As a developer, there really is no worse feeling than having your website, server, or app go down. The nightmare doesn’t end at scrambling to get the service back up either. More resources will need to be shuffled to customer service and public relations to keep people on your side, and serious reparations will need to be paid out depending on the severity of the outage and the type of service you provide.
As you can probably guess, there is also very little sympathy from the general public when a website goes down. If you have a strong tolerance for poorly spelled profanity, doing a Twitter search for “______ down” when an app or website stops working will illustrate this perfectly. Users don’t care how hard it is to maintain a site, and can click away from your site never to return again if your application goes offline. The internet should just work, right?
Below are 11 of the most widely publicized website/app/server failures from 2012, presented in no particular order:
1. Amazon AWS Cloud Services
When: April 21 – 24
What: Quora, Reddit, and The NY Times amongst many others
Why: Amazon’s data center in Virginia (one of their five centers around the world) stopped working. It’s particularly noticeable when Amazon’s cloud servers go down because it seems like half the internet runs through them.
2. Amazon AWS Cloud Services (again)
When: June 29 – July 1
What: Pinterest, Instagram, Netflix amongst many others
Why: Power outages due to severe storms around Amazon’s data center in Virginia were the culprit this time.
3. Amazon AWS Cloud Services (yet again)
When: October 22
What: Reddit, Pinterest, Airbnb, Foursquare, Minecraft, and imgur amongst many others
Why: Memory leak and failed monitoring system. A new data collection server’s DNS address failed to propagate.
4. Amazon AWS Cloud Services (yes, yet again)
When: December 24
Why: Perhaps it’s not in Netflix’s best interests to run their service through one of their biggest movie and TV Show streaming competitors (Amazon)…
When: May 31
Why: No official reasoning, but something happened to the servers internally that caused the system to fail. The following day saw facebook’s stock price drop 6%. Ouch.
6. Facebook (again)
When: December 10
Why: This error created much less of a fuss for Facebook as the site only dropped for about 15 minutes. However, with a billion users, Facebook’s engineers have probably stopped saying “It was only down for 15 minutes… maybe nobody noticed.” A DNS change caused the outage.
When: December 10 (not a good day for internet giants)
What: Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Play, Google Chrome Sync
Why: Google’s authentication system failed, causing Gmail to become unavailable for most users.
When: September 10
What: GoDaddy Network
Why: The entire GoDaddy hosting network failed, causing millions of sites and emails to stop working due to a “a series of internal network events that corrupted router data tables”.
When: June 21
Why: An infrastructure bug took down Twitter for four whole hours. Global productivity increased by an estimated 394%.
When: October 26
What: Tumblr Network
Why: An uplink provider failed, causing the entire Tumblr Network to drop for 6 hours.
When: November 21
Why: LinkedIn was down for nearly 3 hours due to a server failure.
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