Amazon goes down in Europe

Some of Amazon's European retail sites and video streaming services went down last night, causing a flurry of complaints across social media. The affected sites included amazon.co.uk, amazon.de and amazon.fr.

p-3915.170

These outages are particularly notable, as Amazon has a considerable amount of experience hosting websites. It has one of the largest hosting infrastructures in the world, which is used not only by itself, but also by thousands of its Amazon Web Services customers.

Amazon is the world's largest hosting provider in terms of web-facing computers, accounting for more than 6% of the 5.1 million computers in Netcraft's February 2015 Web Server Survey. 52,000 of Amazon's web-facing computers are located in Ireland, which is where its European retail sites are hosted.

Amazon's presence in Ireland has grown astonishingly since Amazon Data Services Ireland opened the first of its three Irish EC2 Availability Zones in 2007. Remarkably, more than three-quarters of all web-facing computers in Ireland are now operated by Amazon, and these account for 2.7% of all web-facing computers in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region which it is designed to serve.

amazon-emea

Amazon's US site at www.amazon.com, which is hosted in the US, was not affected by last night's outages.

North Korean websites still barely reachable since Christmas

North Korea's presence on the internet has remained extremely patchy for more than a month, with little improvement since a suspected DDoS attack that took place just before Christmas.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency website at www.kcna.kp has been barely reachable since Christmas day. Only 13% of requests to the site succeeded during the past month, with the worst period being around the end of January when the site became completely unavailable for several days in a row from our network of performance monitors.

kcna-graph4

Although the articles on www.kcna.kp are written in multiple languages, the KCNA clearly acknowledges that North Korea has never been an ideal location to host material that is intended for global consumption — for greater dissemination, the agency continues to publish articles to a secondary site at www.kcna.co.jp, which is hosted at a much more reliable location in Japan.

Even so, both of these sites remain deliberately inaccessible from some parts of the world. Access to both has been blocked in South Korea, and addresses in New Zealand were blocked after scraping content to be used on the KCNA Watch website, which tracks North Korean media.

When they do succeed, most requests to www.kcna.kp are met with an HTTP 1.0 response, which renders as a blank page. These responses can take a few minutes to be received:

$ curl -i http://www.kcna.kp
HTTP/1.0 200 OK
Connection: Close
Pragma: no-cache
cache-control: no-cache
Refresh: 0.1
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224/strict.dtd">
<!-- <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN"
"http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd"> -->
<HTML>
<HEAD>
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="0.1">
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Pragma" CONTENT="no-cache">
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Expires" CONTENT="-1">
<TITLE></TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY><P></BODY>
</HTML>

Occasionally, www.kcna.kp will return its proper content in a HTTP 1.1 response which uses JavaScript to redirect the browser to http://www.kcna.kp/kcna.user.home.retrieveHomeInfoList.kcmsf, but this page — as well as all of the images and scripts it uses — suffers from similar performance issues, making the site practically unusable from many locations outside of North Korea.

When it is accessible, this is what kcna.kp looks like.

When it is accessible, this is what kcna.kp looks like.

Roughly half of the small number of websites hosted in North Korea, including www.kcna.kp, use Apache 2.2.15 running on the Linux-based Red Star 3.0 operating system. The Korea Computer Center (which also administers the .kp top-level domain) released this version of Red Star in 2013, but it was not until the end of last year that the rest of the world gained hands-on experience with it after an ISO image of the installation disk was distributed via bittorrent.

korelcfund.org2.kp

One of the sites using Apache 2.2.15 and Red Star 3.0 is the Korea Elderly Care Fund website at www.korelcfund.org.kp, which seemed to disappear completely for a few weeks after Christmas.

The rest of North Korea's websites are served by Apache running on CentOS, which is a free operating system derived from the sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Websites using this platform in North Korea include the Korea National Insurance Corp site at www.knic.com.kp and the Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries at www.friend.com.kp, which ironically failed to respond to 84% of requests from our network of performance monitors.

Two years ago, Netcraft noted that kcna.kp used to run on Apache 2.2.3 with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. As this Linux distribution is owned, distributed and supported by an American multinational company, it is subject to U.S. export controls, which specifically prohibit its use in North Korea. As a result, this installation was likely unlicensed and so may not have received security updates, and would certainly not have received any official support.

North Korea normally has a very small presence on the internet, even when everything is working properly. Before the alleged attacks, Netcraft's Web Server Survey found 916 million websites around the globe, but only 24 of these sites were hosted in North Korea. To put that in perspective, you would have more chance of winning the UK's National Lottery jackpot than you would of randomly picking a North Korean website out of our survey.

Despite having an estimated population of 25 million people, North Korea has relatively few IP addresses of its own - just 1,024 in total. A third of the websites hosted in North Korea are served from a single IP address within this block, so a successful DDoS attack against this address is likely to take out several sites at once.

Hosted on an IP address assigned to North Korea, cqztjx.com is plastered with adverts for online gambling services.

Hosted on an IP address assigned to North Korea, cqztjx.com is plastered with adverts for online gambling services.

In addition to North Korea's 1,024 native IP addresses, a block of 256 IP addresses in the range 5.132.126.0 – 5.132.126.255 has also been assigned to an End User in North Korea. These addresses appear to be used solely for hosting online gambling websites on virtual private servers. This block is marked as ASSIGNED PA, which means it is not permanently allocated to North Korea; the range will be lost if the local issuing internet registry, Outside Heaven, terminates its services.

inetnum:        5.132.126.0 - 5.132.126.255
netname:        OUTSIDEHEAVEN_MUTI-IP_VPS
descr:          OUTSIDEHEAVEN_MUTI-IP_VPS infrastructure
country:        KP
admin-c:        OHS18-RIPE
tech-c:         OHS18-RIPE
status:         ASSIGNED PA

North Korea's other additional assigned network block at 77.94.35.0 – 77.94.35.255 does not currently appear to be used for hosting websites.

Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in January 2015

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
hh:mm:ss
Failed
Req%
DNS Connect First
byte
Total
1 Netcetera Windows Server 2012 0:00:00 0.004 0.061 0.082 0.162 0.162
2 Qube Managed Services Linux 0:00:00 0.015 0.100 0.037 0.076 0.076
3 XILO Communications Ltd. Linux 0:00:00 0.022 0.205 0.065 0.130 0.130
4 EveryCity SmartOS 0:00:00 0.022 0.080 0.066 0.133 0.133
5 Logicworks Linux 0:00:00 0.034 0.129 0.070 0.146 0.337
6 INetU Windows Server 2008 0:00:00 0.037 0.126 0.076 0.205 0.436
7 Host Europe Linux 0:00:00 0.041 0.121 0.070 0.168 0.169
8 New York Internet FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.045 0.220 0.036 0.075 0.200
9 Hivelocity Hosting Linux 0:00:00 0.049 0.147 0.111 0.221 0.221
10 Datapipe Linux 0:00:00 0.052 0.103 0.016 0.033 0.045

See full table

Netcetera had the most reliable hosting company site in January, with only a single failed request. Netcetera offers an SLA-backed 99.9% uptime guarantee on its services, and exceeds this promise on its own site, with an uptime of 99.97% over the previous year and 99.96% over ten years. The company offers dedicated, managed and colocation solutions based out of a data centre in the Isle of Man. Amongst other features, the data centre is carbon neutral, achieved via a combination of carbon offsetting and energy-saving technologies.

Qube Managed Services placed second in January, carrying over its excellent performance from 2014 where it placed in the top ten on eleven occasions, coming first four times. London-based Qube offers managed services out of data centres in London, New York and Zurich.

In third place, with 100% uptime and six failed requests, is XILO Communications. XILO offers services from shared hosting to dedicated servers out of its Maidenhead data centre in the south of England, as well as a corporate broadband service.

Linux remains a popular choice in terms of operating system, with six hosting companies sites served from Linux machines; Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008, SmartOS, and FreeBSD each make a single appearance.

Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of around forty leading hosting providers' sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

From a customer's point of view, the percentage of failed requests is more pertinent than outages on hosting companies' own sites, as this gives a pointer to reliability of routing, and this is why we choose to rank our table by fewest failed requests, rather than shortest periods of outage. In the event the number of failed requests are equal then sites are ranked by average connection times.

Information on the measurement process and current measurements is available.

Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in December 2014

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
hh:mm:ss
Failed
Req%
DNS Connect First
byte
Total
1 Qube Managed Services Linux 0:00:00 0.007 0.097 0.037 0.075 0.075
2 Datapipe Linux 0:00:00 0.011 0.104 0.017 0.034 0.047
3 Anexia Linux 0:00:00 0.011 0.430 0.088 0.195 0.216
4 CWCS Linux 0:00:00 0.011 0.226 0.099 0.181 0.183
5 iWeb Linux 0:00:00 0.019 0.132 0.079 0.156 0.156
6 www.choopa.com Linux 0:00:00 0.022 0.150 0.073 0.157 0.203
7 ServerStack Linux 0:00:00 0.022 0.087 0.079 0.156 0.156
8 LeaseWeb Linux 0:00:00 0.026 0.170 0.026 0.058 0.058
9 Bigstep Linux 0:00:00 0.026 0.126 0.060 0.122 0.122
10 krystal.co.uk Linux 0:00:00 0.026 0.149 0.062 0.141 0.141

See full table

Qube Managed Services had the most reliable hosting company website in December, with just two failed requests. London-based Qube has been in the top 10 for all but one month in 2014, and reached first place six times. Qube offers a range of managed services, including colocation, cloud hosting and dedicated servers. It has data centres in London, New York and Zurich and focuses on providing reliable and high-quality solutions to its clients.

Datapipe follows closely in second place, with three failed requests. Datapipe, whose website has over 8 years of continuous uptime, was recently named a leader in hosted private cloud solutions by a Forrester Research report. Stratosphere, Datapipe's hosted private cloud solution, supports multiple hypervisors and has data centres in seven locations spread throughout the world.

Anexia, which also had three failed requests but a higher average connection time, came in third place this month. Anexia last entered the top ten in July 2014 when it took first place. It was recently named by Deloitte as one of the fastest-growing Austrian technology companies of 2014, marking the second year in a row that it has appeared in Deloitte's Technology Fast 500 EMEA list.

CWCS closely follows Anexia in fourth place, having the same number of failed requests but a slightly higher average connection time. UK-based CWCS last featured in the top ten in August 2013.

Linux remains the most popular choice of operating system, with every hosting company website in December's top ten served by Linux machines. Notably, Datapipe, whose website previously used FreeBSD, switched to Linux in November.

Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of around forty leading hosting providers' sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

From a customer's point of view, the percentage of failed requests is more pertinent than outages on hosting companies' own sites, as this gives a pointer to reliability of routing, and this is why we choose to rank our table by fewest failed requests, rather than shortest periods of outage. In the event the number of failed requests are equal then sites are ranked by average connection times.

Information on the measurement process and current measurements is available.

Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in November 2014

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
hh:mm:ss
Failed
Req%
DNS Connect First
byte
Total
1 Qube Managed Services Linux 0:00:00 0.004 0.104 0.039 0.078 0.078
2 XILO Communications Ltd. Linux 0:00:00 0.012 0.215 0.066 0.131 0.224
3 Datapipe Linux 0:00:00 0.019 0.103 0.018 0.035 0.050
4 Pair Networks FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.019 0.221 0.080 0.162 0.540
5 ServerStack Linux 0:00:00 0.027 0.090 0.079 0.155 0.155
6 Host Europe Linux 0:00:00 0.031 0.109 0.072 0.171 0.172
7 Bigstep Linux 0:00:00 0.039 0.134 0.062 0.125 0.125
8 INetU Windows Server 2003 0:00:00 0.039 0.140 0.076 0.207 0.486
9 Kattare Internet Services Linux 0:00:00 0.039 0.191 0.122 0.253 0.532
10 Memset Linux 0:00:00 0.042 0.128 0.067 0.154 0.266

See full table

Qube had the most reliable hosting company site in November with just a single failed request. This is the fifth time Qube has made it to first place in 2014, and the fourteenth time it has featured in the top 10 since September 2013. Qube offers a Managed Operating System Service, where its engineers cover day-to-day tasks such as continuous monitoring, tuning and patching.

XILO had the second most reliable hosting company website, with three failed requests. This is the second month in a row that XILO has taken the title of the second most reliable hosting company website. XILO offers a Premium Hosting service with automatic fail-over in the event of a server failure and 1:1 volume mirroring between cloud nodes to ensure redundancy.

Datapipe had the third most reliable hosting company website with five failed requests. Datapipe uses a high performance network over multiple Tier-1 backbone providers to ensure reliability and scalability.

Linux was again the most popular operating system of choice, being used by 8 out of the top 10 hosting company websites. FreeBSD and Windows Server 2003 both had single entrants, Pair Networks and INetU respectively.

Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of around forty leading hosting providers' sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

From a customer's point of view, the percentage of failed requests is more pertinent than outages on hosting companies' own sites, as this gives a pointer to reliability of routing, and this is why we choose to rank our table by fewest failed requests, rather than shortest periods of outage. In the event the number of failed requests are equal then sites are ranked by average connection times.

Information on the measurement process and current measurements is available.

Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in October 2014

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
hh:mm:ss
Failed
Req%
DNS Connect First
byte
Total
1 ServerStack Linux 0:00:00 0.019 0.093 0.079 0.155 0.155
2 XILO Communications Ltd. Linux 0:00:00 0.022 0.210 0.065 0.131 0.227
3 krystal.co.uk Linux 0:00:00 0.022 0.156 0.067 0.149 0.149
4 www.dinahosting.com Linux 0:00:00 0.022 0.225 0.087 0.175 0.175
5 Qube Managed Services Linux 0:00:00 0.026 0.110 0.040 0.082 0.082
6 EveryCity SmartOS 0:00:00 0.026 0.092 0.067 0.136 0.136
7 iWeb Linux 0:00:00 0.026 0.146 0.080 0.157 0.157
8 LeaseWeb Linux 0:00:00 0.030 0.188 0.026 0.065 0.065
9 Bigstep Linux 0:00:00 0.030 0.138 0.062 0.127 0.127
10 Datapipe FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.037 0.108 0.018 0.036 0.054

See full table

ServerStack had the most reliable hosting company website in October with five failed requests. This is the eighth time this year that ServerStack has made it to the top 10 and the third time it has topped the table since we started monitoring it in 2012 — the last time ServerStack was at the top spot was back in June 2013. ServerStack is focussed on managed hosting and was co-founded by Moisey and Ben Uretsky who later went on to start cloud provider DigitalOcean.

XILO had the second most reliable company website with six failed requests. Krystal.co.uk and dinahosting.com also had the same number of failed requests, with the tie being broken by average connection time. This is the second time this year that British-based XILO has made it into the top 10. Its long-term uptime record backs up this recent strong performance — XILO has maintained 99.98% uptime over three years.

Krystal.co.uk had the third most reliable company website. Krystal provides modern, KVM-based virtualised Kloud servers from its data centre in an ex-military bunker outside London. This focus on security may be part of the reason why Krystal is trusted by Nike, The Financial Times, and The Telegraph to provide hosting services.

Linux remains the most common choice of operating system, being used by 8 of the top 10 hosting company websites. FreeBSD only had a single entrant, Datapipe, as did SmartOS with EveryCity.

Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of around forty leading hosting providers' sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

From a customer's point of view, the percentage of failed requests is more pertinent than outages on hosting companies' own sites, as this gives a pointer to reliability of routing, and this is why we choose to rank our table by fewest failed requests, rather than shortest periods of outage. In the event the number of failed requests are equal then sites are ranked by average connection times.

Information on the measurement process and current measurements is available.