Leap Second Crashes Internet: Several Sites Down Because Of Extra Second
It was a rough weekend for the internet. First there were the storms on Friday night that knocked out power to Amazon servers, crashing popular sites like Instagram and Pinterest, and then a leap second added to Saturday night to align clocks with the earth’s rotation wreaked havoc on sites unprepared for the added time.
Sites like Reddit, Yelp and the Gawker network were caught by surprise, reported Gizmodo, which was also taken down. The sites were left down for hours as administrators worked to fix servers thrown off by the extra second.
The leap second was inserted to atomic clocks across the world at 12 a.m. Grenwich Meridian Time, allowing them to stay in unison with the planet’s rotation. Though the leap second occurs regularly—24 times since 1972—the clocks used in servers, networks and laptops aren’t used to seeing the same second occur twice in a row, Gizmodo reported.
Reddit made a post to Twitter alerting its followers that the site was suffering problems with its open source database, and Mozilla posted a bug report saying that it was having database problems of its own, Wired reported. Gawker was particularly unprepared—the site was running an article on Friday alerting readers about the extra second, but still failed to account for it in its servers.
Not all sites were taken by surprise by the leap second. Google had seen the difficulties coming and gradually added milliseconds to each of its update leading up to the second. By the time the extra second came around, Google’s servers had already caught up.