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For those that missed it en.wikipedia.org (in fact all/most of the various language editions) and simple.wikipedia.org (yes, I was desperate :P) were off-line a short while ago. I was getting an 'unknown host' error in the several message styles of three different browsers so cache-clearing wasn't the answer but I tried it anyway. downforeveryoneorjustme said it was just me which I assumed to be a blatant lie (one develops an instinct for such things ... :D) and my search for answers had me blunder into http://just-ping.com/index.php?

Online web-based ping: remote ping a server or web site using our network with 40 checkpoints worldwide
My first check showed it (wikipedia) was down to half the world. Ten minutes later it looked even worse - clearly name-server problems. Successive refreshes then showed it healing. Although my location is not one of the 40 checkpoints, I was getting a fairly good picture of the lights coming on again. Sure enough, before it was quite back to full connectivity, I was able to resolve wikipedia again. Those still unable to connect when last I looked were London and Shanghai. I would like to believe that is because both countries represented do excessively control/channel their citizens' internet connections and that the Honourable Minister of HM Australian Government who intends to venture into a similar affront to the dignity and access of the sheeple who elected him will see this and turn his attention instead to any of the many actual problems affecting or affected by his portfolio - but I know I'm dreaming.

Somewhere along the way I came across http://mashable.com/2010/03/24/wikipedia-is-down/ which initially confirmed an almost global death of the websites and then updated with the explanation once wikipedia started recovering. Repeated here in case it changes -

Update: Overheating in the European data center and broken DNS resolution of Wikimedia sites affected Wikipedia across-the-board. From the Wikipedia Tech Blog:

"Due to an overheating problem in our European data center many of our servers turned off to protect themselves. As this impacted all Wikipedia and other projects access from European users, we were forced to move all user traffic to our Florida cluster, for which we have a standard quick failover procedure in place, that changes our DNS entries.

However, shortly after we did this failover switch, it turned out that this failover mechanism was now broken, causing the DNS resolution of Wikimedia sites to stop working globally. This problem was quickly resolved, but unfortunately it may take up to an hour before access is restored for everyone, due to caching effects.

We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused."

I believe this is a useful tool to add to the kits of inquisitive or terminally impatient internet users and particularly any who, like me, are both :D .
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