Zoom is buckling under the strain of remote working and distance learning

(Image credit: Zoom Video Communications)

Zoom has suffered severe outages as more people log on to the video conferencing service to work from home or for distance learning.

Zoom users on the East Coast of the US and in parts of Europe reported seeing error messages while attempting to log in to the company's web client on Friday morning. The outage also affected parts of California, Florida and the Midwest as well as Malaysia.

At the time of the outage, Zoom's status page said that its web client was “under maintenance”. On its developer forum page though, the company tried to reassure users, saying:

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"During these tough times, we are seeing a massive increase in demand for our services. To continue serving our incredible services to our customers and developers, we may be making changes rapidly."

When Zoom's web client briefly went down, the company advised users to download and install its desktop application instead until the issues were resolved.

Surge in video conferencing

Since the coronavirus outbreak began, businesses as well as consumers have turned to video conferencing software to work remotely as well as to stay in touch with friends and family. In fact, video conferencing apps saw record downloads on both Apple's App Store and on the Google Play Store in mid-march.

Although there are loads of video conferencing apps and services to choose from, Zoom Video Communications quickly became a favorite during the outbreak due to its ease of use and compatibility across devices and browsers.

However, a number of privacy issues were recently discovered in the company's software including how the service was sending data to Facebook (which was later fixed) and the fact that its video calls don't actually use end-to-end encryption. Zoom's CEO Eric S. Yuan has since apologized for major security vulnerabilities and promised to do better going forward.

As lockdown measures around the world are still in place and employees and students are now working from home, Zoom and other video conferencing services could likely see more outages in the future due to increased demand during this trying time.


Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.