A Cloudflare outage on Tuesday knocked hundreds of websites and services, including Discord, Shopify, Fitbit, Peleton, various cryptocurrency services, and Cloudflare itself, offline for a number of hours.
Founded in 2010, Cloudflare is a US-based content delivery network (CDN) that also provides distributed denial-of-service protection to online domains, speed optimisation, and various cyber security services.
The company faced similar issues last week when an outage in the India region caused several services including Discord, Shopify, Canva and GitLab to suffer from network performance issues across India, Indonesia and Eastern Europe.
The incident on Tuesday was first recognised on Cloudflare’s status page at 7:43 a.m. GMT, where the vendor posted a statement saying: "Connectivity in Cloudflare’s network has been disrupted in broad regions. Customers attempting to reach Cloudflare sites in impacted regions will observe 500 errors. The incident impacts all data plane services in our network."
At 7:57 a.m., Cloudflare said the issue had been identified and "a fix is being implemented," and by 8:20 a.m., the fix had been rolled out and the company was "monitoring the results." Cloudflare's update page showed that all services were operational at 9:13 a.m.
Cloudflare has confirmed that the outage was not the result of an attack.
"A network change in some of our data centers caused a portion of our network to be unavailable," according to a Cloudflare statement.
"Due to the nature of the incident, customers may have had difficulty reaching websites and services that rely on Cloudflare from approximately 0628-0720 UTC. Cloudflare was working on a fix within minutes, and the network is running normally now."
The Cloudflare outage could necessitate a rethink on how such outages, which could cripple business operations temporarily can be overcome, according to Venkatesh Sundar, co-founder of Indusface, a web app security company.
"More often than not, while choosing or building a service, there is a focus on the kind of features and capabilities that the service would offer," he said. "However, it is important to evaluate the service provider/vendor’s ability to support you in the instance of a service outage."