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Home » Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp back online after BGP fix

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp back online after BGP fix

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Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are now working against it after a BGP routing issue caused a global outage of more than five hours.

At around 11:50 a.m. EST today, all three websites were suddenly unreachable, with browsers showing DNS errors when they tried to open them.

When trying to connect directly to the following Facebook DNS servers, it was also impossible to reach them.

Unable to connect to Facebook's DNS servers
Unable to connect to Facebook’s DNS servers

Because the DNS protocol tells your operating system and your browsers the IP address of a website, the DNS servers being inaccessible, it was impossible to connect to them.

A BGP routing issue caused outages

While at first the problem seemed to be DNS related, it was later learned that the problem was much worse than that.

As Giorgio Bonfiglio, Senior TAM at Amazon AWS explained, various Facebook routing prefixes suddenly disappeared from the Internet’s BGP routing tables, making it impossible to connect to services hosted on their IP addresses.

BGP or Border Gateway Protocol makes the modern internet work and how a computer on one side of the world can connect to a device on the other.

To make it easier to understand, the BGP routing protocol is similar to an Internet “postal system”, facilitating traffic from one (stand-alone) system of networks to another.

When a network wants to be seen on the Internet, it must advertise its routes, or prefixes, with the rest of the world.

If these prefixes are removed, no one else on the Internet knows how to connect to their servers.

Because Facebook configured their organization to use a domain registrar and DNS servers hosted on their own routing prefix, when those prefixes were removed, no one could connect to those IP addresses and the services running on them.

As of 5:00 p.m. EST, Facebook routing prefixes started showing up on the BGP routing table on other networks. With these prefixes now posted on the internet, users can once again log into Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

It is not known what caused today’s outage, but it was most likely due to a misconfiguration, like many other BGP-related outages in the past.

TechToSee has contacted Facebook to learn more about today’s outage, but has not had a response yet.

Our previous emails bounced back as their mail servers were also unreachable due to the outage.

As more detailed information becomes available, we will post an update with the new information.

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