Fastly blames software bugs for global internet failures

London-Soon, the company suffered a major outage this week that caused many of the world’s top websites to go offline temporarily.

A Fastly issue prevented Internet users from connecting to many popular websites early Tuesday, including the New York Times, Guardian, Twitch, Reddit, and the UK Government home page.

Nick Rockwell, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Infrastructure at Fastly, said in a blog post late Tuesday:

He said the outage was “widespread and serious,” but the company quickly identified the problem, quarantined it and disabled it, and after 49 minutes most of the network was up and running again. This bug was in May. Included in a published software update, Rockwell said he was trying to figure out why the company wasn’t detected during testing.

“Even if there were certain conditions that caused this outage, we should have predicted it,” Rockwell said.

Based in San Francisco, Fastly offers what is called a content distribution network. This is a mechanism that allows a customer’s website to store data such as images and videos on various mirror servers across 26 countries. Bringing the data closer to the user means it will be displayed faster.

However, the incident has highlighted that much of the world’s Internet relies on a small number of companies, such as Fastly, that provide critical infrastructure behind the scenes.

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