LONDON (AP) — Dozens of websites briefly went offline around the globe yesterday, including CNN, The New York Times and Britain’s government home page, after an outage at the cloud service Fastly, illustrating how vital a small number of behind-the-scenes companies have become to running the Internet.
The sites that could not be reached also included some Amazon pages, the Financial Times, Reddit, Twitch and The Guardian.
San Francisco-based Fastly acknowledged a problem just before 6am Eastern. About an hour later, the company said, “The issue has been identified and a fix has been applied.” Most of the sites soon appeared to be back online.
Fastly said it had identified a service configuration that triggered disruptions, meaning the outage appeared to be caused internally. Brief Internet service outages are not uncommon and are only rarely the result of hacking or other mischief.
Still, major futures markets in the United States (US) dipped sharply minutes after the outage.
Fastly is a content-delivery network, or CDN. It provides vital but behind-the-scenes cloud computing “edge servers” to many of the web’s popular sites. These servers store, or “cache”, content such as images and video in places around the world so that it is closer to users, allowing them to fetch it more quickly.
Internet traffic measurement by Kentik showed that Fastly began to recover from the outage roughly an hour after it struck at mid-morning European time, before most Americans were awake.
“Looks like it is slowly coming back,” said Internet infrastructure expert at Kentik Doug Madory. He said “it is serious because Fastly is one of the world’s biggest CDNs and this was a global outage”.