Amazon AWS S3 outage broke things for a lot of websites and apps yesterday


Amazon’s S3 web-based storage service experienced widespread issues in the late hours of yesterday, leading to services that were either partially or fully broken on websites, apps and devices upon which it relies. The AWS offering provides hosting for images for a lot of sites, and also hosts entire websites, and app backends including Nest.

The S3 outage was due to “high error rates with S3 in US-EAST-1,” according to Amazon’s AWS service health dashboard, which is where the company also said it was working on “remediating the issue,” without initially revealing any further details.

Affected websites and services included Quora, newsletter provider Sailthru, Business Insider, Giphy, image hosting at a number of publisher websites, filesharing in Slack, and many more. Connected lightbulbs, thermostats and other IoT hardware were also impacted, with many unable to control these devices as a result of the outage.

Amazon S3 is used by around 148,213 websites, and 121,761 unique domains, according to data tracked by SimilarTech, and its popularity as a content host concentrates specifically in the U.S. It’s used by 0.8 percent of the top 1 million websites, which is actually quite a bit smaller than CloudFlare, which is used by 6.2 percent of the top 1 million websites globally – and yet it’s still having this much of an effect.

Amazingly, even the status indicators on the AWS service status page rely on S3 for storage of its health marker graphics, hence why the site was still showing all services green despite obvious evidence to the contrary.

Updates as at now reveal that AWS says that it’s now fully recovered in terms of resolving the error rates it was seeing, and S3 service is now “operating normally.”

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