Thanks For The 15-Minute Break, WordPress

As you might have noticed, TechCrunch went down entirely (thanks to WordPress VIP), sporting a fun “502” error. If you’re not sure what that means, here’s the skinny on why you might see a 502 error:

The server, while acting as a gateway or proxy, received an invalid response from the upstream server it accessed in the attempt to fulfill the request.

If you know exactly what that means, then kudos to you. This is the second issue that WordPress has had in the past week, with this one being called a “performance issue” or “service disruption.” Our site was down, so I’ll call it a service outage. One can imagine that when you’re a technology blog and a site as big as goes down, the first thing that you want to do is write about it. We clearly could not.

Other sites like GigaOm and VentureBeat were affected as well, it seems.

Here’s what WordPress’ handy status site had to say:


Here’s the fun error that was shown on itself. Pretty professional, don’t you think?


Last week’s outage came with this explanation:

As we mentioned earlier this week, experienced a partial outage and service degradation when one of our three data centers was taken completely offline by a fiber cut. I wanted to provide some more information about how this occurred, what the impact was, and what we are doing to prevent this from happening in the future.

With all of the other issues that folks who use WordPress VIP are having, which I won’t bore you with right now, one must ask, why aren’t there rules and technology in place as a fail-safe when a platform as large as this just decides to stop working? This is the same feeling that we get when Twitter goes down, but something tells me that the world could live without our 140-character musings for a few hours.

The news? Not so much.

Good job, good effort WordPress. Try harder. We’ve reached out to them for comment and will let you know what they say.

To our readers and writers, we truly apologize. You are now free to move about the blogosphere.

UPDATE: Here’s a mass email sent out to WordPress VIP customers (they call it an outage now, and it was longer than 5 minutes):

At approximately 21:23 UTC (13:23 PT), had a site-wide outage that lasted about 5 minutes.

This outage was related to a code bug and is unrelated to the network situation earlier this week. All sites should be up and available. Please get in touch if you’re still experiencing problems.