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Web service outage forces some streamers to go dark

A stock image of an Internet server with Ethernet cables
(Stock image via Pexels)

An outage at the content delivery network (CDN) service Fastly forced dozens of major websites to go offline early Tuesday morning.

The issue impacted several streaming video services, including Vimeo, Amazon, the Walt Disney Company’s Hulu and AT&T WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, resulting in prolonged outages cross those products.

Other web properties impacted by the glitch included the websites of the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Verge, Stripe, CNN and PayPal.

The services use Fastly’s CDN product, which caches web files across various servers spread out throughout the world. The product reduces the time it takes for a website to load or for certain files, like videos, to download. For a streaming service, a CDN like Fastly can shave seconds off the time it takes for a movie or TV show to load up on a smart TV, phone or tablet.

Other companies, including Amazon Web Services and CloudFlare, offer CDNs of their own, but Fastly has become something of a media darling since it was introduced several years ago, with many major media organization choosing it over the competition to serve its audience.

On Tuesday, Fastly acknowledged that a “global CDN disruption” was to blame for the outages affecting its clients. The problem was resolved less than two hours later. The specific cause of the issue was not revealed.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).