back to article Gmail in massive web outage

Gmail was widely unavailable today to users on both the west and the east coast of the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, and elsewhere. The outage affected "a majority" of Gmail users, and even Google was unable to access its own web-based email service. But the service was still able to route mail via …


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  1. Paul Parkin
    Thumb Down

    Will it, won't it?

    Seems to be a case of luck whether it works; about 5 minutes I could get on - albeit very slowly - whereas now it's just "loading" according to FF.

  2. ssmmdd
    Thumb Down

    Not again!

    They've done this what ... is it 3 or 4 times ... in the last, what, 3 month? 6?

    This is starting to get tiresome. I know Google has a hell of a lot of users so therefore needs a pretty awesome sized Server Farm, but they're also rich ...

  3. Sly
    Black Helicopters

    yup 502 Server Error

    please try again later.

    The helicopters will circle again later.

  4. J 3
    Thumb Down


    I just tried (5 pm EDT) for a few times and couldn't access. Now I see in El Reg that the problem is not here (my Uni has had network problem for the past couple of days, but ironically it seems to have gone back to normal right now).

    And they want us to rely on "the cloud" to keep all our data AND software, eh? Beautiful, I can only imagine.

  5. Tim Beeber

    Blackberry App, too...

    The GMail app on my BlackBerry also appears to be effected.

  6. Bryce Prewitt

    Dear Google,

    Please fix GMail and Google Maps. They have both become ridiculously slow and are prone to frequent downtime. I am sure this is because of GFS, in which case I'd say you're making the same fundamental mistake as Apple in the late 90s and Microsoft with Vista: pissing off customers because your software is unreliable and you're acting far too slow to fix it.

    Chop chop.


    Your "Customers" - in quotes because it's not like we pay for anything, is it?

  7. Colin 21

    Slow Recently

    Seemed to be really slow on the web mail interface yesterday and this morning. Not noticed any outage though and can currently get in just fine.

  8. The Bug
    Gates Horns

    Down in NZ too

    I can't get on Gmail here in New Zealand either.

    Personally I blame Microsoft ...

  9. The Vociferous Time Waster


    I'll second the problem with the blackberry app. IMAP is fine for me though.

  10. The Dorset Rambler

    Error message == Massive Fail

    Stored messages are Ok to access, but tickertape message suggests that it is MY internet connection that needs looking at.

  11. ssmmdd

    Hang on, it's working again now?

    I've heard of a quick fix, but crikey...

  12. Andrew Herron

    GMAIL Outage

    As of 10:15pm Tues GMAIL seems to be back and working normally...

  13. Randy

    Also down in Canada

    Well in Winnipeg anyway.

  14. paulm

    Back up?

    Seems to have come back up in the last few minutes... but for how long?

  15. The Dorset Rambler

    Back now...

    Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

  16. Anonymous Coward

    someones living in Cloud...

    Cookoo land if they think anyone is gonna take it seriously when you get outages like this which can effectively bring any major corporation to its knees.

    cloud computing, yeah, id rather rely on a pen and paper... which is exactly what googgly ppl are doing at the moment.

    no doubt the is racing ahead to dump the entire uk cyber intrastructure into cloud computing, which will all go up in a cloud of smoke, as soon as its location is disclosed and the scrap metal recovery services of the lower classes have been round and relieved HMG of the goodies and all the data for selling onto cyber-crims and the scrap metal for shredding for metal recovery.

    chuck another can of petrol on... burn, burn, burn m..f.. yooo no roof on this one to burn...

    quick chuck another politician on, the grills free for the next one....

  17. Brett Brennan 1

    No problem here @ 21:25

    Dallas, TX, USA - no access problems here. Using SPRINT EVDO network, so have a short-hop to backbone routing. Maybe this is the problem...something upstream from Google on one of the other backbones...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It isn't free

    "Your "Customers" - in quotes because it's not like we pay for anything, is it?"

    Well you do, really- you pay extra for the marketing costs of products that use Google ads.

  19. WelshTom

    Google Apps

    Google Apps was down too, they'll have a bit of explaining to do as to why they didn't meet their 99.9% Uptime SLA.

  20. Andus McCoatover

    Nope, not in Finland

    Spam directory as full as usual. (10 since I cleared it this morning. I really don't need some 'medz' - whatever they are, and my girlfriend is perfectly happy with the size, etc. of my penis. As long as it's nowhere near her.)

    But, no job offers. Surprise there, I guess NOT.

  21. werrington


    It's back up and running over here, hopefully they fixed it.

  22. Phil Underwood

    Back up now

    Seems to be working again now.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Google its up its Down its up again

    Well they have 9 hours a year to go Tits up according to their SLA - Maybe they are just honking our knob to show how much we need them. Not a good Add for the GApps brigade

  24. marc 9

    But the 'cloud' is the future!!!

    Google struggling to cope me thinks.

  25. ElNumbre

    It was down?

    I never even noticed. Mind you, I was spending the evening at the pictures with a chicken dinner afterwards. And my non O2 non-iPhone was still able to receive emails via imap from gmail.

    Meh, you pays your money, you takes your choice.

  26. John Freeman

    At Most....

    ....its been down around 5 hours, you can't think of (italics) anything (end italics) else to occupy yourself for 5 hours besides the refresh button? Google is spending real money on people fixing your free email solution so everyone should cut them some slack. How about that extensive porn collection, or maybe a game or two, or you could get back to work....;-)

  27. Anonymous Coward

    ah...future joys

    ah! so this is what the Cloud can offer us eh?

    ..and i hear that many corporations , Universities and SMBs are dumping their local email

    systems and skills to use Googles email system - they must be seriously deluded!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone's living in cloud cookoo land if

    "Someone's living in cloud Cookoo land if they think anyone is gonna take it seriously when you get outages like this which can effectively bring any major corporation to its knees."

    I take it from your comment that either you work in an IT department or similar, or you've never been a customer of an IT department.

    Anyone in the real world knows that real IT departments have real outages too, especially on non business critical stuff like desktop services.

    So what if Google have the occasional outage; given that they're providing the same quality and quantity of service as the IT department for 20% of what the IT department costs, why wouldn't the MD stick with the plan to get rid of the outsourced IT folks and go direct to Google.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    I must have missed it!

    Well I for one didn't notice any outage on my Gmail and I've been using it pretty much all day, guess I either got very lucky and it didn't affect me or it was so brief I didn't notice, if it's the latter then it can't have been down for more than 30 minutes or so.

    Also I'm with Anonymous Coward, outages happen to everyone at some point, I've been using Gmail for a few years now and to be honest I've been nothing but impressed, complaining over such a small outage is just ridiculous.

  30. Solomon Grundy

    BlackBerry App Still Screwy

    The web based interface seems to be back up and running here but my BlackBerry App is either not receiving the emails or they come in 30-45 mins after they've posted on the online interface - it's usually the other way around with my BlackBerry getting the emails before they appear online.

    Gmail was really slow here (Eastern TN, USA) yesterday - a precursor to today's problems?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Appears to be working

    Was just able to log in, so hopefully they have it fixed.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 22:05

    Yes, you are right. Internal email systems go down as well. However, in most cases this is resolved quickly, and there are real people to put pressure on to get it sorted. We have a resilient email system, so we haven't had a general email outage for a number of years. If we lose a server we redirect people seamlessly to another, and they often don't know it has happened.

    As for costing 20%, you obviously haven't done the numbers. I have and do so regualarly. My Board often want to know how much our services cost compared to outsourcing them. Corporate email hosting costs around 85 - 90% of internal hosting for the base service, and usually things like backup and restore are added costs. It's usually about freeing up headcount to do other, more valuable stuff, than about cost savings.

    I would be loathe to recommend using 'cloud' services for core systems at this time - they are still too centralised to provide the benefits you might expect of clouds, and you have to put too much on trust.

    I must also agree with AC 21:26 as they are spot on about the great unwashed. As with exhanges in London etc., and already some data centres, people nick stuff that makes these services work. Until the cloud has the diversity and resilience that the term 'cloud' implies, unofficial scrap metal recyclers (aka thieves) and their ilk have the capacity to take these things out, big time.

  33. Steve Evans

    "Cloud" cuckoo land

    As has been recently demonstrated by hordes of lost iPhone owners, who suddenly found their O2 provided data connection was no longer feeding them their google maps, anyone who puts their complete trust in systems which they have no control over, and no contact point to shout at, really does deserve what they get.

    Always have a backup, take a paper map, and only use gmail as a front end to a real mail server which you can still pop/smtp with :-)

  34. H 4

    When I can't access my e-mail

    I just have a good rub at that patch on my scalp, and as soon as it begins to go red raw again I feel a bit better. Little black cats. Little black cats everywhere. Wrubble.

  35. Il Midga di Macaroni

    So you've never had a hard disk go down?

    To those saying "This is what it means to go cloud-based" - have you ever had a hard disk on your email server go down? Does it take slightly longer to come up again than an hour and a half?

    And do you have people on call 24x7x365 to deal with this sort of thing? Only very large corporations do. I'm the IT manager for a small business, and I only have one hardware geek. If we had 90 minutes of downtime in two years (the length of time I've been using gmail for my personal stuff) I'd be a happy man - and probably heading to the director's office asking for a pay rise.

  36. Robin 2

    @So you've never had a hard disk go down?

    Small business, just like large cooporations are relative. I'm also the IT Manager at a small business. Difference is I am also the hardware geek. And the web developer. And the IT Support... We outsource this sort of thing (not to Google) because we can't manage it in-house. Maybe you should do the same if you are getting more than a few hours downtime a year.

  37. jake Silver badge


    "Anyone in the real world knows that real IT departments have real outages too, especially on non business critical stuff like desktop services."

    Nah. Hardware & connectivity are so cheap that building in geographically diverse, hardware diverse, OS and software diverse redundancy is pretty much a standard for Fortune 500 corporations.

    As a "sample of one" testimonial, my own personal email system has been available to my friends and family, non-stop, for about a quarter century. It ain't exactly rocket science. (Rocket science isn't exactly all that difficult, either, but that's another rant ... ).

    During the meanwhile ... So-called "cloud computing" is a good idea why, exactly?

    ::wanders off, shaking head sadly::

  38. Chris Miller

    To and fro

    For many home users and SMEs a couple of hours downtime every few months may be no big deal - but for some it may be a very big deal indeed (though they probably shouldn't be using a free service). For larger organisations, there's a significant cost to downtime and this level of performance would lead to demands for someone's head on a plate.

    The business opportunity for 'cloud' operators is that there are plenty of large organisations where downtime is accepted as a regular occurrence, simply because they don't know any better (or have outsourced to a bunch that don't know any better). A case in point - yesterday everyone in the government authority where my wife works got an email (oh, the irony!) telling them the mail server was full (again) and could they delete any old messages. The temptation to respond: "here's £10, buy yourself another few hundred GB of storage", must be overwhelming.

  39. Dale Richards

    @Bryce Prewitt

    No, you are not the customers. The advertisers are the customers.

    You are actually the product.

  40. Philip Kroker


    It my be back up but ALL of my contacts have been wiped out!!! If this is a taste of the reliability of cloud computing they can keep it.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Philip Kroker

    I only use Google mail as a free backup service solely for my personal use. I don't access it very often as I have other free email service accounts. Actually I just go to Google to clean out the spam. As a result of the article, I just checked again, within a 30 day period, and my contacts are all OK,

    Had about 22 spam messages built up which is unusually low for this period of time. Maybe the spammers lost their contact lists too or the outage affected them otherwise. I don't recommend the use of Google's email service as a business essential item, but my primary personal account does have outages once or twice a year. Very annoying.

    At work the email system will go down for maintenance periodically, but as I work the night shift at a large sports venue this doesn't affect me. I've only seen the system go down accidentally once due to an air handler failure to the server room; a simple plumbing problem, believe it or not. (They also added an alternate air conditioner to the room.)

    I would say that having a robust and well protected system with in-house staff is the better choice for larger businesses. Hopefully leaving most of the day-to-day stuff for the IT staff such as fixing networking problems, fixing viral problems with the clueless marketing guys/gals, and so forth. YMMV with the size and complexity of your needs businesswise.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    In-house staff or in-house BoFH?

    "I would say that having a robust and well protected system with in-house staff is the better choice for larger businesses."

    In theory yes.

    In practice in over a decade doing and observing this kind of thing, I've seen very few places where I'd trust the IT staff with my kids pocket money never mind bet the corporate business on them. Sadly the folks who are willing to sign business-critical IT service delivery contracts with the likes of [removed to protect the guilty] are typically the folks who have least clue about the value of a quality service.

    Obviously other people's experience may vary, especially if they work in a corporate IT department or outsourcer.

  43. Mark Wills

    Can I just say...

    ...that in the 10 years or so I've been using Yahoo mail, I can't ever remember it being down :-)

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