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Dell Web hosting site back after unknown glitches

The computer maker's Web-hosting service returns to normal after experiencing problems with the main site.

Dell Computer corrected problems Friday that prevented access to its Web-hosting site earlier in the day.

The DellHost home page was replaced for several hours with a message asking the owner of the site to respond to an email address at Interliant.com or to call a toll-free number.

"We are sorry for the inconvenience and will work with you to resolve this matter as quickly as possible," the message stated.

"We cannot confirm that DellHost is down," Dell spokesman Ken Bissel said before the site was restored. "We can view DellHost. We have found out that it is slow today, but it does not appear to be down. We are checking with our partner Interliant to see if there are any issues."

Interliant, with headquarters in Purchase, N.Y., is a provider of managed Web hosting.

It was not immediately known whether the outage affected Dell's hosting customers. Through DellHost, the Austin, Texas-based PC maker offers both dedicated and virtual hosting services.

But the problem did appear to be widespread. Information pages accessed through Dell's main Web site describing the hosting services were unavailable. Those pages are attached to the DellHost domain.

While Interliant works with Dell on the hosting, the PC maker uses its own servers for hosting. Those servers are not located at Dell's main campus but are spread out in different locations around the country, Bissell said

The outage is something of an embarrassment for Dell, which runs the largest e-commerce Web site in the world. The company says it does more than $25 million in business a day over the Web.

"The fact that the DellHost Web site was down even for a short period of time must be somewhat of a disappointment for Dell, since they are still in the process of trying to ramp up their hosting business and gain credibility in this market," said Technology Business Research analyst Brooks Gray.

Dell launched the Web hosting operation on Feb. 22, enhancing services in May and cutting some hosting prices in July.

DellHost, like its competitors, offers two types of hosting: shared and dedicated. Shared hosting puts more than one Web site on a server and costs considerably less than dedicated hosting, which devotes an entire server to one site.

Dell uses its own PowerApp and PowerEdge servers for hosting, with customers choosing from either Linux or Windows 2000 operating systems.

While Linux hosting tends to be cheaper, about half the customers choose Windows 2000.