Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
On Monday, Facebook was completely knocked offline, taking Instagram and WhatsApp (not to mention a few other websites) down with it. Many have been quick to say that the incident had to do with BGP, or Border Gateway Protocol, citing sources from inside Facebook, traffic analysis, and the gut instinct that “it’s always DNS or BGP.” Facebook is on its way back up, but this all begs the question:
What is BGP?
At a very basic level, BGP is one of the systems that the internet uses to get your traffic to where it needs to go as quickly as possible. Because there are tons of different internet service providers, backbone routers, and servers responsible for your data making it to, say, Facebook, there’s a ton of different routes your packets…