What is error 504 and how can you fix it?


The last thing you want when visiting a website is to receive an error page. The website promised to provide some interesting content, but unfortunately, the website failed to deliver, and they were unable to meet your expectations. Errors like these can negatively impact businesses by reducing visits and revenue. A visitor who sees an error on your site will assume that the site is untrustworthy and unprofessional. Because of this, they will likely go to your competitor’s page instead.

You can also suffer negative SEO effects due to 504 errors. The prolonged presence of an error on your site could be indicative of a site-level issue that cannot be ignored by Google. This can cause your Google ranking to plummet dramatically. Despite their mysterious nature, 504 Gateway Timeout Errors are quite common. In addition to reporting your website’s problems, they do not provide any explanation of why they occurred, so you cannot identify the culprit and resolve the problem. That’s why they are considered as mysterious in nature.

We’ve detailed exactly what the 504 Gateway Timeout Error is and its most common solutions to help you fix the problem.

What exactly is Gateway timeout error 504?

504 is basically a Hypertext Transfer Protocol status code. That is, it’s a HTTP response code. If the 504 Gateway Timeout Error occurs while your web server is attempting to load a webpage or responding to another request, it means another server upstream has not responded in a timely manner. It means that your web servers aren’t communicating with each other quickly enough.

Hence, rather than loading the website, the browser will display an error message.

The message that appears can vary depending on which browser is experiencing the error.

There are a few ways websites can display a gateway timeout error, but these are the most common:

  • This page isn’t working! HTTP error 504
  • 504- Gateway Timeout
  • 504 error
  • An error occurred while trying to load [URL]- HTTP 504.
  • There is an error 504 Gateway Timeout
  • A 504-error occurred
  • HTTP 504
  • Gateway timeout HTTP 504
  • An HTTP 504 error has occurred
  • Gateway timeout error

504 Errors and their causes:

Whenever a HTTP response status code falls into the 5xx category, it is defined as a server-side error response. Fives HTTP response code are specified under 5xx category namely error 500-Internal Server error, error 501-Not Implemented error, error 502-Bad Gateway error, error 503-Service Unavailable error & error 504-Gateway Timeout error. That means, if any error of 5xx category occurs, then client solely have any role to play in it. There are 99% chances that it is the shortcoming of server not the client. Simply saying, there is no resource available on the server to support your request.

If you receive a 504 Gateway Timeout error, it means that the web server was not able to get a response on time from another server. Further simplifying the issue, this error occurs when multiple servers are involved in the request. As a result, the first server (typically the main server) times out, awaiting a response from the second server (upstream server). Other servers may or may not be the external one like CDNs, API gateways, etc. In addition, this entity can also take the form of a server within the main web server (e.g., a reverse proxy server, database server).

It’s likely that the problem is not with your computer, device, or internet connection since this error is usually a network issue between two servers on the internet or a problem with a real server on the internet. Similar to the 502 Bad Gateway error, the 504 Gateway Timeout error indicates that a result of an invalid response by the second server (upstream server). This error does not necessarily mean it is temporary as there are multiple reasons for it. During a brief period of downtime, the spiders will try to serve the page from their cache if they are trying to crawl your website multiple times a minute. Even if they did, they wouldn’t notice.

You should fix the 504 error as soon as possible if your site is down for six hours or more. Your SEO can be negatively affected by this.

504 Gateway Timeout Error: How to fix it

  • The easiest fix for the 504 error is to press F5, click the refresh/reload button, or try typing the URL in the address bar again. Even when no real problem exists, the 504 unauthorized error can appear for several reasons, so sometimes refreshing the page will often resolve the issue.
  • A 504 Gateway Timeout error may be caused by problems with your network devices such as your modem or router. Try rebooting these devices to see if that fixes the problem. This requires all your network devices to be restarted.

The order in which you re-start all these networking devices is important, regardless of how they were turned off. These devices are usually turned on from the outside-in, as the connection order for your main client device is usually from your Internet service provider.

  • Your device connects to the internet through a proxy server. Online privacy is mostly strengthened by obscuring personal information (such as a device location) from websites and web servers (for instance, by using a VPN). This is what proxy server does for you!

Although it is rare for a proxy server to cause a 504 error, wrong proxy server settings may sometimes be the cause. It may be possible to resolve the error by disabling the proxy server and reloading the webpage.  In most cases, clients do not use proxy servers, so you can easily think of skipping this step if you are confident enough that no proxy server is used. Although you might not have known about it, you might have already set it. Therefore, checking your proxy settings should be your first priority here. settings. If you visit Proxy.org, you will find an updated, established list of proxy servers you can use.

  • The DNS servers on your network should be changed, particularly if your devices all receive the same error. Having problems with DNS is possible if you’re experiencing a 504 Gateway Timeout error. It is most possible that a server-side DNS issue results from a FQDN (fully qualified domain name) that does not resolve to the correct IP address or a DNS server that does not respond.

It typically happens when your WordPress site is migrated to a new host or server. It’s therefore important to wait for the DNS records of the domain to propagate fully, which can take between 12 and 24 hours.

If your DNS has not propagated around the globe, you can use free tools such as whatsmydns.net DNS Checker or DNSMap. You can also flush the DNS by write the command “ipconfig/flushdns” in the command line of respective operating system used by you.

  • The server logs will give you detailed information about the health and status of your server. Find out if anything uncommon is contained in them.
  • Firewall configurations that are faulty must be fixed. Your firewall provides a layer of protection for your website against malicious users or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. It is possible for firewall configurations to fail, leading to a 504 Gateway Timeout Error when your firewall sees requests from Content Delivery Networks as threats. Find out what is wrong with your firewall configuration and fix it as soon as possible.
  • Having tried everything up until now, contacting the website is probably your next best option. Get in touch directly with the requested website. They should be able to tell you if they have removed the page you are looking for if you’ve received a 504 error. You should reach out to them to find out if they are working to fix the 504 Gateway Timeout error, in case they are aware of it.

Some of the larger sites have telephone numbers and email addresses, as well as social networking accounts for supporting their services. By this means, you can reach out to them anytime as this services are available 24X7.

The last thing you can do is wait if you’ve tried everything else. Although it doesn’t sound fun, it may be the only option in some cases, especially if you’re certain the 404 error shouldn’t be happening. You can always try again later. Your last option, when all else fails, is to try and access the website later. You’ve already tried all of the tips below, so you’re left with this option.

You can bet your hosting provider will resolve the issue as soon as possible if it’s a problem with their servers. Just kindly visit the site regularly to stay up-to-date.

Final words:

There are multiple reasons why your site may experience a 504 Gateway Timeout error. The majority of these errors can be attributed to a server-side issue, so you can get in touch with your host to resolve the issue. It is important to note, however, that this error can also be caused by third-party plugins, themes, or services, or by inefficient database queries, or by any combination of these variables.  It is recommended to optimize your site for performance if you are overloading the server. Hopefully trying the hacks mentioned in this article will resolve your problem!

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