The hosting service must include system administration since it is shared by many users; this is a benefit for users who do not want to deal with it, but a hindrance to power users who want more control.
Shared hosting typically uses a web-based control panel system, such as cPanel, DirectAdmin, Plesk, Helm, H-sphere, Ensim, Sphera or one of many other control panel products. Control panels and web interfaces have been causing some controversy lately as Web.com claims that it holds patent rights to the hosting technology with its 19 patents. Hostopia, a large wholesale host, recently purchased a license to use that technology from web.com for 10% of retail revenues. Web.com recently sued Godaddy as well for similar patent infringement.
In shared hosting, the provider is generally responsible for management of servers, installation of server software, security updates and other aspects of the service. The majority of servers are based on the Linux operating system, but some providers offer Microsoft Windows-based or FreeBSD-based solutions. For example, the Plesk and Ensim control panels are both available for two operating systems, Linux and Windows. Versions for either OS have very similar interfaces and functionality, with the exception of OS-specific differences (for example, ASP.NET or Microsoft SQL Server support under Windows).
There are thousands of shared hosting providers in the United States alone. They range from mom-and-pop shops and small design firms to multi-million-dollar providers with hundreds of thousands of customers. A large portion of the shared web hosting market is driven through Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) or Affiliate programs.
Shared web hosting can also be done privately by sharing the cost of running a server in a colocation centre; this is called cooperative hosting.