VoIP player Skype suffered a global outage in its free service on Wednesday, leaving tens of millions of users unable to access the service for several hours.
The outage came to light as Skype users in Asia, Europe and the US began posting complaints that the free service was down. At least 20 million users were cut off from the service, according to ReadWriteWeb.
Skype – which is partly owned by web retailer eBay – announced on its blog several hours later (at 3:30pm EST) that the problem had been fixed, but it would take “several hours” for all users to have the service restored, with some features like group video calls taking longer.
Skype spokesman Peter Parkes said in a blog post that the problem stemmed from many “supernodes” in the Skype network – computers that serve as phone directories to help Skype users find each other – going offline due to “a problem affecting some versions of Skype”.
“As Skype relies on being able to maintain contact with supernodes, it may appear offline for some of you,” Parkes said.
Skype has not yet revealed the nature of the “problem” that knocked the supernodes offline, but said its engineers were creating new “mega-supernodes” to “gradually return things to normal.”