WordPress Outage Takes Us and 10.2M Blogs Out for 2 Hours

As we are hosted on WordPress.com through their VIP enterprise publishing service, we were affected by an outage of their network of blogs today that’s been attributed to a core router change. All GigaOM sites (besides GigaOM Pro and OStatic, which are hosted independently) were down today from approximately 1:30 to 3:30 PT.

Automattic founder and frontman Matt Mullenweg explained in a blog post after the sites came back up that the company’s 10.2 million hosted blogs were down for 110 minutes, for a projected page view loss of 5.5 million. He attributed the downtime, Automattic’s worst in four years, to “an unscheduled change to a core router by one of our datacenter providers.” Mullenweg said the problem “broke all the mechanisms for failover between our locations in San Antonio and Chicago.” He assured users that all their data was safe and promised a “concrete plan” to better handle such situations in the future.

WordPress being down was only the latest of an outbreak of outages this week affecting us or companies we work closely with — given pretty much all of Palo Alto had no power yesterday¬†after a plane crash and then¬†our office Internet and phones (we are based in San Francisco) went out yesterday. It seemed almost fitting (but nonetheless frustrating) when our sites went down. We joked that it was due to rogue reporters’ illicit use of Chrome for Mac, which doesn’t seem to get along with WordPress.com, so we’ve been kindly reminded not to use it over and over again by our lead developer. (Sorry Chancey!) All you cloud haters out there can feel free to voice in about how dumb we are for trusting a hosted service.

All joking aside, I found it surprising that Automattic users — the majority of whom use its services for free — seemed to be fairly forgiving in the comments to Mullenweg’s apology post. It seems the company has enough goodwill to spare a couple hours of failure. But one thing’s for sure, people won’t be so friendly if it happens again.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d): The 5 Biggest Cloud-Computing Stories of 2009

Disclosure: Automattic, maker of WordPress.com, is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.