downrightnow monitors the status of your favorite web services, combining user reports and official announcements to tell you when there's service trouble. You can help! File a report here or on Twitter to let others know when you've encountered a bug or outage. Learn more »

Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is downrightnow?

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.

How do you choose which services to monitor?

The web services tracked on downrightnow fall into the following categories:

  • Popular services with a large user base. For lesser-known sites, there may not be enough user activity or "buzz" during a service disruption for us to identify a problem.
  • Important services where outages can disrupt communication or other time-sensitive activities.
  • In some cases, services that don't announce disruptions officially or consistently. Without reliable official information about service problems, it's valuable to have a central place for users to report their experiences.

Why don't you monitor service X?

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.

How is downrightnow better than searching Twitter for "service X is down"?

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.

How is downrightnow better than doing a ping test?

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.

How is downrightnow different from HerdictWeb?

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.

How accurate is the status information?

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.


Checking Service Status

What options are available for tracking service status?

You can keep up with service status in any of the following ways:

All services monitored at downrightnow

  • View a matrix of all the services we monitor on our home page
  • Subscribe to our sitewide RSS feed
  • Follow our Twitter feeds, @downrightnow and @downrightnowtoo
    • Only likely or confirmed service disruptions are announced on Twitter
    • To avoid redundant updates, we make a maximum of 1 outage announcement per 6-hour period, per service
  • Become a fan of our Facebook Page
    • Only likely or confirmed service disruptions are announced on Facebook
    • To avoid redundant updates, we make a maximum of 1 outage announcement per 6-hour period, per service
    • Only top service alerts are announced on Facebook

Individual services

  • View detailed service status on the appropriate service status page
    • Click the corresponding Details button on the home page
  • Subscribe to the appropriate service's RSS feed
    • Click "Subscribe to updates with RSS" on the corresponding service status page

How does downrightnow know when a service is down?

downrightnow automatically identifies service disruptions by monitoring several sources of information, including:

  • Reports from users who visit downrightnow
  • Public messages on Twitter from users who are having service trouble
  • Official company announcements and status reports
  • Other third-party web sites that monitor service status

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?

What do the different status levels mean?

downrightnow displays service status using a familiar green/yellow/red convention. There are a total of 5 different status levels.

Up

  • According to the sources used by downrightnow, there are no indications of service trouble.

Recent Signs of Service Trouble

  • The service is currently up, but a service issue was recently detected.

Possible Service Trouble

  • Our sources indicate there may be a service issue (for example, isolated trouble reports).

Likely Service Disruption

  • There are strong indications of service trouble (for example, a sudden spike in trouble reports).

Confirmed Service Disruption

  • The service is down, according to reliable sources (for example, an official announcement).

What does the status history graph show?

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.

  • The dark blue diamond on the right side of the graph indicates the service status right now.
  • The dark blue line indicates the service status over time. When the service status is "Up," the line appears near the top of the graph. When there is a potential service issue, the line dips toward the bottom of the graph.
  • The color of the area above the blue line also indicates service status. If the area above the line is green, the service status is "Up." When there is a service issue, a yellow or red color is visible to indicate the likelihood of a service disruption.

downrightnow says service X is down, but it's working fine for me. Why is that?

Don't worry! There are several reasons why the status shown on downrightnow may not match your experience.

  • There may be a service disruption affecting only certain users. For example, there could be an isolated problem impacting only a specific feature or blocking access only for a particular region.
  • The issue reported on downrightnow may have just been resolved. If so, the service status will return to normal shortly (for example, once users stop reporting the problem).
  • There may have been a false alarm. From time to time, our sources may incorrectly show signs of a service disruption when there isn't one. Please see: How accurate is the status information?

How often is status information updated?

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.

Why don't you show individual Twitter posts?

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.


Reporting an Issue

Why should I report service issues?

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!

How can I use Twitter to report an issue?

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!

I reported a service issue, but downrightnow still says the service is up. Did my report go through?

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.


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