We covered the secure and free iOS messaging app Telegram last November and now it seems the service has exploded in popularity, with 4.95 million sign ups in one day. The day news broke Facebook bought WhatsApp, Telegram announced it added 500,000 new users.
4 million users joined Telegram within the last 18 hours. We're doing our best, but the service is getting unstable due to high load.
— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) February 23, 2014
The sudden surge in sign ups due in part by WhatsApp’s recent outage, caused Telegram’s servers to be overwhelmed in Europe causing a two hour outage.
Telegram says their plan was for organic gradual growth, not the sudden surge of downloads and sign ups in one day. They expected 1 million registrations daily, but 5 million in 24 hours overwhelmed the service as new users were registering at the rate of 100 per second. The company noted on Twitter it is quickly adding more servers but said it’ll take some time.
The app is currently the number one ranked app in 49 countries worldwide and is in the top 5 in 65 countries according to data from App Annie.
Telegram calls itself the world’s most secure messaging app and says it’s a non-profit, open source project that won’t sell out to commercial interests (that remains to be seen). It was started by brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov, founders of VKontakte, the largest social network in Europe.
Last December the company started a competition which urged hackers to try their luck at breaking their messaging app’s encryption, with a $200,000 prize going to the first person who could do so.
You can download Telegram here from the App Store—it’s free (an Android version is also available). Let us know what you think of it.