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ChatGPT went down twice in massive outage — here's what OpenAI says

What happened?

A phone with the ChatGPT logo and a laptop with the OpenAI logo
(Image: © Shutterstock)

OpenAI's flagship AI productivity platform ChatGPT was down for some users for more than four hours yesterday, Tuesday, June 4th. This included the web and mobile apps. It came back online for a while but went offline once again.

ChatGPT is prone to some minor outages in the way it generates images or text, but this was the first widespread outage in a while.

The first reports appeared on outage tracking website DownDetector at about 02:30 ET this morning with issues on the web, mobile app and desktop app. 

OpenAI says it identified the issue that caused the outage at about 04:00 ET and was working on a fix to restore services. As of 05:00 ET it was still "working on a fix for this issue." Services started to return at about 07:45 ET and were off again by 10:30 ET. As of 1:59 pm ET, OpenAI said a 'hard refresh' may be necessary for users of ChatGPT on web at chatgpt.com. 

While ChatGPT appears stable now it's worth checking out our guide to ChatGPT alternatives — including Claude 3 and MetaAI.

Refresh

The day after

Sam Altman CEO of OpenAI

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's the day after ChatGPT's first significant outage in a while and all the issues are, according to OpenAI at least, resolved. For anyone still having problems with the service on either desktop or mobile, the company recommends implementing a hard refresh.

On Mac, this is accomplished by pressing Cmd+Shift+R in Chrome and Cmd+Option+R in Safari. On PC, no matter which browser you use, hit Ctrl+F5.

Meanwhile, if you're diving back into ChatGPT today then you can now access several premium features on a free account. Here's five that you may want to have a go with first.  

OpenAI logo on phone sitting on top of laptop keyboard

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Here's the last update from OpenAI (for now)

"We experienced a major outage impacting all users on all plans of ChatGPT. The impact included all ChatGPT related services. The impact did not include platform.openai.com or the API. This incident started June 4th at 2:15p GMT and was resolved June 4th at 5:01p GMT."

Is something bigger happening?

What started as a simple outage to OpenAI's ChatGPT service could be something more significant. AI_for_success on X posed the question: "DDOS or just coincidence." Their post is based on AnthropicAI's Claude, Google's Gemini, and Perplexity AI, which also have problems. Could those problems have been an increase in inquiries as users sought ChatGPT alternatives, or is there something else at play? 

According to analysis from QR Code Generator, Global searches for ChatGPT competitor Gemini increased by 60%. Four hours after ChatGPT's first outage reports, there were more than 327,000 searches. If Claude and Perpixity saw similar increases in demand, it could explain their downtime. If the companies weren't expecting a sudden upshot in users, they may not have had the capacity to handle them.

Of course, there are also those speculating that something larger happened here. Perhaps a concentrated DDOS attack is being conducted on the AI companies by someone who doesn't like them. 

I err on the side of increased demand causing the other outages over the DDOS theory, but hopefully, more information will come out. Of course, we don't know why ChatGPT's downtime happened. While the company says the issue is resolved on its status page, it never said what the problem was or why the service went down in the first place.

OpenAI says it’s back

OpenAI status page with all systems operational

(Image credit: OpenAI)

OpenAI updated its status page with an "All systems operational" message this afternoon, indicating that ChatGPT should work again. During its second outage of the day, ChatGPT was down for 5 hours and 29 minutes, though it felt even longer.

"We experienced a major outage impacting all users on all plans of ChatGPT. The impact included all ChatGPT related services. The impact did not include platform.openai.com or the API. This incident started June 4th at 2:15p GMT and was resolved June 4th at 5:01p GMT," reads the company's status page.

If ChatGPT still isn't working for you, OpenAI says a "hard refresh" might be required if you're using the web. "This should not be necessary for anyone using ChatGPT on the Mac app or our mobile (iOS/Android) apps," said the company.

To perform a hard reset, here's what you need to know:

Mac:
On Chrome or Firefox: Press Cmd + Shift + R
On Safari: Press Cmd + Option + R

PC:
Chrome, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge: Press Ctrl + F5

Mobile devices:

Manually clear the cache and reload the page as expected.

I tested ChatGPT upon OpenAI claiming its return, and it worked perfectly fine, at least for now. I asked the AI to draw a cool picture of a duck. After what felt like an average amount of processing time, I was greeted with a nice illustration of a duck standing next to a pond.

No news isn't necessarily good news

OpenAI's status page

(Image credit: OpenAI)

While the team at OpenAI is presumably hard at work trying to figure out why ChatGPT is down, the rest of us are still in the dark. The company's website still lists "Investigating" as the status. The last update was posted at 10:33 a.m. ET, so it's about time for OpenAI to give us something.

On Down Detector, the amount of reports seems to have dropped dramatically, with only 745 reports coming in as of 12:51 p.m. ET.  

OpenAI hasn't posted anything on X since May 30, so the company is still all quiet outside of its status website. 

With Perplexity and Claude also having issues, it appears that Google Gemini is your best bet if you need to get something done with generative AI today, though there have been scattered reports of issues with Google's tool, too. That's likely due to an increase in demand. 

Perplexity AI also having issues

The issues keep coming. First, it was ChatGPT, and then Claude started seeing users across the web reporting issues. Now, Perplexity is starting to have problems. At around 11:40 a.m. ET users started reporting issues with Perplexity's website and application. 

Based on posts seen across X, it seems users are getting an error that Perplexity is "getting a lot of questions right now." The error also says they have "reached out capacity. Please check back soon." That could mean that Perplexity's issues stem from more users hopping over to its platform without access to the ChatGPT. 

For its part, ChatGPT is still down, and no end is in sight. OpenAI's website and Down Detector still show user issues, so we'll have to continue monitoring the beloved AI tool's status.

Claude also seems to be having issues

Claude 3

(Image credit: Claude 3)

Claude 3 from Anthropic, one of the best alternatives to ChatGPT also appears to be having problems today. Its website throws an error and is largely offline.

The first issues with Claude 3 started to appear about an hour ago and seem to be sporadic, not consistently offline like ChatGPT.

Up and down all day

DownDetector

(Image credit: DownDetector)

According to down detector the first reports came in of a fresh issue at about 10:00 ET, very quickly spiking over the next hour. The vast majority are related to ChatGPT but there are also website and app issues.

The fresh outage came about three hours after services appeared to return to normal for OpenAI. 

Both outages led to jokes on X around the fact people will suddenly have to start using their brains or thinking for themselves, and not just leaving it to the AI.

If you don't want to think for yourself, we have a guide to the best ChatGPT alternatives.

ChatGPT Goes Down Again

ChatGPT

(Image credit: ChatGPT)

It looks like ChatGPT is down again. Reports of a fresh outage started to appear on X and DownDetector and have since been confirmed by OpenAI.

The company is reporting it as a fresh outage rather than a continuation of the previous one and says "we are currently investigating this issue."

I first noticed the issue when trying to use the new Background Conversation feature of ChatGPT Voice on mobile. It lets you talk to the AI even when not in ChatGPT — that is when ChatGPT is working.

What went wrong?

It isn't clear what caused the extended outage today. OpenAI has remained tight lipped, not posting on social media nor responding to media requests for comment.

It isn't unusual for a large consumer product to have an extended outage, Meta has suffered them multiple times in recent years. The cause can be anything from a malicious attack to human error.

OpenAI is in the process of ramping up availability ahead of a heavily rumored deal with Apple to bring ChatGPT to millions of new devices. It is also close to rolling out its compute-hungry GPT-4o Voice feature that runs speech-to-speech for natural conversation.

This, combined with growing demand due to making most of its features free, could have contributed to a server overload. We won't know for sure until OpenAI decide to share the cause — if they do.

Apple has eyes for OpenAI

OpenAI is expected to announce a deal with Apple at WWDC next week. This would likely see deep integration between OpenAI's products and the Apple ecosystem.

With this will come greater demand on the servers that also power ChatGPT and Microsoft's Copilot family of AI products. These servers are actually run by Microsoft through its Azure cloud platform.

Mar Spoonauer, Tom's Guide global editor in chief predicts this will have a big impact on the iPhone and specifically in the performance of Siri.

"The bottom line is that iOS 18 and Siri are about to get way smarter with the help of OpenAI, assuming this deal is legit and is announced at WWDC next week," he wrote.

'All systems normal'

OpenAI Status

(Image credit: OpenAI)

OpenAI reports that all systems are back to normal. While the company hasn't issued a statement yet its system status page is reporting the all clear.

According to the website the outage lasted a total of two hours and 45 minutes but in reality there were issues for closer to four hours.

I have asked OpenAI for a comment on the cause but have yet to get a response.

ChatGPT is back for some users

ChatGPT

(Image credit: ChatGPT)

Some users — myself included — have started to regain access to ChatGPT. I've tried it on the web, desktop and iPhone and it appears to be back to normal.

However, a number of users are still reporting issues and the OpenAI status page still says it is unavailable for some users.

I asked ChatGPT for a breakdown of what happened — it has live internet access now — and it made up a fact about a DDoS attack. None of the sourced links it used to suggest that was the cause mention DDoS at all.

OpenAI have not given a reason for the outage.

Best ChatGPT alternatives

Copilot, Gemini, Claude

(Image credit: Microsoft/Google/Anthropic)

ChatGPT is an incredibly impressive platform, with access to custom chatbots, image generation, code creation and the GPT-4o model — it is one of the best.

However, there are dozens of AI chatbots on the market and while some are just wrappers for GPT-4 or GPT-4o, platforms like Google Gemini and Anthropic Claude stand alone as direct competitors with their own skills and quirks.

I've pulled together a guide to the best ChatGPT alternatives and what they're best used for. If you're searching I suggest Perplexity, if you want a friendly chat try Pi and if you're a big fan of X get on Grok.

Potential causes for the outage

ChatGPT

(Image credit: ChatGPT)

OpenAI hasn't said what caused the outage although some users suggested spotting hints of a new model in the drop-down menu when things first started to go wrong.

Some of the issues could be down to increased server load due to the rollout of more advanced features to all ChatGPT users including those with a free account.

With the Apple deal likely to be announced at WWDC next week they may also have been expanding capacity ahead of having to take queries from billions of iPhones.

A fix has been implemented

OpenAI says it has implemented a fix but hasn't said what caused the outage that has now been going on for more than four hours.

There have only been four updates from the ChatGPT maker about the outage in its flagship product. The latest simply says: "Monitoring - A fix has been implemented and we are monitoring the results."

I tried it on the web and was able to gain access but it is unresponsive and I had to reload a few times.

 Social media reaction

Users took to X to share thoughts on the outage including the idea that "even AI needs a mental health break". 

Many of the comments were about the number of posts on X showing people turning to the platform to find out whether ChatGPT really is down. 

You also had memes around people suddenly having to think for themselves now the AI isn't there to do it for them.

Platform wide problem

OpenAI ChatGPT

(Image credit: OpenAI)

The issue appears to be across the entire OpenAI platform, with issues reported around the API used in third-party apps as well as in ChatGPT.

The last update on the OpenAI ChatGPT Status page saw the alert turn from amber to red with the title "ChatGPT is unavailable for some users." Although the actual outage seems to be fairly widespread.

ChatGPT has more than 100 million active users around the world. This is the first big outage since OpenAI made many of the previously paywalled features free.

The update also included bringing GPT-4o, the  powerful multimodal AI model announced during the Spring Update to free ChatGPT users.

OpenAI also made its custom GPT library and those made by developers available to free subscribers and the ability to run code and analyze data.