Cloudflare Blames CenturyLink for Sunday’s Internet Blackout

With Cloudflare down, dozens of popular websites and services went with it.

With Cloudflare down, dozens of popular websites and services went with it.
Screenshot: DownDetector

Widespread internet outages knocked down Cloudflare, the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, Amazon, Hulu, and a slew of other sites on Sunday morning, and it’s apparently all because of a single internet service provider: CenturyLink.

Given that Cloudflare’s online security services are designed to keep websites up and running, when it went down, so did dozens of the popular sites and services that rely on it, including Discord, Feedly, and League of Legends. Cloudflare began seeing “an increased level of HTTP 5xx class errors” early Sunday morning, according to the company’s status page. It later tweeted that issues with a “third-party transit provider” were affecting all of Cloudflare’s data centers that use that provider.

CenturyLink confirmed on Twitter that its technicians were working to fix an IP outage, which was resolved shortly before noon.

“We are able to confirm that all services impacted by today’s IP outage have been restored. We understand how important these services are to our customers, and we sincerely apologize for the impact this outage caused,” the company tweeted.

DownDetector showed reports of internet connectivity problems coming in from across the U.S. and western Europe on Sunday morning. Cloudflare chief tech officer John Graham-Cumming told CNN that “the extent of the problem required manual intervention” in addition to its automated bug detection systems.

It’s not the first time most of the internet’s gone dark because of issues with CenturyLink’s services. A nationwide blackout in 2018 took down Verizon mobile data, ATMs, and, most worryingly, the 911 emergency line in several parts of America. In response, Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai announced a federal investigation into CenturyLink.

“When an emergency strikes, it’s critical that Americans are able to use 911 to reach those who can help,” Pai said at the time. “The CenturyLink service outage is therefore completely unacceptable, and its breadth and duration are particularly troubling.”

As annoying as this morning may have been, I suppose we can be thankful that the outage wasn’t that bad at least.

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