CenturyLink Internet Outage Affects Cloudflare, Other Online Services

The outage prompted a 3.5% drop in global internet traffic. It impacted many millions.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

August 31, 2020

2 Min Read
Angry Man at Computer

A widespread CenturyLink internet outage Sunday morning impacted other internet service providers and took down services like Cloudflare, Amazon and more.

At about 6 a.m. ET on Sunday, several global markets were impacted by an IP outage, said Mark Molzen, CenturyLink spokesman.


CenturyLink;s Mark Molzen

“Our people worked hard to restore services by approximately 11 a.m. ET,” he said. “Our teams are currently investigating and will be sharing the results of those findings with customers once the process is complete. We can confirm this was not a security-related event.”

John Graham-Cumming is Cloudflare‘s CTO.

“Yesterday we saw a widespread internet outage online that impacted many multiple providers,” he said. “This was not a Cloudflare-specific outage. Level 3/CenturyLink was responsible for an outage that affected many internet services, including Cloudflare.”


Cloudflare’s John Graham-Cumming

Cloudflare’s automated systems detected the problem and routed around them, Graham-Cumming said. But the extent of the problem required manual intervention as well.

Global Internet Traffic Decline

In a blog, Michael Prince, Cloudflare’s CEO, said because this outage appeared to take all of the CenturyLink network offline, CenturyLink customers would not have been able to reach Cloudflare or any other internet provider until the issue was resolved.

“Globally, we saw a 3.5% drop in global traffic during the outage, nearly all of which was due to a nearly complete outage of CenturyLink’s ISP service across the United States,” he said.

According to CNN, Hulu, the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, Feedly, Discord and dozens of other services reported connectivity problems Sunday morning.

Services like Cloudflare prevent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. In these attacks, massive networks of computers send malicious traffic to websites to take them offline. They also help keep sites running smoothly during traffic spikes, CNN said.

Last December, a nationwide CenturyLink outage affected 911 service for numerous consumers across the country. The outage impacted voice, IP and transport services. It also affected CenturyLink’s visibility into its network-management system.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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