Google Analytics is down

Google Analytics has been down several hours today (and still has sporadic problems). The problem was that the Java Script file that is hosted by Google and which is included in all tracked websites couldn’t be downloaded anymore. This means that all websites that use Google Analytics have been down, too. Browsers don’t render a site unless the Java Script files have been downloaded and if a Java Script download times out, the website in question needs around a minute to display.

Since we have been using Analytics on all our websites (, and this blog), all our websites had problems loading. I just removed the code from our sites because we cannot trust Google Analytics anymore. Lesson learned: do not depend on third-party services that can bring your website down, even if it’s Google.

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  1. Posted March 9, 2006 at 23:40 | Permalink

    I’m not using GA myself but supposedly it should be enough to move their javascript code to the end of the page, it will be good enough to show the page, though the browser might still show the page as not completely loaded.

    Maybe they should use some trick to load the javascript code from a small snippet and eval it when it’s loaded to avoid such things. Though it won’t solve the issue of lost statistics.

  2. Posted March 9, 2006 at 23:59 | Permalink

    I know about the trick with moving the Java Script include to the bottom of the page, but the problem is that you sometimes need to call some java script functions from the included file (for a link to the shop, for example). And I suppose that the functions wouldn’t work if the script is included later in the page.

    We even thought about hosting the Java Script file ourselves, though I don’t know if Google’s TOS allows it and we would have to check Google’s file regularly for updates.

  3. Posted March 10, 2006 at 09:00 | Permalink

    Dennis I’ve written a post about how to use Google Analytics so that if it goes down it doesn’t interfere with your website.

  4. Posted March 10, 2006 at 23:11 | Permalink

    Thanks James. This is similar to the suggestion Baruch posted. Just a quick question: If I add the Java Script include to the bottom of the page, can I use the Urchin Java Script functions earlier on the page (your posting looks like it should work)?

    I will look into it and decide if I re-enable Analytics. Additionally I will look for some alternatives that we can host ourselves though.

One Trackback

  1. [...] Google Analytics was down for a few hours today. While it is not unusual for an ASP service to have downtime, Google Analytics works by you including a link to their Javascript file on your website, and while the website was down today that file was also unavailable. Anyone who linked to the file in the page header will have found that their websites were not loading, the reason being that no page content is displayed until all header files have been downloaded. This is a big deal if your business is based around the internet, and some website owners have decided to remove the service entirely. [...]