Picture: 123RF/ALPHASPIRIT
Picture: 123RF/ALPHASPIRIT

Bangalore — Thousands of government, news and social media websites across the globe were coming back online on Tuesday after being hit by a widespread hour-long outage linked to US-based cloud company Fastly. 

High traffic sites including Reddit, Amazon, CNN, PayPal, Spotify, Al Jazeera Media Network and the New York Times were out of commission, according to outage tracking website Downdetector.com. They came back up after outages that ranged from a few minutes to about an hour.

Fastly, one of the most widely used cloud-based content delivery network providers, said: “The issue has been identified and a fix has been applied. Customers may experience increased origin load as global services return.”

The company, which went public in 2019 and has a market capitalisation of more than $5bn, is far smaller than peers such as Amazon’s AWS. It helps websites move content using less congested routes, enabling them to reach consumers faster.

The UK’s attorney-general earlier tweeted that the country’s main gov.uk website was down, providing an e-mail for queries. The disruption may have caused issues for citizens booking Covid-19 vaccinations or reporting test results, the Financial Times reported.

Fastly’s website said that most of its coverage areas had faced “degraded performance”. Error messages on several of the websites pointed to Fastly problems.

Websites operated by news outlets including the Financial Times, the Guardian and Bloomberg News also faced outages. News publishers came up with inventive workarounds to report about the widespread outage when their websites failed to load up. Popular tech website the Verge took to Google Docs to report news, while the UK technology editor at the Guardian started a Twitter thread to report on the problems.

At the onset of the outage, nearly 21,000 Reddit users reported issues with the social media platform, while more than 2,000 users reported problems with Amazon, according to Downdetector.com.

Twitter users quickly jumped on the global outage, creating the #InternetShutdown hashtag with Kitkat’s official handle telling followers “guess it’s time to have a break”.

“We were offline for a few minutes because the whole internet broke down,” tweeted Jitse Groen, CEO of food delivery group Just Eat Takeaway.com.

Reuters

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