Here we present in (mostly) chronological order, the 10 biggest website outages of 2014.  (If you think we forgot any, let us know!)

Dropbox Dropped!

Leading off the top 10 website outages of 2014: Way back in January, Dropbox- a file sharing website used by over 300 million people started the year out with an outage on January 10th.  Supposedly their IT support team was able to rectify the issue within 3 hours, but access to the system was unreliable well into the following weekend.  A few months later, Dropbox went down again for about an hour in March.  No explanation was ever given for the cause of this outage.

Google Down for Maintenance

Google experienced several outages in 2014.  First, in January, a software bug apparently caused a glitch but they were able to catch it quickly and Gmail, Google Docs and Google plus were down for about 30 minutes.  Next, in mid march, Google experienced a second outage, this time the services that went down included Google Voice and portions of Google Drive.  This outage was also attributed to a maintenance issue.  Finally, on October 14th, Google Drive was unavailable for several hours.

Basecamp’s Mismanaged Scammers

Another SaaS provider, Basecamp, which provides project management services was also hit with march madness as hackers actually tried to extort money from the company in order to restore service from a DDoS attack.  It turns out this group of hackers have used this tactic on other companies as well.

Samsung Putting Out Fires

Sometimes when IT support is hit with critical problems it is referred to as “putting out fires.”  In April, Samsung’s support found themselves literally putting out fires as their Smart TV platform was down for over four hours due to a fire in their facility in South Korea.

Adobe’s Uncreative Outage

In May, Adobe Creative Cloud was unavailable for a whopping 24 hours, affecting over 1 million customers.  This outage was characterized as another victim of the dreaded “failed maintenance procedures.”

Evernote’s Elephant Forgot how to Deal with Stress

Evernote’s mascot may be the elephant, but even this creature has trouble accessing all its memories when under too much stress.  Evernote was hit by a DDOS attack that took it down for about 10 hours on June 10th.  Luckily, once the attack was mitigated- it was determined that no customer data was compromised.

Apple Experienced a Glitch in the Matrix

While it may not have affected a large percentage of users, the Apple iCloud went down for a few hours in June, and then again in september.  It appeared that some users were unable to access the app store, iTunes store and even some features of apple TV like movies and TV shows.

DDoS Scams for Everyone

In June, the DDoS scammers were back at it, this time intermittently taking Feedly down over a three day period.


Of course a list including Google and Apple wouldn’t be complete without mentioning their arch nemesis: Microsoft.  As the end of June approached, users of Microsoft Lync , a chat and video communication service found themselves unable to communicate with one another for several hours.  Microsoft attributed the outage to network routing infrastructure issues.  Even worse than the Lync outage was a full work day’s outage of Exchange Online just a day later.  Users were unable to access their email for 9 hours- right in the middle of the US work day.  A few months later, Microsoft Azure Storage Services experienced a global outage for over 11 hours in mid November.

Sony Servers “Interviewed” and Leaked

While this outage wasn’t as big of a deal to the average consumer, it sure made the press- Sony’s network was hacked, their servers were bricked, sensitive internal data was distributed.  The month-long series of events triggered by this hack and subsequent outage culminated with no less an accusation than the US government attributing the attack to North Korea in response to the looming release of the movie “The Interview” which depicts the assassination of Kim Jong-un.

Bonus- Notable Mentions

While the following outages may not have been as business critical as the previously mentioned issues, they affected huge organizations and caused quite a bit of public outcry.

Black Friday has become synonymous with website stress testing, and among last year’s biggest losers on Black Friday was Best Buy.

While it only affected their DNS infrastructure, Rackspace was DDOSed for over 11 hours right before Christmas.

Christmas found billions of gamer souls crying out into the night as both the Microsoft Xbox Live gaming network and the Playstation network were taken down by attacks.

So What?

Ultimately, what can we take away from the top 10 website outages of 2014?  Even the biggest networks aren’t flawless.  We still haven’t found a way to beat Murphy’s law, so since we know that if it can happen, it will eventually happen- we need to be prepared for the worst.  This is why every business should not only have backup, disaster recovery and contingency plans, you should be proactive and monitor not only your own critical infrastructure, but you probably want to have some level of monitoring on any SaaS vendors you use as well.  This way you know right away if there are slowdowns or outages affecting your business.

Sign up today for a free trial of the Dotcom-Monitor platform to monitor anything that you use online today.  We don’t want to have to add your site to the list of top 10 website outages of 2015!

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