Google Mail aka Gmail Outage

gmailCan I blame yesterday’s Gmail outage for the lack of a post today? No?

Just in case you didn’t know it, Gmail, Google’s email service which has been in beta since 2004, went down Tuesday afternoon, and didn’t come back fully until late in the evening. Google attributed the problem to server changes which may have overloaded their router traffic. That’s tech talk for the drain got clogged. (I recommend G-drano, Google guys).

Gmail has over 146 million users worldwide, and most of them were unable to access the service for much of the day. This is the second major outage this year. The prior one occurred on February 24, when Gmail was out for about 2.5 hours. You can read about that one here on Skylarking under Gmail Crashes Again. Did that say, “Again”? The major outage prior to that was October 2008 when Gmail was out for 30 hours without explanation.

Major outages aside, PC World reports that there have been several minor outages, too, prior to the last February’s outage:

• July 16, 2008: A similar “502 error” (bad gateway) struck Gmail, leading to what was described as a “long outage” by affected users.

• August 6, 2008: Technical trouble knocked an “undetermined number” of Gmail users (including both regular users and paying Google Apps clients) out of their mail for about 15 hours.

• August 11, 2008: An issue with Google’s “contacts system” caused Gmail access to go offline for a “couple of hours” for numerous users. Both individual accounts and Google Apps accounts were affected again.

• August 15, 2008: The third outage within a span of two weeks left users locked out of their accounts for more than 24 hours. That pesky “502 server error” popped up on the Gmail login page here, too.

• October 16, 2008: Users went a full 30 hours without access. Google didn’t elaborate on what caused the issue.

Google claimed in an IDG News Service report that “Gmail suffers only about 10 to 15 minutes of downtime each month”.

I guess I should be thanking Gmail for today’s post. “Thanks, Gmail!” Love skylarkingblog at

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