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Patricia O'Loughlin
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Word concubine since 1989.
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Online Chaos Erupts as Amazon Servers Crash

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Early this morning, people all around the world woke up to discover their smarthomes had seemingly stopped working.

Internet users attempted to log into their Pinterest and AirBnB accounts, only to be met with an error message.

Meanwhile, those in the digital design industry switched on their computers and discovered their Adobe programs had gone offline.

The major internet black spot circulating the globe was the result of Amazon’s giant servers crashing, sending websites, IoT devices, library catalogues and even parking meters into disarray. With literally millions of the world’s top sites relying on Amazon Web Services, the issue was needless to say, widely felt.

So, what exactly happened?

AWS notified its users that it was having problems with its S3 storage system in Virginia early this morning, yet rather than labelling it a complete outage, the company said it was experiencing “increased error rates”.

The system glitch resulted in a long list of prominent websites experiencing varying degrees of performance issues, from Netflix to Yahoo and even Apple’s Cloud services. Problems ranged from sites going completely offline, to images and videos failing to load and email inboxes becoming temporarily inaccessible.

Interestingly, however, Amazon.com was not affected by the server outage.

The unfortunate episode is a reminder to digital users everywhere that the internet is not quite as magical as we tend to believe.

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Despite its overwhelming achievements, the internet isn’t perfect

Ever since the blossoming birth of the world wide web, which began infiltrating our lives in the early 1990s, society has increasingly depended on the digital realm to complete their day-to-day tasks. As such, we often tend to view the internet as a mystical place where information is spread instantaneously, communication is limitless, and transactions can be completed in mere seconds.

However, as a service that is continually evolving, there are still plenty of kinks to be ironed out.

Amazon isn’t the first company to ruffle its digital users’ feathers…

Last year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics faced a similar dilemma when it failed to successfully digitalise its annual Census.

Sixteen million Aussies tried to log in to the site to complete the survey, only to be met with an error message preventing them from accessing the form.

The whole debacle left the ABS very red-faced as Australians all over the country took to social media to vent their frustrations and/or ridicule the service.

Likewise, people are already leaping to digital platforms to comment on the effects of Amazon’s mass outage. One gentleman used Twitter to rejoice the fact that the server downtime granted him free parking, while another woman stated that instead of being able to operate her thermostat from her smartphone, she had to “walk over there like a savage”.

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On a more serious note, various businesses struggled to reassure disgruntled customers who couldn’t access their sites that the matter was more or less, out of their hands.

The issue signifies the importance of web hosting services

While none of the companies that faced downtime this morning could have possibly foreseen Amazon’s servers crashing, the event does highlight the need to invest in a reliable web hosting provider. This plays a major factor in ensuring your website remains online and ready to cater to your customers.

After all, in a world where consumers expect constant access to your business, failing to do this could significantly disrupt your transactions and tarnish your reputation – as so many AWS users discovered the hard way today.

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By Patricia O'Loughlin


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