Imagine that someone searches for a topic and finds your website on a single page of Google. However, when they click on your website, they will be taken to a lean web page that says “Service Unavailable.”
What do you think they will do if they find your website again on Google? The odds are that they skip it and click on the next link. If visitors search for answers and allow them to answer, but you can’t offer it because there is something wrong with your website, they will lose confidence in your brand.
Unfortunately, if your website encounters a 503 service unavailable error, there is no silver bullet solution. You need to find out what is actually causing the problem, because although these types of errors indicate what happened to your website, they won’t tell you why it happened.
To fix an unavailable error in your 503 service and prevent potential customer loss, see our guide to exactly what the problem is and its most common solutions.
What is Error 503?
Service Unavailable Error 503 is an HTTP response status code that indicates that your web server is working properly, but it cannot handle requests at this time. Because this is just a general error message, the exact cause of the problem is difficult to determine.
If 503 service unavailable errors occur on your website, visitors to your site will receive an error page. Fortunately, there are five common solutions for troubleshooting most of the errors that are not available in the 503 service.
How to Fix HTTP Error 503
- Restart your server.
- Check to see if your web server is undergoing maintenance.
- Correct incorrect firewall configurations.
- Browse your server-side logs.
- Comb the code of your website to find the errors.
1. Restart your server.
Sometimes the server chain hosting your website is overloaded. One of the most effective ways to open and update it is to simply restart the web server. If your website is hosted on multiple servers, be sure to restart them.
2. Make sure your web server is undergoing maintenance.
Most web servers are shut down during maintenance. If you can access your server administration settings, check the configuration options to see when the automatic maintenance sessions are scheduled. If you want complete control over your server maintenance, you can also disable these automatic updates in the configuration options.
3. Repair the incorrect firewall configurations.
Your firewall is the gateway to your website, protecting your site from malicious visitors or denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Sometimes, a faulty firewall configuration causes your firewall’s content services network requests to attack your server and reject them, resulting in error 503 being unavailable. Check the firewall configuration to specify and resolve the issue.
4. Browse your server-side logs.
There are two types of server-side logs – application logs and server logs. Application logs describe the entire history of your website, allowing you to see the websites your visitors want and the servers connected to it. Server logs provide information about the hardware running on your server, with details about its status and state. Browse both types of server-side logs to discover information about your server or website.
5. Comb the code of your website to find the errors.
If there is an error in your website code, your web server may not respond correctly to content network requests. To find errors, comb your code or copy the code into the development machine. It performs a thorough debugging process that simulates the exact situation of your 503 service unavailable error and allows you to find the exact moment when things went wrong.
If your site has an error, it’s important to fix it as soon as possible. If customers receive errors, they’re unlikely to return to your page.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for completeness.