MCI WebSite Services will "host"--or, install and maintain--companies' Web sites on their own servers, thus minimizing the technical burden of setting up a corporate identity on the Web. MCI will provide consulting services for creating around-the-clock technical support and security services to make sure that no one breaks into a site. The company will also take care of registering domain names for its customers.
MCI is the latest in a series of companies to enter the Web-hosting business, an area that is expanding quickly as Internet service providers and Web tools vendors turn their attention to the small-business market. Unlike the larger companies that populate most of the Web, many small businesses lack either the know-how to put a site together or the resources to maintain a server 24 hours a day.
MCI's arch-rival, AT&T, last November announced a web-hosting and transaction service aimed at drawing merchants with 800 numbers online. Earlier this month, start-up company USWeb announced an ambitious plan to create a nationwide network of franchises that offer Web consulting and hosting. CompuServe entered the fray that same week with its WebMaster services.