XEP-xxxx: Service Outage Status

This document defines an XMPP protocol extension that enables a server to communicate issues with the server to all users in a semantic manner.
Mathieu Pasquet
© 2021 – 2021 XMPP Standards Foundation. SEE LEGAL NOTICES.


WARNING: This document has not yet been accepted for consideration or approved in any official manner by the XMPP Standards Foundation, and this document is not yet an XMPP Extension Protocol (XEP). If this document is accepted as a XEP by the XMPP Council, it will be published at <https://xmpp.org/extensions/> and announced on the <standards@xmpp.org> mailing list.
Standards Track
0.0.1 (2021-01-18)
Document Lifecycle
  1. Experimental
  2. Proposed
  3. Stable
  4. Final

1. Introduction

The XMPP Network is a network of servers which each have their own administration policies, status reports, and other peculiarities. Contact Addresses for XMPP Services (XEP-0157) [1] provides a consistent framework for reaching out to administrators and reporting abuse, incidents, or even giving feedback on the service, and the goal of this specification is to provide a similar framework for letting users (or other entities) know the server status in-band or out of band (in case of hard failures).

Centralized systems usually control both the infrastructure and client code, making it easy to hardcode information retrieval one way or the other.

The usual way of informing users of planned maintenance, partial or total outage was previously through "announce" modules that lets the admin broadcast server-wided messages. This approach has several drawbacks, as it will appear in most clients as a new discussion with the server JID, which can prove confusing. It also does not provide a way to reach the user when the XMPP server is offline.

This XEP provides:

2. External endpoint discovery

To make such discovery possible, we specify a Service Discovery Extensions (XEP-0128) [2] mechanism that a server SHOULD return in response to service discovery information ("disco#info") requests sent to the bare domain of the server. This information MUST be scoped using a FORM_TYPE of "urn:xmpp:tmp:sos" (as already specified in XEP-0128) and data form fields registered for this purpose as defined in the XMPP Registrar Considerations section of this document.

Values of 'external-status-addresses' form field MUST be valid URIs, i.e. comply with the 'xs:anyURI' datatype of XML Schema Part 2 [4].

Example 1. Entity queries server for information
<iq from='thirdwitch@shakespeare.lit/chamber'
  <query xmlns='http://jabber.org/protocol/disco#info'/>
Example 2. Server communicates information
<iq from='shakespeare.lit'
  <query xmlns='http://jabber.org/protocol/disco#info'>
    <identity category='server' type='im'/>
    <feature var='http://jabber.org/protocol/disco'/>
    <x xmlns='jabber:x:data' type='result'>
      <field var='FORM_TYPE' type='hidden'>
      <field var='external-status-addresses'>

Links present inside the 'external-status-addresses' field SHOULD use HTTP/HTTPS protocol and the resources referenced MUST be available without authentication.

3. External status format

TODO: do we want this to be XML or json? I have no real preference, in any case it should be preferably generated by a tool but easy to write by hand, as this needs to be usable in situations where time is the essence.

The format used for the external status is defined here, to allow a wide range of compatibility across services and clients.

A client MUST ignore unknown extra fields present in the JSON file, to allow extensibility, and implementations MAY add other fields.

Example 3. Example status
  "outage": "complete",
  "planned": true,
  "beginning": "2021-01-12T01:01:01Z",
  "expected_end": "2021-01-12T05:00:00Z",
  "message": {
    "default": "Mise à jour du serveur",
    "en": "The serveur is being updated"

The "message" field MUST contain at least a message on the "default" key, that will be used by the client if the current user language is not found. It is left to the operator to determine which language is more relevant as a default, according to the server’s user base.

The following JSON schema is provided as a means to describe and validate the file exposed by the external service:

  "$id": "http://xmpp.org/server-outage-schema.json",
  "$schema": "http://json-schema.org/draft-07/schema#",
  "title": "XMPP Server Outage Format",
  "type": "object",
  "required": ["beginning"],
  "additionalProperties": true,
  "properties": {
    "outage": {
      "type": "string",
      "enum": ["partial", "complete"],
      "description": "The outage status (partial or complete)."
    "planned": {
      "type": "boolean",
      "description": "If the outage was planned or not."
    "beginning": {
      "type": "string",
      "format": "date-time",
      "description": "Approximate time of the start of the outage."
    "expected_end": {
      "type": "string",
      "format": "date-time",
      "description": "Estimated time of the end of the outage (if known)."
    "message": {
    "type": "object",
      "description": "Textual message to service users, each key being 'defaul' or a BCP47 language tag.",
      "required": ["default"],
      "properties": {
        "default": { "type": "string"}
      "patternProperties": {
        "default": {"type": "string"},
        ".*": {"type": "string"}

4. Pubsub Node

For in-band notifications of server issues, a service MUST expose a pubsub node with the acess model defined in Best Practices for Persistent Storage of Public Data via Publish-Subscribe (XEP-0222) [5]. This pubsub node contains items describing outages, and each item MUST have an 'id' attribute value containing the publishing time, in XMPP Date and Time Profiles (XEP-0082) [6] format.

Clients implementing this extension SHOULD subscribe to the '+notify' on that node, as defined in Publish-Subscribe (XEP-0060) [3].

Entities from other servers MAY be allowed to subscribe to other server nodes, to allow an external service to monitor the server. Doing so allows aggregation of XMPP outage events across the network, for a better transparency.

Example 4. Server operator publishes an outage event
  <iq from='firstwitch@shakespeare.lit/broom' to='shakespeare.lit' type='set' id='pub1'>
  <pubsub xmlns='http://jabber.org/protocol/pubsub'>
    <publish node='urn:xmpp:tmp:sos'>
      <item id="2021-01-01T01:01:01Z">
        <outage xmlns='urn:xmpp:tmp:sos'>
          <description xml:lang='en'>The ICQ and MSN gateways are down</description>
          <description xml:lang='fr'>Les passerelles ICQ et MSN sont mortes</description>
Example 5. Client subscribed receives an outage event
<message from='shakespeare.lit'
  <event xmlns='http://jabber.org/protocol/pubsub#event'>
    <items node='urn:xmpp:tmp:sos'>
      <item id="2021-01-01T01:01:01Z">
        <outage xmlns='urn:xmpp:tmp:sos'>
          <description xml:lang='en'>The ICQ and MSN gateways are down</description>
          <description xml:lang='fr'>Les passerelles ICQ et MSN sont mortes</description>

When the outage is over, servers operators SHOULD publish an <outage-end/> element with the item id matching the time at which the issue was resolved. It can optionally contain a description.

Example 6. Server operator publishes an end of outage event
  <iq from='firstwitch@shakespeare.lit/broom' to='shakespeare.lit' type='set' id='pub2'>
  <pubsub xmlns='http://jabber.org/protocol/pubsub'>
    <publish node='urn:xmpp:tmp:sos'>
      <item id="2021-01-01T02:05:01Z">
        <outage-end xmlns='urn:xmpp:tmp:sos'>
          <description xml:lang="en">Everything has been fixed!</description>
          <description xml:lang="fr">Tout a été corrigé !</description>

Clients receiving this notification SHOULD remove the information about the outage from the user’s view, and MAY display the new message briefly.

5. Use Cases

This extension has been thought for several different cases of service outages:

6. Business Rules

A client implementing this extension MUST fetch the addresses of the external service and cache it for a reasonable amount of time (several days), to be able to use it when an issue occurs

7. Internationalization Considerations

Both the JSON and the XML format defined in this document allow for internationalization in the fields that are expected to be presented to the user as-is. The other fields are machine-readable and their various values SHOULD be translated in the implementing applications.

8. Security Considerations

Client implementations MUST check the provenance of the pubsub notifications before displaying a notification, otherwise malicious entities could send fake outage events.

9. IANA Considerations

This document requires no interaction with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) [7].

10. XMPP Registrar Considerations

The XMPP Registrar [8] includes the following information in its registries.

10.1 Field Standardization

Field Standardization for Data Forms (XEP-0068) [9] defines a process for standardizing the fields used within Data Forms qualified by a particular namespace, and XEP-0128 describes how to use field standardization in the context of service discovery. This section registers fields for server information scoped by the "urn:xmpp:tmp:sos" FORM_TYPE.

Registry Submission
    Form enabling a the registration of a machine-readable
    external file to describe a service status.
      label='One or more addresses containing a file with the server status'/>

11. XML Schema

REQUIRED for protocol specifications.


Appendix A: Document Information

XMPP Standards Foundation
Standards Track
Last Updated
Approving Body
XMPP Council
XMPP Core, XEP-0060, XEP-0128, XEP-0222
Superseded By
Short Name

This document in other formats: XML  PDF

Appendix B: Author Information

Mathieu Pasquet


This XMPP Extension Protocol is copyright © 1999 – 2024 by the XMPP Standards Foundation (XSF).


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IPR Conformance

This XMPP Extension Protocol has been contributed in full conformance with the XSF's Intellectual Property Rights Policy (a copy of which can be found at <https://xmpp.org/about/xsf/ipr-policy> or obtained by writing to XMPP Standards Foundation, P.O. Box 787, Parker, CO 80134 USA).

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Appendix D: Relation to XMPP

The Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is defined in the XMPP Core (RFC 6120) and XMPP IM (RFC 6121) specifications contributed by the XMPP Standards Foundation to the Internet Standards Process, which is managed by the Internet Engineering Task Force in accordance with RFC 2026. Any protocol defined in this document has been developed outside the Internet Standards Process and is to be understood as an extension to XMPP rather than as an evolution, development, or modification of XMPP itself.

Appendix E: Discussion Venue

The primary venue for discussion of XMPP Extension Protocols is the <standards@xmpp.org> discussion list.

Discussion on other xmpp.org discussion lists might also be appropriate; see <https://xmpp.org/community/> for a complete list.

Errata can be sent to <editor@xmpp.org>.

Appendix F: Requirements Conformance

The following requirements keywords as used in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119: "MUST", "SHALL", "REQUIRED"; "MUST NOT", "SHALL NOT"; "SHOULD", "RECOMMENDED"; "SHOULD NOT", "NOT RECOMMENDED"; "MAY", "OPTIONAL".

Appendix G: Notes

1. XEP-0157: Contact Addresses for XMPP Services <https://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0157.html>.

2. XEP-0128: Service Discovery Extensions <https://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0128.html>.

3. XEP-0060: Publish-Subscribe <https://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0060.html>.

4. XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes <http://www.w3.org/TR/xmlschema11-2/>.

5. XEP-0222: Best Practices for Persistent Storage of Public Data via Publish-Subscribe <https://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0222.html>.

6. XEP-0082: XMPP Date and Time Profiles <https://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0082.html>.

7. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is the central coordinator for the assignment of unique parameter values for Internet protocols, such as port numbers and URI schemes. For further information, see <http://www.iana.org/>.

8. The XMPP Registrar maintains a list of reserved protocol namespaces as well as registries of parameters used in the context of XMPP extension protocols approved by the XMPP Standards Foundation. For further information, see <https://xmpp.org/registrar/>.

9. XEP-0068: Field Data Standardization for Data Forms <https://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0068.html>.

Appendix H: Revision History

Note: Older versions of this specification might be available at https://xmpp.org/extensions/attic/

  1. Version 0.0.1 (2021-01-18)

    First draft.


Appendix I: Bib(La)TeX Entry

  title = {Service Outage Status},
  author = {Pasquet, Mathieu},
  type = {XEP},
  number = {xxxx},
  version = {0.0.1},
  institution = {XMPP Standards Foundation},
  url = {https://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-xxxx.html},
  date = {2021-01-18/2021-01-18},