Tuesday morning’s massive internet disruption spotlights the dangers of relying on too few companies to run the web.
When one content delivery network (CDN) – such as Fastly, which served to be a common denominator in this case – experiences problems, the world is affected.
“This is what happens when half of the internet relies on Goliaths like Amazon, Google and Fastly for all of its servers and web services,” Gaz Jones, technical director of digital agency Think3, said in a statement reported by CNBC. “The entire internet has become dangerously geared on just a few players.”
Similar troubles with Amazon Web Services (2017) and CloudFlare (2019) brought major service interruptions.
This outage reportedly hit sites including those of Twitter, the BBC, Amazon, Google, Reddit, CNN, the New York Times, Financial Times, PayPal, Spotify, Twitch, USA Today and Bloomberg.
Along with users having experienced intermittent outages Tuesday morning, some were unable to gain access to websites, with some in the U.K. and U.S. seeing the message “Error 503 Service Unavailable.”
Fastly is a CDN that operates as a cloud platform and basically runs a great number of websites.
New York Times and Britain’s gov.uk site returned an “Error 503 Service Unavailable” message, along with the line “Varnish cache server,” a technology that Fastly is built on.
Fastly said on its website at 5:58 a.m. ET that it was investigating, then later, “a fix is being implemented.” At 8:41 a.m. ET, Fastly said the issue had been resolved.
Most sites were back up and running by then.