Something to check when things go down…

By | September 11, 2023

Last week, EE and Vodafone had some network problems, meaning that some of their customers were struggling to make or receive calls.  Each network seems to be blaming the other one for the problems, and neither one has come up with a good explanation for what actually happened or why.

Thankfully both networks seem to be back up and running again as normal, and the outage only seemed to last for a day or so.  So why am I bringing it up, if it’s all fixed now?

Well, there’s a website you can use that’s very handy for tracking when networks, websites and other services are experiencing problems.  It’s called “Down Detector” (as in, has Netflix gone “down”) and it’s pretty handy.

This website lets you check on the status of your mobile network, your broadband network, TV services like Sky or Freeview, popular websites and apps like Facebook, Amazon or YouTube, online and mobile banking services… pretty much anything you can think of really.  You can click on one of the examples or search for a specific site or service in the search bar at the top.

It’ll show you a graph covering the number of outages reported for that network or service over the last 24 hours, with a dotted line showing you the typical number of reports over a day so you can compare the two.  If the coloured line is much higher than the dotted line, then you definitely aren’t the only one having trouble with it!

You can use this site to report if you’re having problems with a website or service – if it’s something like Sky or Virgin that offer multiple services, it’ll ask you which bit you’re having trouble with e.g. landline internet, TV streaming, or no mobile signal.

A couple of words of caution there though – before you make a report, you should check that it’s definitely that website or service that’s having trouble, rather than your personal phone or computer.  For example, if Facebook isn’t loading, try checking a couple of other websites as well – if the other websites aren’t loading either, then Facebook isn’t the problem (it’s probably your wifi).

And secondly, this isn’t the place to go with customer service queries such as being locked out of your account, your bill being too high or not finding the film that you want to watch on Sky.  It’s specifically for problems with loading or connecting.

One last thing you should know about Down Detector is that it doesn’t fix whatever problem you’re having.  It can help you find out what might be causing your problem (or if the site isn’t down, it lets you rule that out as a possible cause).  If it is down, then you can be reassured that you’ve not done anything wrong – all you have to do is wait.

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