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Global internet outage hits major websites – including the UK government site

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A number of major websites, including the UK government site, have been hit by an outage at global website hosting service Fastly.

For around an hour this morning, those logging into to gov.uk, as well as a raft of other sites, were faced with a message saying “503 Service Unavailable” or similar.

Other sites affected included news outlets The Guardian, Financial Times, Independent, New York Times, Evening Standard, Bloomberg and Le Monde, as well as self-proclaimed front page of the internet Reddit, shopping site eBay, and streaming platform Twitch.

Fastly, a global online content delivery network (CDN), had reported an outage across its network, affecting sites which use its platform.

The US-based company then confirmed it had found the issue and that its global network was coming back online.

By around 11.50am BST, a number of services appeared to have been restored, but loading times were initially slow, with access seemingly intermittent.

Sky News understands that the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, a branch of GCHQ, was aware of the incident and briefly investigated it. But there is not thought to be anything malicious about the outages.

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There had been earlier reports of some other sites being down, too, including Amazon, PayPal, CNN and Spotify – all of which appear to up and running normally again.

The problems came as hundreds of thousands of Britons aged 25-29 became eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccinations, and were already experiencing trouble booking online, with people reporting on social media that they had been placed in a long virtual queue.

News site The Verge had responded creatively by resorting to using a Google Doc to report on the Fastly outage after being affected by the issue, while other outlets used Twitter to keep readers on top of the situation.

Naturally, the outage trended on Twitter with the hashtag #InternetShutdown briefly topping the site’s trends – with users posting memes and updates on the situation.