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Twitter growing pains cause lots of downtime in 2007

Twitter logoIn most ways, 2007 has been a great year for Twitter. The service has grown tremendously and has become one of the big social network successes.

The flip side of this popularity is that they have often been unable to handle all the traffic their large user base has been bringing in, which has affected the stability of their website. In other words: Twitter has been suffering from growing pains.

We have monitored the availability of the Twitter.com website since mid February 2007 until today (and counting). So far, the accumulated downtime of the website totals 5 days and 23 hours. This includes maintenance, but is still a very high number. So far in December, the website has been unavailable for a total of almost 11 hours (part of which was due to problems related to a data center move).

The worst month for Twitter by far was March, when the Twitter.com website totaled over 2 days and 10 hours of downtime. This is also the month when Twitter’s popularity really took off, winning the SXSW Interactive Festival, so it looks like the rapid growth that month took its toll.

Twitter.com downtime in 2007
Month Uptime (%) Downtime (d, h, m)
December 2007 97.51% 10 hours, 59 mins
November 2007 98.74% 9 hours, 4 mins
October 2007 99.02% 7 hours, 19 mins
September 2007 99.06% 6 hours, 44 mins
August 2007 98.47% 11 hours, 22 mins
July 2007 99.59% 3 hours, 2 mins
June 2007 99.08% 6 hours, 37 mins
May 2007 97.67% 17 hours, 9 mins
April 2007 99.11% 6 hours, 15 mins
March 2007 92.09% 2 day, 10 hours, 3 mins
February 2007 98.21% 6 hours, 22 mins
TOTAL 98.06% 5 days, 23 hours, 0 mins

Above: Note that the February data is not complete, and that the December data of course isn’t complete as of this writing. This data can be found, always up to date, on the public uptime report page for Twitter.com. (A day-by-day breakdown can be had by clicking on the link for a month.)

Another indication that the Twitter.com website has been suffering from more traffic than it can handle is that a lot of days the website has been unavailable for numerous short periods of time, often ranging from 1 to 10 minutes, spread over large parts of the day, which indicates that the website has been struggling to keep up with demand and deliver pages during much of that time.

This last weekend Twitter moved their service to a new data center, which will hopefully alleviate the problems they have been experiencing.

Will the Twitter website be more reliable from now on? As we mentioned, you can keep track of this on a public report page from Pingdom that shows the uptime of the Twitter.com website and is updated continuously.

Note: Twitter’s recent downtime and data center move has received a lot of buzz and speculation, for example in Mashable, Ensight and Data Center Knowledge.