The only downside to being the most intelligent chatbot in the world is that everyone wants to ask you questions, all the time. In fact, more than 100 million people have done just that since ChatGPT was launched towards the tail end of last year.
However, if you’re a regular ChatGPT user, you’ve undoubtedly been hit with a message telling you that “ChatGPT is at capacity”, found out suddenly that the site is down, or been served a ChatGPT error code that's stopped you in your tracks.
So, what can you do in these situations? Well, there are a couple of workarounds, as well as a few ChatGPT alternatives, that can help you out when ChatGPT is down or the site is at capacity.
Is ChatGPT Down Right now?
It’s not too hard to find out if ChatGPT is down right now. There are a number of tools available online that you can use to track the website’s status, as well as other websites that are important to you.
You can now track the server status of ChatGPT on the OpenAI website, as well as ChatGPT API and OpenAI Playground (more on this later). If ChatGPT is down due to a technical error, a server problem, or it's simply closed for maintenance, however, there's nothing you can do to access it.
That's not necessarily the case if you're told that ChatGPT is at capacity. The easiest way to check if it’s at capacity is o see if you’re able to log into your OpenAI account, and whether you can interact with ChatGPT – and there are a number of workarounds for this message that are worth trying, too.
5 Things to Do If ChatGPT Is Down or At Capacity
At Tech.co, we log into ChatGPT almost every day. When it's down, or at capacity, we have found these five solutions the most effective:
- Use OpenAI playground
- Try a ChatGPT Alternative
- Refresh the Page
- Clear Your Cookies and Cache/Privately Browse
- Use a VPN to Change Your Location
If ChatGPT is down right now, we'd recommend trying the first two – particularly OpenAI Playground (you'll see why in just a second). If ChatGPT is at capacity, you could try all five, but we'd recommend starting with a simple refresh of the page. Read on to find out more.
Use OpenAI Playground
If you think of ChatGPT as the end product, Open AI Playground could be described as the development prototype. This is why it's such a good option if ChatGPT is down or at capacity – it's a very similar tool.
You might find the way it differs from ChatGPT intriguing, too. OpenAI Playground has a more basic interface than ChatGPT, but lots more customizability. You can test out different language models and overall have more control over the experience.
It’s not as capable as ChatGPT, granted – it's powered by GPT-3, not GPT-3.5 or GPT-4 but if you can’t access the latter chatbot, then this is probably your next best bet. You can sign up for and use OpenAI Playground through the company's website – but like ChatGPT, you'll need to make an account first.
Try a ChatGPT alternative
Now, this isn’t really a solution that’ll help you get back on ChatGPT any faster. But if ChatGPT is down right now, there's very little you can do about that, so it’s definitely worth looking toward other capable chatbots. No Chatbot is used as much as ChatGPT, so getting to grips with a slightly quieter one will, of course, decrease your risk of experiencing downtime or being locked out due to capacity issues.
For example, you can sign up for a waitlist to use Bard AI, Google’s answer to ChatGPT. Bard performed commendably in a head-to-head with its Microsoft-backed rival. Some people who signed up early already have access, and you can too if you have a personal Gmail account.
Other rivals, like YouChat, serve users web results and AI responses – which some see as the best of both worlds. They might not be quite as clever, but they can pull information from the internet in real-time, which ChatGPT can't do.
Refresh the page
Problems don’t always require complex solutions – and if you want to bypass the “ChatGPT is at capacity” message, or simply then a simple refresh can often do the trick.
When you refresh a webpage, you’re effectively resending your request for the page to resupply you with the same data.
With so many people using ChatGPT, there are going to be people logging in and logging out almost every second. Thousands will log in to their AI accounts daily – so getting in there with a sly refresh is one way to go about it.
However, this doesn’t work every time – so it’s worth exploring other options.
Clear your cookies and cache/Turn on private browsing
Another tactic you can implement to try and skirt around the dreaded “ChatGPT is at capacity” message is to clear your cookies and cache.
Alternatively, search for ChatGPT while you’re in incognito mode or a private browsing tab, which achieves the same effect.
Both methods will make it harder for ChatGPT to work out whether you’ve recently attempted to access – and been blocked out – of the website.
Use a VPN to change your location
Although there’s no official statement from ChatGPT that suggests OpenAI measures its capacity region-by-region, some users have reported that the message disappears when they connect to ChatGPT through a VPN.
A VPN – which stands for “virtual private network” – encrypts your traffic and funnels it through a private server before sending it on to the internet. This process masks your device’s IP address and makes it appear as if you’re connecting from somewhere else in the world.
So, if there are regional considerations when it comes to capacity (there might be), a VPN will seriously help you out. Regardless of what's actually going on during the connection process – and on OpenAI's servers – a VPN seems to help.
What's more, if there’s some external reason ChatGPT is struggling to send data to your IP address specifically, this could alleviate it.
ChatGPT Is at Capacity: How to Avoid The Message Completely
There are a couple of things you can do that will dramatically decrease your chances of getting a message from ChatGPT blocking you from using the service.
Use ChatGPT outside of peak hours
One way to significantly reduce your chances of seeing this message is to use ChatGPT at a time when there aren’t many people online. You don’t need any fancy tools to work this out – it’s going to be earlier in the morning and later at night.
However, that might not be possible for people who need to use ChatGPT at work between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm – when it feels like the whole world is using it.
Purchase ChatGPT Plus
As with most things in life, if you pay a little extra, you get to jump the queue – and ChatGPT is no different.
You can avoid the “ChatGPT is at capacity” message for even more if you purchase ChatGPT Plus, OpenAI’s paid-for version of ChatGPT, which costs $20 per month.
This is a long-term solution, but it’s understandable that not everyone wants to stump up the cash for the program just yet. On top of this, you won't be spared if the site goes down just because you're a Plus customer.
ChatGPT: Is the Initial Rush Largely Over… or Only Just Beginning?
When ChatGPT first came out, some users reported waiting days to gain access. It's also experienced a number of outages, as well as at least one planned closure for bug-fixing purposes. But now, with teething problems seemingly overcome, it seems as if fewer users are complaining about being unable to access the chatbot.
As ChatGPT has been generally available for nearly 6 months, you would assume there wouldn’t be as many curious punters who simply want to see what ChatGPT is and how it works attempting to log in anymore.
Plus, a lot more people are using alternatives to ChatGPT and exploring the ecosystem of competing chatbots flourishing off the back of OpenAI’s success. Considering this, you wouldn't be a fool for arriving at the conclusion that it may have taken some pressure off OpenAI's crowded servers and decreased both the amount of downtime and time spent at capacity.
However, Data analyst Matthew Bentley, who uses ChatGPT on a daily basis, reports that there was a recent period when ChatGPT wasn’t letting him ask any questions at all.
”It was either instantly giving an error or no response at all,” he told Tech.co. “Often, it would make it look like it was about to answer and then never get around to it. This went on for around 2 hours on Tuesday. Refreshes, changing accounts, Wi-Fi, and devices would not fix it, and it's not the first time it's happened.”
In reality, ChatGPT’s popularity – and capacity – is likely to ebb and flow over time. This is why it’s good to know what to do when ChatGPT is at capacity – if you're one of the many businesses finding new, innovative ways to use ChatGPT to save time, you need to keep your options open.