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Total outage of BBC websites

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Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 10:53 UK time, Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Last night, just before midnight, there was a thankfully rare event: a total outage of all BBC websites. We're still investigating precisely what happened, but as I said last night, I promised to keep you updated as we find out more.

It appears the websites went offline when some of the essential equipment that we use to direct people to the site - known as routers - failed. These routers not only act as the main funnel for all traffic coming into the site but also "broadcast" the location of BBC Online so that it can be "found" on the internet.

Normally this would not cause any problems as we plan for events like this and run backup equipment. But, in an unusual turn of events, these also failed meaning that the whole of BBC Online became unavailable. A number of internal services were also affected.

Thankfully we were able to get most services back up and running within an hour, just before midnight.

The outage clearly didn't go unnoticed, with many of our readers turning to Twitter to talk about possible explanations and using the #bbcblackout hashtag on their posts.

We'd like to apologise again to everyone who couldn't get onto the BBC News website last night.

My colleague Richard Cooper, who is in charge of the BBC's digital distribution, has also written about the incident here, where you can leave comments and feedback.

Steve Herrmann is editor of the BBC News website.

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