PayFail: PayPal And Its APIs Go Down, Online Shopping Grinds To A Halt


There’s a mad rush of tips coming into us right now that PayPal’s online purchasing service is down for the count. While the site itself appears to be loading (though very slowly), numerous buyers and venders are reporting that sales are not going through. A quick scan of Twitter tells the same story. And it looks like it has been down for something like an hour and a half now.

[Update below, it looks like after something like 2 hours of downtime, the service is starting to come back.]

Here’s what PayPal is officially saying on its developer site:

Service: Live Site

During the time listed below you may have or currently are experiencing the following:
Buyers may experience error “Sorry – your last action could not be completed” on trying to login to
Payments via API are intermittently unavailable.

Affected Product(s):
– Website
– PayPal APIs

Start Time: Aug 03, 10:15 AM PDT (Aug 03, 6:15 PM BST)

End Time: On-Going

Our technical teams are working diligently to resolve the issue. We will provide updates until the issue is resolved.

We apologize for any impact caused by this incident.

PayPal Merchant Technical Services

So there you go, both the main site and the all-important PayPal APIs are not working. Not good.

It will be interesting to see how PayPal follows this up. A lot of merchants undoubtedly lost a lot — and I mean a lot — of money today. When Rackspace had its recent failures, it noted that it would likely have to reimburse customers to the tune of millions of dollars. eBay, which owns PayPal, could be looking at a similar situation.

Update: As of noon PT, things are starting to come back online. Here’s the update from PayPal:

Update: This notification is to inform you that we have started recovering. Some intermittent issues remain which we are currently addressing.