Since it started back in 2005, YouTube has been a staple part of the internet. As the largest video sharing website, it holds a special place in the minds of internet denizens. Forming one of the pillars of the massive Google presence, it may be the most notable service from the company. In a surprise to many video watchers, the video service went down for about 1.5 hours earlier this evening.
At about 6:20 PM PDT, YouTube went down globally. The video service has been fully inaccessible till about 7:50 PM PDT. When users visited the site, it only offered up a few resources. A global outage of this kind is quite rare. After all, Google puts a lot of resources into their most visible product. The last time such a major global scale outage happened was back in 2008. Back then, Pakistan tried to block YouTube, but the block inadvertently applied globally.
While short outages or poor connections happen every now and then, a sustained outage is much more troublesome. Furthermore, while parts of the service like YouTube TV have gone down, the entire service being unavailable entirely is rare. With a horde of redundant servers, the issue is far more likely a configuration error somewhere rather than a hardware issue. At this point, we can only speculate as to what happened.
One clear lesson that we can learn is that rely on the internet do business still comes with a heavy risk. If something like Google’s YouTube can go down, any other cloud service can go down at inopportune moments as well. Despite that, the ubiquity and convince of internet services means there is little one can do. The only thing that can be done is make sure the internet remains as free as possible and policies like net neutrality are adopted.