The Day The Internet Broke…

Well I think it’s safe to say that today a lot of the Internet as we know it, broke. Okay, that’s an exaggeration in many ways since the fact is, most of the Internet worked fine, most of the web was up and running a-okay, and domain names continued to do exactly what they were designed to do. What did happen is that websites powered by AWS, Amazon’s hosting service and major profit center had a pretty serious failure.

This took down sites like Trello, Flippa, WPEngine and many, many, many more. I’ve been getting a stream of apology emails from services that were down as a result. One of the most ironic parts of the whole day is that Amazon’s Cloud VP was actually on stage, talking about how awesome AWS is, as it went down.

And unfortunately that was the case on Tuesday when at the very moment Cockcroft was on stage making the case for AWS, a good chunk of the internet had been taken down (including Business Insider’s site) because AWS’ computer storage service, S3, was suffering major technical problems. (Source – Business Insider)

What the outage revealed is that many of the sites we know and love depend on the same hosting service, and when that service goes down, everyone goes down. It’s easy to think we’re now well into the history of the Internet but that’s far from the truth. Imagine using a television in the early 70’s, 20 years after the TV came out…would you really consider that mature perfected technology?

Remember, 20 years ago, back in 1997 you bought nothing online. Yes – absolutely nothing. In fact 20 years ago Google wasn’t a thing, it didn’t exist. While we now depend on the Internet for so many aspects of our everyday life it’s important to remember that these are still the early days and when a service like AWS falls down, there is no backup, no failsafe, and nothing that really keeps some of your favorite sites running.

The world has returned to normal now, and not surprisingly, we all managed to get through the day. Twenty years from now we’ll look back on today and say, “remember the early days of the Internet?” because what happened today shows that these still are the good old days of the Internet.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton