Sites including the UK Government’s official webpage went down as part of the global internet outage, which saw many users encounter a “503 Service Unavailable” message.
A number of high-traffic news websites, including The Guardian, Financial Times, New York Times and CNN were taken offline along with social media platform Reddit.
Streaming platform Twitch, as well as online auction site eBay were also taken down during the internet outage.
Content Delivery Network (CDN), Fastly, reported outages across its network with a glitch believed to be responsible for the disruption.
We are aware of the issues with https://t.co/uLPSBt4jdQ which means that users may not be able to access the site. This is a wider issue affecting a number of other non-government sites. We are investigating this as a matter of urgency.
— GOV.UK (@GOVUK) June 8, 2021
The cloud computing firm, which is one of the world’s major CDN’s, first confirmed the outages at 09:58 UTC, stating: “We’re currently investigating potential impact to performance with our CDN services.”
Four additional updates between 10:07 UTC and 10:23 simply read: “We are continuing to investigate this issue.”
As of 10:44 UTC, the company said the issue has been rectified and that a fix was being implemented.
Twitter users took to the social media site to confirm the outages and complain about the disruption.
Early reports were also confirmed by Down Detector, an online platform which tracks web outages.
“Reports indicate there may be a widespread outage at Fastly, which may be impacting your service,” Down Detector said.
As of 12:00 UTC, many of the websites impacted by the outage had come back online. However, some users continue to report slower loading times and connectivity issues.
In a statement on social media, Fastly confirmed the issue and assured web users that a fix was being implemented.
“We identified a service configuration that triggered disruptions across our POPs globally and have disabled that configuration,” the firm stated. “Our global network is coming back online.”
Toby Stephenson, CTO at IT and cybersecurity firm Neuways said the incident “highlights the reliance of many of the world’s biggest websites” on content delivery networks such as Fastly.
“As there are so few CDN services, these outages can occur from time-to-time,” he said. “By using these CDNs 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.”
Dunedin IT director, Jamie Clague, echoed Stephenson’s comments, noting that the outage is a “reminder of how dependent businesses are on their cloud management and hosting partners”.
“The move to the cloud has been relatively rapid and has changed the nature of the assets that require built-in resilience and protection,” he said. “Like all aspects of business, a web presence needs a clear and robust architecture with an effective disaster recovery plan which can deliver continuity instantly, even in the face of unexpected circumstances.”
Gaz Jones, technical director of digital agency, Think3, suggested that the internet has become “dangerously geared on just a few players”.
“Fastly CDN had major problems affecting Stack Overflow, Spotify, Stripe, Gov.uk and GitHub among others. This is what happens when half of the internet relies on Goliaths like Amazon, Google and Fastly for all of its servers and web services,” he said.