As you may have noticed, TechCrunch was down for an extended period of time this afternoon. In case you haven’t read about why yet, it’s because WordPress.com suffered through some 110 minutes of downtime, as WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg has explained just now on the company’s blog.
TechCrunch is one of the millions of blogs hosted on WordPress.com (not to be confused with sites that run the WordPress software but are hosted elsewhere). All told, some 10.2 million blogs went down — wiping out some 5.5 million pageviews, WordPress estimates. This was their worst outage in 4 years.
So what happened?
Mullenweg says WordPress is still gathering details but their initial diagnosis is that “an unscheduled change to a core router by one of our datacenter providers messed up our network in a way we haven’t experienced before, and broke the site.” He notes that this also tripped up all the mechanisms to prevent a total failure, so that occurred. Luckily, no data was lost in the outage, it just simply could not be sent out.
Mullenweg ends with, “I hope it will be much longer than four years before we face a problem like this again.” So say we all.
WordPress.com offers a popular and free blogging platform which competes with Google’s Blogger and Six Apart’s TypePad. WordPress.com is a version of the open-source WordPress package hosted and maintained by Automattic. TechCrunch, Giga Omni Media and other prominent technology blog networks use WordPress.com’s VIP program.