What is BGP and how does it cause Facebook to stop working

Yesterday, all Facebook services suffered a complete failure, and the outage lasted for more than six hours, an incident that does not happen often. The outage affected Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Oculus VR.

There have been many reports explaining the reasons for the occurrence of this malfunction. On the other hand, some sources indicated that it was the result of a massive hacking attempt that the company was exposed to. However, this was not true. The main reason behind this was a problem with the DNS addresses of Facebook services and applications.

The problem occurred mainly because of a change in the BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) protocol used by Facebook and thousands of other companies, and this protocol is relied on to direct traffic – which is known as traffic – to its right places within Facebook’s servers.

Read also: Facebook struggled to fix massive outage

What is BGP protocol

BGP is one of the most important protocols that regulate traffic on the Internet. It is responsible for transmitting data packets from the user to the appropriate server and back. This system is described as “post office system” or “traffic regulator” to clarify its function.

But the most accurate and easy description of it is that it is a group of people who organize the access map of certain places and guide travelers to them.

When dealing with this protocol, it is possible to describe the Internet as a group of huge networks connected to each other. These networks are interconnected depending on a specific service provider. For huge websites and platforms like Facebook, it is difficult to seamlessly connect those networks.

Read also: Facebook services are back after a six-hour outage

Given the magnitude and complexity of this system, any problem can have a very large impact. This bug will affect all its users.

On the other hand, BGP can be described as an intermediary between communication processes. For example, if you are using an Internet provider called DecadeConnect and you want to access a website that uses an Internet provider called NetSend, the communication process between service providers cannot take place without this protocol.

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This protocol is used as previously mentioned in defining the easiest and shortest possible path of data between each network and the other. This is in order for the user to use the Facebook services in this case with the highest possible performance and the least loading time.

Facebook has stopped

Speaking of Facebook specifically, it does not use this protocol by a particular service provider. Rather, it uses its own protocol of its own design. Therefore, the service was most likely down due to the usual human error when updating the company’s protocol.

Indeed, you said The company explained that the problem occurred due to “changes in the settings that route traffic within the network that includes all of the company’s data centers.”

Perhaps the problem has another dimension related to DNS addresses (Data Nameservers), a feature used to direct traffic. In a very simple way, the DNS feature tells the browser its destination when entering a link to any site, and then the BGP protocol plays another role, which is to determine the shortest possible path to reach this destination.

Also Read: The Ultimate Guide to Marketing with Facebook Stories

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