Image Source: Flickr user verkeorg // CC 2.0 License

Several of the world’s leading websites suffered outages as the internet went into a blackout due to glitches in US-based cloud service provider Fastly. However, the blackout was a temporary one, as the issue was identified promptly and has now been fixed.

Some of the websites which were affected by the glitch include Reddit, Twitch, Spotify,  Bloomberg, and even Amazon, as well as popular services like HBO Max, Quora, Hulu, and others. News websites affected included The Guardian, The Financial Times, Independent, New York Times, the BBC, CNN, Evening Standard, and Le Monde. UK government’s website was affected as well.

Visitors trying to access got a message that said: “Fastly error: unknown domain:,” while those who tried to access the New York Times got an “Error 503 Service Unavailable” message.

You may wonder what a CDN is. Standing for Content Delivery Network, it refers to global groups of servers that work hand-in-hand to ensure fast delivery of internet content. They help improve performance by caching the data as close to the end-user as possible so that web pages load quicker as the data doesn’t need to be fetched from the original server. Thus, you can see that a CDN is an essential part of the infrastructure of the internet, and if it runs into any trouble, the internet will show the consequences.

Fastly’s job is to reduce latency (the delay between the time the internet user searches for something and the time that search appears), and apart from the glitches, it has been working quite satisfactorily. The company describes its services as ‘edge cloud’ because it states that it places developer tools at the edge of the cloud, operating on more instant data and real-time services rather than the big data underpinning cloud computing.

Fastly posted regular updates between 11 am and 12 pm (GMT), notifying users at 11.57 by saying: “The issue has been identified and a fix has been applied. Customers may experience increased origin load as global services return.”

“We identified a service configuration that triggered disruptions across our POPs globally and has disabled that configuration. Our global network is coming back online,” Fastly tweeted. Several of the affected websites started to come back online soon after.