The website of the university administration service UCAS collapsed under a high volume of traffic this morning, as hundreds of thousands of students tried to login to find out whether they had been accepted to university after receiving their A-level results.
The clearing function, which allows students who have not been offered a place at their chosen university to search for open places on other courses, was not affected by the outage, but it was of limited use as students did not know if they had been accepted.
"Traffic to the UCAS Track site is four times the peak per second compared to last year," the organisation said in a statement. "In order to secure a full service we have taken the site down for a short time. Full service will be resumed shortly and we apologise for any inconvenience."
UCAS hosts the website itself, according to Net Central, an IT services company listed as the administrative contact for UCAS.com.
On Twitter, Anthony Painter, a governor of Hackney Community College in London, mocked UCAS’ failure to keep its website up on the most important day of the year. "You can understand why the UCAS website would go down. These spikes in demand are very unpredictable," he said.
Meanwhile, the Wikipedia page about the service was edited to include the following paragraph: "In 2011, UCAS seriously messed up their tracking system. Currently, the tracking service has been down for 3 hours. Becuase of this, billions of students have missed out on university places through clearing. All this thanks to UCAS. For more information, just see everyone’s rants on the official UCAS Facebook page."