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Fastly Outage Causes Internet Slowdown

Fastly, a CDN provider, experienced another outage, this time affecting mega sites like Amazon, CNN, Twitch, and more, due to a customer-initiated configuration change that triggered a software bug. This, along with a slew of other outages from Fastly and other providers once again demonstrates the need for redundancy and Multi-CDN management.

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Tanya Valdez is a Technical Writer at Constellix. She makes the information-transfer material digestible through her own transfer of information to our customers and readers. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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A massive Fastly outage swept the internet on June 8, 2021. The content delivery network (CDN) provider started experiencing connectivity issues at 4:58 a.m. CST, which left the customers of scores of high-traffic websites in the dark. 

Fastly CDN Outage Affects Major Websites Including Amazon, Twitch, and CNN

Some of the sites affected included: Amazon, Hulu, CNN, Twitch, Reddit, Spotify, Vimeo, Etsy, Yelp, The Guardian, Forbes, Target, and USA Today—and that is a short list. 

In less than an hour after Fastly’s initial announcement regarding potential impacts to performance with its CDN services, they reported having resolved the issues. The company has since claimed that a software bug triggered by a customer was the cause of the colossal outage. 

Fastly’s Response to Widespread Outage

Senior Vice President of Engineering and Infrastructure at Fastly stated in the most recent update:

“We experienced a global outage due to an undiscovered software bug that surfaced on June 8 when it was triggered by a valid customer configuration change. We detected the disruption within one minute, then identified and isolated the cause, and disabled the configuration. Within 49 minutes, 95% of our network was operating as normal.
This outage was broad and severe, and we’re truly sorry for the impact to our customers and everyone who relies on them.”

Two Fastly Content Delivery Network Outages in 2021

We are happy to see that Fastly resolved the issue quickly, but this wasn’t the first outage the CDN provider has experienced. Domain administrators should be implementing DNS strategies that will help avoid any type of end-user disruption, such as proactive monitoring that will immediately detect any CDN issue and direct the affected traffic to another resource (CDN) that is functioning properly. Websites should be available to visitors free of interruptions and outages. 

On January 12, 2021, Fastly announced a similar outage that affected its content delivery network (CDN) services. According to its Status page, the company posted that they were aware of a possible issue at 10:25 a.m. CST and noted they were working to determine the extent and scope of impact. This outage lasted approximately 90 minutes. 

While the issue was “identified” and a fix was implemented, precise details of the root cause of the outage was not reported on the company’s Status or Incident page.

Companies such as Etsy, Wistia, Buzzfeed, The Guardian, Stripe, A&E, and GitHub are all companies that utilize Fastly’s services. Etsy indicated they were investigating issues on their site, with a resolution update on their official Twitter account. RubyGems also noted an outage in relation to the Fastly issue on their website’s Status page. 

While Blizzard Entertainment North America Customer Support’s Twitter account has noted unscheduled restarts were performed to resolve technical issues, it is not clear if they were related to Fastly’s outage or Blizzard Entertainment’s scheduled maintenance earlier that morning.  CDNPlanet lists Fastly as one of World of Warcraft’s CDN providers.

Constellix’s CDN Performance tool indicated speed and efficiency issues for Fastly after the issue was resolved for both outages.


Fastly Global CDN Outage 2021 - CDN Performance Tool

Various instances can cause a CDN outage. Heavy traffic, hardware or software issues, improperly managed DNS, and various types of attacks can bring down websites and CDNs, with new ways frequently being discovered. Once a CDN is down, it is important to understand that these types of outages can significantly hinder productivity, efficiency, and can have major impacts on revenue. 

Multi-CDN Management Solutions Can Prevent Downtime

Studies have shown that the average cost of downtime is approximately $5,600 per minute, which equates to about $300,000 per hour. Aside from lost revenue, it can also have a negative impact on a domain’s reputation, which can ultimately have negative, long-term impacts. 

“Site reliability continues to be a large focus year after year and yet so many organizations and professionals don’t take the necessary precautions to mitigate issues and outages properly,” says Steven Job, President of DNS Made Easy and Constellix, “the amount of revenue loss companies have experienced during the current COVID-19 pandemic is pushing most of them to implement a multi-CDN solution as quickly as possible. In the fourth quarter of 2020, Constellix has activated over 4,000 Multi-CDN accounts and this number grows exponentially each day.” 

Constellix offers a Multi-CDN solution that assists in maintaining healthy and resilient connections between end users and domain content. This tool allows two or more CDNs to be configured in the dashboard and pairs with other Constellix services, such as Failover and Traffic Steering to move traffic from unavailable resources to the fastest and healthiest options. 

Constellix was built from the same network that powers DNS Made Easy, which has the highest uptime (100%) in DNS history since 2001. With Constellix’s Multi-CDN solution, all configured domains and applications remain accessible in the event of an outage.

Studies have shown that the average cost of downtime is approximately $5,600 per minute, which equates to about $300,000 per hour. Aside from lost revenue, it can also have a negative impact on a domain’s reputation, which can ultimately have negative, long-term impacts. 

“Site reliability continues to be a large focus year after year and yet so many organizations and professionals don’t take the necessary precautions to mitigate issues and outages properly,” says Steven Job, President of DNS Made Easy and Constellix, “the amount of revenue loss companies have experienced during the current COVID-19 pandemic is pushing most of them to implement a multi-CDN solution as quickly as possible. In the fourth quarter of 2020, Constellix has activated over 4,000 Multi-CDN accounts and this number grows exponentially each day.” 

Constellix offers a Multi-CDN solution that assists in maintaining healthy and resilient connections between end users and domain content. This tool allows two or more CDNs to be configured in the dashboard and pairs with other Constellix services, such as Failover and Traffic Steering to move traffic from unavailable resources to the fastest and healthiest options. 

Constellix was built from the same network that powers DNS Made Easy, which has the highest uptime (100%) in DNS history since 2001. With Constellix’s Multi-CDN solution, all configured domains and applications remain accessible in the event of an outage.

Fastly Outage 2021 - Amazon - Reddit - CNN - CDN Outage Prevention


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