Walgreens, Lowe's Battle E-Commerce Trouble On Pearl Harbor Day

High traffic on Monday (Dec. 7) was blamed for a day of uptime problems at Walgreens.com. A similar long outage plagued Lowes.com the same day, with the company's only explanation being a posted note that referred to "maintenance."

Problems at the Walgreens site began at 1:09 P.M. (New York time), according to site monitoring company AlertBot. The site remained either offline or slow to respond until about 2:16 P.M. But even after it came back to life, the site suffered sporadic similar issues throughout the afternoon.

"During the downtime of slightly more than an hour, Walgreens.com was experiencing some difficulties, including the site taking more than 30 seconds to load and users not being able access the site at all," said AlertBot Sales and Marketing Manager Justin Noll. "The failures began around 1:00 P.M. with the Web site experiencing a complete blackout. It then came back online, only to load extremely slowly, and then went back offline." Walgreens Spokesman Jim Cohn attributed the problems to "high customer response to a Walgreens.com promotion." Cohn said the problem was diagnosed and repaired shortly after 4 P.M., a report backed up by AlertBot's analysis, which showed solid uptime returned at 4:20 P.M.

Meanwhile, the Lowe's site began experiencing very long load times at about 3:26 P.M., according to AlertBot and Dotcom-Monitor. This situation lasted for about 20 minutes, after which the homepage became unavailable entirely and the company put up an apology placeholder page that blamed the situation on site work. "To serve you better, we are currently performing maintenance on Lowes.com," said the page.

Life returned about 50 minutes later, but the resuscitation was short-lived. Lowes.com failed again at about 4:45 P.M. and stayed down, for the most part, until about 6:05 P.M., according to monitors. Another 15-minute outage began about 45 minutes later, followed by 45 minutes of uptime and another crash that was still in effect as of 8 P.M.

A Lowe's spokesperson said she was unaware of the Web site problems and promised to investigate, but she never returned a call to offer an explanation.

AlertBot’s Noll questioned the logic of Lowe's on-site claim regarding site maintenance as the cause for the outage. "Scheduled maintenance is typically performed between 12:00 A.M. and 2 A.M. because that is typically the lowest traffic time," he said. Doing 'maintenance' in the middle of the day just doesn't make sense."