back to article BBC websites down tools and head outside into the sun for a while

The entire BBC website (less iPlayer) went down briefly this morning. Auntie's online offerings, ranging from free online news to telly and radio listings, recipes and educational content for kids, were all briefly offline. All the BBC's sub-sites were throwing up HTTP 500 errors, complete with a nice little graphic of the …

  1. Korev Silver badge

    We were told it would be back up in "15 minutes or so" around 15 minutes before publishing this, a remarkably accurate prediction.

    Speculation: Maybe they have a rehearsed DR plan and know exactly how long it takes to switch over to the backup systems.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Alien

      "a rehearsed DR plan"

      Isn't that an oxymoron, or at least sacrilegious???

      I think "it was aliens" is a more plausible explanation than a working DR plan.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They probably opened too many "have your says" on brexit articles and the servers just gave up with the influx of daily fail readers.

    1. gotes

      I thought all HYS comments sections were about Brexit, regardless of the content of the related article.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        I blame brexit for this.

  3. MonkeyBob

    No comment?

    "Three years ago the BBC's web presences did more or less the same thing. The corporation declined to say what caused it beyond an "internal system failure"."

    Actually there was a rather long and in depth blog post about it

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/internet/entries/a37b0470-47d4-3991-82bb-a7d5b8803771

    1. Tsurotu

      Re: No comment?

      There are some refreshingly open and cheery tech articles on that blog, it is a hidden gem.

    2. theModge

      Re: No comment?

      Well done for reminding me of it; I used to read it and indeed it's pretty insightful.

      1. Mark 110 Silver badge

        Re: No comment?

        The analysis of the outage is insightful. And well written. I wish some of the customer comms I have written under stress had read that well :-(

  4. John Arthur
    Trollface

    As Reg readers will know, HTTP 500 is the code for an internal server error.

    Well, even less well informed readers might have been able to read the banner at the top of the Beeb's panel which said "Error 500 - Internal Server Error"

  5. Dr Who

    It's the end of the world as we know it

    and I feel fine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's the end of the world as we know it

      and I feel fine.

      That's because after thousands of years of being various old farts, you've regenerated as a rather foxy bird.

  6. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

    CBeebies on Sky too

    This morning CBeebies on Sky went down too.

    Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth of a nations toddlers as they don't get their morning Hey Duggee, and their parents trying to get an indoor freeview aerial to get a signal.

    Maybe related, maybe not. The beeb isn't having a good day.

    Though when I tried to login to the news and got an HTTP 500 I genuinely feared that the site had become overwhelmed because some large (and catastrophic) newsworthy Event had occurred.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: CBeebies on Sky too

      GCSE Bite Size also gone. I had dived in to read up on 1834 poor law amendment.

      Luckily it's school holiday time.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: CBeebies on Sky too

        I had dived in to read up on 1834 poor law amendment.

        Good preparation for the 2020 GCSE (last one ever) on the 2019 Poor Law introduced by Prime Minister Rees-Mogg…

    2. VinceH Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: CBeebies on Sky too

      "Though when I tried to login to the news and got an HTTP 500 I genuinely feared that the site had become overwhelmed because some large (and catastrophic) newsworthy Event had occurred."

      My immediate thought - because I noticed the flames on the test card image - was that they were pranking us, perhaps in order to add something real that people would remember when (say) an upcoming Doctor Who is broadcast, with a story set at the time the website supposedly went down due to whatever disaster/invasion/whatever the Doctor averts.

      Also: it says in the article that iPlayer wasn't affected - but it was if you scratched the surface: Click on the iPlayer link and the site appeared to be up, but following through to anything therein (at least for me) resulted in the same error.

    3. MonkeyBob
      FAIL

      Re: CBeebies on Sky too

      We had this too, pressed a few buttons and had Peppa pig on for a bit, plus a shed load of adverts.

  7. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Scary

    Was it just me or did other people find that rag doll test card image scary?

    I miss the selection of test cards - used to see them all the time so you could set the tv up correctly. Now you have to set reds by David Dikinson's face which varies depending on the last coat of Cuprinol ..., blues by the colour of the Brexiteers' rosettes which brighten and fade depending on the state of the Pound, and greens by the grass at Wimbledon but that's currently brown so doesn't help much. Be great if there was a regular 5 minute test card window at some point for all channels - be more interesting to watch than "Rental Properties Under the Sledgehammer" - but then again it may show just how terrible the current SD broadcast quality is on static images ... I doubt if you could even use the contrast bars on some multiplexes ...

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Scary

      We had to explain to a friend what the test card was, and when it used to be on the telly last week. He found the whole idea quite baffling ( hegrew up in Hong Kong, so missed out on some cultural touchstones).

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Scary

        We had to explain to a friend what the test card was

        See: http://www.meldrum.co.uk/mhp/testcard/

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scary

        "We had to explain to a friend what the test card was"

        Ha! I see your test card and raise you a potters wheel!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Scary

          "I see your test card and raise you a potters wheel!"

          Raise you a fish tank and (IIRC) a windmill.

      3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Scary

        There was more than just the test card.

        During the rollout of coulor TV in the UK in 1967 or so, BBC2 carried a number of test programs, which I believe were called "Trade Test Transmissions". They were basically colourfull short documentaries, broadcast at fixed times of the day, so that TV installers has something predictable to set the colour up on the TV they were installing (Colour TVs were still mainly valve driven, and were fiddly to set up, took ages to warm up from cold, and generated large amounts of heat).

        I happened to be ill for a while that year, and off school for a week or two, and I remember three of them. One was called "Ride the White Horses", and was about power boat racing, another was called "Skyhook", and was about helicopter cranes, and one was called "Birth of a Rainbow", about rainbow trout farming.

        There were more, but I can't remember them. Wikipedia has a list.

        Looking a YouTube, they have the one about rainbow trout, and some of the others, but not the other two I remember.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Scary

          "During the rollout of coulor TV in the UK in 1967 or so [...]"

          I might still have the handouts from the Mullard colour TV road-show that toured the UK to educate the technical community before colour broadcasting started. A technical explanation of why PAL was better than NTSC - and how the "banana tube" semi-mechanical system had done colour TV.

          IIRC they showed some very colourful test programmes on the TVs dotted round the room.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Scary

          "[...] so that TV installers has something predictable to set the colour up on the TV they were installing [...]"

          The general public then usually twiddled to knobs to give highly saturated reds and greens. The soap actors looked like they were about to suffer a heart attack,

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Scary

          "Colour TVs were still mainly valve driven, and were fiddly to set up, took ages to warm up from cold, and generated large amounts of heat"

          One by-product was that the final stage video valves could also be used in HF SSB amateur radio transmitters. Usually overdriven - so they needed replacing regularly. IIRC Drake transmitters used them.

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Scary

      Talking about the test card made me think. It's interesting to consider that not all that long ago the sum total of available TV was...

      BBC1 - not sure what time it started, but certainly not all that early prior to breakfast TV...ran through til around midnight when it shut down for the night

      BBC2 - bulk of daytime was the test card. Late afternoon and evening programming, and shutdown around same time as BBC1. Maybe some Open University programming (very) early morning or late at night

      ITV - Similar to BBC1 as I recall

      Later, Channel 4 launched but it didn't come on until late afternoon, and also shut down at night.

      Makes you realise why breakfast TV and the launch of Channel 4 were such huge events. Especially in the case of the latter they represented a significant increase in the overall amount of programming available..

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Test cards

        It's a God-awful small affair.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scary

        "[...] ran through til around midnight when it shut down for the night"

        BBC schedules in July 1953 usually opened with children's programmes at 17:00 - although sometimes in mid-afternoon with a film or live sport.

        There was a break between the end of the children's programmes at 17:35 or 18:00 - restarting again about 19:30 to 20:00. Apparently so it didn't provide the temptation for people to miss going to Evensong at their church.

        It closed down about 22:40 with an audio only news update. On Sunday the final programme was "The Epilogue" - usually a cleric droning on in the style of Radio 4's "Thought For The Day".

        There were no other TV channels.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Scary

          "It closed down about 22:40 with an audio only news update."

          You could of course watch the random noise on the screen. Finally when you switched the TV off - the picture collapsed to a white dot that gradually disappeared.

          1. monty75

            Re: Scary

            "It's a sign, that little white dot. It means something really heavy. It means there's no more telly, it's time to go to bed."

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Scary

              " It means something really heavy."

              There is a blocked YouTube video of the "The Young Ones" that might be relevant? My mind verbalised it with the voice of Neil.

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Scary

          There was a break between the end of the children's programmes at 17:35 or 18:00 - restarting again about 19:30 to 20:00

          Known as the "Toddler's Truce", IIRC, so you had time to put the kids to bed.

        3. Ken Shabby
          Coat

          Re: Scary

          "Muffin the Mule with Annette Mills (who writes the songs) and Ann Hogarth (who pulls the strings)."

          For free, I would have paid good money to see that.

        4. RedCardinal

          Re: Scary

          I think it should go back to these schedule times now (along with all the other crap that passes for programming on the 10 million other channels)

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Scary (kids today!)

        BBC2 was the reason my dad bought a new TV. The one we had wasn't able to get it when it launched.

        I guess the old TV was 405 line VHF and we needed the new TV to get the new fangled 625 line UHF that BBC2 was broadcast on. It was years later before we got a colour TV.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Scary (kids today!)

          " It was years later before we got a colour TV."

          Even after BBC2 went colour - a lot of the programmes were in black & white. Can't remember when "Pot Black" snooker was finally shown in colour. We used to gather at a friend's house (his dad was a bank manager) for Saturday's midnight movie. They seemed to choose films that would show well in colour - like "Operation Petticoat" (aka "The Pink Submarine").

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Scary (kids today!)

            I remember as a child visting a distant relative in Bournemouth who had colour TV (we lived in the penines in northern England and BBC2 and colour took a few years to get to us) and looking forward to seeing Jackanory in colour .... only to find that that week's story was only filmed in black and white!

            I think Pot Black was always in colour as the whole point of the program was that it was designed to showcase colour TV.

            Meanwhile we were left with B&W and 405-line BBC1 ... I remember watching the 1970 FA Cup Final replay thinking that every Leeds player (white kit) was being shadowed by a Chelsea paluer (blue kit looking dark grey in B&W). Also, 5-nations rugby was a challenge as Scotland/Wales/Ireland all seemed to have chose the same mid-grey shirts!

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Fungus Bob Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: Scary (kids today!)

              "Scotland/Wales/Ireland all seemed to have chose the same mid-grey shirts!"

              Maybe it has something to do with 'damp' being a color in those places...

              Oh, excuse me, that should have been 'colour'.

          2. Ochib

            Re: Scary (kids today!)

            "and for those of you who are watching in black and white, the pink is next to the green."[

      4. veti Silver badge

        Re: Scary

        I'm sorry to break it to you, but your "not all that long ago" was half a lifetime.

        BBC's Breakfast TV schedule launched in 1983, which is fully half of threescore and ten years ago now. Channel 4 launched a year before that.

        Ob. XKCD.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scary

        I grew up thinking my older brother looked like the girl on the test card except he had shorter hair. It was weird for 10 years.

        Just thought everyone needsed to know that.

    3. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Scary

      I keep meaning to doctor the test card image i've saved for teleconference meetings. Something maybe something with the boss and the company mascot/figurehead/parlor game.

      That and hook 'the art gallery' theme song in to the big displays whilst we wait for the obligatory 'can everyone hear me?'

  8. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Coat

    60 Million people...

    60 million people searching bbc weather for "do I need a coat today?"

    I know, it rarely does not rain here. No, I don't want my coat... I just noticed the smoke from my phone as it hit critical temp!

    1. dajames Silver badge

      Re: 60 Million people...

      I know, it rarely does not rain here.

      I worked on-site at a client in the West End (of London) for 18 months, a few years ago. Getting there involved a mixture of walking and public transport (or just a long walk), and I "wisely" carried a raincoat every day.

      What surprised me was how seldom I actually needed it. Maybe five times in 18 months, which might have been a couple more times had I not once or twice taken shelter in the pub at the end of the day until the wet stuff had spent its fury.

      We tend to forget that London has a lower annual rainfall than (say) Paris (France, not Texas).

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: 60 Million people...

        Yeah. I'm no longer anywhere near London. But even around here, it's still some times of year or day that we get the rain. Not constantly. :P

      2. I am the liquor

        Re: 60 Million people...

        We tend to forget that London has a lower annual rainfall than (say) Paris (France, not Texas).

        Supposing for a moment that Wikipedia is a reliable source of information, London and Paris, France have very similar amounts of rainfall. Paris, Texas has nearly twice as much as either! Paris, Texas is almost as rainy as Glasgow, if you can believe that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 60 Million people...

          " Texas has nearly twice as much as either! "

          ...but in Texas it all arrives in one day!

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: 60 Million people...

        We tend to forget that London has a lower annual rainfall than (say) Paris (France, not Texas).

        Which is one of the reasons why it has such bad air.

        Anyway: rain coats who needs them?

  9. Chronos Silver badge
    Joke

    Hottest day

    Oh, poor souls! Meanwhile, here in the Grim North, AKA Nobodygivesafuckia, we've already had 30+C highs, once again proving, were proof needed, that if you don't live in the South East, you don't count.

    Bake, you artisan sandwich eating property-obsessed snowflakes. Feel that? That's what not being in control of your life feels like: Inescapable.

    Joking aside, the BBC could melt into an amorphous puddle of media luvvie nonsense and I wouldn't care.

  10. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    The corporation declined to say what caused it beyond an "internal system failure"

    AKA "DevOps"

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I managed to take down the Doctor Who site for an hour or so about 5 or 6 years ago. One wrong character in a .htacess file was all it took. Dev and Test were not 100% identical to the live environment it seems.

    Ringing up the admin guys in White City to request them to restore the file from the nightly back ups was fun. "What is your business case for requesting this". "Nothing flipping works!"

    AC obvs

    1. Paul 195

      Sounds like a shoo-in for "Who, me?"

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        "Sounds like a shoo-in for "Dr Who, me?"

        FTFY, but congrats anyway for the well spotted pun!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dev and Test were not 100% identical to the live environment it seems.

      I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you! I've never heard of that sort of thing happening anywhere else ever.....

    3. monty75

      In the BBC-context Dev is just restored from a previous backup.

      No, hang on, not Dev. Dave.

  12. rcaller

    The BBC just turned everything off to reduce their AWS bill by enough to pay off Sir Cliff.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Broadcast Centre

    In 'Media Village' data centre/apps room/etc in W12 which does much of BBC and other channels' playout was specced years ago to be able to cope with 30 degrees outside temperature....always seemed a little low to me.

    That was for the technology they expected to put it in then. It was never 'full' in my time but with things like virtualisation, there is less space used but it can use more power.....

    Also I believe BBC news web stuff might be at least partially hosted there and that row of bays was always rather warm and closely packed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Broadcast Centre

      "It was never 'full' in my time"

      It has been full for a while. Or at least its hard to get anything else installed in there without removing something that takes more power/cooling than the thing you want to put in. Space is also an issue but not as much.

  14. colinb

    Why don't you just

    switch off your websites and go out and do something less boring instead

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What caused the failure 3 years ago

    Is an old system since replaced called Dynamite:

    More info here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/internet/entries/bc82562e-ea9d-4655-982d-e6219b2c877b

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh God!!!1! The nuclear subs will think a new cold war has broken out if Auntie has gone offline.

  17. RobertLongshaft

    End the License Fee and axe the TV tax.

    We put single mothers living in poverty in jail for not contributing to Gary Lineker's £1.7m salary.

    We take mothers away from their children for not paying the massively over inflated salaries of bourgeoisie.

    This is socialism, this is communism.

    The BBC wants to find away to fund itself and if it wants to continue pushing its ultra left wing propaganda on the nation.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Look everyone – Terry Fuckwit has found the interwebs!

      If it's socialism how can the salaries be so varied? Large variations in salaries are a key characteristic of market economies.

      There have always been reduced rates for people on lower incomes.

      But nice of you to think of the single mothers and other poor people™. Obviously, they shouldn't have tellies in the first place. Such carelessness should not be rewarded by indolence: bring back the workhouse!

  18. Bob Vistakin
    Facepalm

    Gary Lineker's BBC salary is £1.7m pa

    Well worth every penny. Can't think of anywhere better to spend it.

  19. RedCardinal

    >>As Reg readers will know, HTTP 500 is the code for an internal server error.

    Well, if we know, why are you bothering telling us....

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