Amazon Server Screw-Up Takes Down Dozens of Sites

Reddit, Foursquare, and more affected
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2011 9:46 AM CDT
In this screen shot of, an apology for technical difficulties is displayed. Foursquare was one of dozens of sites to crash or suffer severe slowdowns thanks to Amazon server problems.   (AP Photo/

(Newser) – Dozens of sites across the Internet went dark yesterday, thanks to a major server crash that has now stretched beyond 24 hours and is still causing trouble for some. Amazon's own storefront is fine, but the company also rents out server space to lots of other major sites, including Foursquare, Reddit, and more. Some crashed entirely, while others experienced severe slowdowns or other disruptions, the AP reports. Reddit, for example, is currently in "emergency read-only mode."

Other Amazon customers, including Netflix and Zynga, emerged unscathed. Lengthy server glitches aren't terribly uncommon, but Amazon's is notable because its cheap, reliable servers are so widely used. These servers are supposed to be broken into independent groups to insulate them from failure, but yesterday's outage somehow took out several groups at once. "This is a really big message to us that we need to revisit our strategy," says a VP of one company affected by the outage. "It's a pretty vulnerable feeling."

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