PayPal.com experienced some unexpected outages today, leaving many of its 165 million active customers unable to access the site via its paypal.com domain.
All of Netcraft's geographically distributed performance monitors have showed outages of at least an hour so far today.
But requests to www.paypal.com continued to work throughout the outage, and customers could successfully log in by browsing directly to that hostname; however, it is likely that many users visit the site by typing only "paypal.com" into their browser's address bar.
The shorter paypal.com address does not serve a homepage; its sole purpose is to redirect visitors directly to the main www.paypal.com website. This shortcut saves the user having to type "www." into his browser, but during the outage, anyone attempting to reach the site via this commonly used method would have faced error messages similar to this (unless the redirect has been cached from a previous visit):
Even a short outage can have a huge impact on a financial giant like PayPal. In 2014, PayPal handled 4 billion payments with a total payment volume of $235 billion.
The cause of the outage is as yet unknown: The PayPal Notifications website does not show any scheduled maintenance for the live site until tomorrow, and does not currently list any unscheduled events corresponding to today's outage.