TRENTON —  A problem with Amazon's website hosting company caused issues with a number of websites, including New Jersey 101.5.

Error messages began popping up around 12:30 p.m. for sites relying on Amazon Web Services, especially on the east coast, according to Twitter messages. The company in a tweet said they "understand root cause and are working hard at repairing."

AWS utilizes cloud technology to store data instead of large "server farms" with large rooms full of computers.

New Jersey 101.5 science and technology advisor David Loudon said the problem is "a pretty big deal" as AWS is one of a handful of companies providing back end services to websites.

"There are websites that are hosted directly on Amazon.  A lot of what it's used for are database services, payment services for people who are processing credit cards, ad services for inserts on web pages. There's a lot of things that they do in the background. You may not know necessarily know that you're depending on Amazon for what you see on the web page."

Among the sites affected are Netflix, Comcast, Expedia, Kellogg's, the Associated Press, Dow Jones, Vodafone, FDA and Penn State. The stream for New Jersey 101.5's was also knocked out by the problem.

Ironically, one of the sites brought down by the problem was a site that tracks websites that are offline, isitdownrightnow.com.

Amazon was not offering a timetable as to when the issue would be resolved.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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