What is a 500 internal server error? Meaning explained as Cloudflare outage sends Discord and other sites down

A global internet outage is causing issues for a host of major websites, applications and games.

The likes of Discord, Amazon Web Services, Shopify and Coinbase were all down on Tuesday morning, as well as popular games including League of Legends, Minecraft and Valorant.

The issue appears to lie with content delivery network Cloudflare, which supports all of these services.

People are being met with a 500 internal server error when trying to access these sites.

Here’s everything we know about the outage so far.

What is a 500 internal server error?

A 500 internal server error occurs when a web server is experiencing problems, but it can’t pinpoint the specific error or its root causes.

This can make it difficult to fix, as technicians must search to identify the problem before being able to address it.

When you encounter a 500 internal server error, you will often be met with an error message along the lines of, “oops, something went wrong”.

You may also see a 500 internal server error in the following common ways:

  • 500 internal server error
  • HTTP 500 – internal server error
  • Temporary error (500)
  • HTTP 500 internal error
  • 500 error
  • HTTP error 500

If you come across an error like this and it persists after you refresh the page there is little you can do. You can report the error to the website in question, though if it is a larger site it is likely the team is already aware of the issue, and is working on a fix.

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What is Cloudflare?

Cloudflare is one of the world’s largest internet networks, serving millions of websites and online properties.

It has data centres in more than 270 cities around the world, using its edge network to serve content from the sites it works with to the user.

Cloudflare explains: “In the early days of the internet, when you wanted to load a website, your request would go from your computer to a server, which would then return the web page you requested.

“If too many requests came in at once, that server could be overwhelmed and crash, becoming unresponsive to anyone trying to access the resources it hosted.

“This made it difficult for owners of internet properties to provide content that was fast, safe, and reliable. Cloudflare was created to ease these difficulties and empower users with the resources to make their sites, apps, and blogs safe and performant.”

The problem with this, however, is that when Cloudflare experiences issues, it affects all of the websites it serves.

That means when Cloudflare goes down, so does a large section of the internet.

When will the problems be fixed?

Cloudflare recognised the issue shortly after 5.30am BST, posting to its status site: “A critical P0 incident was declared at approximately 6.34am UTC. Connectivity in Cloudflare’s network has been disrupted in broad regions.

“Customers attempting to reach Cloudflare sites in impacted regions will observe 500 errors. The incident impacts all data plane services in our network.”

Cloudflare has said a fix has now been implemented, and it is monitoring the results.

Services should begin returning imminently, if they have not already.

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