Massive internet outage brings down big global websites

The issues were also affected the UK government websites as British citizens were unable to renew passports, apply for tax allowances, or obtain driving licence during the outage, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

After a huge global web outage caused by a “service configuration” took popular websites, including leading news portals, off the grid on Tuesday, the services resumed for some websites although it was a slow process.

The technical glitch happened at the end of Fastly, a popular content delivery network (CDN) provider. The Cloud computing services provider said that the issue has been identified.

“The issue has been identified and a fix has been applied. Customers may experience increased origin load as global services return,” Fastly said in an update.

“We identified a service configuration that triggered disruptions across our POPs [points of presence] globally and have disabled that configuration. Our global network is coming back online,” a Fastly spokesperson was quoted as saying in media reports.

A CDN refers to a geographically distributed group of servers that work together to provide fast delivery of internet content.

Several popular websites were down, including Reddit, Spotify, Twitch, GitHub, Hulu, HBO Max, CNN, the Guardian, the New York Times, BBC, Financial Times and many more.

“Error 503 Service Unavailable,” was the message that appeared on the affected websites earlier.

Some websites managed to find workarounds to the problem, with tech site The Verge taking to Google Docs to publish its news, but forgetting to limit those who could write on it, leading to a series of amusing edits and tweets.

Other popular websites affected were gov.uk, Quora, PayPal, Shopify and others.

The issues affected the UK government websites as British citizens were unable to renew passports, apply for tax allowances, or obtain driving licence during the outage.

The Guardian newspaper said its website and app were affected by a wider internet outage.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Pic Andrew Parsons No 10, Downing Street)

“Outages were reported in locations as varied as London, Texas and New Zealand,” the report noted.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said the government was aware of the problems with accessing gov.uk. He also said reports that users were unable to book Covid-19 tests online were being investigated as a “matter of urgency”.

Asked if ministers believed a malicious foreign group or state was responsible, he said the outage “appears to be… affecting a number of sites globally, it doesn’t appear to be targeted at any one site”.

Last year, a problem with Cloudflare, another CDN company, led to a half-hour outage for most of the internet in major cities across Europe and the Americas.

The Cloudflare outage was eventually traced back to an error in a single physical link, connecting data centres in Newark and Chicago, that caused a cascading failure that knocked out almost 20 data centres worldwide, according to Guardian report.

Meanwhile, the sudden outage sparked many memes and jokes online, with hashtag #InternetShutdown, #InternetDown and #Error503 dominated trends on Twitter globally, the Indian Express reported.

From netizens to brands, all joined the bandwagon to find some solace amid many panicking it might be a “cyber attack”.

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