Reddit is one of the sites that has been around for a long time and is still wildly popular – in fact, it’s still seeing plenty of growth and impressive traffic numbers!
For most others, however, Reddit can be really slow to load a page or a subreddit, and that’s not exactly ideal. Waiting more than a couple of seconds before the Reddit app refreshes or before the page loads, it’s certainly not what we’re used to nowadays.
And if you think about it – does it really make sense? Reddit is one of the largest and most popular websites on the internet, how come it is so slow to load sometimes?
Why is Reddit often so slow to load?
Even though most other social media platforms and large websites have to deal with outages once a while (Meta seems to deal with this frequently on Facebook and Instagram, for example), Reddit does appear to be down and has connection issues more often than others.
The following screenshot from Downdetector pretty much says it all:
In terms of connectivity, Reddit isn’t a perfect site and is known for its error messages and occasional downtime. In some countries, Reddit is even banned completely.
Yes, sometimes it’s down – but even when it’s not, there are still some technical issues that need to be handled.
If you’re an avid Reddit visitor, you’ve probably seen the below error notifications:
“Our CDN was unable to reach our servers,” or more frequently “all of our servers are busy right now”.
The first one basically means that there’s a serious connection issue, but the second one means that Reddit is overloaded with too much traffic and doesn’t accept new visitors.
But for the visitors who are already visiting Reddit – will almost certainly experience a slower site because the servers are too occupied.
1) Reddit’s servers are too busy and are overloaded with traffic
The “our servers are busy now” error message is a very popular one on Reddit and something you’ve probably already noticed if you’ve visited the website.
Even though Reddit manages to attract a lot of internet traffic and mainly uses ads and Reddit Premium as revenue sources, they still aren’t internet behemoths such as Facebook or Google.
In other words: they don’t have the financial (or material) means for a huge amount of server capacity, which results in them being overloaded once in a while. They have to rely on other companies to provide their hosting, which isn’t the case for Facebook, for example.
And yes, it’s 2022 and servers can be decently scaled to handle surges of traffic, but the internet can behave in unexpected ways.
Luckily, this error will disappear within a few minutes and Reddit will start o feel faster again too.
In the meantime, be prepared to wait a couple of seconds (or even minutes!) before your page or subreddit refreshes.
Unfortunately, there’s not really a lot you can do when this happens, the issue is purely on Reddit’s end.
What you shouldn’t do, however, is constantly keep refreshing the page after a couple of seconds to see if the error message is gone. This just makes the problem a whole lot worse.
Even though this is a problem that Reddit deals with more frequently, we can’t really blame them either. Servers are expensive, and it’s understandable if not every traffic surge can be adequately handled.
2) Technical problems and human-made errors in the system
Luckily, this doesn’t occur all that often – but Reddit has to deal with some technical software issues and bugs once in a while.
In fact, the company is actually quite transparent about this. There’s an entire website called ‘Reddit Status’ which shows you the performance of Reddit in detail, even showing the different elements of the website.
Green blocks represent a fully operational working, and red means that there was a major outage. A darker shade of green, yellow, and orange are all indicators that some parts of Reddit weren’t working as aspected and returned a lot of errors.
Those errors can be the reason why the website is loading so slow for example, or why commenting/posting/upvoting seems to take a while.
Take a look at the following uptime example:
In almost every part of the website, there’s an orange block that indicates partial outages and increased HTTP 500 errors – possibly resulting in slowdowns.
What can you do about this?
If you want to figure out what’s wrong, chances are you’ll find out exactly what the problem is by visiting redditstatus.com.
Perhaps it’s only the desktop or the mobile version of Reddit that’s having issues? Then you can easily circumvent the slowness by visiting Reddit on a different device.
If there’s a major outage, however, you’ll just have to wait it out for a little bit.
3) Reddit has some CDN issues and the whole internet is acting up
When there are CDN issues, that means the “content delivery network” where Reddit hosts its bigger data (such as photos and videos) is currently struggling.
In a content delivery network, data is spread out over different data centers over the whole world. A visitor from Canada may get its data from a US CDN, for example, while someone from France may get their data from a CDN in Amsterdam because that data center is physically closer (and should thus, in theory, be quicker to access).
These CDNs are exactly perfect – and sometimes the issues are so severe that the whole internet can start acting up. If multiple large websites and platforms are struggling with connectivity (like Slack, Facebook, and major news outlets in 2020), chances are there’s a (global) CDN issue going on.
This is not Reddit’s fault at all, but it can lead to longer load times and overall slowness when browsing the website.
While you won’t be able to refresh Reddit when the CDN is broken (hence the “Our CDN was unable to reach our servers” error message), you can try to visit Reddit as a cached page in Google instead.
CDN issues usually take a lot more time to fix than a server overload or technical issue.
4) Your own internet connection may be slow
When Reddit is slow, the blame isn’t always placed on them.
Sometimes, it’s just more realistic to assume that the problem lies in your own network – most internet service providers don’t exactly have the reputation to provide a 100% reliable service.
Are you having trouble accessing other sites? Is your home network acting up?
Perhaps you could try to visit Reddit via a cabled internet connection instead of the Wi-Fi or your mobile 4G / LTE / 5G connection?
You can always do a speed test online to check if your internet speeds and latency are performing as expected.
If you want to improve your Wi-FI connection, it might be worth it to map all of the wireless connections in your house with a Wi-fi analyzer app.
This will allow you to see which networks are overlapping each other in frequency. Changing the frequency to cause less interference will almost certainly result in a speedier and more stable internet connection.
Usually, Reddit is acting slow because of a (slight) server overload which resolves itself rather quickly. Sometimes, there are also some technical issues, but it’s also not unthinkable that Reddit is acting slow because of an internet connection on your end.