HTTP 503

HTTP 503 service unavailable error: Solution

HTTP 503 service unavailable error is the most common and frustrating error for any new blogger or a website. This mostly occurs due to the plugins and external sources tweaking on your website. We will show you how to debug the issues and avoid this error in the future.

The HTTP 503 service unavailable will blankly display on your screen the “HTTP 503 service unavailable error: “

What is HTTP 503 service unavailable error

The meaning means that your website is live and available to everyone to view or read but you will not be having access to the admin and modification panel. This could because your server is busy and a lot of users are accessing your website now. The other reason can also be that your WordPress or your hosting partner is updating currently and doesn’t allow admin privileges temporarily.

The most frustrating part is with many solutions out there only one will work and you will have to grind a lot to find where the error occurred. The server would reply “Service temporarily unavailable.” but that would be for ages if you don’t solve it personally.

In some rare cases the Error would rectify by itself and everything will be back to normal stages. Lets know the different variations of the 503 error.

HTTP 503 variations

The 503 error being said it is frustrating because it has many variations in it.

Some common HTTP 503 error variations are.

  • 503 Service Unavailable
  • 503 Service Temporarily Unavailable
  • HTTP Server Error 503
  • HTTP Error 503
  • Error 503 Service Unavailable
  • The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

As the proverb says “Prevention is better than cure” We must act fast and must not sit back thinking the error will diminish in a few days by itself.

What causes HTTP 503 error

When you host your website on a hosting platform like WordPress, they offer you limited resources. This will eventually cause an HTTP 503 error. The server cannot handle the excessive request to your website and it will crash.

The HTTP 503 service unavailable error occurs when a proper response is not sent from your PHP scripts to your server. The problem could also be because of DDoS attack and this will be clam down after some time but in some cases, you have to take action.

How to solve HTTP 503 error

Since we will not be intimated about the error and root cause of the error we must troubleshoot step by step and follow the instructions carefully. We will be giving an overview of how the problem can be solved and will be focusing on the major issue that I faced personally and how I overcame it.

If the error does not resolve after tweaking your settings then I suggest you revert back to normal settings by following reverse instructions.

1. Reinstall plugins

Sometimes the third party plugins would change the PHP script of your website and this may cause HTTP 503 error. This method can be used if you remember using any new plugin on your website. This step of troubleshooting can be easily done by removing the party plugin. Since you get HTTP 503 error you won’t be able to access your Admin page. You can access the FTP client of your website by using Filezilla from your PC or cPanel from your hosting website.

  • Access your FTP file manager or CPanel.
  • Access your HTML folder and look for WP-content.
  • Look for the plugin folder and rename it to any name of your choice. For example plugin-old.
  • Create a new plugin folder that must be empty and try logging in your site.
  • If the error persists revert the changes and go to the next step.
  • This method will not delete your plugin but will deactivate them until you activate it.

2. Deactivate your WordPress theme

Same as the previous one third party themes may cause problems on your site and if you recently installed some third party themes then this might resolve your problem.

  • Follow the steps from first troubleshoot and reach till the point of getting into WP-content.
  • Search for themes folder.
  • Rename all the folders of the third party themes and let the default theme remain as it is.
  • Try logging in to your website and if it works then great.
  • If it doesn’t work then revert the changes and go to the next troubleshooting.

3. PHP code problem

In this section, we will cover some internal issues you may be facing like a PHP script issue. For that, we must enable an option called WP-debug from the wp-config.php file.

  • Go to HTML folder.
  • In the root directory of HTML find for wp-config.php.
  • Go to the end of the file and look for line that says /*That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.*/
  • Paste the below code and save the file.
define ('WP_DEBUG', true);
define ('WP_DEBUG_LOG', true);
define ('WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false);
@ini_set ('display_errors', 0);

This will capture the errors that your website faces and stores them on the debug files. Look into the debug file and rectify the issue. Don’t forget to remove those lines from your file after troubleshooting.

4. You’ve been DDoS-ed

If you have come up till here and nothing has worked for you then most probably you have been attacked. DDoS stands for denial of service attack and this might be cumbersome for you if you are a beginner. But we have got you covered here.

The main reason for not elaborating on the previous troubleshooting techniques is because those solutions are present everywhere. This DDoS is not spoken of a lot. I have been attacked by DDoS and have recovered from it.

The scammers or hackers would scam your website with tons of bot visitors at the same time making your website to crash. You may be able to enter your admin page for some time and after a few seconds, you will get the famous HTTP 503 service unavailable error.

Don’t wait for the error to calm down on its own. Take measures before it saturates your websites and makes your situation worse. This situation occurs mostly to beginners you have not bought an SSL or security package with your domain. Websites that run on HTTP are most probably prone to get attacked.

First of all, get a security package for your website. If you want a free one I will suggest you go to Cloudflare and set things up patiently and calmly watching YouTube videos. If you are willing to pay and don’t want to do all the things by yourself by a security package from your hosting provider. Use HTTPS, Firewall, and DNS of Cloudflare to protect your website from attacks.

Go through the Cloudflare settings patiently it will take time for setting your SSL and registering your name-server. Wait for the process to finish and follow the steps by watching a YouTube video on how to set up a Cloudflare on your website.

That is how I secured my website from getting DDoS. One last thing calling your hosting provider will be useful if the customer service is good. Some companies bluff that they are best in customer service and do shit. The above are the possibilities for you to fix your website and do refer to many other websites for detailed information.

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About the author

Karthik Balaji V

A passionate writer delivering content and taking you all to a whole new level of technology and other interesting posts.

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