WhatsApp down 31 Dec 2015 – 1 Jan 2016

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So, we are again at the New Year, and that’s the pain for sysadmins of messaging services or any other telecommunication systems. And that’s because of the servers’ or networks’ saturation due to the huge traffic from their users, trying to send New Year wishes messages to their friends and relatives. Usually such issues happen with mobile phone networks, GSM, 2G, 3G, 4G etc, but for the second consecutive year, the online services too are suffering from those bottle necks. The most complained service this year or last year for some, is WhatsApp. At first, I got messages from friends in Mauritius asking about the issue, but it was working fine for me. Some even thought the service was blocked by the government. Mine was working fine (In Turkey), and posted about the WhatsApp issue on my Facebook page [1], and then noticed that it’s not in Mauritius only. Then, as time went, I started to experience issues here too, and it’s obvious, the New Year is 2 hours before Turkey’s , and it also confirms the fact that the issue was due to high traffic. News websites were also reporting about same [2]. But its good to note that the official Twitter Account @wa_status where WhatsApp post system updates, had no indication at all about that downtime, but their in-app system status page displayed a “server experiencing a problem” message.

To check about the worldwide extent of the problem, I collected testimonials from friends around the world and confirmed once more my hypothesis (Sorry for that term, I had an Stats exam this morning 😛 )

My messages are not being delivered. – Zuhair [Edited]

“Everything was working fine. And then as the clock struck the 22:50 22:55 marks, issues started, messages not sent, or sent but not delivered,  or receiving message from a contact but my messages sent 7 mins later” – Myself lol

“J’ai rencontré un soucis concernant l’application WhatsApp, lorsque j’ai essayer de communiquer avec des amis, mes messages ne s’envoie pas et mes amis ne recevaient pas non plus mes messages.. Je ne comprend pas “(Translation: I got an issue with the WhatsApp app, wen I try to communicate with friends, the messages are not sent and my friends too were not receiving my messages. I don’t understand) – Kawshar Abdool 

“I can’t send any whatsapp; Having the clock icon evrytime; N I can’t even receive any txt; Bit annoying” – Yumn Soobratty

“Holy crap. Whatsapp is not working. I can neither chat with my friends nor call them. Whatsapp is being inefficient and for me this is not acceptable the fact that it’s out of service on a new year eve.” – Faizan Khedoo

Abu Dhabi 
WhatsApp’s fine, but I’m experiencing some lags and not getting notifications on time. [Edited] – Mozammil Khodabacchas

They reported that the issue got fixed but lags still existed at around 21:15 GMT

Well, it is usual for such network saturations to occur at new years, but as more and more services are moving to the Internet and that Internet communications is becoming cheaper and cheaper relative to the usual voice calls and SMS’s such downtimes are bound to occur. But, this can also be an advantage as those GSM networks would be less saturated (still waiting for figures from telephony providers) as my biggest worry during those downtimes is about to contact the emergency services special around midnight should an incident occur with the fireworks or any other party stuff. I suggested that providers leverage the QoS capabilities of their base stations and/or exchanges to route emergency calls on dedicated trunks so that despite those annoying bottlenecks, emergency calls can still be made whereby sometimes its a matter of life and death.

Well till then,
Irshaad 🙂

Thanks for all of you guys for helping to this post 🙂
Started writing this post in 2015 and publishing in 2016, my longest post! lol!! 🙂

[1] – https://www.facebook.com/abdoolirshaad/posts/10207220426861001
[2] – http://www.itv.com/news/2015-12-31/whatsapp-down-users-unable-to-send-or-receive-messages/