Cloudflare network outage makes websites unreachable

The internet-infrastructure giant helps route web traffic. That went awry on Friday.

Laura Hautala
Laura Hautala
Laura Hautala Former Senior Writer
Laura wrote about e-commerce and Amazon, and she occasionally covered cool science topics. Previously, she broke down cybersecurity and privacy issues for CNET readers. Laura is based in Tacoma, Washington, and was into sourdough before the pandemic.
Expertise E-commerce, Amazon, earned wage access, online marketplaces, direct to consumer, unions, labor and employment, supply chain, cybersecurity, privacy, stalkerware, hacking. Credentials
  • 2022 Eddie Award for a single article in consumer technology
Laura Hautala

Users were locked out of websites Friday due to an outage with web-infrastructure giant Cloudflare.

Angela Lang/CNET

Several websites became unavailable Friday after Cloudflare experienced outages in parts of its network. The problem was caused by a chain reaction in Cloudflare's systems for routing internet traffic. Affected websites include those for Shopify, Politico, Discord and League of Legends, according to TechCrunch. 

In an incident report, Cloudflare said the outage wasn't the result of an attack. "We believe we have addressed the root cause and are monitoring systems for stability now," the company said. The outage appears to have lasted for about 23 minutes.

Cloudflare Chief Technology Officer John Graham-Cumming gave additional information in a blog post Friday evening. The company was working on an unrelated issue with its systems and accidentally configured all traffic flowing between its data centers to go through one location in Atlanta. This overwhelmed the system, a "backbone" of private lines that carries data outside of the public internet, and led to problems at other points in the company's global network of data centers.

"We are sorry for this outage and have already made a global change to the backbone configuration that will prevent it from being able to occur again," Graham-Cumming wrote in the blog post.

Cloudflare is a major player in the world of web infrastructure, helping secure websites from attacks that can take them offline, as well as routing a huge volume of internet traffic.