Cloudflare fixes an outage that took major web services offline

DDoS mitigation and content delivery network company Cloudflare has fixed a flaw that rendered many of the world’s most used websites inaccessible.

Around 07:30 Tuesday morning (BST), Cloudflare detected “a critical P0 incident” that disrupted its service in “large regions”.

People trying to visit websites protected by Cloudflare have received a 500 error message in their browser – a generic server response when unexpected conditions are presented, meaning the server cannot fulfill a request.

The company has regularly updated its status page with the most recent update confirming that the first patch it implemented was successful and all systems are now operational.

The outage lasted less than two hours and most regions are now fully operational. Some regions have been temporarily rerouted, or partially rerouted in some cases, to regain access to websites.

Web services affected included Discord, Shopify, Steam and NordVPN, but many others were down, including some news outlets.

Cloudflare CTO John Graham-Cumming said in an online forum that the outage isn’t happening everywhere in the world, but many regions are affected.

“Yeah, not worldwide but in many places,” he said, responding to a thread related to the outage. “Problem with our spine. We know what. Cancellations etc. Put it back together. Should be saved everywhere.

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UK-based users appear to have been largely unaffected, as many supposedly affected sites were accessed by users based in the region for the duration of the outage.

Other outlets such as The edge reported that users of Cloudflare’s DNS lookup service were among the most affected, but resetting the ISP’s default configuration largely resolved the situation.

Such disruptive outages are relatively common given the centralized model of the modern Internet.

Most of the world’s websites are powered by a small number of Content Delivery Network (CDN) providers, according to some expertswith Cloudflare and Fastly among the most popular.

CDN providers offer a service that delivers Internet content, such as web pages, faster through geographically distributed groups of servers.

When an outage occurs, it often means that many popular websites are rendered inaccessible given the small number of popular CDN providers in the market.

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