Major Server Outage Brings Down Major Sites, including Amazon, CNN, NYT and Reddit

Due to a problem that appears related to American cloud computing services provider Fastly, major server outage resulted in many popular high-traffic websites and platforms going offline on Tuesday, including the Amazon Twitch, Reddit and dozens of news organizations like the New York Times, CNN, and BBC.

Close to $5 billion worth Fastly, a 10-year-old firm, runs a content delivery network, or a network of geographically dispersed servers meant to improve websites’ reliability and speed by cutting down the distance between users and servers.

Fastly said in a status update just before 7 a.m., that the “issue has been identified and a fix has been applied”, but it remains unclear what caused the outage all over the world that shut down some of the internet’s most visited websites, leaving many users wondering what happened.

The provider, who largely resolved the issues within an hour, reassured users that it was investigating the issue which caused a 75 percent drop in traffic from Fastly servers. Even Twitter emojis were temporarily knocked offline though the platform as a whole remained relatively stable.

Internet observability company Kentik said on its website that Fastly suffered a global outage which took down numerous major websites including CNN, the New York Times, and Reddit. Huge outages like these are generally traced back to some central service provider, in this case Fastly.

News outlets in the United States and European were particularly hard hit with websites including of the New York Times, the Guardian, the Independent, FT, CNN and the Atlantic affected. Outages were reported by people from around the world, showing the problem to be worldwide.  

The glitch also knocked down much of the UK government’s online infrastructure, including Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the official UK Covid-19 pandemic page, and the visa and immigration service while other government pages remained online though in many cases with broken links and without their full capabilities.

According to Sky News, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, a branch of GCHQ, was aware of the incident and briefly investigated it but found nothing malicious about the outages. The problems came as hundreds of thousands of Britons aged 25-29 trying to book their COVID-19 vaccinations, had been placed in a long virtual queue though they were already experiencing trouble booking online.

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