Update at foot of post:

According to a tweet from WordPress.com, the hosted blogging service is currently suffering a “non-trivial” Distributed Denial of Service attack, causing “Sporadic slowness”.

The downtime is “Multiple Gigabits per second and tens of millions of packets per second” according to an email sent out to WordPress’ VIP customers. The email says that the company is working to resolve the issues and that VIP customers will be top priority.

Although it is causing slowness rather than downtime, WordPress being under attack is a big deal. Almost 18 million sites run on the hosted platform and it’s growing fast. 6 million new blogs were added in 2010, and pageviews increased 53%.

There’s no word on the cause of the DDoS attack as yet. We’ve contacted WordPress.com’s parent company Automattic and will update with more information as it becomes available.

UPDATE:

WordPress’ Matt Mullenweg just sent us the following statement indicating that this is the largest attack the service has been subjected to in its six year history and that it suspect political motives, although this is yet to be confirmed:

“There’s an ongoing DDoS attack that was large enough to impact all three of our datacenters in Chicago, San Antonio, and Dallas — it’s currently been neutralized but it’s possible it could flare up again later, which we’re taking proactive steps to implement.

This is the largest and most sustained attack we’ve seen in our 6 year history. We suspect it may have been politically motivated against one of our non-English blogs but we’re still investigating and have no definitive evidence yet.”

We will update with more information as it becomes available.

Update 2:

In a tweet from the official WordPress account, we’re seeing that things should be back to normal now. Should we hear anything further, we’ll be sure to let you know.
Screen shot 2011 03 03 at 2.15.28 PM Wordpress suffering its largest DDoS attack ever, suspects political motives