As the COVID-19 pandemic continues which prompted some countries to go into lockdown once more, global usage of streaming service has spiked yet again. While most of the platforms require subscriptions to access content, YouTube – except for Premium – remains free for all users. Hence when the video-sharing servers experienced issues earlier today, reports quickly flooded social media and news outlets across the globe. It appears people can open the app or website but video playback was not working.
Shortly after more complaints were logged by real-time outage monitoring website Downdetector, the YouTube's official Twitter account posted a message which read: "If you're having trouble watching videos on YouTube right now, you're not alone – our team is aware of the issue and working on a fix. We'll follow up here with any updates."
It apparently took the developers and software engineers around two hours to address the problem. They followed up with another tweet that stated: "And we're back — we're so sorry for the interruption. This is fixed across all devices & YouTube services, thanks for being patient with us." People interested to learn what caused the outage were out of luck as YouTube did not provide an explanation at the time.
Based on the data available from Downdetector, the issue might have peaked around 7:32 p.m. ET and might have been resolved around 8:30 p.m. ET when complaints were no longer coming in. The severity of outage differed for users. There are those who attempted to play videos but were met with the leading animation only. Others receive notification that says "An error has occurred. Please try again later." For the rest, the homepage did not load at all.
YouTube TV was likewise affected by the downtime, which led to some subscribers posting messages on Twitter asking for compensation. With over 2 billion monthly active users who stream more than a billion hours of content daily, outages will immediately raise flags. The most recent one was reported by users on mobile, desktops, Chromecast, and other compatible devices. This suggests it might have been on the server-side of things that caused everything.