The website and email of the New York Times, America’s most-visited news site, went offline Wednesday for two and a half hours, an outage the company said was due to an “internal error” rather than a hack.
NYTimes.com is “experiencing technical difficulties,” the paper said on its official Twitter account just after noon, when the site had been down about 30 minutes.
The paper resorted to updating news from Egypt via Twitter and even published several full-length stories as updates on its Facebook page.
“We are experiencing a server issue that has resulted in our e-mail and Web site being unavailable,” the paper tweeted 45 minutes later.
“We believe the outage is the result of an internal issue, which we expect to be resolved soon,” the nameless tweeter continued, adding “We will communicate further when we have more information.”
The site was back online by about 2 p.m., and the corporate website, nytco.com, about an hour later
Eileen Murphy, the newspaper’s spokeswoman, did not return several email and telephone messages requesting more information.
“NYTimes.com is down! Luckily we printed it out for you last night. $2,” tweeted Renda Morton, a designer at the paper, referring to the newsstand price.
“BREAKING: @nytimes Receives Pulitzer For Coverage Of ‘Http/1.1 Service Unavailable’ Story,” mocked satirical news site the Onion, referring to the message seen by those who tried to visit the site during the outage.
Last year, the Times confirmed that it was one of a number of U.S. newsmedia organizations to have been struck by hackers who attempted to access company email and other computer systems. A security firm that worked with the paper said the hackers appeared to be based in China.
NYTimes.com is the most-visited news site in the United States, according to figures from Internet ratings firm ComScore, with 30 million unique visitors a month.