Many popular sites including Amazon, Twitch and Reddit have been taken offline in an outage sweeping the internet. Other websites that were also impacted include news outlets like CNN, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Verge, The Financial Times, and many more. Visiting the affected sites results in error messages including “Error 503 Service Unavailable” and “connection failure”.
Alex Hern, The Guardian’s UK Technology Editor, explained the reasons behind the outage in a Twitter thread. He said it has been traced to a failure in a content delivery network (CDN) run by Fastly, a cloud computing services provider.
“The company runs an ‘edge cloud’, which is designed to speed up loading times for websites, protect them from denial-of-service attacks, and help them deal with bursts of traffic,” he said.
If the service suffers a catastrophic failure, which is what appears to have happened, it can prevent companies from operating through their websites.
The failure also broke specific sections of other services, such as the servers for Twitter that host the platform’s emojis, Hern added. He also noted the increasing centralisation of internet infrastructure in the hands of a few large companies leads to sweeping outages in the event of a single point of failure, as is currently the case.
The Verge is also providing live updates to the blackout on Google Docs through Twitter.
The Verge said the outages seem to have begun around 5:30 AM ET according to reports from DownDetector.com and Twitter, which is one of the major sites that has not been affected by the problem.
Update: The Verge, Financial Times, The Guardian and a few other websites appear to be functioning again.