Why major internet sites and services were brought down by an o

(Pocket-lint) – A massive internet outage has affected multiple sites and services around the world. Users saw statements like “503 error” or “connection lost” when they’ve tried to access some of their favourite sites online. 

Popular websites including Reddit, Spotify, Twitch, Stack Overflow, GitHub, gov.uk, Hulu, HBO Max, Quora, PayPal, Vimeo, Shopify, as well as news outlets like the Guardian, the Financial Times and the BBC have all been affected.

The cause of the problem appears to have been a glitch at CDN provider Fastly. A CDN, which stands for Content Distribution Network, enables websites to load considerably faster, as well as protect them from attacks plus deal with unpredictable bursts of traffic. 

Fastly has confirmed on its status page that it is facing an outage that started around 11am UK time (10am UTC). 

A statement from Fastly at 10.57am UTC says: “The issue has been identified and a fix has been applied. Customers may experience increased origin load as global services return.” 

That issue according to Fastly involved “a service configuration that triggered disruptions across our POPs globally.” The company has said that it has “disabled that configuration,” and that it’s “global network is coming back online.”

A PoP is short for “Points of Presence” and are at the heart of the CDN infrastructure allowing the service to serve content from globbaly distributed servers that are closer to the end user. 

Some sites managed to bypass the service to restore functionality, though most sites have now come back online. In 2020 a problem with Cloudfare, another CDN, led to a major internet outage in America and Europe. 

There is no suggestion at the moment that it was an attack or foul play, however a number of people have already turned to Twitter and other social media platforms to question why it was so easy to knock out large parts of the internet, including the UK government’s website. 

With more and more emphasis on doing things online, many services and sites will now be questioning their uptime reliance and whether they have backup plans in place for next time. 

Writing by Stuart Miles.

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