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Yahoo to take Flickr offline for six hours

Planned outages that last a long time are rare these days for major sites, but Yahoo's photo-sharing service will experience one on July 25 for "maintenance."

A blue banner across the top of Flickr warns people that the photo-sharing site will go offline for six hours.
A blue banner across the top of Flickr warns people that the photo-sharing site will go offline for six hours.
screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

In an unusual example of a protracted outage on a major Internet property, a Yahoo's Flickr site will be offline for six hours on Thursday for maintenance.

Flickr announced the outage on its blog Tuesday, saying that the photo-sharing site will be unavailable from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. PT on July 25.

"During this time, Flickr will be unavailable on web and mobile," Flickr staff member Thea Lamkin said in the blog post.

The outage will be broader than that, though: other sites that use Flickr photos via its application programming interface also won't work, according to Flickr's API blog. " "A call to the Flickr API will result in the following error: 105: Service currently unavailable (Site Disabled)," Lamkin said.

As Web technology has matured and as the Web's importance increases, it has become unusual to see long planned outages such as Apple's taking down its online store during major product announcements.

Unplanned outages from technical problems, some of which afflicted Flickr shortly after its major redesign earlier this year, remain a problem for many companies. Culprits there include hardware and software problems and network attacks.

Yahoo didn't say in the posts what improvements it expects from Thursday's outage. In a statement to CNET, it wasn't much more forthcoming, though it appears the maintenance will help Flickr operate at large scale: "From time to time, we need to do site maintenance to ensure that we're providing a robust and scalable experience for our users. We appreciate our users' understanding and apologize for any inconvenience."

Updated at 10:56 p.m. PT with Yahoo comment.