Why is Reddit always down? Here's the full truth...


Have you noticed that Reddit seems to go offline all the time and has problems several times a day?

Damn it, sometimes several times an hour! This can be confusing, especially since other major sites like Facebook and YouTube never seem to go down.

Why is Reddit always down? Here's the full truth...

If you see "All servers are currently busy" or "CDN could not reach server" messages, this is a very alarming situation. Fortunately, there is usually a simple explanation for this.

If you want to know why Reddit is always down, here are the main reasons.

1) Lack of server capacity

This is a big problem.

Most of the time Reddit is closed due to technical errors or bugs. Instead, the number of servers they have is not enough to support the number of people trying to use the site. 

Only use the primary server. In other words, a computer dedicated to hosting our site and serving content to you. Sites even smaller than this can share a single server with dozens of websites at once.

However, Reddit handles far more traffic than one server alone can handle. Instead, traffic is split among many different servers. Former Reddit CEO Yishan Wong has commented on Reddit that he had hundreds of servers in 2015 and that number could be in the thousands today.

So, as Reddit grew, so did the complexity, and the computing hardware required to serve all of the site's visitors. This inevitably contributes to Reddit's frequent downtime and connectivity issues.

If Reddit is such a big company now, why not just buy more servers? You could afford it, right?

There is another explanation for that...

2) Sudden traffic spikes

Traffic spikes and Reddit's lack of server capacity go hand in hand.

It makes sense when you are thinking about it.

Like the rest of the internet, Reddit is prone to traffic spikes. This is especially true for major newsworthy events, but also for certain times of the day.

People are more likely to surf during their lunch break at work or school than at 3am — at least in countries where Reddit usage is widespread.

The problem is that renting hundreds or thousands of servers is expensive, and Reddit has never been the most profitable business.

Let's say you have 500 servers for Reddit. The server may not even be running at 50 pace for most of the day. So you can effectively deal with half the servers most days if you need to. 

Additional servers have been put in place to keep the service stable even during busy hours. We know it will grow exponentially and exceed our processing capabilities. There are two possibilities for this.   

Reddit can either rent more rarely used servers or bring the site down for some people.

Ultimately, Reddit realized that it was probably more profitable to downtime the site for a period of time than to rent an additional server for temporary spikes in traffic.

Your situation is obviously a bit more complicated than this example, but this is considered the most likely scenario.

3) Reddit's CDN is not working

Right now, we know Reddit has hundreds or even thousands of different servers, all working together to deliver content smoothly.

But did you know there is another level?

Reddit uses what is called a Content Delivery Network or CDN. This website also uses something called Cloudflare.

Essentially, CDNs work to make websites load faster by distributing the same content to different servers, making it load faster for visitors around the world.

For example, copies of the page you are reading may be stored on over 200 different servers around the world. For example, if you're in New Zealand, this way you'll probably load a copy of your page that Cloudflare stores on a server in New Zealand, and you don't have to connect to a server in the US all the time.

We have one primary server here in the US.

Cloudflare – Our CDN takes a copy of your site from our servers and distributes it to his 200+ servers in 90+ countries.

Your device is fetching a copy of the page from the closest Cloudflare server, so it loads faster. If a

copy is not available, please connect to another nearby Cloudflare server, or if not, connect directly to our server.

Reddit works similarly. The problem is that sometimes CDNs don't work properly. This is another issue.

4) Large websites are hard to manage

Finally, Reddit may actually be having technical issues unrelated to server capacity.

For example, "You Broke Reddit" or "5oo. Internal Server Error", which may indicate a technical issue rather than a server or CDN failure.

Needless to say, large sites like Reddit are prone to problems. Not only will you have more users, but your site architecture will become much more complex.

Unfortunately, a mistake anywhere can break the entire Reddit feature.


Unfortunately, unlike many other large websites, Reddit often goes down. This is usually due to a spike in traffic and lack of server capacity, rather than a bug in the site itself.

We hope you found this article helpful. If you have any other questions about Reddit, please submit them using the comment form below.

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