The company responsible for Tuesday’s worldwide internet outage has apologized for making a costly mistake that resulted in the loss of websites, apps, and online services.
Fastly, which operates a content delivery network of servers and data centers, said in a statement late Tuesday that it would work to avoid a repeat of the widespread failure.
“Even though there were specific conditions that triggered this outage, we should have anticipated it,” said Nick Rockwell, Fastly’s senior vice president of engineering and infrastructure in the statement. “We provide mission critical services, and we treat any action that can cause service issues with the utmost sensitivity and priority. We apologize to our customers and those who rely on them for the outage.”
CNN, the Guardian, the New York Times, and many others are among the news sites and apps that Fast supports. Twitch, Pinterest, HBO Max, Hulu, Reddit, Spotify (SPOT), and other services use it to deliver content. Other major internet platforms and sites were also affected by the 49-minute outage Tuesday morning, including Amazon (AMZN), Target (CBDY), and the UK government website — Gov.uk. Hundreds of countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, as well as South Africa, were affected.
A faulty software update applied by Fastly (FSLY) on May 12 was the source of the problem. The update introduced a bug that could be triggered by a customer configuring their service under certain conditions, as happened on Tuesday. According to Fastly, the bug caused 85 percent of the company’s network to return errors.
Despite the fact that Fastly was able to work around the bug in less than an hour, the company is still working on a permanent fix for its entire network. The company also stated that it is reviewing its processes and practices to determine why the bug was not detected when it was first introduced last month, and that it will figure out how to get its network back up and running faster if something similar to Tuesday’s outage occurs again.
“This outage was broad and severe, and we’re truly sorry for the impact to our customers and everyone who relies on them,” Rockwell said.
Fastly improves website load times and offers other services to websites, apps, and platforms, including a global server network that smooths out traffic overloads that can cause websites to crash, such as a denial-of-service attack. The service achieves this by storing content and aspects of websites and apps on servers that are physically closer to the users attempting to access the site or platform.
Fastly, on the other hand, acts as a buffer between internet companies and customers trying to access the various online platforms it supports, so if it goes down, access to those platforms may be completely blocked.
Software updates that aren’t up to par are uncommon. Similar blunders have brought down parts of even larger online platforms in the past, including Google (GOOGL) and Amazon.