The Ucas website used by A-level students to check their university places is back online again after crashing due to too much traffic.

Thousands of students were left on tenterhooks after the site was shut down at 8.40am, but Ucas have said that the closure of the site will not affect students' chances of scoring a university place through clearing.

In a statement, Ucas said: "Ucas Track services have now been restored after a period of intermittent disruption for some users," the statement said.

"The ability to choose a clearing place has not been impacted, and this function will open late afternoon as planned."

Ucas chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said that the number of website hits – 450 per second – was much higher than in previous years.

She told the Independent: "The critical thing is the clearing vacancy search. That service has been running 100%.

"It has been very, very busy. We've got nearly 30,000 courses offering vacancies in clearing, so people have been accessing that information and by later on this afternoon they will be able to make applications to clearing vacancies when that service opens later.

"Obviously, for Ucas, any service failure is something that we don't want to happen. We are here to try and provide advice and services to our applicants and to our member universities and colleges, so any disruption in service is not how we would wish it to be."

Liam Burns, president of the National Union of Students told the Independent: "It is hardly surprising that we have seen such a huge volume of web traffic this year as university applicants consider the options available to them.

"At an already stressful time, technical difficulties don't help matters at all and we hope for a very speedy resolution."