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AWS outage threw a wrench in Amazon warehouse operations, took down websites

The company says the issues are now resolved.

Laura Hautala
Laura Hautala
Laura Hautala Former Senior Writer
Laura wrote about e-commerce and Amazon, and she occasionally covered cool science topics. Previously, she broke down cybersecurity and privacy issues for CNET readers. Laura is based in Tacoma, Washington, and was into sourdough before the pandemic.
Expertise E-commerce, Amazon, earned wage access, online marketplaces, direct to consumer, unions, labor and employment, supply chain, cybersecurity, privacy, stalkerware, hacking. Credentials
  • 2022 Eddie Award for a single article in consumer technology
Laura Hautala
3 min read

AWS stores and serves up much of the internet.

Angela Lang/CNET

Amazon said it's resolved network issues that led to an outage that took down multiple major websites and apps for some people on Tuesday.  Amazon workers also reported in social media posts that the company's warehouses were at a standstill on Tuesday while the company struggled to resolve an Amazon Web Services outage, leaving workers without much to do but hang around or, apparently, sing karaoke.

The service, also called AWS, stores and serves up much of the internet, including websites and apps for Disney Plus, Robinhood, Barclays and Slack. Down Detector noted outages with Ring, Prime Music, Alexa and Chime services. TicketMaster, Google, McDonald's, Venmo, Cash App and My Social Security, a portal for online accounts with the US Social Security Administration, were also among the services that all showed outages beginning around 11 a.m. Eastern Time. 

Around 7:30 p.m. ET, a message posted to the AWS dashboard said network device issues had been resolved and the company was "working towards recovery of any impaired services."

Website outages were reported in cities across the US. Amazon's internal systems appeared to be affected around the country, according to social media comments from dozens of people who said they work for the company. 

Amazon spokesperson Richard Rocha had confirmed the outage and its impact on Amazon's own operations. "There is an AWS service event in the US-East Region (Virginia) affecting Amazon Operations and other customers with resources running from this region," Rocha said in a statement.

Some customers took to Twitter to complain about Ring doorbells and cameras that wouldn't work. In response to a message from Ring's customer service team saying Amazon was investigating the issue, one Twitter user said, "That doesn't help. I need a working doorbell."

Other Twitter users said they were trapped by Ring alarm systems that couldn't be deactivated.

And others joked about their dependence on apps to do things they could use their hands for, like deactivating an Alexa alarm on the physical device.

Down Detector showed a spike of more than 11,000 outage reports for AWS-run sites on Tuesday in the late morning hours East Coast time. Though some progress was made in lowering that number, the outages persisted hours later. 

On Reddit and Twitter, people who said they're Amazon workers posted comments and videos about a complete halt of operations due to internal systems not functioning. Multiple workers wrote that they were singing karaoke or reading their phones while waiting for systems to come back online. Vice spoke to delivery companies that contract with Amazon and said their drivers were unable to log in to Amazon systems to make deliveries Tuesday morning.

On an AWS status page for monitoring system activity, Amazon noted issues Tuesday morning originating in a Virginia facility affecting its US-EAST-1 region. The problems affected multiple AWS products used by businesses to run their websites and apps, as well as some used by Amazon itself.

The dashboard noted the company was troubleshooting shortly after outage reports came in. By evening, the company said it was still seeing some of its services "severely" affected.