Thousands lose service after fire at ThePlanet data center

A small explosion at a Houston data center Saturday evening left several thousand Internet users without service over the weekend.
About 7,500 customers were impacted by the fire at ThePlanet's facility.

By Sunday, a few thousand customers remained without service. The company was told not use its backup generators because of fire safety issues, officials said.

An "electrical gear shorted, creating an explosion and fire that knocked down three walls surrounding our electrical equipment room," CEO Doug Erwin said in a prepared statement on the company's Web site. "Rest assured we are working around the clock."

The company hosts more than 50,000 servers and 22,000 customers in its six data centers in Dallas and Houston. Most of servers for small and medium sized companies


May 31 10:46pm

On Saturday, May 31st at 4:55pm CDT in our H1 data center, electrical gear shorted, creating an explosion and fire that knocked down three walls surrounding our electrical equipment room. Thankfully, no one was injured. In addition, no customer servers were damaged or lost.

We have just been allowed into the building to physically inspect the damage. Early indications are that the short was in a high-volume wire conduit. We were not allowed to activate our backup generator plan based on instructions from the fire department.

As a result ServerCommand is currently not available and we are working to bring it back online as quickly as possible. In the meantime, please call support 866.325.0045 for any issues. Additional support technicians are on staff to help. Status updates will be made available via the phone system as well on our forums at

We are sorry for the incident and sincerely apologize for the impact.


The Planet Customer Support Team


June 1 11:00pm

As previously committed, I would like to provide an update on where we stand following yesterday's explosion in our H1 data center. First, I would like to extend my sincere thanks for your patience during the past 28 hours. We are acutely aware that uptime is critical to your business, and you have my personal commitment that The Planet team will continue to work around the clock to restore your service.

As you have read, we have begun receiving some of the equipment required to start repairs. While no customer servers have been damaged or lost, we have new information that damage to our H1 data center is worse than initially expected. Three walls of the electrical equipment room on the first floor blew several feet from their original position, and the underground cabling that powers the first floor of H1 was destroyed.

There is some good news, however. We have found a way to get power to Phase 2 (upstairs, second floor) of the data center and to restore network connectivity. We will be powering up the air conditioning system and other necessary equipment within the next few hours. Once these systems are tested, we will begin bringing the 6,000 servers online. It will take four to five hours to get them all running.

We have brought in additional support from Dallas to have more hands and eyes on site to help with any servers that may experience problems. The call center has also brought in double staff to handle the increase in tickets we're expecting. Hopefully by sunrise tomorrow Phase 2 will be well on its way to full production.

Let me next address Phase 1 (first floor) of the data center and the affected 3,000 servers. The news is not as good, and we were not as lucky. The damage there was far more extensive, and we have a bigger challenge that will require a two-step process. For the first step, we have designed a temporary method that we believe will bring power back to those servers sometime tomorrow evening, but the solution will be temporary. We will use a generator to supply power through next weekend when the necessary gear will be delivered to permanently restore normal utility power and our battery backup system. During the upcoming week, we will be working with those customers to resolve issues.

We know this may not be a satisfactory solution for you and your business but at this time, it is the best we can do.

We understand that you will be due service credits based on our Service Level Agreement. We will proactively begin providing those following the restoration of service, which is our number priority, so please bear with us until this has been completed.

I recognize that this is not all good news. I can only assure you we will continue to utilize every means possible to fully restore service.

I plan to have an audio update tomorrow evening.

Until then,

Douglas J. Erwin
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
The Planet


June 2 1:07pm CDT

We are still working to bring all of our resolvers back online, however we have temporary alternative resolvers courtesy of NTT, one of our partners. Changing these resolvers will help customers with problems such as sending e-mails and resolving domains.