The websites for several major corporations in Australia and beyond briefly stopped working for many users on Thursday, in what analysts said was a glitch caused by service disruptions at a hosting platform based in the United States.
The outage was the second failure in the past week that appeared to demonstrate widespread dependence on a handful of companies that maintain the plumbing underpinning the global internet.
The disruptions on Thursday affected several Australian banks, the airline Virgin Australia and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, among other companies. There were also reports of service outages at the websites of companies in Germany, India and elsewhere.
Just as those websites failed, the website Downdetector.com, which tracks internet disruptions, said that user reports showed a spike in “possible problems” at Akamai, a service provider based in Massachusetts. Downdetector.com said the reports began to spike around 12:10 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday, and began to taper off about an hour later.
Cybersecurity experts in Australia wrote on social media that the disruptions at Akamai appeared to be the cause of the website failures. Spokespeople for the company in Asia and the United States did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
In Australia, the outage affected online and mobile banking services at four major banks: ANZ, Commonwealth, National Australia Bank and Westpac. Residents complained on social media of being stuck in supermarket checkouts with no way to pay for groceries or being stranded at gas stations without the means to pay for fuel.
Australia’s national post service said that an “external outage” was affecting some of its services.
Telstra, an Australian telecommunications provider that Downdector.com also listed as experiencing disruptions, said in an email that the issue did not stem from its own servers.
By about 2 a.m. Eastern time in the United States, or late Thursday afternoon in Australia, a few Australian banks said that their services were back online.
Last week, several major websites, including those of the British government, The New York Times, CNN, The Financial Times and The Guardian, were briefly inaccessible. Many of the affected sites appeared to have been restored after a little less than an hour.
That outage was connected to Fastly, a provider of cloud computing services used by businesses around the world to operate their websites. Fastly, which is based in San Francisco, later said the problem had been identified and was being fixed.