The MegaUpload Shutdown Effect

By: Jose -

The popular file sharing site MegaUpload was shut down by the US FBI and Department of Justice on Thursday, January 19, and executives from the company were taken into custody. This story is very well covered by the Wall Street Journal and includes a copy of the indictment for your reading.

As you would expect, this was a wildly popular site with users from all over the world. So much so that even notable celebrities appear in a video discussing MegaUpload, almost endorsing it. Previous work by Arbor Networks showed that content providers and hosting sites like MegaUpload are the new “Hyper Giants”. With enough global data, you can actually see the traffic drop when the shutdown occurs. Based strictly on the traffic rates it appears that the shutdown started just after 19:00 GMT on January 19, with traffic plummeting down over the next two hours. The graphic here shows three main client regions – Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the US.

Over the past 24 hours, the top countries (in aggregate) using MegaUpload were the United States, France, Germany, Brazil, Great Britain, Turkey, Italy, and Spain, although dozens more countries are represented.

As for the traffic drop off, we’re not the only ones to notice. As seen on Twitter, South America experienced a dramatic traffic drop at about the same time, presumably due to this MegaUpload shutdown. Furthermore, we’re seeing reports of a fake MegaUpload site that is supposedly a malware infection site.

Friends of mine from elsewhere in the world have been joking that the Internet seems to be running a bit smoother today. That may be, given how much bandwidth appears to have been freed up.



  1. South America traffic drop graph does not make sense.

    Why would MegaUpload outage result in 35% packet loss and ping increase?

    The graph shows some other problem, not related to MegaUpload.

  2. Interesting, but the traffic drop off in SouthAm seems to have a different cause: (spanish)

  3. Any chance you could post a graph that breaks down the impact into different country’s, chiefly those of the top ones you mentioned? Would love to see the impact in GB versus USA etc.

  4. In Uruguay and others countries in LA, we had serious connectivity problems, because one big router in Atlanta shut down…..I think in this way we can find the disturb.

  5. Will you provide an updated analysis of the trend in the next weeks/months to see how traffic moves to other hosting services or P2P ?

  6. Keep track of all the other cloud file lockers. I bet they picked up the slack. As a matter of fact, i bet a lot of content that disappeared with MU is now being reuploaded in several of the remaining lockers.

    1. Jose Nazario 01/28/2012, 10:23 pm

      that’s what one site i read this week suggested. i haven’t been able to confirm.

  7. Other Paul 01/27/2012, 6:00 am

    Interesting how the traffic ramps up immediately before the shutdown. One might infer that the FBI shutdown was leaked and that a whole bunch of people were trying to get their stuff done before it happened.

    Or that the graphs are showing something else.

    1. Jose Nazario 01/28/2012, 10:22 pm

      the graphs are showing, i think, the typical diurnal effect.

  8. I think there should be more hard evidences that this is due to MegaUpload being taken down. Frankly I don’t think that’s the case at all.