BBC Website Down with BBC Home Page and iPlayer Offline

Highly Ranked BBC Website Experiences Period of Down Time

On Saturday 19th July 2014 the BBC website, http://www.bbc.co.uk, went down. Although no web site can be 100% reliable the length of the BBC website down time was unusual. The iPlayer service was offline as well. The down time issues stretched into the Sunday 20th July, with the BBC Home Page experiencing the longest outage, continuing into Monday 21st July. Initially a generic “Error 500” server page was displayed stating:

We are experiencing abnormal traffic to our network or the service or servers it is on is not currently available.

This was later replaced by a BBC home page of a much simpler design than the normal one:

Due to technical problems, we are displaying a simplified version of the BBC Homepage. We are working to restore normal service.

BBC Website Down

People accessing the BBC iPlayer service saw a message:

BBC iPlayer temporarily unavailable due to a technical problem

BBC iPlayer Down

Reports to Downdetector for iPlayer showed iPlayer outages over that weekend. BBC News reported the problems. The @AboutTheBBC Twitter account posted regular Tweets:

bbc_website_down_reported_on_twitter

Some of these were retweeted by @bbccouk and @BBCiPlayer.

BBC Website is in Top 100 of All Websites

According to Amazon’s Internet analytics company Alexa the BBC is ranked in the top 100 of all websites and is in the top 10 for the UK. A long term outage of a top ranking website is not unheard of but is uncommon enough to be news worthy. Whether it is caused by a distributed denial of service (DDOS) or another issue is unknown. Although DDOS is unlikely as apparently the BBC has a 700 Gbps connection. Furthermore a DDOS is usually mitigated within a few hours, thus it is likely to have been a technical fault or failure in updated software. Although that is just speculation and the TechAdvisor website reported that the servers had a ‘severe load’.

Two years ago lengthy BBC website down time issues were also reported in the UK press.