The controversial My School website crashed because more than 2,350 people a second were trying to use it at 1.00am, according to Federal education minister Julia Gillard.
Gillard backed comments by the Australian curriculum assessment and reporting authority (ACARA) that the site was experiencing "huge demand".
She was unapologetic for a service she said "seems to be patchy" and suggested to users if they couldn't get on first time, "leave it a little while, then try and get on next time.
"This website's got the capacity to take 1.7 million hits in 24 hours. That means it can take 2,350 hits a second and even in the wee hours of the morning, because the website went up at 1am, there were some times that it appears that more people than 2,350 a second were trying to jump on," Gillard said in an interview on 2UE.
"This is backed up by nine servers and on and on the techie talk goes, but you know, 2,350 hits a second, that's a lot of people all trying to have a look."
She denied suggestions that the outage signalled the website had been rushed.
Shadow education minister Christopher Pyne seized on the failure. He said the figures quoted by Gillard suggested the Government "might be living in an alternative reality".
"Ms Gillard appears to be incapable of simply admitting to a mistake," Pyne said.
"We can add this to a long list of education bungles, which includes the Computers in Schools program which has blown out by $1.2 billion with only 150,000 out of 970,000 computers delivered."
My School launched today after a fortnight of controversy over the site. Critics say it will be used to ‘name-and-shame' underperforming schools and have called on teachers to boycott the next round of national tests that provide data for the website.