How to Fix Http Error 503 – The Complete Guide

Browsing the web is not always a smooth sail. There are innumerable errors that can pop up and disrupt the entire experience. The few informed ones easily scoot past such trivial blunders. A panic-stricken situation arises in the absence of troubleshooting options. It is with knowledge of a few simple steps that this unfortunate little hindrance can be dealt with. In an entire pool of distinct errors, we learn how to tackle Http error 503 through this article.

 

An attempt has been made to present a clear understanding of this error. Additionally, the article below equips you with practical and effective ways to fix the bothersome 503 error.

We will cover the following topics in this article

What is Http error 503 Service Unavailable?

In technical language, there are HTTP response status codes that are used for communication from server to client. These codes point out whether or not an HTTP request was able to be fulfilled. Among the five types of HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) responses, server errors (500- 599) sum up the fifth category. The common occurrence of Http error 503 falls in this family of classification. In other related articles the 504 Gateway Timeout Error, Error 502 and 500 internal server error has been discussed. You can also learn more about common errors (Error 403, Error 404, dns_probe_finished_nxdomain error)

503 error
Image by WPkube

In order to deal with the 503 error, it is important to understand its significance. A 503 service unavailable error is an HTTP status code which stipulates that a web server is unavailable to process the request. The server can be the one which is being directly accessed or which the web browser is attempting to gain access to. Other times, a 503 error also indicates an internet or network inadequacy. However it is crucial to note that 503 is a temporary error, pointing out that a server is temporarily unavailable. It is not necessarily that a server might have crashed or shut down. Anybody trying to gain access to a website, application or a browser through any operating system can come across this error.

 

In layman’s language, an http 503 error arises due to a problem on the server end or due to a fault in the internet connection. Only with a fully functional server can this error be resolved. A server sided error like it is different from client sided errors like 400-Bad request, 403-Forbidden, 404-Not Found, 408-Request Time Out, etc.

 

What is Server Sided Error?

An http error indicates a disruption in a seamless user experience. All those response status codes that initiate with the numeric “5” communicate the instances where the server has met with an error. There are 11 such server sided errors. It is a common mistake to confuse the 5xx errors with one another. Mostly because all of them represent a server error response. However, these responses individually stand for distinct kinds of server errors. Besides this, there are separate ways to solve them because each server sided error is different.

 

All such server sided errors can be exclusively resolved by webmaster or app builders only. Due to limited server access, a user can only tackle things on his end.

Causes of HTTP Error 503

In order to deal with http error 503, it is essential to get to the root of the problem; to recognise its causes.

 

As understood above, an http 503 status code conjures up due to server problems. The impotence of a web page or website to access any serve can be due to :

Server “down” for Maintenance

An ongoing server maintenance for example during a plugin, theme or software update can possibly cause this 503 error . In this case, the website goes into ‘maintenance mode’ and will display a message assuch, “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” You can also check if your site is down for others too

 

server down for maintainence

 

On the same page, the http header communicates the time or date after which the server would be able to accept and process requests.

 

The maintenance mode only restricts the audience’s access until maintenance is fully completed and alongside gives the administrators full autonomy. The users will be able to gain access after retrying in a short while. It can also because of your WordPress site being in maintenance mode. Read in detail about WordPress Maintenance mode here

Technical Difficulties

Technical trouble encountered by the host company can also be the cause of 503 error. This results in communication blockade between a server and the website. Therefore any responsible administrator would always opt for a reliable hosting service.

 

503 error

 

Server Inadequacy

The incapacity of the server to support an overwhelming number of users due to an abrupt increase in traffic can also cause this 503 error. The sudden rise in traffic takes the server off-guard and throws it offline. In this scenario, effective configuration of the website/application can aid to process requests. Other times, the service providers opt for bandwidth throttling to lower website congestion or to promote their other unlimited bandwidth services. Throttling sometimes is purely a planned move by ISPs.

 

With WPOven you will never face the 503 error due to server inadequacy as we give dedicated servers with SSD storage, with 32 TB transfer limit depending on plan you take, daily offline backup, daily malware scanning and cleanup, Let’s Encrypt SSL, and 24*7 support by our experts and all this starting just $16.61.

 

DDoS Attack

A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack crams a website with innumerable access requests and causes it to malfunction. As a result affecting its functioning. Moreover, the website or its server falls off the wagon and goes offline. Notorious attackers gain access to plenty of unprotected IoT devices for this purpose. To avoid such a DDoS attack website administrators must invest in a good and dependable hosting service provider. Besides, an increased amount of security can prove beneficial.

 

Inaccurate DNS Configuration

A consistent 503 error can show on account of a faulty Domain Name System (DNS) configuration. It is the DNS that converts a web address to its corresponding IP address. This allows for websites to adopt for easily understandable domain names instead of numbers. It is the DNS servers that establish a connection between domain name and IP address. A fault in the DNS configuration of the computer or router can redirect you to an entirely different page and can display an error 503 service unavailable.

 

The key to solve a 503 error is to figure out its cause and adopt troubleshoot measures accordingly.

 

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Identifying the 503 Error

How an error is projected on individual websites is totally at the mercy of web designers. Most bigger brands have these webpages quite creatively built. A tweaked web page adds a touch of personality. With not only one dedicated form, the 503 error can crop up in many configurations and names. But there will always be the presence of a ‘503’ code.

 

503 error

The vexing http error 503 can present itself in the following ways:

 

HTTP 503
HTTP Error 503
503 Service Unavailable
Error 503 Backend fetch failed

HTTP Server Error 503
503 Service Temporarily Unavailable
503 Error
Http/1.1 Service Unavailable
Error 503 Service Unavailable
Service Unavailable – DNS Failure

 

If any of the above 503 error code pops up, the website administrators or app builders need to figure out its cause and act quickly. A persisting http 503 can hamper the website/application popularity. Additionally, it is necessary to fathom that a 503 error code depicts a server problem. It is not a fault with your computer system and nothing extraordinary can be done on the user’s end to fix it.

How to Fix the Server Error 503?

There is not much that can be done to resolve this error from the user (client) side. It is only the safe refresh and restart option that a user can proceed with. But the website administrators need to carefully analyse the 503 error glitch that is causing it to crop up. Correct diagnosis of the error is essential so as to apply the accurate troubleshooting measures.

 

Let’s discuss what to do in the 503 Opps movement!

503 service unavailable

 

Many times the actual cause is not that severe. Take your time to figure out the root cause.

Troubleshooting Options for 503 Service Unavailable

There are a couple of troubleshooting measures that can be taken to get ahead of the 503 service temporarily unavailable error. Mostly this particular error can be well handled from the server side. But there are a few steps that a user can make use of. Therefore, the common fixes given below are divided into two parts; for the users and the developers.

Troubleshooting for 503 error (Users) :

Refresh

A common yet potent way to address a 503 service unavailable is to refresh or reboot. Sometimes a temporary problem like such can be resolved in seconds by refreshing the page. On the client or user end you can hit the F5, Ctrl+R or the refresh button on the address bar. This may solve the issue. But more than often the 503 error can only be dealt with from the administrator end. Therefore it is futile to check if the website is specifically down on your end. Dedicated tools that give such information will only show that a 503 error is a server problem and not a user related one.

Restart the Device

Another troubleshooting option for users is to restart their devices if they encounter an http 503. Users can resort to this if they suspect an incorrect DNS configuration to be the cause. Error arising due to a DNS fault is mostly conveyed through a message like ‘Service Unavailable – DNS Failure’.
Simply restart the computer or router. Otherwise, an alternate public DNS server can be chosen and changed for both the computer and router.

 

If the error still shows despite using the above two troubleshooting measures, users can contact the website and ask for help. All legit websites supply their contact information with email addresses or contact numbers.

Troubleshooting for 503 error (Developers) :

Developers and administrators can oversee and remove this server sided error more efficiently than any user could. The following solutions can be made use of :

Reboot the Server

Despite going into very specific troubleshooting options, website administrators can safely select the alternative of a server reboot. A server reboot quickly restarts the web server. In this process, it eliminates any congestion in the server chain. A simple server reboot can provide a smooth server hosting and remove the 503 error in seconds. Besides a website/application spanning over multiple server calls for a systematic and planned reboot.

Examine Firewall Configuration

A firewall’s job is to sort the incoming traffic into potentially harmful and safe. It is an essentially significant security tool for website safety. However, specific circumstances like a faulty configuration can cause a firewall to malfunction. In the case of a flawed configuration some vital traffic may be barred from accessing the website. Content delivery network (CDN) based applications undergo this firewall problem frequently. Automatic firewall resources allow the CDNs to function as responsible third party platforms to hold the ‘heavy’ content so as to maintain the application speed and smoothness. But many times this firewall prevents even the secure data to pass through. This could lead to a 503 error. Inspect the firewall or temporarily disable the CDN as one of the troubleshooting options.

Faulty Server Connection

503 service unavailable errors can crop up due to a server connectivity issue. In the entire chain of servers, there might be one that won’t be responding due to an ongoing maintenance or connection breakdown. This is specifically true for all the applications and websites using more than one server. In such a case all an administrator can do is detect the fault in server connection or look out for the server in maintenance.

Detect Maintenance

As discussed in the main causes of 503 error, server maintenance is a common occurrence. In a planned maintenance, the administrator is well aware and can select a specific time as well. But there are instances when an application goes for automatic maintenance. This holds true for WordPress. Most automatic maintenance are uninformed resulting in a 503 error. It is advised to all web administrators to look for any kind of maintenance before panicking at the sight of such an error.

Look into Web Server Resource

If administrators find out the increase in traffic on the website to be causing a 503 error, it is high time to optimise web server resources. Most of the time it is with the usage of a cheap hosting that causes this error. Growing popularity of a website/app is directly proportional to a spike in traffic. In such cases inadequate web resources hamper the server’s capacity to accept access requests. Use of a CDN, better website host, limited plugins, reducing JavaScript and CSS files, adopting Gzip compression among others are ways to increase web resources.

 

It is wise to contact the web hosting support and discuss the recurring 503 error and then go for upgrading the hosting plan if needed.

Inspect Server Logs

One can swiftly head to logs anytime in case of troubleshooting. They provide valuable information regarding server, website errors and application functioning. Server log conveys valuable information regarding the server used for running the website or the application. These logs can be further inspected to detect the status of the various other connected services. A closer look into these logs can help sort the 503 service unavailable error problem once the root cause comes to surface. A website also displays error logs that can provide a good lead to begin with.

Deactivate or Limit Themes or Plugins

A 503 service unavailable error can sometimes be caused due to excessive stuffing of plugins or employment of unsupported themes. This is common for a wordpress hosted site in most cases.

 

It is also possible that a plugin might be incompatible with the website. Disable the plugins via an FTP client and dive into the WordPress root folder. Here in the wp-content, the plugin folder exists. Rename the folder so the plugins remain unrecognised by WordPress. Check to see if the 503 error is removed. If the error is gone, it was the plugins causing unnecessary trouble.

 

Otherwise, there is also the theme set up that could have caused the error. In the WordPress database, change the website theme to a default one. If it is the website theme causing the error this little step can remove the 503 service unavailable error.

 

Both the users and administrators can make use of any of the troubleshooting options mentioned above to do away with the http status code 503.

Conclusion

The occurrence of any http status code indicates a disturbance in the smooth functioning of a website or an application. The 503 error code however, signifies a server incompetence. But despite that there are troubleshooting options both for the client and server end as mentioned above. All it requires is a careful diagnosis of the actual reason for the error to remove it.

 

For in the future this peculiar server sided problem can be totally avoided by website administrators through the usage of potent management tools like WPOven. Trustworthy hosting like it takes care of any such erroneous behaviour on a website.

General FAQ

What is error 503?

Among the five Http Error codes 503 falls in the fifth category. It is basically due to unavailability of your server at the moment. You should choose your hosting server very diligently to avoid this issue. WPOven provides you best servers, support and dedicated server plans starting for just $16.61. Free daily malware scanning and cleanup, offsite backups with every plan.

What does 503 Service unavailable mean?

Error 503 is an Http error, it belongs to the 5th category. It means that the server is not available at the time when web browser is trying to connect to it. A good and secured hosting that provides you amazing support like WPOven can help you resolve it in a blink of an eye.

What can cause a 503 error?

Some of the cases of 503 error are –

  1. Server “down” for Maintenance
  2. Technical Difficulties
  3. Server Inadequacy
  4. DDoS Attack
  5. Inaccurate DNS Configuration

How to fix error 503?

Error  503 can easily be fixed by following way –

  1. Restart the Device
  2. Reboot the Server
  3. Examine Firewall Configuration
  4. Faulty Server Connection
  5. Detect Maintenance
  6. Look into Web Server Resource
  7. Inspect Server Logs
  8. Deactivate or Limit Themes or Plugins

 

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