When a company’s website goes down, IT staff rush to resolve the issue and try to get to its root cause. This is easier said than done, considering the hosting options available in today’s Internet-market. You can host services internally, use online providers, or use a combination of options that help dynamically load balance traffic workload. A provider of such services, Cloudflare, experienced an incident just earlier today.
In fact, earlier this morning WatchGuard’s website was down as a result. We were just one of many affected services, but Cloudflare promptly resolved the issue in about 20 minutes. Here’s some chatter on Twitter revolving around this topic.
Internally hosting services allows direct access to systems and local troubleshooting. This also entails ensuring maximum uptime in-house as well. This isn’t always feasible considering staffing requirements and associated skill sets, amongst many other factors, making online hosting more favorable. These hosting providers do what they must to offer maximum uptimes, often themselves allowing service integration with companies like Cloudflare. For instance, AWS offers a similar product (CloudFront) to Cloudflare but obliviously with differences; compare the two here. But the option is up to you as a consumer, do you want to host your site on AWS and use CloudFront or do you want to integrate with Cloudflare?
As beneficial as these services are, considering the protection offered, if something happens to them directly, as did Cloudflare earlier, the Internet can be widely affected. In 2017, AWS went down before too and caused a large outage. There are other options, like locally hosting services and not relying on these services but this can open a whole new can of worms.