WordPress Gives Us The VIP Treatment, Goes Down On Us Again

Well, that was fun. If you tried to access TechCrunch any time in the last hour or so, you probably noticed that it wasn’t working at all. Instead, you were greeted by the overly cheery notice “WordPress.com will be back in a minute!” Had we written that message ourselves, there would have been significantly more profanity.

The cause of the downtime is still being determined; we’re waiting for more details from WordPress.com, the hosted blogging platform that is home to over 10 million blogs. We’re hosted under their VIP program, as are other large sites like GigaOm and some of CNN’s blogs. As far as we can tell, all 10+ million blogs hosted by WordPress were affected by the downtime.

Needless to say, we’re pretty upset. WordPress has a fairly reliable track record overall, but it was only a few months ago that WordPress suffered their worst downtime in four years, when all hosted blogs were down for around 110 minutes. At the time, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg wrote on the company’s blog that he hoped “it will be much longer than four years before we face a problem like this again”. It’s been less than four months.

We’re awaiting further details from the WordPress team (we expect they’ll have an update on their official blog shortly).

Update: Mullenweg responded in the comments below with some more details:

As you’ve noticed, we’ve brought the vast majority of blogs back, including yours. We’re currently working on bringing back the rest (including GigaOM), we have to verify their options data first, then the home page, then stats. However if you’re back already like TC is everything should work as normal.

The cause of the outage was a very unfortunate code change that overwrote some key options in the options table for a number of blogs.

Mike and team at TC: you guys have jinxed us, but we still love you. These past two rapid-fire incidents have been cringe-worthy and painful, and I’m sorry they both happened shortly after your switch to VIP.