Instapaper goes down for over a day, says a full restore will take a week

Read-it-later bookmarking service Instapaper, owned by Pinterest since last year’s acquisition, was hit by an extended outage this week. The service came back online yesterday, February 9, after being down since 12:30 PM PT the day prior. However, the company says the issue is not fully resolved – it will take a week for it to restore all its users’ saved articles.

Though not as popular as parent company Pinterest, with its over 100 million users, Instapaper still had a dedicated audience in the millions at the time of its acquisition, a Pinterest spokesperson had said.

According to a post on Instapaper’s blog, its outage was caused by hitting a system limit on its hosted database that prevented new articles from being saved. To resolve the issue, Instapaper said it would have to export the data from the old database and then import it to a new one. In a later blog post, the company said it rebuilt a database instance and brought the service back online.

At the time, the site had been down for 31 hours, so Instapaper made the decision to only bring the last 6 weeks of articles online. That means that anything saved from December 20, 2016 is now accessible again.

Instapaper said that it wanted to give users access to their mostly recently saved articles while it completes the full restore.

“The full database exports are taking much longer than anticipated,” the company noted. “We’re aiming to get the full archives available by next Friday, February 17 at the latest.”

Fortunately for users, the outage didn’t result in any data loss – just a delay in being able to view and read the content in their archives.

In addition to the announcements posted online, Instapaper emailed its users this morning with an update on the situation. The message also invited users to reach out with questions via @InstapaperHelp on Twitter or email.

Instapaper didn’t say who it uses for its hosting in its post, but as of last year it was Amazon Web Services. (Update: this is confirmed.)

While outages and issues can plague any online service from time to time, when a smaller company is bought up by a larger one there’s always concern that it will no longer get the time, attention, and developer resources it deserves. That could be the case here, as well.

At the time of its acquisition, Pinterest said that it would allow Instapaper to operate as a standalone service, while the team was tasked with working on both the core Pinterest experience and Instapaper. Clearly, in that scenario, Pinterest would be the priority.

Instapaper is one of those services where you don’t realize how much you rely on it, until it’s gone.

The outage disturbed many users’ workflows this week, and several took to Twitter with their complaints: