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The hourlong Fastly Inc. outage was a reminder of how exposed the world’s biggest websites are to the impact of disruptions ranging from simple human error to coordinated cyberattack.

The failure at Fastly, which helps websites load their pages faster, sent vast swaths of the web offline on Tuesday. News websites including CNN, The New York Times and Bloomberg News, services such as Shopify Inc. and Stripe Inc., plus sites as large as Spotify and Reddit all went offline. U.K. government digital services were also unavailable for a period.

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