Hundreds of websites worldwide crashed this morning following a massive internet outage – with the UK government, Amazon and Spotify among those experiencing issues.
Millions of users across the globe reported problems trying to access web pages, with Netflix, Twitch and news websites including the BBC, Guardian, CNN and the New York Times hit by the problem. Passengers desperately trying to fill out locator forms on UK.Gov to enter the UK from Portugal and abroad were also affected by the outage.
After around an hour of downtime, some websites appeared to be gradually coming back online shortly before midday, but with slow loading times. The problem was caused by the US firm Fastly, a content delivery network (CDN) company which helps users view website content more quickly.
The aim of CDNs is to reduce latency – the delay from the moment a user makes a request to the exact instant they receive a response. The higher the latency, the worse the user experience.
But if the service suffers a failure, as Fastly’s did today, it prevents the companies that use it from operating on the net at all. Many of the world’s biggest websites run on the ‘edge cloud’ platform’s network, hence the mass outage. Fastly first posted an error message at 10.58 BST (05.58 ET), saying it was ‘investigating potential impact to performance with our CDN services’.
It later tweeted shortly after midday UK time: ‘We identified a service configuration that triggered disruptions across our POPs globally and have disabled that configuration.