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Global websites rumble back to life after Fastly-linked outage

Website outages on Tuesday were linked to the US-based cloud company Fastly Inc. Stock photo.
Website outages on Tuesday were linked to the US-based cloud company Fastly Inc. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Denis Ismagilov

Government, news and social media websites across the globe were coming back online on Tuesday after being hit by a widespread outage linked to the US-based cloud company Fastly Inc.

High-traffic sites including Reddit, Amazon, CNN, Paypal, Spotify, Al Jazeera Media Network and the New York Times were all listed as experiencing problems by outage tracking website Downdetector.com, but appeared to be coming back up after outages that ranged from a few minutes to around an hour.

Fastly, one of the world’s most widely used cloud-based content delivery network providers, said: “The issue has been identified and a fix has been applied. Customers may experience increased origin load as global services return.”

The company, which went public in 2019 and has a market capitalisation of $5bn (about R67bn), is far smaller than peers like Amazon’s AWS. It helps websites move content using less congested routes, enabling them to reach consumers faster.

The UK’s attorney general tweeted earlier that the country’s main gov.uk website was down, providing an e-mail address for queries.

The disruption may have caused issues for citizens booking Covid-19 vaccinations or reporting test results, the Financial Times reported.

Fastly’s website said most of its coverage areas had faced “Degraded Performance”. Error messages on several websites pointed to Fastly problems.

News publishers came up with inventive workarounds to report about the widespread outage when their websites failed to load. Popular tech website The Verge took to Google Docs to report news, while the UK technology editor at the Guardian started a Twitter thread to report on the problems.

Nearly 21,000 Reddit users reported issues with the social media platform, while more than 2,000 users reported problems with Amazon, according to Downdetector.com.

Amazon’s Twitch was also experiencing an outage, according to Downdetector’s website.

Websites operated by news outlets including the Financial Times, the Guardian, the New York Times and Bloomberg News also faced outages.

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