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Netflix is down: AWS outage takes down service on some devices

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Updated: Netflix (s NFLX) is inaccessible for users on some devices on Christmas Eve, thanks to an outage of Amazon’s 9s AMZN) AWS cloud infrastructure. There is no word from Amazon when the issue will be fixed. Netflix officially acknowledged the issue on Twitter:

However, there’s some good news for affected users: Netflix Cloud Architect Adrian Cockroft reported on Twitter that the service is only affected on some devices, while others are working fine. In other words: If Netflix isn’t streaming on the device of your choice, try accessing it via other means before you give up. Cockroft tweeted Monday afternoon:

First reports about a Netflix outage popped up online around 1 p.m. PT. Shortly thereafter, Amazon started reporting that some of its Elastic Load Balancers are down. The company’s last status report, issued at 4:15p.m. PT, reads:

“We continue to experience increased errors for Elastic Load Balancing API calls in the US-EAST-1 region and continue to work towards resolution.”

We will update this post as soon as we know more.

Update 1 (5p.m.): A Netflix spokesperson emailed us the following statement:

“We are experiencing a partial outage late this afternoon (Pacific Time) that affects a number of streaming devices. Our team is working hard to address the problems and get the service fully up and running again.”

There are some reports of users who are able to use Netflix with their PCs without any issue.

Update 2 (5:10p.m.): It’s worth noting that AWS East, which is at the heart of this outage, has had multiple serious outages over the last several months.

Also, wondering what a Elastic Load Balancer actually does, at least when it’s working? Amazon has a somewhat technical explainer on its website. (thanks Susan!)

Update 3 (5:20p.m.): Users on Twitter are reporting that the DramaFever streaming service is down as well, and the website is currently inaccessible. It’s unclear whether this was caused by the same AWS outage.

Update 4 (6:10p.m.):  DramaFever has confirmed that it is affected by the same AWS issue as Netflix.

Update 5 (6:45p.m.): Amazon’s latest update on the situation, time-stamped 5:49p.m. PT, doesn’t sound very promising:

“We continue to work on resolving issues with the Elastic Load Balancing Service in the US-EAST-1 region. Traffic for some ELBs are currently experiencing significant levels of traffic loss.”

Update 6 (9:32p.m.): Roku has confirmed that its service is also affected by the outage, with Roku players complaining about Internet connectivity issues. A spokesperson sent me the following statement:

“Confirmed that the AWS outage is affecting services for some Roku users. Our technical folks are actively monitoring the situation.”

Meanwhile, Amazon is still having issues, and Netflix remains unavailable for a large number of users.

Update 7 (11:30p.m.): Amazon now says it is “in the process of recovering the service” and Netflix’s Adrian Cockroft is reporting on Twitter that things are looking up for users of the service:

Update 8 (12/25, 9:40a.m.): The outage is officially over. Here is what Netflix tweeted earlier this morning:

272 Responses to “Netflix is down: AWS outage takes down service on some devices”

  1. WOW. Netflix is down, is lame, but whatever, I signed up for HULU’s 1 week free trail for my roku…its such a joke…Hulu has ads…for paid members…i mean how horrible is that?!? no good shows on it or movies…waste of time..

  2. RogerMonday, December 24 2012
    It would be nice if Netflix actually said something

    Agreed. Took me quite awhile just to find a thread of people talking about it. If it’s down then fine. At-least say so, instead of making people rack their brains over what’s wrong when it’s not even on their end. Non communicative, unconcientious pieces of…

  3. PS3 and TV don’t work, PC loads the viewing options but when I choose one it stops loading at 2%… Not sure which devices it’s supposed to be working on. I’d try my Xbox 360 but I kinda doubt that will work either.

  4. Heather Whited

    Really wish Netflix had something on their site earlier when I looked and before I reset my freaking Roku player. I started there with my troubleshooting, couldn’t find anything.

    • Amazons e-commerce and streaming services don’t run on their AWS platform. AWS is not resilient enough torun true resilient enterprise applications. Even amazon itself doesn’t run its mission critical applications in AWS so why should anyone else? I work for a real enterprise hosting company and AWS sure likes to draw customers aware with their cheap price arguing that there service can match ours but they are so far off its silly.

  5. Dale Huhtala

    Only affects some devices? Tried my LG TV, WD Live box, Android tablet, Windows 8 tablet, PS Vita, Windows 7 PC and iPhone – NONE of them work. What devices DOES it work on?

  6. IT SUCKS. Tonight is all reruns on CBS comedies. I have time to watch something and Netflix is down AGAIN. Sure seem to be a lot of outages, especially after they’ve RAISED the price. And I don’t feel like driving 10 miles to get to my nearest blockbuster. I guess it’ll be down all evening. Can’t even get to the website for “tvhelp”

  7. cindy davis

    Netflix needs to put some sort of update on the Netflix screen to let us know we are not losing it. I did my connection over and over, 3 green lights all the way. Even reset my Roku. Wasted time for nothing. Strange part, I just returned to Netflix last nite. Why? Such a foolish mistake.

  8. Jon Harvey

    I wish the error that popped up made more sense, it says, your internet connection is down. More like Netflix is fried. My intenet connection to VUDU works fine. Engineers working on the issue for over 7 hours now, wish you fix it fast to get home to your families for Xmas.

  9. Annoyed! When isn’t Netflix having issues?! I 2nd what the person above said… I’ve tried Netflix on 4 different devices with Netflix and NONE of them work. Good grief!

  10. It would be nice if Netflix actually said something when I go to their website rather than having to do google searches. My Roku also decided that only possible reason Netflix is not responding is because my network is broken and forces me to do a useless diagnostic!

    • They have great uptime… and multiple geographic locations… when one location breaks the others typically are unaffected. Thus if companies like Netflix actually followed AWS best practices (which is to failover between locations) you would never notice an issue. Netflix being down is their issue, not Amazon’s.

      • regardless if Netflix could make there applications more geographically resilient or not AWS is still down and Amazon does have an SLA for just a specific location. I am a Cloud Architct for an AWS competitor and perpetual outages like this even would not fly with any of my clients. A single outage is one thing but this is rediculas. I would have been fired over an outage like this.

      • Cannot agree with this. The vast majority of users in cloud environments sign up for high availability, and it is the host’s capacity, both with DC’s and support, to assist in proper configuration ( i cannot imagine netflix being completely unmanaged) and address high traffic spikes. The issue is at the level of the Load Balancer, which is a technology that does not address failover across DC’s. There are other companies (Rackspace, etc) who appear far better at assessing future risk to clients like this and can more reasonably ensure high availability.

      • the point of the ELB’s (Which are whats down) is to handle the failover. If the failover service is broken than you’re kind of screwed even if you do follow the best practices.

      • For Netflix specifically is failover actually viable? They’re at an extreme end of the bandwidth spectrum for a service, it would not surprise me if that leads to headaches using sites other than the closest to the customer, even though distance is typically associated with latency rather than bandwidth.

      • Ummm…ipsuid…no. “This is the latest in a series of high profile Web outages related to Amazon Web Services. In October, issues at AWS affected Reddit, Pinterest, Airbnb, Foursquare, Minecraft and other popular Web sites, while back in May, outages at AWS data centers took down Pinterest, Instagram and Netflix” (via tech-crunch)

      • I really like how my last comment was deleted. Not sure why. Maybe because I said something about Amazon AWS not being up to the task because of lack of failover and redunancy of service.

        Way to edit comments in the free speech USA.

  11. come on netflix. always seems to be an outage when you want to watch something the most. lampoon Christmas with the family. whoever you are dependent on its time to switch to someone else.