Major Banking Websites Down On Thursday

Another online banking outage for numerous UK banks leaves customers frustrated

July 22, 2021

Major Banking Websites Down On Thursday

A number of major banking websites in the UK and globally were unavailable for around two hours on Thursday, as part of a much wider outage that affected some of the world’s most popular sites and online services.

It appears that the problems were with a service called Edge DNS, a product offered by American company Akamai, which is designed to improve loading times and prevent attacks on websites. It’s used across a number of worldwide servers.

The banks that were affected included HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds Bank, Halifax, the Bank of Scotland, TSB and Tesco Bank. Customers were unable to log into their banking services from around 5pm until 7pm on Thursday evening.

Online Banking Issues Continue

This was the second major outage for large brands in two months. In June, another US company called Fastly had similar issues with a bug that took down many of the UK and the world’s biggest websites, including gov.uk, the government’s own site.

This latest issue caused havoc not only for banks but for important and popular brands such as PlayStation Network, Airbnb, Channel 4, British Airways and some large retailers such as Argos and John Lewis.

Earlier this week there were more problems for banking services too. The Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Lloyds Bank, Halifax and the Bank of Scotland, saw apps and online banking suffer problems for around 5 hours for over 1,000 customers. While that problem lasted longer, it was on a smaller scale – Thursday’s issues impacted most customers of the banks.

Akamai tweeted after 7 pm that a fix had been implemented for the problems and that service had returned to normal for all affected websites. They confirmed that it was not the result of a malicious attack, and confirmed they were investigating the root cause.

DNS Explained

The problems were with the DNS service provided by Akamai. DNS stands for Domain Name System and is the clever bit of technology that tells your browser where to find the website you’re looking for when you enter a readable web address, such as CompareBanks.com. It turns this text into directions to the content you’re looking for on a server.

When problems occur with a DNSl, it means that your web browser doesn’t know how to connect the typed-in URL with the content and so it displays error messages instead.

Originally the problem was only described as a partial outage but it has now been confirmed that it affected many customers across the world. The website Down Detector, which collects reports of problems with websites, saw a huge spike of thousands of complaints lodged after 5 pm when the problems began.

As well as impacting banks and other websites, it also affected online services including preventing gamers from accessing content on PlayStation Network and Steam, meaning they were not able to play games online – many of the complaints came from those impacted by the outages of these services, although banking complaints were still substantial.

Andrew Cook
Andrew Cook
Hi, I'm Andrew and I am a news writer for CompareBanks. My main focus is on digital and online banks and looking at the banking landscape is changing within the UK and around the world.

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Mentioned Banks

About Bank of Scotland Bank of Scotland is a commercial clearing bank based in Edinburgh. Not to be confused with Royal Bank of Scotland, it was established in 1695 and is one of the...
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About Barclays Bank Barclays is a British multinational investment bank and financial services company. It was founded in 1690 and is headquartered in London. Barclays originated...
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About HSBC Bank HSBC is a British banking and financial services company. It is the largest bank in Europe and the seventh largest bank in the world. The bank originated in Hong Kong...
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About Lloyds Bank Lloyds Bank is a British retail and commercial bank. One of the ‘Big Four’ clearing banks, it was founded in Birmingham in 1765. It is the largest retail bank in...
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Part of one of the world’s biggest supermarket chains, Tesco Finance was launched back in 1997. The Head Office is based in Edinburgh, and although there were bricks and mortar branches...
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About TSB TSB is a UK-based retail and commercial bank. It is a subsidiary of the Sabadell Group. The TSB we know today came to be in 2013, formed from Lloyds TSB Scotland PLC and...
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About Halifax Formerly known as Halifax Building Society, Halifax is a British bank. It is named after the town in West Yorkshire where it was founded in 1853 as a building society....
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