Jun 8, 2021

How an Obscure Company Took Down Big Chunks of the Internet

Posted by in category: internet

Early Tuesday morning, large portions of the web sputtered out for about an hour. The downed sites shared no obvious theme or geography; the outages were global, and they hit everything from Reddit to Spotify to The New York Times. (And yes, also WIRED.) In fact, the only thing they have in common is Fastly, a content-delivery network (CDN) provider whose predawn hiccup reverberated across the internet.

You may not have heard of Fastly, but you likely interact with it in some fashion every time you go online. Along with Cloudflare and Akamai, it’s one of the biggest CDN providers in the world. And while Fastly has been vague about what specific glitch caused Tuesday’s worldwide disruptions, the incident offers a stark reminder of how fragile and interconnected internet infrastructure can be, especially when so much of it hinges on a handful of companies that operate largely outside of public awareness.

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