Fastly Outage Brings Down Websites

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Internet connectivity is one of the most important factors these days. We look up to it for the majority of our daily work from working from home to our entertainment. From keeping a check on the surroundings by the security camera, connecting needs an internet connection. Meanwhile, we all see minor hiccups in the internet connection from time to time, it does interrupt our work.

In recent events, the internet outage on major websites along with the US govt websites was witnessed by thousands of netizens. It not only created panic among people but also disrupted work majorly. The majorly hit websites went out with an error 403 bad connection. All of this lasted for about an hour and many internet users bore the loss. 

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What happened?

Early morning on Tuesday, users faced issues while opening websites like Amazon, Reddit, Spotify, eBay, Twitch, and many more. It consistently showed Error 503 with service unavailable messages. Along with forums and big names on the internet, the govt. Website – gov.uk was also down. The Guardian, CNET, New York Times, Le Monde, Independent, Financial Times, and Evening Standard are among the bigshots that faced the issue.

All of it due to the global content delivery network (CDN)- Fastly which was used by all of the affected websites. They immediately confirmed that there has been an issue from their side and started working to resolve it. By noon, most of the affected websites were restored and began to work seamlessly. Although, it was reported that it still took a slow restoring time but they were opening without any errors.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre also investigated the issue and further found no trace of malicious elements behind it. 

What caused the Internet outage?

The reason behind the Twitter trend #InternetOutage was found out within 24 hours. It is reported that one of the customers at Fastly tried to change the setting on their account and it sparked the internet error. Fastly is a CDN service that provides fast speed and performance to websites with heavy traffic. So, the websites rather than using their servers, divert the user visiting it through the CDN servers. There are multiple CDN servers based all over the globe, this is to maintain the fast speed connection. 

 

Internet outage
Image Source: Official website of Fastly

 

But that is where the root cause of the problem exists, as it can also serve as the network failure like in this case. The websites which were under its wings had all the traffic blocked due to the network failure. Apparently, it was due to a bug that was initiated after one of the customers triggered it using one of the settings in the updated Fastly system.

Nick Rockwell, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Infrastructure at Fastly stated on the official blog-

“We experienced a global outage due to an undiscovered software bug that surfaced on June 8 when it was triggered by a valid customer configuration change. We detected the disruption within one minute, then identified and isolated the cause, and disabled the configuration. Within 49 minutes, 95% of our network was operating as normal. This outage was broad and severe, and we’re truly sorry for the impact to our customers and everyone who relies on them.”

How can we avoid such issues in the future?

Although the exact circumstances were not revealed by Fastly, it made us question the vulnerability. We have been resorting to the internet for everything and thus these outages affect every one of us majorly. We must take a stand now and start looking for alternatives that will help us in avoiding such incidents in the future. To continue with our work, everyone should actively discuss the dependence on the internet and then help in finding a solution. 

In recent times, most of the internet traffic is routed through the major Content Delivery Networks namely- Amazon’s CloudFront, Cloudflare, and Fastly. Wherein Fastly has access to over 10% of the internet traffic including major websites and mobile applications. As per the experts from cybersecurity departments, the centralization system is likely to cause such issues. The web is not prepared for such disasters as relying on these services makes it more prone to failures caused by several components involved.  In the last few years, such outages have been seen frequently causing distress among the users and consumers. There has been a significant loss seen by the service providers.

The cloud services providing the best for the websites to speed up the reach for the consumer can not be the only reason to avoid the cost of an internet outage. Their stability for the long-term consumer services must not rely on only such centralized systems.

Must Read: Is Internet Slowdown The Next Risk Posing The World Amid COVID-19

Wrapping up-

The recent event is not the only one in the history of CDN-related internet outages. So it brings us back to the question – Was the internet meant for such a centralized system or not? Is it good to have the traditional internet servers for which only the respondent site or application will go out service without taking others with it? 

What are your thoughts on the internet outage due to the CDN issues? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

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