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Akamai Outage Pulls Major Sites Offline Globally

Akamai software update triggers bug in DNS taking world's biggest and most popular sites offline. Akamai pledges to review update process

Akamai Outage Pulls Major Sites Offline Globally

An outage at Akamai turned the lights off at the websites of many of the world’s biggest and most important sites Thursday morning, rendering them completely unreachable.

There were no messages or error codes to indicate why sites were down so site visitors were left in the dark just like the websites they were trying to visit.

What Caused the Akamai Outage

The cause was the Akamai Edge and GTM service that was experiencing an outage that took down some of the most popular websites in the world, bringing banking, gaming and news websites to a standstill.

The reason for the outage was a software update that caused a bug in the DNS system, a system that converts domain names to IP addresses where the content and domain exists.

When a browser requests a website the DNS system converts that to the IP address system which is the actual address of a website.

With the DNS down the system could no longer map a request for a domain and web page to the IP address where that content exists.

According to a series of tweets by Akamai:

Major Akamai Outage Takes Down Major Sites

News websites, banks, travel sites and major gaming sites were reported by users to be down.

Purpose of Akamai Content Delivery Network (CDN)

The purpose of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is to deliver websites fast to users from data servers located near the site visitor trying to reach a website.

CDNs also provide a layer of security and defense against hackers and other malicious actors who might try to bring down a site.

CDNs however are increasingly experience temporary failures resulting thousands of sites going offline.

Akamai CDN Has Experienced Previous Outages

According to the DownDetector site availability website, Akamai CDN Service has experienced a number of outages.

The Akamai website itself hasn’t acknowledged some of the outages noted by that site although it did post an update about the one from today.

Aside from the outage today it most recently went down on June 17, 2021 and the year before on July 17, 2020.

Akamai Reported Outage

The outage began at approximately 9 to 10 AM eastern time

Akamai reported an issue sometime after 12 noon eastern time via Twitter:

“Akamai is experiencing a service disruption. We are actively investigating the issue and will provide an update in 30 minutes.”

Then 15 minutes later tweeted that they had found a fix for the problem:

“We have implemented a fix for this issue, and based on current observations, the service is resuming normal operations. We will continue to monitor to ensure that the impact has been fully mitigated.”

Akamai confirmed in a subsequent tweet that the outage was not due to malicious activities against it.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation and can confirm this was not a result of a cyberattack on the Akamai platform.”

An official status report on the Akamai website itself states that the problem has been mitigated.

“Edge DNS Service Incident

Incident Report for Akamai Edge DNS and GTM

Resolved
This incident has been mitigated.”

Other than that there is no word what the problem was about, whether it was related to an update, hardware failure or simple human error.

It’s ironic that a web service meant to keep a website online turns out to be the one to take so many websites down, far more than any hacking event.

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Roger Montti is a search marketer with over 20 years experience. I offer site audits, phone consultations and content and ... [Read full bio]

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