Between 10 percent and 15 percent of Excite Mail's users have been without service for as long as 48 hours, according to Excite@Home spokeswoman Melissa Walia. The company does not disclose how many people use its Excite Mail service, but more than 38 million people have registered to use Excite.com, the Internet portal business of Excite@Home.
"We have had a hardware failure associated with one of our storage machines," Walia said.
Service is expected to be restored by 9 p.m. PT today, according to the company.
But some users have complained in emails to CNET News.com that Excite already has pushed back its expected restoration time on several occasions. "We're working with our mail customers to give them constant updates on our status," Walia said.
Jeff Edgett, a 22-year-old Web developer in Alexandria, Virginia, said he first experienced an error message indicating too many users on the system Wednesday night.
"It makes me mad," Edgett said. "I was trying to get a message, and the only way I had to get in touch with that person was through email."
Affected users will receive their email once the problem has been resolved, according to the company. "No data will be lost," Walia said.
As reported, the Excite Mail service also had problems earlier this week. Some users of Excite Mail experienced sluggish access to their Web-based email because of a spike in usage after the Labor Day holiday weekend, Walia said.
Service glitches are nothing new for the free Web-based email market.
Similarly, online auction site eBay has inspired the ire of many users after a string of service outages in recent months.