On Tuesday 8 June 2021 the primary content delivery network (CDN) that GOV.UK uses had an outage which caused a major disruption of services on the site and other non-governmental sites across the world. For less than an hour users visiting GOV.UK were unable to access information and services and saw error pages instead.
The incident was detected 4 minutes after it began. An incident lead was agreed, and together with our communications lead began our formal incident process.
With incidents like this, it's important we stay calm and act with purpose. After investigation the incident team confirmed that the issue was caused by the CDN and identified GOV.UK's documented process for failing over to the secondary CDN. The incident lead agreed with the head of technology and architecture to monitor the situation with the primary CDN for 15 minutes before starting the failover process. This involved switching over to our secondary CDN to ensure users could access information on GOV.UK.
Unfortunately, this error page was outside our control. It was not informative and fell well short of our usual standards of content design.