If you were one of the few people who haven’t already seen the fourth season of Stranger Things, then you probably already know that the surprise release this weekend was not without its hiccups. The most notable hiccup was Netflix crashing due to an influx of traffic—a lot of people tried to log on and watch all at once, which caused the app to stop working or even load on some devices. But how did this happen? Why did it crash? And why now? Let’s take a look at what happened. How the Stranger Things 4 Finale Caused Netflix to Crash

Why Netflix crashed

On July 4, 2019, a new season of Stranger Things was released on Netflix. The show has an extremely dedicated fan base; however, few people expected how much work it would require from a technical perspective. The entire series is viewed as one continuous film with each episode titled according to a chapter or section (e.g., Chapter One: MADMAX). Without any announcement or pre-warning, over 100 million users simultaneously began streaming all 11 episodes at around midnight EST on July 4th. This created such a strain on their servers that for most users, even signing in was impossible for about 30 minutes after release time.

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The History of Streaming Services

What led up to The Incident? Netflix wasn’t always a streaming platform. It started out as a DVD-by-mail service, which was launched in 1998. It began offering video on demand content in 2007 and rolled out a streaming option two years later.

How the Stranger Things 4 Finale Caused Netflix to Crash
How the Stranger Things 4 Finale Caused Netflix to Crash

And, starting with its purchase of rights for House of Cards back in 2011, Netflix has made a serious push into original programming—some that are tied directly into bigger IPs like Marvel and Star Wars .

How to Protect Yourself From Streaming Services

While streaming services may seem convenient, they come with a host of privacy and security risks. Internet criminals can easily steal your passwords and use them for identity theft or other malicious activities. It’s also hard to control exactly who is getting access to your information. When you sign up for these services, you are essentially giving away personal information like email addresses, account details, and credit card numbers to unknown entities. You never really know how that information will be used once it leaves your computer or phone—but it is certainly possible for it to make its way into hands that don’t have your best interests at heart.

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The Cost of Streaming Services

Nearly every streaming service, from Hulu and Amazon Prime Video to CBS All Access and HBO Now, has had reports of outages over the past few days. Per Mashable’s report on Wednesday evening, a server issue caused by all of that demand at once. This is not necessarily unique in recent times. In 2014, for example, HBO Go crashed just after Game of Thrones aired its infamous Red Wedding episode. The difference between then and now is that people don’t seem as frustrated today. The crashes themselves haven’t been a huge inconvenience (after all, even in America you can still stream Stranger Things), but it illustrates how popular these services have become over just a few years—and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.

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