SSL (https) though, as the host information is encrypted.

The other reason is scalability. Even if you have mail.domain.tld, www.domain.tld, intranet.domain.tld, ftp.domain.tld all running on the same computer now, you can move any of these to another computer (with another IP) without the user of the service have to change anything. Just a simple DNS editing is needed.

EDIT: Another way of looking at it, is to compare with phone numbers. One phone number is, of course, cheaper than more. So, instead of having a single host on each number, they have several at each. When the phone rings, a secretary asks who the client wants to talk to, and hand it over. This also makes it more flexible. And, as this is transparent to the end user, it doesn't look bad nor is annoying, as it would in the real world.




[edited by - CWizard on January 22, 2003 9:31:12 PM]

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