In short, downrightnow tells you when popular web services are having service problems, according to reports from other users and official announcements. Please read About downrightnow and our other Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
The web services tracked on downrightnow fall into the following categories:
We're always on the lookout for new services to add to downrightnow. However, not every service is a good candidate. For example, some services may not attract enough user activity for us to determine when there is a service problem. Please see: How do you choose which services to monitor?
If you would like to suggest a service for us to track, please feel free to contact us.
Twitter Search is a good way to find out if other users are reporting problems with a particular service. In fact, that's one of the sources downrightnow uses to find out about service issues.
However, searching Twitter by hand quickly gets complicated. During an outage, one user might post a message that "hotmail is down", but another user might say, "hotmail is giving me an error message". It can take several searches to uncover reports that use different wording, so downrightnow monitors many keywords and phrases simultaneously to get a more complete picture of what Twitter users are saying.
Instead of performing multiple Twitter searches by hand and scanning for relevant user postings, we do the legwork for you. downrightnow gives you a quick verdict on Twitter activity in addition to any company announcements and other relevant status information.
A ping test will check to see if an Internet server is online and responsive. A server that doesn't respond or responds very slowly can be a sign of service or network problems.
However, service issues that are software-related won't be discovered by a ping test. For example, if the web site for an email service is online but is showing an error message, a ping test won't turn up any problems.
downrightnow uses several indicators to identify service problems, including ping tests. User reports and other sources we monitor can highlight service issues in situations where a ping test won't locate a problem.
HerdictWeb has some similarities to downrightnow but operates with a different focus.
HerdictWeb asks users to install a web browser add-on in order to anonymously track the accessibility of different web sites from numerous locations around the world. With this data, HerdictWeb can show when a web site may be blocked or unreachable from a particular area. Since HerdictWeb highlights regional web site outages generally due to political or legal reasons, an outage listed on HerdictWeb does not necessarily (but can) indicate a problem with the service itself.
downrightnow gathers data about service status from multiple sources, including user reports, to automatically detect service disruptions. Users may optionally submit outage reports to downrightnow without any special software, and we also monitor public reports on Twitter and official service announcements. downrightnow reports likely service problems regardless of geography and uses status tracking customized for each service we monitor.
Over an extended period of testing, we have found our status detection to be generally accurate, frequently identifying service outages even before official announcements are made. However, it's important to keep in mind that downrightnow cannot say decisively when a service is up or down. Rather, it shows when user reports and other indicators point to a likely service problem. Generally, users will notice and report it whenever a popular service has widespread problems. Likewise, user outage reports and discussions usually arise only during a service disruption. However, as with any system with a human component, there can be false alarms and events that slip under our radar.
While our status information is a valuable troubleshooting resource, please be aware of the limitations and caveats. For more information, see our disclaimer.
You can keep up with service status in any of the following ways:
downrightnow automatically identifies service disruptions by monitoring several sources of information, including:
As an example, if 10 Twitter users have recently posted updates mentioning a problem with an email service and the company has just posted a service announcement on its blog, downrightnow will notice the activity and the status might change to indicate a possible service issue.
Although our status information is generally reliable, like any automated system, there are some limitations. Please see: How accurate is the status information?
downrightnow displays service status using a familiar green/yellow/red convention. There are a total of 5 different status levels.
Recent Signs of Service Trouble
Possible Service Trouble
Likely Service Disruption
Confirmed Service Disruption
The graph displays status activity for the selected service over the past 24 hours. For example, the graph might show that there were intermittent service issues 3 hours ago. Use these guidelines to interpret the status history graph.
Don't worry! There are several reasons why the status shown on downrightnow may not match your experience.
Our status information is updated every 5 minutes. For convenience, you can set our home page or a service status page to reload automatically by clicking the "Refresh automatically" checkbox.
We don't currently show the specific Twitter updates that are factored into status determinations in order to maintain the integrity of the data we collect. Showing individual Tweets may tempt some users to hijack our system by tagging promotional messages so they appear to downrightnow users. "Junk" Tweets would decrease the accuracy of our status detection by masquerading as legitimate trouble reports and triggering false outage indications.
We recognize the potential value in showing relevant Twitter updates and will investigate solutions that minimize unintended consequences.
If you have found downrightnow useful, please submit a report when you notice a service problem. Although we also incorporate data from other sources aside from user reports, other sources often involve an element of guesswork; your user reports are our best and most reliable indicators. You'll also be helping to spread the word about services issues to other users like you. We appreciate your input!
When you tweet a service disruption, be sure to include the hashtag #downrightnow along with one of the following hashtags corresponding to the appropriate service.
Hashtags are not case-sensitive and they can appear in any order within your tweet. downrightnow will also detect Twitter trouble reports without our hashtag in many cases, but including our hashtag is best. That way, we know for sure that you're tweeting a service problem and we'll give your tweet more importance.
Thanks for contributing!
Our status calculations usually require multiple trouble reports within a certain time period before a service is considered "down." That way, we avoid false alarms when only a single user is having isolated problems.
We appreciate your contribution, and don't worry: if others are reporting the same problem, we'll hear about it very soon and will update the service status accordingly. You may be the first one to report the issue.
If time passes and you are still having service problems -- but others haven't reported the issue on downrightnow -- it may also be a sign of a problem that is limited to your computer or Internet connection. See the Troubleshooting Tips shown on the respective service status page for further assistance.