Why does error 503 happen and how can you fix it?

Ever in the emergence, tried to visit a website and encountered the “503: service unavailable” error message? If yes, then we know that moment would have been the frustrating one. But no need to worry, we are here to provide you some ways which can solve your problem.

A brief explanation of what error 503 is:

 Just like other frequently observed errors on web browser, 503 is an Hypertext Transfer Protocol error response. If you encounter this http error response, it basically means that the server is not able to handle your request at this moment. This may be because server is down temporarily likely for the maintenance or the server is being overloaded.

This error response in most cases is a server-side issue. In fact, all the error codes belonging to the category 5xx are considered to be the server error responses not the client error response. Some of the examples of error response of this category are:

500 error – internal server error,

501 error – not implemented,

502 error – bad gateway,

504 error – gateway timeout,

507 error – insufficient storage, etc

Please take a note that 503 error response never means that server is permanently down. 503 error simply means that server is temporarily not functioning as needed hence not prepared enough to handle your request at this moment and the server will be up in some time. If any of the server in the website connection chain is down or unavailable, then you will receive error response 502 not 503!

In contrast to gateway 5xx response codes, which indicate problems with either the web server or a server further, a 503 Service Unavailable code usually signifies an issue with the server that hosts your application.

If a service is temporarily unavailable, the web server provides the user with a user-friendly error message. There are usually a few suggested fixes for this error. It appears that one of the repairs consists of just trying to access the website later on. However, It’s better to display some information than none, isn’t it?

Causes of 503:

As we know, error 503 rises usually because there has been a problem with the server supporting the website you are trying to access. What exactly is this problem with server? Infact, there are many possible causes of this problem.

One of the causes is broken communication between server and the website you are trying to access which is supported by the respective server. As website is not able to communicate with the server, its obvious that it won’t be able to give you the information you have requested because the webpage you are requested is stored and maintained on the server and you will be able to access the website only if it’s connected with the server supporting it. This gap in communication between server and website arises may be because the connection is willingly broken for scheduled regular maintenance or because there is some unknown technical glitch which needs to be fixed.

If the website you are trying to visit is not properly configured then also there’s chance of encountering 503 error message there. For example, plugin conflicts caused while updating a website on WordPress can cause 503 error.

There is also the possibility that a 503 error occurs when a server is still online, yet it is incapable of handling the volume of requests directed at a website. An influx of new users often causes this problem on a website that sees hardly any traffic normally. It’s possible that this spike is due to users flocking to your site when there is a promotional offer. However, it is more likely that the spike is caused by hostile traffic, such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. By waiting for a bit and retrying a couple of times, the application/server should be able to complete the request. Unless there is an extremely high traffic spike, the server should be able to finish it.

As the 503 Service Unavailable indicates a problem on your server, we can largely ignore any client side issues. If a website that you created is facing this issue then keep in mind that the client-side components that make up your own application, like HTML, cascading style sheets (CSS), JavaScript, etc. , can usually be overlooked during diagnosis.

An issue with the domain name system (DNS) could be indicated by frequent 503 errors, either due to incorrect server configurations or technical difficulties with the DNS servers themselves.

It is vital to find out precisely what has gone wrong before attempting to fix the site.

Fixes of 503 error:

Client-side solutions:

  • Refreshing the browser window is the fastest method for restore a website. Even when no real problem exists, the 404 Not Found error can appear for several reasons, so sometimes refreshing the page will often resolve the issue.
  • Restart your pc or router.  If you receive “Service Unavailable – DNS Fail”, then the error is usually caused by an issue with the hardware configuration, which is usually fixed by resetting the router. It is possible to run into problems with the allocated DNS server, but this can usually be resolved by choosing another server.
  • If the 503 error is a result of an internal server error, there isn’t a lot that can be done to solve it yourself. IT administrators are responsible for looking for a solution to the issue to fix HTTP 503 errors which are reported by users.

Server-side solutions:

  • In most cases, 503 Service Unavailable errors mean the server chain hosting your application has a bottleneck, so a simple reboot can fix the issue. Ensure that all servers in your application cluster are rebooted in a timely manner so that the system returns to normal operation.
  • If you’re creating your website on a modern website builder like the WordPress, then it’s more likely that the software will automatically perform updates and in this way maintenance of your website takes place. So, to ensure direct control over maintenance scheduling, check the server’s administration settings for automatic maintenance scheduling. Disabling such options if you prefer to keep control over this yourself.
  • There is a possibility that a firewall connected to the network where your application runs may stop certain critical traffic from getting through. Generally speaking, a firewall monitors network traffic and acts as a security to keep out malicious traffic. A majority of the time, traffic that might be harmful is stopped. A firewall service can sometimes malfunction, interpreting perfectly valid and safe content from a CDN as malicious, so it shuts it down in an instant, which can result in a 503 Service Unavailable error.

Lastly, it may be that the issue is coming from custom code of your application. The best way to debug an application is to make a copy of it on a local system and work step-by-step to reproduce the exact state in which the 503 Error occurred and to obtain a view of the application code right when something goes wrong.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.