Widespread internet outage hits government and media sites

The UK Government's website displayed an error code and would not load.

Widespread internet outage hits government and media sites iStock

The UK Government website was down after a widespread internet outage affected pages across the world.

The Guardian, The Independent and Financial Times were also affected with sites displaying various errors when loading.

Paypal and Reddit showed users errors too as a cloud computing company providing services to many websites reported experiencing major issues.

The UK Government website page read: “Error 503 Service Unavailable.”

The official GOV.UK Twitter account posted: “We are aware of the issues with GOV.UK which means that users may not be able to access the site. This is a wider issue affecting a number of other non-government sites. We are investigating this as a matter of urgency.”

Fastly, one of the world’s major content delivery networks (CDNs), reported a major outage across its global network, which is believed to have caused the outage.

At 10.58am, the US-firm confirmed it was “currently investigating potential impact to performance with our CDN services”.

At 11.57am, Fastly announced: “The issue has been identified and a fix has been applied. Customers may experience increased origin load as global services return.”

The error code displayed on the gov.uk websiteGov.uk

A number of affected websites, inlcuding the government’s, have since returned online.

A spokesperson for Fastly said: “We identified a service configuration that triggered disruptions across our POPs [points of presence] globally and have disabled that configuration. Our global network is coming back online.”

The Cabinet Office is investigating the outage of the government website as part of a wider worldwide internet issue.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are aware of the issues with gov.uk which means many users are unable to access the site.

“Obviously this happened recently, it appears to be a wider issue, a global issue, and as you would expect Cabinet Office are investigating it as a matter of urgency.”

Asked whether there was any evidence it was a hostile act, he added: “It appears to be, initially at least, this is an issue that is affecting a number of sites globally, it doesn’t appear to be targeted to any one site.”

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