Internet outage: which websites and services were hit by Fastly issue

The internet outage caused by a fault with cloud computing service Fastly took down thousands of websites in multiple countries, affecting governments and businesses in sectors ranging from media to online retail and telecoms.

The interruption was relatively brief, lasting slightly more than an hour in most cases and occurring mid-morning UK time, before many people in the US will have woken up.

Nevertheless, it choked off the flow of millions of pounds in revenue to corporations including Amazon, Boots and eBay. It also took out key government information portals.

Here’s how major businesses and organisations were affected:-


All government websites using the domain were swept up in the outage, which temporarily knocked out crucial services such as the online system by which taxpayers can file annual returns with HM Revenue and Customs.

The government said it was investigating reports that users were unable to book Covid-19 tests online as a “matter of urgency”.

One Twitter user reported being unable to fill out a passenger locator form, a requirement for passengers arriving from overseas.

The official Twitter account said: “This is a wider issue affecting a number of other non-government sites. We are investigating this as a matter of urgency.”

Visitors to the official website of the White House were also greeted with a message likely to have been seen by hundreds of millions of internet users on Tuesday: “Error 503 service unavailable”.

Online retail and services

Amazon, eBay and Boots were among the household-name retailers whose websites disappeared during the outage. Amazon and Boots alone report a combined £25bn in annual sales in the UK, meaning they would typically earn nearly £3m between them in the course of an average hour.

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Even Amazon’s own cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services, was down. Asked for a comment, an Amazon spokesperson pointed to an online dashboard that showed services were running as normal, despite users reporting persistent problems.

Payment provider PayPal processed $936bn (£661bn) of transactions in 2020, approximately $106m every hour. It was among the most heavily used services to be unavailable for a portion of Tuesday.

Royal Mail also appears to have been affected, with users reporting difficulty making payments.

Other retailers whose websites fell over during the interruption include Etsy, the marketplace for sellers of niche and homemade products, and Canadian e-commerce site Shopify.

Online food ordering app Deliveroo was also seemingly affected.

News media

The Guardian was among a slew of publishers hit. According to analysis of data from Google’s AdSense platform, outlets lost approximately $300,000 in revenue during the period, as they missed out on clicks that would usually translate into payments from advertisers. The calculation, made by marketing agency connective3, covers lost revenue at affected advertising-reliant media sites including the New York Times, the Financial Times, CNN, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg, the Independent and the Evening Standard.

The BBC was among the websites that crashed due to the Fastly fault.

Streaming and social media

One of the best known services to suffer was Spotify, the music streaming platform. Spotify recorded UK revenue of $836m in 2020, indicating every hour of lost music plays would cost it on average nearly £100,000.

Chat forum site Reddit suffered disruption, as did picture-sharing site Pinterest, while both Twitch, a live video game streaming site, and Hulu and HBO Max, video-on-demand platforms, fell victim to the outage. The problem affected some services on platforms that were otherwise unharmed. Twitter users were briefly unable to use emojis because the servers that host them were affected.


The website Downdetector, which monitors internet outages, also reported problems for Weight Watchers, video hosting site Vimeo, fundraising platform Kickstarter, image sharing site Imgur, software development platform GitHub, question-and-answer service Quora and website building company Squarespace.


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