Artifactory should serve stale metadata for npm remotes if the upstream is having issues (timeout, corrupt JSON, etc). It should print an error in the system logs, but otherwise still function for end users. The current behavior is to return a 404 for the package metadata instead.
For example, if the upstream has invalid JSON for the metadata, the request would fail with a 404 and log:
"Error while parsing the response of a remote npm JSON query on 'https://registry.npmjs.org/package': Can not deserialize instance of java.lang.String out of START_OBJECT token