An outage in Amazon Web Services caused widespread failures for key US websites on Tuesday, including the US Securities and Exchange Commission and travel site

In a brief statement posted just before 11am Pacific time, Amazon said that some customers “will continue to experience high error rates” and that it was working to resolve the issue.

The outages began Tuesday morning before 10am (Pacific time). Amazon said the problems were centred around its data storage service, known as “S3”, in a data centre in Northern Virginia.

Dozens of websites and web applications across the US were either down or working slowly. Amazon’s video service and Netflix video service was not working when tested by the FT, and websites like Airbnb and Expedia were operating extremely slowly.

Amazon Web Services, which sells remote cloud computing and storage services that allow companies to avoid building their own data centres, is the fastest growing part of Amazon and reported $12.2bn in revenues last year.

AWS clients include the Central Intelligence Agency and dozens of Fortune 500 companies, including Deloitte, GE, Kellogg’s, Comcast and Conde Nast.

While the company often says that its reliability is greater than 99.99 per cent, the widespread problems on Tuesday underscore how an outage in one area can quickly ripple across the internet.

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