Skype Down Worldwide

If you’re like me and use IM pretty much constantly throughout the day then you can imagine what it’s like to have it suddenly turned off… pretty frustrating. As of the time of writing Skype seems to be down (confirmed here) and has been for the last few hours. Considering the millions of people who rely on it every day I’m sure there must be a lot of angry users punching their keyboards about now! Having to send emails seems positively stone age compared with the instant gratification of the answer being a click away.

The Taiwan earthquake earlier in the year which damaged undersea cables showed just how much disruption can be caused by the failure of communication lines so if one service going silent is a mild annoyance I dread to think what would happen if there was a major outage.

How is this affecting your day?

Skype Logo

— Updating below as more news comes in (RSS Feed) —

Update: Some interesting theories as to what’s causing the problems here and here. The outage appears to be worldwide.

Update 2: Skype has said they “expect this to be resolved within 12 to 24 hours“. I wonder if there is any liability for all the businesses who rely on Skype and will have lost out as a result…?

Update 3: People are not having any luck getting any further information from Skype. Regarding liability, their terms of service seem to indicate that compensation is “limited to the amount actually paid by you for the Skype services during the year in which such damages occur” up to 5000 Euros. Won’t be much consolation to small businesses I guess!

Update 4: Conspiracy theories already beginning – Could the Russians have DOSed Skype, are the Neocons taking action because they can’t wiretap it, or is this just a simple “software glitch”? Hmmm… I think a liberal pinch of salt is needed here 😉 Any way you look at the situation, it sucks!!

Update 5: So far had reports from Hong Kong, Denmark, Belgium, Malaysia, San Diego, Germany, Brazil, Orlando, Texas, Lithuania, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Montreal, Quebec, Thailand, China, Switzerland, Italy, London, Finland, Turkey, South Africa, Memphis, Florida, Malaga, Poland, France, India, Cyprus, Barbados, Netherlands, Italy, Singapore, Macedonia, Tokyo, Seoul, Bulgaria, Norway, Ireland, Jordan, Philippines… is there anywhere where Skype is actually working now? Apparently, some users have been without service for over 14 hours already.

Update 6: Some interesting commentary on the situation from GigaOM (P2P limitations), Mashable (eBay stock down), Disruptive Telephony (end of the world?) & Epicenter (Skype won’t comment).

Update 7: Skype have posted a new message on their Hearbeat blog –

“We’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to send us their thoughts, concerns and good wishes. It means the world to those working so hard to resolve this thing.”

…touching, but doesn’t really tell us any more about what the problem is! I guess there must be some pretty stressed-out engineers at Skype today, so good luck to them! According to one user who was able to log on for a short time there are only 6000 users online – on a normal day there would be around 6 million.

Update 8: Last update before I head for bed – check out these pretty interesting graphs from Skype Journal, they show that there were over 6 million users online just before the service flatlined. Also another update from the Skype team:

“The Skype system has not crashed or been victim of a cyber attack. We love our customers too much to let that happen. This problem occurred because of a deficiency in an algorithm within Skype networking software. This controls the interaction between the user’s own Skype client and the rest of the Skype network.

Rest assured that everyone at Skype is working around the clock — from Tallinn to Luxembourg to San Jose — to resume normal service as quickly as possible.”

At least this is a little more informative, here’s hoping that it’s back up tomorrow!

Update 9 (17/08 – 9 am BST): Some users are able to connect intermittently as the service begins to come back online. No definite confirmation from Skype yet but the signs are certainly positive. Should be interesting to see how this goes as Europe wakes up today. Is Skype working for you yet?

Update 10: Apart from having to deal with millions of disgruntled users, eBay (who own Skype) has also seen a slump in its share prices which, according to TechCrunch, knocked $1 billion off eBay’s market cap. It’s now been over 24 hours since the outage began.

Update 11 (7.30 pm BST): Not a great deal of change since this morning although anecdotally more people are reporting being able to connect for short periods. Skype say they’re on the road to recovery but there seems to be little evidence for that yet. The O’Reilly Radar has raised some interesting points about Skype and the General Public Licence – would it help Skype to be less secretive about their network technology?

Update 12 (18/09 – 12.30 pm BST): Welcome Back, World! So it finally looks like after 48 hours of downtime that Skype is back online. As of now, I can see close to 6 million people online which is the normal average. Skype has said that they’ll provide a more detailed explanation on Monday – should be interesting to hear what actually happened! Happy skyping all 🙂

Update 13 (20/09): Skype has posted a slightly more detailed explanation of what happened last week. Turns out the effect of people’s computers restarting on mass after a windows update caused the network meltdown when they all tried to log in again and in turn, the inbuilt self-healing mechanisms failed.


Originally from the UK, David is designer and wanderer currently based in Kamakura. Prior to this, he lived in China and longs to explore more of this vast and varied land. He started Randomwire in 2003 to chronicle his travels and occasional musings. Feel free to drop him a line.

125 Comments Add New Comment

  1. John says:

    Down in Bahrain. Can't get in with my account can occasionally log on with wifes account.
    How odd. Must be some fantastic conspiracy theories out ther.

  2. myname says:

    Here is Bulgaria. My personal oppinoin: this is atack cause it smells so much already. We are not that stupid. This “algorithm” is made by them, and was working with more than 9 milns online. Even I like skype so much, I guess this crash is for better. All “Big” so much growing companies have to realise how actualy small they are.
    Still not connecting to the servers during last more than 24 hours. In about any hour I connect for less than a minute.
    Thats it 🙂
    Dont have to cry so much, live goes, and always for better. ( by the way my last 24 hours are realy not so good )

  3. geedee says:

    I think there must be something to this attack theory. Colorado in North America is still down also.
    An algorithm issue seems very unlikely.
    We rely heavily on Skype and hope they come back.
    I liked the quote from Skype “The Skype system has not crashed or been victim of a cyber attack. We love our customers too much to let that happen.”.
    You can love your customers, doesn't mean you won't be impacted.

  4. myname says:

    here in BG I have an account that works for an houre and more till this recent moment, and another one that did not connect on all that time.

  5. myname says:

    o fine, lachko 🙂
    I did it since I have told already in last my post, so – still connected, BUT the other account that is benn uesturday actualy updated to the newes si stil out ot the system… very strange, but as so many places over the net are not yet connected, it means the problem remain

  6. Franky says:

    It's midnight in Switzerland, 5.5 milion users are online and I just had a 20 minute coll with my friend in Argentina without any problem! Just fine!

  7. SkypeUser says:

    The moral to this story is DON'T SET YOUR MS UPDATE TO AUTO RESTART. Allow it to be a manual restart operation. The Skype p2p SuperNode failover algorithm has been adjusted for the many Skype authentication servers to pickup the failed supernode load. Hopefully this won't happen again.

    I'm sure the “bad” guys are pondering how to exploit this flaw. I think adding more DBAR (disaster backup and recovery) servers and procedures will be key here too.

    Gizmo and Vonage still sucks… IMO – GIZMO/VONAGE vs. SKYPE? Think about SAIC-Remailer Version 2007?
    It could happen…

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