Firefox falters as fans flood in

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Mozilla's attempt to set a world download record with the release of Firefox has caused a flood of traffic and a massive slowdown of its servers.

The company kicked off the effort at 10 a.m. Pacific time on Tuesday, officially releasing Firefox 3 to the public and starting the clock on the 24-hour race to a Guinness world record for the most number of downloads.

Within an hour of the launch, however, a massive load of user traffic was threatening to sink the efforts. The company said that, at its peak, traffic for the new browser hit 14,000 downloads per minute.

Users were demanding a titanic 2Gb per second in HTTP traffic alone, while download traffic hit 13Gb per second.

By 12:30 PM US Pacific time, the massive rush caused a download speeds to slow to a trickle. At's offices in San Francisco, a download of Firefox 3 was slowed to around 5kb per second on an ADSL connection, far below average connection rates and slower than most dial-up connections.

While Mozilla's main site and the domain were up, the promotional site for the event remained down.

By 2:00 PM, the site was back online and traffic had slowed. Mozilla vice president of product marketing Paul Kim said in a statement provided to that the company was currently serving around 8,000 downloads per minute and estimated that anywhere from five to seven million downloads would be served by the end of the first day.

"We're thrilled with the response to the release of Firefox 3," said Kim.

"Our systems were quite busy earlier this morning so individual requests may not have gotten through, but they are all up now and serving a tremendous amount of traffic and downloads."

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