Reddit

Why Is Reddit Always Down? Three Reasons Why Reddit’s Servers Are Often Offline

Why Is Reddit Always Down? Three Reasons Why Reddit's Servers Are Often Offline

Reddit is without a doubt one of the largest websites on the internet and one that has also seen continuous growth both in visitors and in users. However, it does occur pretty often that you can’t access Reddit and are met with an error message when you’re trying to reach a certain page of a subreddit, and sometimes you can’t even access the site altogether.

What’s going on here? You’d think that a website as large as Reddit would be able to take care of a large number of visitors, right? Of course, every website can deal with connectivity issues, but Reddit’s servers seem to be down pretty often – which brings up the important question: why is Reddit always down?

A brief history of Reddit

Why Is Reddit Always Down? Three Reasons Why Reddit's Servers Are Often Offline

Source: reddit.com

Reddit is actually one of the social media platforms which have been around for almost two decades, which is an eternity in the tech world. It was founded in 2005 and is still alive and kicking today, with over 700 employees as of February 2021 and an estimated revenue of over a hundred million US dollars.

Reddit themselves claim that there were around 222 monthly million, active users, on the platform, and that’s only in the United States alone.

Reddit often faces connectivity issues and is “always” down

Of course, “always” is a bit of an exaggeration, and we’re pretty sure that Reddit is online for over 99 percent of the time. Of course, it’s that one percent that’s important, and every platform and website should aim for a near-perfect connectivity score, something Reddit doesn’t seem to be very good at.

If you’re a frequent Reddit user, chances are that you’ve already seen the “all of our servers are busy right now” error, as well as “our CDN was unable to reach our servers”. Another popular notification is “Sorry, for some reason Reddit can’t be reached”, which isn’t particularly helpful. All of them effectively mean the same thing: Reddit is down.

If you take a look on Twitter, you’ll find plenty of people who are complaining that the site is offline.

Just check out the list of Downdetector.com problems for Reddit, and you’ll notice that the platform and the so-called front page of the internet has issues basically every single day.

Why Is Reddit Always Down? Three Reasons Why Reddit's Servers Are Often Offline

Source: downdetector.com

What to do when you get an “all of our servers are busy right now” error code on Reddit

Luckily, sometimes the situation isn’t always that serious, especially in the case of this error message. This usually happens when you try to reload a page or access a certain thread or subreddit, and ultimately resolves itself in just a couple of minutes. The only thing you can do when you receive this error message is waiting. You won’t have to be patient for very long, chances are that the error message will be gone after five minutes.

Why Is Reddit Always Down? Three Reasons Why Reddit's Servers Are Often Offline

Source: reddit.com

Constantly refreshing second after second is a bad idea and just makes the situation even worse on Reddit’s end, so it’s a good thing to wait just a little bit.

Why are Reddit’s servers often down?

Compared to sites such as YouTube and Google, Reddit does seem to be down a lot more – so what exactly is the reason for that?

Reason 1: Reddit’s server capacity isn’t large enough

For starters, the main reason is that Reddit’s servers simply can’t handle large traffic spikes as well as tech giants such as Google, who use their own servers and have absolutely ginormous cloud systems in place – Reddit does not and has to rely on a third-party hosting provider instead.

Even though cloud providers are usually quite scalable, sudden spikes in traffic can still clearly cause issues, and Reddit rather uses limited (but usually sufficient) server capacity to save on operating costs.

Why Is Reddit Always Down? Three Reasons Why Reddit's Servers Are Often Offline

Source: reddit.com

It’s quite comparable to gaming platforms such as Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network during Christmas. Everyone’s unpacking their new gaming console and connecting to the web at the same time, causing a peak and traffic. You could theoretically get bigger servers to ‘catch’ this peak of traffic, but that wouldn’t make financial sense because that traffic would flatten down in a day or two anyway. It’s the same reasoning you can use here in Reddit’s case.

Reason 2: Reddit’s Content Delivery Network faces outages

We’ll be honest – this reason is absolutely not Reddit’s fault, and occurs even on the biggest of sites. The outage that affected Reddit in June of 2020 also affected sites such as Twitch and Amazon, and there have previous cases where even Google and Facebook were completely unreachable for most users.

The reason? Issues with the content delivery network system of these websites, or CDN. CDN’s are responsible for getting webpages loaded to users around the world as fast as possible, but if these systems have technical issues and go offline – every single website underneath that CDN layer will be affected as well.

Why Is Reddit Always Down? Three Reasons Why Reddit's Servers Are Often Offline

Source: reddit.com

Reason 3: Technical issues and bugs

Although these occur were infrequently, chances are that you can’t visit Reddit because they’re dealing with some pesky technical bugs. For example, a Reddit developer ‘spladug‘ posted in this thread six years ago responding to site loading issues being caused by bugs:

Why Is Reddit Always Down? Three Reasons Why Reddit's Servers Are Often Offline

Source: reddit.com

More recently in 2021, Reddit was down for a couple of hours due to a bug in the API system, which also caused Reddit to be down. As you can see on the Status Incidents page, it took almost five hours before the issue was completely resolved.

Why Is Reddit Always Down? Three Reasons Why Reddit's Servers Are Often Offline

Summary

Reddit is definitely down often, and the main cause for this is insufficient server capacity to deal with traffic spikes. Sometimes, Reddit’s CDN will also cause issues with regard to connectivity. Additionally, it can occur that a technical issue will prevent you from visiting the site, although Reddit’s engineers can usually identify and resolve the problem within a few hours.

About author

Paul Alexander has a Master of Science degree in Communication Studies and is currently aiming to get his teacher's license. He's been passionate about writing and technology ever since he was little and has more than ten years of experience in the vastly interesting world of consumer electronics and social media.
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