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  • Liling Tan

Massive Global Internet Outage: Error 503 Service Unavailable

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

There was a brief moment of what could have been internet armageddon when Americans woke up Tuesday morning (evening in Asia).

Imagine looking into your typical morning websites only to find error messages.

“Fastly error: unknown domain” “Error 503 Service Unavailable”

Down-Detector – a website that tracks website outages listed CNN, Google, Reddit, Amazon, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Hulu, Spotify, Etsy and Paypal were all down in the US for just a short while, but it must have felt like an eternity for many.

The U.K.’s national websites ending in were also knocked out as well as the Financial Times website in London. In Asia, some people reported being unable to access CNN in Hong Kong and in Singapore.

The widespread outage was traced to San Francisco-based Fastly, a content delivery network. It acknowledged detecting the problem at 6.30am EST, saying on its website that it was “continuing to investigate the issue”.

At about 7.30am EST, the company said: “The issue has been identified and a fix has been applied. Customers may experience increased origin load as global services return.”

Fastly provides vital 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 they are closer to users, allowing them to fetch it more quickly and smoothly instead of having to access the site’s original server.

This internet outage comes just after JBS Meat, the world’s largest meat processor was hacked last week, and a couple of weeks after hackers paralysed gasoline supplies when Colonial Pipeline was attacked by cybercriminals.

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