Major Internet Outages: Pingdom

High-capacity launches, DNS server failures, cloud infrastructure failure and buggy third-parties were some of the reasons servers went offline in the first half of 2008 according to the Royal Pingdom blog ( which published a list of the 14 most noteworthy outages.

Many high-profile launches in the past months fell victim to simple scaling issues, including iPhone activMajor Internet Outages: Pingdom - Docs & Spreadsheetsations or Microsoft's virtualized Photosynth service that was overwhelmed by greater-than-expected demand.

Many IT professionals were reminded of the importance of DNS servers when YouTube fell offline for about two hours because ISP Pakistan Telecom mistakenly claimed their IP address space including YouTube's DNS server IP addresses, proving a single ISP can inadvertently sabotage entire parts of the Internet.

Cloud infrastructure problems affected users of Amazon's S3 service when it experienced problems in February and again in July.

Finally, third-party interference was a major reason web sites and service suffered downtime, proving the age-old adage that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. According to Pingdom, websites stacked with third-party scripts and applications "may be the link that breaks the chain," making note of the SiteMeter script to handle blog statistics that sent many blogs offline in early August.

Pingdom concludes that downtime is inevitable, "however, by learning from the mistakes (or bad luck) of others and being well aware of what can go wrong, it's possible to take a proactive approach and minimize the risk of future downtime, and when it happens, at least keep it short."

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