OpenAI’s ChatGPT is back up after major outage

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OpenAI’s ChatGPT experienced its biggest global outage of 2024 on Tuesday when users were unable to use the chat platform for up to 5 hours.

If you were struggling to use ChatGPT yesterday then you weren’t alone. The first signs of trouble started around 02:30 ET when web, desktop, and mobile app users couldn’t access the service.

OpenAI said it was “working on a fix for this issue” with the problem seemingly resolved at 07:45 ET only for it to go down again by 10:30 ET.

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OpenAI status page confirming outage. Source: OpenAI

OpenAI didn’t say what caused the problem, but said it was limited to ChatGPT and that API access was unaffected.

Claude, Perplexity, and Gemini users also experienced issues for a period that lasted around an hour.

The issues with these AI platforms coincided with the release of an open letter by OpenAI current and former OpenAI employees warning of AI’s ‘serious risks’ and lack of oversight.

This prompted some to speculate whether the outages were a simple glitch or something more intentional like a DDOS attack in protest to AI safety issues.

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It could have been a simple technical fault or even a combination of a DDOS attack on ChatGPT with a subsequent shift in user traffic to other platforms.

When ChatGPT went down there was a 60% spike in searches for ChatGPT alternatives. The flood of disaffected ChatGPT users suddenly using Gemini, Claude, and Perplexity would have put an unexpected strain on those servers.

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It seems like all these services are back up again but outages like these highlight how vulnerable society becomes when we depend so heavily on these tools.

If the hours-long outage had affected API access like it did last November, it would have been extremely disruptive to businesses that have integrated GPT-4 into their operations.

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