Mozilla logs 8 million-plus Firefox 3 downloads in a day

After a rocky start to its Firefox 3 “Download Day,” Mozilla logged more than 8 million downloads of the latest version of its Web browser in 24 hours, the company said Wednesday.

Firefox 3 was downloaded 8,349,074 times between 2:16 p.m. ET Tuesday and 2:16 p.m. ET Wednesday—more Firefox downloads than the company has ever had in one day, according to a Mozilla Web site tracking the browser’s first-day download process.

In a blog posting, Mozilla CEO John Lily said Firefox’s browser market share grew to about 4 percent worldwide after Download Day, citing a link to statistics collected and maintained by Web statistics and analytics company Net Applications.

People in about 200 countries downloaded Firefox 3, with the U.S. leading the pack for number of downloads. The other countries in the top 10 for Firefox 3 downloads were, in order, Germany, Japan, Spain, the U.K., France, Iran, Italy, Canada and Poland.

He added that Firefox users hosted 757 parties around the world to celebrate Download Day.

Mozilla said on May 28 that it would attempt to establish a Guinness World Record for the largest number of software downloads in a 24-hour period with Firefox 3’s release.

As part of the plan, Mozilla deemed Tuesday Download Day and hosted a download party at its Mountain View, California, office.

In comparison, Firefox 2 was downloaded 1.6 million times in its first 24 hours of release; to date, it has been downloaded more than half a billion times, according to Mozilla. There was no Download Day fanfare surrounding Firefox 2’s release, however.

Mozilla is now awaiting review by the Guinness judges to see if its goal was accomplished, according to the Download Day Web site. There is currently no record for the number of software downloads in 24 hours; Mozilla’s would be the first.

Despite its eventual success, Firefox 3 Download Day didn’t go off without a hitch. Interest in the endeavor crippled Mozilla’s servers on Tuesday, so the U.S. part of the download process started around 3 p.m. ET—two hours later than originally planned—when Mozilla’s site wouldn’t work properly.

The European leg of the effort began a little more than an hour later than planned and marked the start of the download-logging process. There were no more problems reported once the U.S. site was back up and running.

In his blog post, Lily provided details for how Mozilla’s network performed on Download Day. The network at its peak served 17,000 downloads per minute, or 283 per second, and had sustained download rates in excess of 4,000 a minute, he said.

Updated at 2 p.m. PT to add new information throughout the story.

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