Global Fastly outage takes down many on the wibbly web – but El Reg remains standing

'Potential impact to performance' drops some of the world's biggest websites offline


Updated A not-inconsiderable chunk of the World Wide Web, including news sites, social networks, developer sites, and even the UK government's primary portal, has been knocked offline by an apparent outage at edge cloud specialist Fastly – though your indefatigable The Register remains aloft.

Mid-morning UK time (09:58 UTC) today, reports began to flood in about errors on a range of seemingly disparate sites: everywhere from Reddit, Twitter, GitHub, Stackoverflow, The Guardian, The Verge, and crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to GOV.UK, the UK government's primary web platform, had started to throw 503 cache errors or connection failure messages to would-be visitors.

Ironically, even legendary webcomic xkcd fell offline.

The root cause, according to security expert Mikko Hypponen and others in the field: Fastly, an edge-centric cloud computing specialist founded in 2011 by former Wikia chief technical officer Artur Bergman, which is apparently having a bad start to the day.

"Fastly edge platform is having problems, which means a big part of the internet is having problems. This includes Twitter. Even fastly.com itself is unavailable in many locations," Hypponen wrote of the outage. "Basically, internet is down."

fastly outage

Click to enlarge

Boasting 1,000 employees and an annual revenue of $200m, Fastly is responsible for optimising websites – primarily through its content delivery network (CDN), which appears to have been at the heart of today's outage.

Fastly's status page confirmed "potential impact to performance with our CDN service" starting at 09:58 UTC today – which is a somewhat understated way of putting the glitch. At the time of writing, investigations were under way with no timescale yet provided for a fix.

A spokesperson for Fastly confirmed to The Register that the company is "aware of the issue and can confirm it's global," and that "all hands are on deck and working hard to resolve." ®

Updated to add at 10:48 UTC

Fastly updated its status at 10:44 UTC to say the issue had been "identified and a fix is being implemented."

Updated to add at 11:03 UTC

Fastly has applied the fix, and told customers at 11:57 UK time (10:57 UTC) they "may experience increased origin load as global services return."

To our readers affected, we offer a virtual beer or colddrink. We hope the rest of this day goes better.

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Ouch! When the IT equipment is sound, but the setup is hole-y inappropriate

    Let me draw a picture for you

    On Call The week may be over, but the capacity of users to stick things where they shouldn't is far from exhausted. Welcome to another edition of On Call.

    Today's tale takes us back to when we worked in offices and the concept of "hot desking" was a fashionable thing that did not require the attention of hazmat-clad workers between sessions.

    "Ben," for that is not his name, regularly travelled from city to city as part of his job and, being a conscientious type, popped into company offices along the route to deal with any callouts. He and a colleague would arrive early in the morning to diagnose complaints and deal with IT issues faced by staff.

    Continue reading
  • UK cuts ribbon on OpenRAN security and resiliency testing hubs to make sure kit works with 5G infrastructure

    SONIC the, er, edge... hog?

    The Ministry of Fun* has (virtually) cut the ribbon on its latest 5G testing centre to verify the security and resilience of OpenRAN kit seeking a place among the UK's 5G network infrastructure.

    Backed with £1m of central government taxpayer funding, the SONIC Labs (SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre) in Brighton and London will serve as a testing centre for 5G RAN equipment. The the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has tipped Digital Catapult and Ofcom to administer the facilities.

    The facility was conceived to accelerate the UK's adoption of OpenRAN technology. Although in its early stages, OpenRAN has been touted as a potential solution to the UK's bleakly homogenous 5G infrastructure.

    Continue reading
  • AWS offers you the opportunity to pay cloud bills before they’ve been issued

    Whatever happened to cloud being a super way to preserve cashflow?

    Amazon Web Services has started allowing its customers to pay in advance.

    As the name implies, a facility called “Advanced Pay” will let you send money to Jeff Bezos before your bill for cloud services has been issued. “Once you add funds to Advance Pay, AWS will automatically use them to pay for your invoices when they become due for payment,” states AWS’s announcement of the service.

    Amazon’s product pages explain that the service only operates in US dollars, and only applies to AWS’s own services — third-party software you buy from the AWS Marketplace is billed as usual.

    Continue reading
  • USA bars imports of Chinese polysilicon due to human rights violations

    Made-in-Xinjiang feedstock for solar panels and semiconductors is under scrutiny

    The USA's Customs and Border Patrol on Thursday banned imports of silica products widely used in solar panels, but also useful for other silicon wafers, on grounds they were made in the Chinese province of Xinjiang, where it is alleged Muslim-minority Uyghur population conduct forced labor.

    A White House statement attributed the actions to the united front against forced labor expressed at the recent G7 summit. The White House stated that bans force Beijing to play fairer, but also are important for competing American businesses that do not exploit workers.

    The ban named one company - Xinjiang-based Hoshine Silicon Industry Co., Ltd and its subsidiaries. All US ports of entry were instructed to detain shipments made by or derived from Hoshine silica.

    Continue reading
  • Google has created an “optimised” Android for one smartphone — that will only be sold in India

    No word on what this means for Android Go or Android One, but Indian mega-carrier Jio is excited about over-the-air updates, Google Assistant and more

    Google has revealed that it has created an “optimised” version of Android designed specifically for one phone — a device to be launched in September by Indian carrier Jio. But the ads giant has not said what the new phone means for its other efforts to create a version of Android tailored to deployment in hardware at prices accessible for people in developing nations.

    “Our teams have optimised a version of our Android OS especially for this device” wrote Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, adding that the device “will open up new possibilities for millions of new users who will experience the internet for the very first time”.

    Another Google post and Jio’s statement on the matter state that the device will include the Play Store, multi-lingual Google Assistant, over-the-air updates, and an AI-infused camera. Jio’s own apps will be integrated with the Google Assistant.

    Continue reading
  • What’s the big deal with service meshes? Think of them as SDN at Layer 7

    A technical yet demystifying dive into networking tech you can’t avoid

    Systems Approach I remember when I first heard about Service Meshes in 2017, and wondering what the big deal was. Building cloud applications as a graph of microservices was commonplace, and telcos were hard at work inventing yet other ways to chain together virtualized network functions. Service graphs, service chains, service meshes … how many ways do we really need to talk about composing complex systems from a collection of smaller components?

    It wasn’t until I recognised a familiar pattern that I got it: a Service Mesh is just SDN at Layer 7. That’s probably what happens when SDN is the hammer you keep hitting nails with, but I’ve come to believe there is value in that perspective.

    The figure below highlights the similarities between the two scenarios, both of which include a centralised controller that issues directives to a distributed set of connectors (physical/virtual switches in one case, and a sidecar container in the other case) — based on a combination of policy intents from above and monitoring data reported from below. The primary difference is that the SDN controller on the left is controlling L2/3 connectivity and the Service Mesh on the right is controlling L7 connectivity.

    Continue reading
  • Mars race: China dreams of nuclear rockets, manned bases, and space elevators

    We're looking forward to the late 21st-century colony wars

    Over the next quarter century, China wants to set up a permanent base on Mars for "large scale development of the Red Planet," and install a sci-fi carbon-nanotube elevator to shuttle goods between the surface and spacecraft in orbit.

    That’s according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), the country’s largest rocket maker, which described a road-map outlining the Middle Kingdom's ambition to explore the unforgiving dust world. Missions to Mars are planned for 2033, 2035, 2037, 2041, and 2043 quite possibly using nuclear-propelled spacecraft.

    In a speech, CALT’s President Wang Xiaojun said his state-owned organization first intends to send robots to Mars to collect samples of material to study back on Earth. These machines will also scout out good locations to develop a human settlement.

    Continue reading
  • Bridging the observability gap

    Trace the journey through all those microservices in the background

    Sponsored In modern IT, visibility is everything. IT admins and Site Reliability Engineers (SRE) survive on their ability to see what's happening in their systems. Unfortunately, as systems get more sophisticated, it has become harder to see what they're doing. That's why the industry is promoting observability as the evolution of existing concepts like monitoring and metrics. Vendors are stepping up with tools to address a growing visibility gap.

    Continue reading
  • Google: About that whole getting rid of third-party cookies thing – we're gonna need another year or so

    Plan to reinvent advertising turns out to be more difficult than expected

    Google, which makes the only major browser not blocking third-party cookies by default, has revised its commitment to phase out third-party cookies by 2022.

    The super-corp's biscotticide is now scheduled to begin in mid-2023 and run through late 2023.

    Third-party cookies refer to tracking files deposited in one's browser when visiting a website that includes code interacting with third-party domains. The firms associated with these domains, typically marketing and analytics businesses, check for the presence of their cookies across different websites and use this information to build marketing profiles and to target ads based on behavior.

    Continue reading
  • These six proposed bipartisan antitrust laws put Big Tech in the cross-hairs – and a House committee just OK'd them

    Well, it's a start

    The US House Judiciary Committee this week approved half a dozen major bipartisan antitrust bills aimed at clamping down on the growing power of Big Tech and its monopolization of some markets.

    The panel, led by Jerry Nadler (D-NY), debated for nearly 30 hours on Wednesday and Thursday to advance the wide-sweeping six-bill package. The proposed laws includes all sorts of measures to prevent companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and others from dominating their sectors of the technology industry.

    There was likely plenty of lobbying and other wrangling going on in the back and foreground over the exact wording of the package. For instance, there was a concern by some lawmakers that Microsoft would end up avoiding certain provisions in the proposed acts that would otherwise hit Google and Apple. Tweaks were made – such as removing "mobile" from "mobile operating system" in the fine-print – to ensure no one was wriggling out.

    Continue reading
  • You won't want that Linux bling if it comes from Pling: Marketplace platform has critical vulnerabilities

    No one wants to be pwned by a drive-by RCE

    A Berlin startup has disclosed a remote-code-execution (RCE) vulnerability and a wormable cross-site-scripting (XSS) flaw in Pling, which is used by various Linux desktop theme marketplaces.

    Positive Security, which found the holes and is not to be confused with Russia’s Positive Technologies, said the bugs are still present in the Pling code and its maintainers have not responded to vulnerability reports.

    Pling presents itself as a marketplace for creative folk to upload Linux desktop themes and graphics, among other things, in the hope of making a few quid from supporters. It comes in two parts: code needed to run your own bling bazaar, and an Electron-based app users can install to manage their themes from a Pling souk. The web code has the XSS in it, and the client has the XSS and an RCE. Pling powers a bunch of sites, from pling.com and store.kde.org to gnome-look.org and xfce-look.org.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021