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How to access ChatGPT when it's at capacity

If the situation is urgent, you'll probably have to turn to another chatbot.

Published onSeptember 26, 2023

Some people consider ChatGPT a revolutionary technology, and many are already using it for work or school, whether they’re writing marketing copy or trying to research a history paper. But it may be a victim of its own success if you’re blocked from accessing it by an “at capacity” error. So what does ChatGPT mean by that more precisely, and is there any way around it?


You may be able to get around the error by logging into your account through a separate part of the OpenAI website, or turning to a VPN, but otherwise you'll probably have to wait or try an alternative chatbot like Google Bard.


Why does ChatGPT say “at capacity”?

You’ve probably already guessed, but it means that ChatGPT servers are handling their maximum number of requests, and won’t accept any more. Generative AI can be very demanding on cloud servers, and by extension costly for ChatGPT’s creator, OpenAI. It’s believed to cost the company about 7 cents per chat — which may not sound like much, but adds up fast with millions of users.

We’d expect OpenAI to grow capacity to keep up with demand, but that can only go so far without more monetization to pay for everything and ultimately turn a profit.

How to access ChatGPT when it’s at capacity

ChatGPT stock photo 71
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

There’s no way to force your way past an “at capacity” error, but here’s a checklist of things that might help you out.

  • Log into your account through a separate part of the OpenAI website. For whatever reason, logging in elsewhere and then heading to ChatGPT can sometimes bypass capacity barriers.
  • Try using Bing Chat. This is based on ChatGPT, so you probably won’t get new results. But if you were previously using ChatGPT directly, your request might be treated differently.
  • Refresh the webpage. Essentially this is just submitting a new request. If server capacity has suddenly freed up though, you’ll be in.
  • Check server status. OpenAI maintains a server status page that’ll let you know if there’s any downtime or performance problems. If even that seems to be offline, you should try Downdetector.
  • Use a VPN. It’s possible that using a VPN will direct your chat to a different ChatGPT server with less demand. There’s no guarantee of success here, naturally.
  • Wait a while. This is the solution you’re probably looking to avoid, yet there may be no alternative. We’d wait at least 5 to 15 minutes, and you may need to wait up to an hour or longer.
  • Try another AI chatbot. ChatGPT may be the most famous chatbot, but it’s hardly the only one out there. Its best-known alternative is Google Bard, and depending on what you’re trying to achieve, Bard’s results could actually be more useful. You should certainly consider alternative bots if you need AI content as fast as possible.


There aren’t any hard facts we can offer, but users have complained that ChatGPT can sometimes stay at capacity an entire day. It should usually perform better than that.

The answer, simply, is that it’s extremely popular and requires a lot of cloud processing, while OpenAI can only afford so much server capacity. The situation should eventually improve, but we wouldn’t hold our breaths.

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