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Dozens of the most popular websites have gone offline. From Amazon to Ebay, Twitch.tv to Reddit, PayPal to Shopify, and even Gov.uk and HMRC’s online resources – none of these websites are currently able to load. Together, these sites attract millions of visitors every day. As it stands, millions of those users are being confronted with a series of error messages, including “connection failure” and “Error 503 Service Unavailable”.
So, what is going on and what links these vastly different websites?
Well, our best guess right now is a CDN. A Content Distribution Network, or CDN, is a network of proxy servers and their data centres distributed across a wide area. The goal of this set-up is to provide high performance to end users by ensuring that whatever service they’re trying to access – whether it be a Californian website or Australian retailer – is always spatially relatively close to the end users’ computer. In other words, it means that not all of your data is being beamed back to and from Seattle every time you try to access an Amazon webpage just because the company has its headquarters there.
Fastly, a hugely popular CDN for a vast number of websites, has encountered an error right now, leaving dozens of household names, like Amazon, Ebay, Twitch.tv offline for users.
On its status page, which reveals when the CDN is having trouble, it has confirmed a problem.
Please refresh this webpage for the latest information
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