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Cloudflare outage temporarily takes down hundreds of websites

Downtime incident at web application security and performance firm Cloudflare has wide-reaching consequences for internet service providers

Hundreds of websites and services have been rendered inaccessible by a now-resolved outage at web application security and performance firm Cloudflare.

The company confirmed in a statement on its service status page that it had suffered a “critical incident” and connectivity in its network has been “disrupted in broad regions” as a result. “Customers attempting to reach Cloudflare sites in impacted regions will observe 500 errors. The incident impacts all data plane services in our network,” it said.

The status page said the issue has now been resolved within an hour of the firm, which claims to be “trusted by millions of internet properties”, reportedly rolling out a fix for it at 8.20am.

According to data accrued by the DownDetector website, which compiles user-generated reports of downtime incidents for tracking and monitoring purposes, the incident appears to have begun just before 7.15am.

While the outage itself was relatively short-lived, the downtime incident is known to have knocked a number of high-profile web services offline – including voice over IP app Discord and the hugely popular online game Minecraft – and has also been linked to the onset of technical difficulties for users of Microsoft Teams, Amazon Web Services and various Google services.

Several users of social media site Twitter raised concerns about the fact that a single service provider experiencing technical difficulties can lead to so many other companies going down, too.

Computer Weekly contacted Cloudflare for further details on the cause of the outage and received the following statement in response, which confirmed the incident was due to a network change in “some of its datacentres” that led to some of its network becoming unavailable.

“Cloudflare was working on a fix within minutes, and the network is running normally now. Given Cloudflare’s scale and the percentage of the Internet that relies on our network, when we have problems it is vital that we are open and transparent about what happened, why it happened, and what we’re doing to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We will release a post-mortem later today on our blog,”  the statement concluded. 

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