Twitter outage marks return of the Fail Whale

Twitter has apologised for an outage that left some users unable to access the service for several hours on Thursday, its third outage of January.

The micro-blogging service went offline at approximately 15:00 GMT, when some web and mobile users were met with the iconic "fail whale" error message, which indicates the site is overloaded. Twitter acknowledged the issue on its status blog at around 15:30, noting that its engineers were working to resolve the problem. Service was resolved just before 18:00.

"This incident has now been resolved," the company said. "We apologise to users who were affected by this, and we're working to ensure that similar issues do not occur."

Twitter last experienced an outage just 10 days ago on 21 January, when some users were unable to access the site, according to Twitter's status blog. In addition, on 16 January, some users had trouble with Twitter.com and the company's mobile apps. Before that, the Twitter's last major outage occurred in July.

Twitter wasn't the only major website to go down yesterday. Amazon.com also experienced an outage, with the main digital storefront unavailable to some, according to reports. When attempting to access the site, some users saw a blank page that read "Http/1.1 Service Unavailable."

We noticed the error message when attempting to access Amazon.com for a period, but the site started to come back online after 20:00 GMT. Meanwhile, Amazon's web services are all operating normally, according to Amazon's web services health dashboard.