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Is Twitter about to retire the whale?

Twitter fail whaleTwitter seems to be making good on their promise to improve the stability of their microblogging service, at least when it comes to the website itself (which is what we monitor here at Pingdom). Lately, their website has shown a significant improvement in both availability and response time. Is the infamous Twitter “fail whale” facing an early retirement?

Here is the downtime for www.twitter.com for the last three months:

  • June: 11h 36m
  • July: 4h 12m
  • August: 1h 3m

August is showing a significant improvement over previous months. The August downtime of just over one hour is the best Twitter has done since our monitoring of them started back in February 2007.

The improvement is also reflected in the load time of their website. Here is the response time curve for the last three months (HTML load time) for www.twitter.com:

Twitter website HTML load time

As you can see in the graph above, August has been a solid month for Twitter with very even performance (at least when it comes to accessing their website, i.e. the Twitter login page).

We would like to congratulate the Twitter team on their progress. It looks like their hard work is paying off!

(It should be mentioned that we are a bit biased… Twitter is a Pingdom customer. That said, the monitoring results shown here come from monitoring that has been set up separately by us here at Pingdom.)



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9 comments
Eric Marden
Eric Marden

@Evan, what about the missing track and IM features? What effect has that had on making it easier to scale?

Pingdom
Pingdom

@Evan: Thanks for taking the time to comment! (For those who don't know, he's one of the founders of Twitter.)

Evan Williams
Evan Williams

Thanks for noticing! We still have a lot to do, but feels like we're making progress. To those that are wondering: No, it is not because of lower volume. In August, Twitter saw significantly higher traffic than ever before. @karthick Not sure what that is; will look into it.

Ed Shaz
Ed Shaz

Scott, The peak Summer vacation season for the US, is June through August. Essentially, a day after most children get out of school for Summer break until school resumes (much of the nation today 9/2). I believe Twitter will continue to trend upward. Doomsayers are not looking at the big picture. The whale can pull a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and will fly. Thanks for your post, Ed

Pingdom
Pingdom

Thanks for the feedback so far! :) @Andrew: Pingdom is a Swedish company, and here in Sweden the main summer holiday period covers late June, July and early August. Twitter isn't huge in Sweden, though, so US vacation should be a much bigger factor (especially considering the difference in population size...) Out of curiosity, when is the main summer holiday period in the US? Is that August? You have a point in that this could be a factor, but the change was sudden enough to lead us to believe that something was done "behind the scenes" at Twitter, i.e. they made something to speed up their website. @Luke: You may have a point, but the traffic trend to Twitter.com seems to contradict this. It shows a clear, upward trend: http://trends.google.com/websites?q=twitter.com&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

Pingdom
Pingdom

Thanks for the feedback so far! :) @Andrew: Pingdom is a Swedish company, and here in Sweden the main summer holiday period covers late June, July and early August. Twitter isn't huge in Sweden, though, so US vacation should be a much bigger factor (especially considering the difference in population size...) Out of curiosity, when is the main summer holiday period in the US? Is that August? You have a point in that this could be a factor, but the change was sudden enough to lead us to believe that something was done "behind the scenes" at Twitter, i.e. they made something to speed up their website. @Luke: You may have a point, but the traffic trend to Twitter.com seems to contradict this. It shows a clear, upward trend: http://trends.google.com/websites?q=twitter.com&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

Andrew Finkle
Andrew Finkle

This graph also coincides with the summer, historically this is the slowest time of the year for Internet usage. Though I hope that this accurately shows an improvement in infrastructure, the verdict is still out in my opinion. I think there are more important improvements that Twitter can make at this time anyway (as I outlined on my blog).

Luke Gedeon
Luke Gedeon

Is the lower downtime because of lower volume though? Many of the high-volume users have left or scaled back usage, or they have been throttled. Also without twitter going to IM, I have about forgotten about it. I wonder if the lower downtime is because they are just not cool anymore.

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  1. [...] 2008 Twitter had more than a few crashes, those issues have been resolved, as this chart from the Royal Pingdom Blog [...]