Why were Reddit, Gov.uk, Twitch, Guardian, and other major websites down? Fastly glitch and 503 error explained

Media outlets, government websites and e-commerce platforms have all been hit by the outage

Countless popular websites have been hit by an internet outage

Several hugely popular websites were hit by an outage this morning.

Reddit, Spotify, Twitch, PayPal, and news outlets CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, BBC and Financial Times were among those impacted.

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The UK government’s websites were also down.

Service monitoring website Down Detector registered a spike in reports of outages of Amazon’s cloud computing platform Amazon Web Services.

As of 11am on Tuesday, the site recorded 1,700 reports.

Many of the impacted websites display the error message “Error 503 Service Unavailable”.

Why are some websites down?

The outage appears to have been sparked by an issue with a content delivery network (CDN), a system used to host websites and their content on the internet and serve it to users.

Fastly, one of the world’s major CDNs, reported a major outage across its global network, which is believed to have caused the outage.

The company offers services such as speeding up loading times for websites, protect them from denial-of-service cyberattacks and helping them deal with bursts of traffic in order to stay online and stable.

The US-firm has confirmed it is “currently investigating potential impact to performance with our CDN services”.

Several websites affected by a major outage are reporting that the issue is linked to Fastly, a cloud computing services provider.

Alex Hern, the Guardian’s technology editor, tweeted that Fastly “has been identified as the cause of the problem”.

“The outage, which began shortly before 11am UK time, saw visitors to a vast array of sites receive error messages including ‘Error 503 Service Unavailable’ and a terse ‘connection failure’,” he tweeted.

The Quartz site has also attributed the issue to Fastly via Twitter.

Which websites are down?

According to TechCrunch the following websites were all hit by the error: Reddit, Spotify, Twitch, Stack Overflow, GitHub, gov.uk, Hulu, HBO Max, Quora, PayPal, Vimeo, Shopify, CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, BBC and Financial Times.

The Guardian tweeted: “The Guardian’s website and app are currently being affected by a wider internet outage and will be back as soon as possible”.

The official GOV.UK Twitter account said: “We are aware of the issues with http://GOV.UK 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.”

Websites affected by the outage appear to be gradually coming back online, but loading times are slow.

Fastly, which has been widely reported as the source of the problem, updated its service status page, saying: “The issue has been identified and a fix is being implemented.”