Web infrastructure and security company Cloudflare experienced an outage Friday evening, causing Shopify and other ecommerce sites to go down. Half of Cloudflare's network was affected. Outages can cost ecommerce retailers upwards of $10,000 per hour, according to data protection company Infrascale.

Many ecommerce websites were down for a short period Friday evening when Cloudflare Inc. faced network issues. Sites remained offline for 27 minutes while the website-security service provider worked to fix an error with a router in Atlanta that affected half of its network, according to a July 17 blog post by Cloudflare.

Several ecommerce hosting websites, software platforms and apps were affected by Cloudflare’s downtime, including Shopify Inc. Several retailers Digital Commerce 360 tracks in its rankings of the largest ecommerce retailers in North America use Shopify either fully or partially as their ecommerce platform provider. Thirty-eight merchants in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 use Shopify and 78 in the Next 1000 use the platform provider.

Some of these retailers include apparel and accessories retailer Fashion Nova (No. 94 in the Top 1000), health and beauty retailer Kylie Cosmetics (No. 95), and housewares and home furnishings merchant Brooklinen (No. 380).

How much did this ecommerce server “downtime” cost?

According to a recent survey by data protection company Infrascale, downtime can cost small and medium businesses more than $10,000 per hour when down.

“In today’s challenging and fast-moving business environment, every second counts,” says Russell P. Reeder, CEO of Infrascale. “Even if your company was down for minutes, just think of the reputational damage it can cause as well as real costs when data cannot be recovered.”

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Infrascale’s May 2020 study on website downtime found that 17% of small and medium businesses have lost revenue due to downtime, and 37% said that they have lost customers.

“Customers today are extremely demanding,” Reeder said in a blog post associated with the survey. “They are intolerant of delays and downtime.”

When it comes to what downtime costs businesses, Infrascale found that 27% revealed their downtime per hour costs under $10,000, with the rest of retailers saying costs vary between $20,000 increments.

 

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6 million websites effected by Cloudflare error

Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare, said on Twitter that the outage was a result of an error from a router in Atlanta, later confirming that it was because of a mistaken configuration after a routine update. Prince stressed that the outage was not the result of a security flaw or hack.

According to a Cloudflare blog post from 2017, Cloudflare hosts DNS—or a domain name system, which matches domain names to functioning websites—for more than 6 million websites.

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Cloudflare caused outages this time last year as well. On July 2, 2019, an undisclosed number of Cloudflare customers’ websites, again including Shopify, were down for 20 minutes—the result of a misconfigured rule within its web application firewall the company deployed in an attempt to block security attacks.

The Infrascale survey included more than 500 C-level executives at small and medium businesses, including 87% CEOs.

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