Netflix experienced an outage that lasted for 90 minutes in the United States on Thursday afternoon. The popular streaming service is up and running again, but the question remains: what caused the outage in the first place?

The downtime had a lot to do with a web content delivery service known as UltraDNS. It went down that afternoon and took several services, including Netflix and Expedia, plunging with it.

The issues stemmed from a problem in one of UltraDNS' servers on the East Coast. It was not, however, due to an attack by computer hackers.

Before the official report, members of the UltraDNS team had stated that the cause came from a DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attack on its servers, but as mentioned above, this was not the case after further investigation was done on the matter.

Lara Wyss, an UltraDNS spokeswoman, said the outage was merely caused by a technical malfunction, though she stopped short of explaining in detail what this type of mechanical failure was.

The failure of the system was resolved quickly but had a broad effect across the Internet since many companies rely a lot on UltraDNS cloud services to keep their websites and other services up and running. We should point out that UltraDNS is one of the leading providers of web content, and this is actually the second time the service has gone down in the past two years.

During the outage, several frustrated customers and web administrators voiced their concerns on Twitter as they tried to make sense of it all.

Some customers of Netflix even viewed the outage as a type of bonding experience on Twitter, as it goes to show how popular Netflix is around the globe. It isn't the first time we have seen reactions like this on Twitter and other social networks whenever Netflix experiences a prolonged outage.

Photo: Matthew Keys | Flickr

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