A number of leading media websites, including the Guardian, Financial Times, Independent and the New York Times, as well as popular websites like Amazon, Reddit, Unsplash, Spotify and Twitch went offline Tuesday, in a global internet outage.
The affected media are using distribution network Fastly that said there were issues with its global content delivery system but that the problem had been identified and fixed. “We identified a service configuration that triggered disruption across our POP (points of presence) globally and have disabled that configuration”, the company said.
Around noon GMT, sites were coming back after having been down for around one hour.
Affected websites displayed the message “Error 503 Service Unavailable” in their homepages, and were not accessible.
The ‘503 Service Unavailable’ message refers to an error response code indicating that the server is not ready to handle the request. Common causes are a server that is down for maintenance or that is overloaded.
The interest for the term ‘Error 503’ worldwide started picking up at 11.40 a.m. CET, according to Google Trends.
The breakdown started an online discussions about the wisdom of having one company handling so many globally important outlets. Some media companies are using other similar services but globally rather few are available which means that the distribution networks are a vulnerable link in the system.