Issues with Cloudflare causes global website outage

A glitch in internet security provider, Cloudflare, caused problems for many website users yesterday for around half an hour.

The US-based company provides DDoS mitigation, content delivery network services, and internet security, and is designed to assist businesses in running smoothly. They have around 16 million clients in total.

However, visitors to their patron’s websites reported seeing “502 Error” messages popping up on the screen when trying to enter. OkCupid, Discord, and FlightTrader24 were just some of the clients claiming to be affected by the issue.

Cloudflare websites affected

The platform, Down Detector, a website that tracks which sites are working, was also not functioning, meaning that people could not see who had been affected by the problem.

Whilst Coin Desk, a news site which specialises in digital currency, posted on Twitter, “ALERT: Due to a Cloudflare outage, we’re getting bad data from our providers, which is showing incorrect crypto prices. Calm down everyone, Bitcoin is not $26”.

Discussing the issue

In explaining the problem, the company’s chief technology officer, John Graham-Cumming, wrote a blog on their site saying: “For about 30 minutes today, visitors to Cloudflare sites received 502 errors caused by a massive spike in CPU utilization on our network. This CPU spike was caused by a bad software deploy that was rolled back. Once rolled back the service returned to normal operation and all domains using Cloudflare returned to normal traffic levels.”

It was speculated that the company had been attacked and flooded with traffic. However, Graham-Cumming further wrote: “This was not an attack (as some have speculated) and we are incredibly sorry that this incident occurred. Internal teams are meeting as I write performing a full post-mortem to understand how this occurred and how we prevent this from ever occurring again.”

This is the second time in one week that Cloudflare has experienced issues with its services. However, despite the company saying that the issue has now been solved, there are apparently still a few problems with its analytics tools.