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Why was the internet down? Blame Fastly.

It caused "Error 503 Service Unavailable" messages on Twitch and Reddit.

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Image: Jamison Wieser

A Fastly outage Tuesday morning took down many major websites, including Twitch, Amazon, Reddit and many news sites — including Protocol — for almost an hour.

Fastly, which operates a content delivery network, said on its status page (which remained up and running) that it was "currently investigating potential impact to performance with our CDN services." The message was first posted at 5:58 a.m. ET.

Downdetector reported a significant increase in outages across the web, with Shopify, Etsy, eBay and Spotify all seeing a surge in user complaints.

Websites were affected by the outage in different ways. On some sites, users could only see an "Error 503 Service Unavailable" message. On others, text loaded but images and formatting didn't. Twitter, for example, remained up and running — but emojis didn't work. The issues also appear to vary based on users' locations.

Fastly describes itself as an "edge cloud platform," and companies use it to help deliver website content to users quickly. As evidenced by Tuesday's outage, it's extremely popular among the internet's biggest companies.

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