When Amazon’s AW3 S3 Goes Down, almost 150,000 Websites Go Down with It: Is Your Site, Service, or App One of Them?

Amazon’s AWS S3 service offers hosting for images, entire websites, and the backend for apps including popular smart-home apps such as Nest. As of February 2017, Amazon’s S3 web-based storage service was experiencing wide-spread issues – issues that were leading to services that were either partially or fully broken on hosted sites and disruption of the apps and devices which depended upon those services. So, what was the official word for what was causing the outages? It came down to a lot of tech-speak. The official word from Amazon was that the S3 outages were caused by “high error rates with S3 in US-East-1.” This information could be found quite easily on the Amazon AWS service health dashboard, which is where Amazon also stated that it is working on “remedying the issue” without giving any further details. When such a blanket statement is given without additional details being offered, we here at Alertra must wonder if there isn’t more to the story than what’s being parsed out to the public.

The Real Cause for Concern Behind Amazon’s AWS S3 Stability Issues

The fact that Amazon’s AWS S3 service has been taking some serious dives lately isn’t the main concern here at Alertra. Our main concern is the sheer volume of sites, services, and apps that go down with Amazon when Amazon’s service goes down. And it’s not just small mom and pop websites either. When these services go down, larger sites like Quora, the newsletter provider Aailthru, Business Insider, Giphy, image hosting at a number of the larger image publishing websites, filesharing sites in Slack, and many other websites that are integral to the Web go down when Amazon’s AWS S3 services go down. In addition to the services already mentioned, hardware such as connected lightbulbs, thermostats, and IoT hardware can also go down with no ability to control the devices as a result of the impact of the of the AWS S3 outage.

What’s scary isn’t just that services become interrupted when websites, apps, or images that are hosted by Amazon’s AWS S3 services when the services go awry. What is staggering is the sheer volume of websites that become affected. Nearly 150,000 websites utilize Amazon’s AWS CE services. Heck, even the status indicators responsible for reporting issues with the downtime of Amazon’s AWS S3 services is hosted by the very same services they are reporting on. This is exactly why it may appear to be that all lights are go when in fact the entire AWS S3 service is down. As you can see, without redundancy plans in place, this can spell out quite the recipe for disaster.

Time to Put Your Own Monitoring Into Place

With nearly 150,000 websites relying on Amazon’s AWS S3 services for some type of hosting, and the dashboard to the health of that hosting being hosted on the actual servers it is supposed to be monitoring, it becomes evident that third-party website monitoring is in order if you want to become aware of service issues or a full outage the moment it happens instead of waiting for the health dashboard to catch up and relay the correct and updated information (which sometimes doesn’t happen until after the issue has been corrected). Having website monitoring in place will allow you to go to work immediately to put your redundancy and failsafe plans into place rather than playing a guessing game, hemming and hawing about whether or not there really is a problem that you need to do something about. Instead of guessing, you’ll know for sure the moment you receive an alert from your website monitoring partner.

Why Third-Party Website Monitoring Service is a Must When Using Amazon’s AWS S3 Service

The sooner you know about a problem with Amazon’s AWS S3 services, the sooner you can get your website up and running, putting your failsafe plan to work until the issue has been completely resolved. While Amazon continues to work on their reliability, your website, service, or app can’t be the guinea pig upon which the service is tested. To retain your customers and keep customer satisfaction levels as high as possible, this is one of those situations where you need to take matters into your own hands and monitor for issues yourself by partnering with a quality third-party website monitoring service that will notify you sooner, rather than later, that an issue has occurred. The moment you are notified about an issue you can go to work avoiding the fallout you would otherwise suffer from that issue. Then when all things are working as they should again, you can go back to business as usual. This way you get the best of both worlds. You get the cutting-edge technology of Amazon’s AWS S3 services without having to fall prey to the fallout that occurs due to the problems that seem to plague the service without many of its customers being any the wiser.

Count on Alertra for 24/7 website monitoring when using Amazon's AWS S3 service. Start your free trial today!