Global tech outage knocks major websites offline

8 Jun 2021267 Views

Image: © tippapatt/Stock.adobe.com

The Financial Times, The Guardian, Reddit and PayPal were all knocked offline due to technical faults at an internet infrastructure company.

Dozens of major news and social media sites were knocked offline this morning (8 June) due to technical issues at a cloud computing service.

The Financial Times, The Guardian, Reddit, Amazon, the UK government’s website and PayPal all suffered outages.

The outage stemmed from technical faults at Fastly, a cloud computing firm and content delivery network (CDN) provider.

A CDN is used by websites to keep them running and ensuring content such as JavaScript files and images load up correctly for end users. It secures a website’s traffic and protects against threats like denial-of-service attacks. But if a CDN fails, its clients’ sites fail with it.

“We’re currently investigating potential impact to performance with our CDN services,” Fastly said in its status updates this morning. It referred to the issue as being a “global” one.

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Outages were spotty with internet users in some countries being able to access sites with no problems, while others were unable. Some sites were inaccessible to users for more than an hour, but managed to get back online later in the morning.

With many news sites down, The Guardian’s tech editor live tweeted his report on the outage, while The Verge briefly turned to reporting via a Google Doc.

The issue highlighted the risks associated with centralising internet infrastructure where one outage can have a domino effect.

Update, 1pm, 8 June 2021: Fastly has now said that it identified a service configuration that triggered disruptions and that it applied a fix. It said its global network is now coming back online.

“Customers may continue to experience decreased cache hit ratio and increased origin load as global services return,” Fastly added in its most recent update.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

editorial@siliconrepublic.com