SINGAPORE - Users in Singapore and around the globe were unable to access several major websites like Amazon, Reddit and Twitch on Tuesday evening (June 8) after a cloud computing network that the websites rely on was hit by technical issues.
Several major international news sites like CNN, The Financial Times, The Guardian and The New York Times were also affected, as was the British government website gov.uk.
Attempts to access these websites returned the error code 503, meaning “service unavailable”.
Singapore’s government websites and major news outlets here were not affected by the outage.
The affected sites are linked to a content delivery network called Fastly, which confirmed the outage on its website at 5.58pm Singapore time on Tuesday and reported that it was investigating impacts on the performance of its services.
According to Fastly’s status page, its network was facing issues that caused “degraded performance” across all of its 81 data centres in the North America, South America, Europe, South Africa, India and Asia-Pacific regions, including two data centres in Singapore.
At 6.44pm Singapore time, Fastly reported that it had identified the issue and was implementing a fix.
Affected websites started to come back online about an hour after disruptions were reported.
Some netizens speculated that the incident was due to a deliberate attack. On Twitter, the hashtag #cyberattack trended shortly after disruptions were first reported.
When contacted, a Fastly spokesman said the outage was instead due to a configuration error that triggered disruptions across its network, adding that it had since disabled the configuration.
“Our global network is coming back online,” the spokesman said.
Content delivery networks like Fastly are groups of servers located around the world that work together to provide fast Internet access. Other examples include Cloudflare and Amazon CloudFront.
These networks are key pieces of Internet infrastructure that allow users to access the data servers that are physically closest to them, instead of having to access a single main server. This allows content to be loaded more quickly.
However, this also means outages at popular service providers like Fastly, which have many major customers relying on them, can result in widespread disruptions.