finance

Internet outage takes down several major websites



The UK Government’s website is among a number giving error messages this morning in what appears to be a worldwide internet issue.

Websites for severa media companies – including the Guardian, Financial Times, Independent and the New York Times – also went down soon after 11am.

Anyone attempting to access the gov.uk site was given the “Error 503 Service Unavailable” message.

Other websites affected included the online discussion platform Reddit, the Evening Standard and French newspaper Le Monde.

The major outage is linked to Fastly, a cloud computing services provider.

It appears to have been sparked by an issue with a content delivery network (CDN), a system used to host websites and their content on the internet and serve it to users.

Fastly, one of the world’s major CDNs, has reported a major outage across its global network, which is believed to have caused the problem.

The company offers services such as speeding up loading times for websites, protect them from denial-of-service cyber attacks and helping them deal with bursts of traffic in order to stay online and stable.

The US-firm confirmed it is “currently investigating potential impact to performance with our CDN services”.

Service monitoring website Down Detector registered a spike in reports of outages of Amazon’s cloud computing platform Amazon Web Services. As of 11am on Tuesday, the site recorded 1,700 reports.

Toby Stephenson, chief technology officer at IT and cyber security firm Neuways, commented: “This incident highlights the reliance of many of the world’s biggest websites on CDNs such as Fastly.

“As there are so few of these services, these outages can occur from time-to-time, by using them to push content to readers, these websites are usually fast and responsive, but on this occasion they have been left with egg on their collective faces.

“The technical backends of these big websites are probably fine, but it is the frontends that can’t be accessed and content cannot be pushed as the network is down.”

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