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What Was the Biggest Internet Outage of 2010?

Written on:December 28, 2010
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If anything, 2010 was the year when our reliance on web services went through the roof. Whether it was social networking on Facebook, calling our friends on Skype or remixing content on Tumblr, we spent an inordinate amount of time on the Internet. And just as our usage went up, so did our expectations of uptime and reliability of these services.

Nevertheless, as the recent Skype outage has shown, Internet-based services have a way of going down. Folks from AlertSite and Pingdom, two web-monitoring services, have put together a list of Internet outages that went down in 2010. I added some of my own to the list. Here is a summary of what I think were the top outages, followed by a small poll for you to pick the biggest web outage of 2010.

Facebook: Outage started on September 22 and ended on September 23, 2010.  Service went down for about a third of the Facebook subscribers on day one, and nearly 66 percent on day two. Cause: Third party network provider. Facebook had a major outage in April 2010 as well.

Twitter: It is the most crash-prone social service out there, thanks partly to its communication underpinnings. Twitter crashed in January 2010 in the wake of Haiti earthquake and then later during the World Cup in June 2010.

Skype: On Dec. 22 and 23, the Internet telephony service went on the blink for millions of users. The cause was described as some errant Windows-based super nodes, but the real cause is still unknown.

Tumblr: The New York-based blogging service was offline for nearly 24 hours and most of its users were offline in early December. Tumblr described it as a database cluster failing during maintenance.

Gmail: Google’s email service had a rough 2010. It was offline for about 2.5 hours and the outage impacted many users in February 2010. It went down again in March 2010 for 36 hours, and in September 2010 routing issues caused the service to go on the blink.

Foursquare: Down for 11 hours on October 5 because of database problems. It crashed again on October 6 for about six hours.

PayPal: In October 2010, PayPal went on the blink for about 4.5 hours, again due to networking problems.

Bonus Mention: WordPress.com: The hosted blogging service went down for 110 minutes in February 2010 due to networking configuration problems. It took down a majority of the blogging world for a few hours.


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