Gmail is finally back up, following a five hour outage that left frustrated users unable to send or receive emails.
According to DownDetector, the issues started at around 08:44 BST, and have just been resolved.
Speaking to MailOnline, a Google spokesperson said: ‘On Friday November 12 around 08:30 am UTC, some of our users experienced a service disruption to Google Cloud services, including Google Workspace.
‘This issue is now resolved.’
It’s the go-to email service for many people around the world, but it appears that Gmail crashed this morning
According to DownDetector, the issues started at around 08:44 BST, and have only just been resolved.
Andrius Ulenskas, Technical Director at Hyve Managed Hosting, said: ‘Google, Gmail and YouTube going down today is simply another addition to the list of recent tech outages.
‘If anything, this should really highlight how our growing reliance on a select few companies is making the internet more and more fragile.
‘This recent uptick in outages shows that any business is vulnerable to outages when they rely solely on one provider for all their key services.’
Several frustrated users took to Twitter to discuss this morning’s outage.
Many appeared to be getting a 502 error when trying to access their emails, that read: ‘The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request.’
While the issue appeared to affect UK users predominantly, others reported problems getting into Gmail from other countries including Spain and Kenya.
Despite the influx in tweets about the outage, Gmail originally claimed that there were no known issues.
Replying to one of the many tweets asking what was going on this morning, the Gmail account simply said: ‘The Google Workspace Status dashboard doesn’t show any outages.
‘Could you tell us more about what seems to be happening with your Gmail address? We’d be happy to help.’
However, Google has now acknowledged that there was an issue, although it’s remaining tight-lipped on what this actually was.
Gmail isn’t the only service to have crashed in recent weeks.
Many appeared to be getting a 502 error when trying to access their emails, that read: ‘The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request’
Despite the influx in tweets about the outage, Gmail originally claimed that there were no known issues
Even Britain’s biggest supermarket Tesco was brought to its knees by a hack of its website and app last month, leaving thousands of customers unable to order groceries for 48 hours and costing the retailer an estimated £40m in lost revenue.
Gav Winter, CEO of website performance and cybersecurity firm RapidSpike.com, has said that large scale outages have risen over the past 12 months, adding that human error was a often a big culprit.
He said mistakes occurred because many staff are under pressure from their company and choose to take ill-fated shortcuts.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN THEORIES FOR WHY THE INTERNET KEEPS BREAKING?
People often assume any kind of web disruption is linked to hacking, but actually more mundane reasons such as human error tend to be the more likely cause, experts say.
IT employees for companies, tech giants and even supermarkets make mistakes, which one cyber security expert blamed on them being ‘under pressure’ and having to take shortcuts.
Meta’s outage on October 4 was ultimately blamed on user error, when a faulty update disconnected its servers from the internet.
There have been increases in the sophistication of hacking, experts say, with numerous Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks seen recently, including on Microsoft, Google and other massive companies.
DDoS attacks work by flooding a victim’s system with ‘internet traffic’ in an attempt to overload it and force it offline.
Meanwhile, ransomware — a form of cyberattack which locks files and data on a user’s computer and demands payment in order for them to be released back to the owner — is also on the rise.
The head of Britain’s cybersecurity agency said it was ‘the most immediate danger’ of all cyber threats faced by the UK, and businesses need to do more to protect themselves.
Too much traffic
One cyber security expert told MailOnline that tech giants and other businesses had been hit by an unexpected surge in traffic because of the Covid pandemic, putting strain on their infrastructure.
He said these ‘sheer numbers of more online users and traffic’ was causing a lot of the outages.
Many companies, including Meta, have centralised back-end systems which means there is a single point of failure.
It Meta’s case, this means it can affect Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, as is what happened last month.
An internet scientist has agreed that centralised systems are a problem, while another expert said Meta’s outage showed the advantage of having a ‘more reliable’ decentralised system that doesn’t put ‘all the eggs in one basket’.
Ageing web infrastructure
Having been born in 1989, the World Wide Web is now an ‘ageing infrastructure’, according to several experts.
And with the increase in traffic and volume of users on the internet, systems are coming under more and more pressure.
‘Businesses must test their infrastructure and have multiple failsafes in place,’ one expert warned.