What is a 500 server error? Major websites such as Discord and Outlook go down as Cloudflare encounters issues

An error with Cloudflare saw sites such as Discord and Peloton go down for users

Internet users were hit with diffiuclties after some of their favourite website were left unreachable.

The outage, which stemmed from content delivery network Cloudflare, left millions of users staring at a ‘500 server error’ screen.

Sites such as Discord and Peloton were among those to be affected, but what exactly is a 500 server error?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Users across the globe have been unable to access their favourite sites due to a 500 server error. (Credit: Adobe)

What is a 500 server error?

The error code 500 means that the server has went down on the website you are trying to reach.

If you encounter this error, it may be written in several different ways, including ‘500 internal server error’ or ‘HTTP 500 server error’.

The error code itself is fairly generic, meaning that it could be an issue on the website’s end or on the device you are trying to reach it through.

How do you fix a 500 server error?

If you suspect the error may be an issue with your device, the first thing to do is to try and reload the page.

This may reestablish a broken link to the website’s server.

Likewise, you could try clearing your internet browser’s cache and cookies.

However, these methods will not work if the issue is on the website’s end.

The error is normally temporary, so in the case that it is an issue with the website itself, you should try to wait a bit of time before accessing the site once more.

What websites went down during Cloudflare’s 500 server error?

In the case of Cloudflare, it was most definitely an issue with their own servers, with millions of users unable to access sites.

The company hosts major websites across the internet.

This includes messaging platform Discord and online exercise media company Peloton.

Other sites which were affected included design website Canva and e-commerce platform Shopify.

Email users were also unable to access Microsoft Outlook.

The Network Rail Enquiries website also went down during the outage, however it is currently unclear as to whether the Cloudflare error was to blame for this or whether the increased traffic to the site during the rail strikes is what crashed the server.

What has Cloudflare said about the 500 server error?

The content delivery service has confirmed that it has fixed the issue, with websites now back up and running.

Cloudflare told users: “Today, June 21, 2022, Cloudflare suffered an outage that affected traffic in 19 of our data centers. Unfortunately, these 19 locations handle a significant proportion of our global traffic.

“This was caused by a change that was part of a long-running project to increase resilience in our busiest locations.

“Depending on your location in the world you may have been unable to access websites and services that rely on Cloudflare. In other locations, Cloudflare continued to operate normally.

“We are very sorry for this outage. This was our error and not the result of an attack or malicious activity.”

The company explained further that recent changes to the “architecture” of their server locations led to the outage, which has now been resolved by engineers.