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Dubai: A massive response to the Ramadan moon sighting story briefly crashed the Gulf News web portal on Tuesday night.

The shutdown was triggered by the sheer number of online users both on desktop and mobile devices concurrently trying to get updates from the news site quoting moon sighting committees, especially in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Muslims around the world anticipate the end of Shaaban, the month preceding Ramadan, by watching for the presence or absence of the crescent moon — as this indicates either the continuation of Shaaban or beginning of Ramadan.

Working hours are also changed during Ramadan in many countries.  

As our live report went online quoting moon sighting committees from Australia to Japan, and from Malaysia to Jordan announcing the start of Ramadan in their jurisdictions, an inordinately large number of users flooded with queries.

This triggered the system to briefly shut down.

To prevent a similar occurrence, we have since taken measures to accommodate the additional traffic.