ARIN Web Hosting Policy

Stacey D. Son sson at
Tue Aug 29 17:15:29 EDT 2000

ARIN said:
>Some individuals have expressed their disagreement with this new policy.
>Should the ARIN web hosting policy be changed?
>ARIN would like your feedback on this issue.  Please post your comments
>and suggestions to the public policy mailing list (ppml at Your
>feedback will be included in the discussions at the upcoming public
>policy meeting.

announced that "[they] will not accept IP-based webhosting as
justification for an allocation".  There are many practical issues
that ARIN may have overlooked in drafting this policy.  Name-based
hosting has a number of implementation issues including:

(1) Lack of support in SSL/TLS.  Because the SSL/TLS session is
created before HTTP is allowed to pass in current implementation any
data it requires an unique IP address for dedicated certificates.  If
a shared certificate is used browers will report a possible security
violation back to the user on the client side which makes it difficult
to complete an on-line ecomerce transaction in most cases.  While the
IETF draft "Upgrading to TLS Within HTTP/1.1" (see
proposes a solution to this problem this idea is still far from being
implemented.  Once it is implemented it may take years before a
significant percent of the users upgrade their browsers.  (The
adoption of HTTP/1.1 support in browsers took years to reach 90%, for

(2) Denial of Service (DoS) attacks on web servers have a much larger
scope.  Given the current state of IP it is possible for someone (even
anonymously) to generate a DoS attack on a web server.  Within the
last few years distributed DoS (DDoS) attacks have appeared and their
effects have been made public (see  These attacks
generated enough traffic to the point were large Internet sites' web
servers could not response to respond to valid requests.  There are
lots of proposals to the DDoS problem but, in short, nothing really
has been deployed or proven to work.  

In a shared web hosting environment a DoS attack can take down more
than the target web site since multiple web sites are hosted on the
same web server.  This may take down hundreds or thousands of web
sites in addition to the target web site.

With IP-based web hosting the target web site that is under attack by
a DoS can quickly be identified and dealt with.  One common method of
reducing the effects of the DoS attack is to add a host route to null
at the broader routers.  This way the router drops the traffic
generated by DoS attack to the targeted site and the other web sites
hosted on the same server will operate as normal while network
engineers attempt to trace the source of the attack.  Since name-based
all the web sites share the same IP address a DoS attack the null
routing method will take down all the hosted sites and not just the
target site.  In addition, it is much more difficult to identify the
target of the attack since it can be any of the sites sharing the same
IP address.

This same problem can be applied generally to things like filter
services.  If one IP address gets blocked for some reason or another
all the name-based web sites are blocked.

(3) Current bandwidth shaping methods will not work.  Most, if not
all, web hosting companies use a kernel-based or switch-based
bandwidth shaping.  In order for this to work each web site must have
its own IP address.

(4) Performance issues in web server software.  Popular web servers
such as apache implement hashing on IP-based virtual hosts but not on
name based hosts.  Name based hosts are looked up by a linear search.
This could have a significant impact on various web hosting business
models since hosting density may need to be changed.

(5) Lack of support in other protocols.  HTTP is only one aspect of
web hosting.  Most, if not all, web hosting companies also offer POP3,
SMTP, FTP, etc.  None of these protocols have support for name-based
virtual hosting and rely on the fact an unique IP address is used.
While it would be possible to require the domain name in the
authenication stage of the protocol many hosting companies have
developed large amounts of software that is IP based.

Verio Web Hosting feels that ARIN should rethink this policy and
discussed it with representives of the web hosting community rather
than just those who may not understand all the issues involved.  (BTW,
I did not see a companion policy from ARIN requiring the deployment of
NAT devices. ;)  I look forward to discussing this in person in October.



Stacey D. Son
VP, Hosting Technology
Verio Web Hosting
"The World Leader in Web Hosting"

More information about the ARIN-PPML mailing list