Shopped till it dropped: briefly offline

Amazon's whimsical 500 error page. and its mobile app were taken out of commission for about half an hour Monday afternoon. Users were interrupted in the act of browsing the site or buying an item, and both the main page and apps were inaccessible.

The outage appears to have begun around 3 p.m. ET. The site was completely offline for a short duration, but at about 3:15 p.m. it began displaying a "500 error" page. This is a generic error that could be caused by many issues on the site itself. Service resumed at about 3:35 p.m.

None of Amazon's hosting services, such as EC2 and S3, appeared to be seriously affected, nor were auxiliary services like widgets on affiliates' webpages. Non-American site fronts (e.g. were similarly untouched by the outage.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for more information, but we will update this story as soon as they do.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is