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What is Fastly as global sites are brought down by internet outage?


Fastly is at the centre of a major internet outage

Cloud services platform Fastly is at the centre of a major internet outage, which is affecting some of the world’s biggest and most popular websites.

The Guardian, New York Times, Independent, Financial Times, CNN, Buzzfeed and French newspaper Le Monde have all been posting error messages online, while users have also reported problems with such services as Amazon and Spotify.

Fastly has reported that the outage is affecting sites across Europe and parts of the US, as well as Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong.

But just what is Fastly, and what does the company do?

What is Fastly?

Fastly is a content delivery network (CDN), which allows internet users to see the content they are after more quickly.

A content delivery network is the name given to a group of servers distributed geographically, which work together to ensure content is delivered speedily to Internet users.

This network allows assets needed to load such online material as videos, images and HTML pages to be transferred quickly to the user.

The Fastly website showed an error message

Most web traffic comes via CDNs these days – although you don’t need one to have a website, they can improve the performance of sites by helping them to load faster as well as reducing the load on your web hosting provider.

However they are not a replacement for web hosting companies – those which provide online space for individuals and organisations to have sites on the Internet.

Content delivery networks also able to provide security against some common online attacks such as Distributed Denial of Service Attacks, in which a site is overwhelmed by traffic in a bid to block its normal service.

Fastly describes its network as an ‘edge cloud platform’, which allows developers to extend their core cloud infrastructure to the very edge of the network – bringing it closer to users.

As well as content delivery, Fastly also offers its users video and streaming, image optimisation, cloud security and load balancing services.

Among the major players that use its servers are Reddit, Slack, Airbnb and Spotify

Why is Fastly down?

Fastly went down this morning after admitting just before 11am it was facing issues, with many websites linked to the CDN showing an ‘error 503’ message.

Fastly wrote on its website that the incident was affecting various areas in Europe, North America and the Asia/Pacific region. At 10.58am BST it said it was ‘currently investigating potential impact to performance with our CDN services’, adding later that it was still investigating the issue.

Update: The company reported at 11.44am that the issue had been identified and a fix implemented.

However they added that loading times may still be slow as websites came back online.


MORE :
What is a 503 error and why are so many sites affected by Fastly outage?





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