Cloudflare’s Bad Software Deployment Takes Down Websites

cloudflare 502 error
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Several websites using Cloudflare were taken down yesterday due to bad software deployment as opposed to initial speculation that it was a cyber attack.

The outage started at 1:42 p.m. UTC and lasted for about 30 minutes. It affected visitors to websites like Shopify, Medium, Wattpad, and many others, who were shown 502 Bad Gateway errors.

The content delivery network service provider said the cause of the outage was the deployment of a single misconfigured rule within the Cloudflare Web Application Firewall (WAF) during a routine deployment of new Cloudflare WAF Managed rules.

The company explained that these new rules were deployed in order to improve its ability to block attacks that could bring a website down. Unfortunately, one of the rules contained a regular expression that led to a spike in CPU usage on Cloudflare’s system.

Websites experienced temporary paralysis

Cloudflare’s outage created a big hullabaloo as users of affected websites took to social media, particularly Twitter, to rant about the company’s miscalculation and create memes.

Cloudflare outage ethernet joke(

Yells at cloud internet meme(

Aside from forcing websites to temporarily halt their operations, Cloudflare’s outage also
resulted in cryptocurrency and exchange websites displaying incorrect prices. Bitcoin news site, CoinDesk, was among those who tweeted about receiving wrong data from its providers due to the outage.

Coindesk cloudflare tweet(

Cloudflare has acknowledged the damage it has caused its customers, and says it’s working on improving its processes.

“We recognize that an incident like this is very painful for our customers. Our testing processes were insufficient in this case and we are reviewing and making changes to our testing and deployment process to avoid incidents like this in the future.” – John Graham-Cumming, Chief Technology Officer, Cloudflare

Were you affected in any way by the internet outage that happened yesterday? Let us know in the comments below or over in our Facebook Group.

For almost 10 years Dave has been involved with eCommerce with a particular interest in the marketplaces and the huge opportunities available for sellers when utilizing a multi-channel strategy. After a year of being the UK’s youngest eCommerce consultant it was the opportunity to start UnderstandingE with Matt Ogborne showing the world how to utilize Magento as the Third Generation of Multi-Channel software. Dave also recently started a YouTube channel called the Manc Entrepreneur (click YouTube icon link below to watch Dave's videos) where he discusses all things eCommerce and entrepreneurship aimed to help young entrepreneurs get started on their own journey. When Dave isn’t working his main interests include, Technology, Cars and throwing himself off high things into water.


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