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What to Do When the Office 365 Portal Goes Down

The Office 365 Portal is the main portal site for users to access their O365 cloud apps and admins to access the administration consoles for those apps. Unfortunately, the O365 Portal has become unavailable to some regions over the past few weeks, causing users and admins who rely on it to lose access to their apps and admin consoles.

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Users and admins can check the Office 365 Service Health Dashboard (SHD) to check the status of Office 365 services, but this dashboard is hosted on the portal itself. If you can’t reach the portal, you won’t be able to reach the SHD. Doh! There is an “out of band” website, http://status.office365.com, which monitors the health of the SHD. From there, you should be able to click the link to access the SHD. However, beware of the limitations of the O365 SHD.

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However, this is a bit like the fox watching the hen house. A number of critics pointed out that it took Microsoft more than 30 minutes to report that there was an outage in May 2017. Since that incident other users have reported random portal outages in various regions, but the SHD never indicated there was a problem. Please read the companion article about the limitations of the Office 365 SHD by Paul Robichaux.

There are several free third-party monitoring sites that you can use to check Office 365 availability, such as http://downdetector.com/status/office-365 and http://www.isitdownrightnow.com/office365.com.html. This is useful for checking to see if a service is unavailable for just you because of a network outage or if it’s a more global problem. However, these sites usually monitor only one or two O365 URLs. You should use a more robust solution like Mailscape 365 to monitor all Office 365 service availability.

Just because the O365 Portal is down, doesn’t mean that you and your users can’t get to their apps. Here is a list of links that go directly to user apps if the O365 Portal is unavailable:

Office 365 tenant administrators can use the following links to directly access the O365 admin consoles:

You may want to bookmark these links for reference the next time the portal is unavailable.