During the night of last Monday and part of the morning of Tuesday, thousands of podcasts, many of them exclusive to Apple, Google, and Spotify platforms, stopped working due to a beginner’s error.
Streaming platforms, and software in general, can suffer from numerous types of failures: bugs, hacks, DDoS attacks, user overload, and also human error.
But some failures are so basic that they should never occur. And if they do occur, they should be fixed quickly.
Yesterday, Monday, thousands of podcasts stored on Megaphone, a Spotify service, could not be heard for more than 8 hours because the SSL certificate had expired, according to The Verge .
Spotify bought Megaphone a couple of years ago, a podcast hosting platform that inserts ads so content creators can make money. And Megaphone also takes its percentage, of course…
The exclusive Spotify podcasts are hosted here, from Michelle Obama to the controversial Joe Rogan. But also the exclusive podcasts of Apple, Google, and other companies.
The SSL certificate is permission that certifies that the website you are visiting is the original, and not a copy. It is also used to encrypt the content so that no one else knows what you are doing on the web.
Nowadays these certificates are mandatory on all websites, and if you do not have them or it is expired, the page does not load. This is what has happened with Megaphone, where the SSL certificate expired and the podcasts were no longer accessible.
The company has acknowledged this, but has not explained why it made such a serious mistake: ” Megaphone experienced a platform outage due to an issue related to our SSL certificate,” said Erin Styles, a spokeswoman for Spotify, in a statement.
” During the outage customers were unable to access Megaphone’s CMS and podcast listeners were unable to download podcast episodes from Megaphone-hosted publishers. Megaphone’s service has since been restored .”
It is an incomprehensible error because these certificates issue notifications when they are going to expire. And also, it is normal for companies with critical services like this to establish their warning mechanisms, before it expires.
SSL certificates have a maximum duration of 13 months, although it can be extended to two years, as Megaphone had done in May 2020. After that time they must be renewed, or they expire.