How to Deal with 503 Service Unavailable Error in WordPress

503 Service Unavailable Error different faces

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

The 503 Service Unavailable Error description in WordPress Website

WordPress describes the 503 Service Unavailable Errors, representing a resource limitation, showing that your intended website is not available temporarily. It means that the site is being under some traffic. The most common reasons for this are:

Programs running on the site are taking too long or are non-responsive.

Web service or database, is slow or no responding.

A programmatic error has occurred that prevents locked resources from being released.

The 503 Service Unavailable Error would  go away as soon as the problem is fixed, that often  happens automatically, so  you can try to open the website some minutes later.

For the site administrator:

The problem of 503 Service Unavailable Error is not a lack of system resources. WordPress network scalable enough and supports large amounts of CPU and RAM.

Check external dependencies are responding, check for slow queries or locking issues.
Make sure about not rewriting logs enabled.

Check FAQ on, for more information about 503 Service Unavailable Error.

What cause 503 Service Unavailable Error

If your website is managed by WordPress, the 503 Service Unavailable Error is rare. It may be because of the content making too many connections or there is a legitimate server issue. Disable your plugins to check if it can fix the issue. You can enable them one by one to check which one causes the problem.

WordPress hosting firms offer fixed amount of resources for each account. Sometimes this limit cannot handle heavy usage of server resources.

The 503 service unavailable error occurs when your website server cannot get a proper PHP script response. PHP script may be a WordPress plugin, a theme, or a misbehaving custom code snippet.

The 503 service unavailable error can be caused by extra usage, server glitch, or DDoS attack, if so, it would automatically get fixed in a few minutes.

But if it is caused as a result of wrong code on your website, then it will last until you find the wrong code and disable it.

Some others refer different causes for 503 Service Unavailable Error with WordPress such as:

  • If WP-DB Manager plugin set to automatically “optimize” a large database periodically and locks the database tables for seconds or minutes on end, preventing scripts from accessing it.
  • Google XML Sitemaps plugin causes problems with large numbers of posts if you use any of the “Excluded Items” options.
  • Using a plugin that tries to contact an external down server, and the plugin does not limit waiting time for the external server, obviously you will get the 503 service unavailable error as long as that external server is down.

We can also categorize reasons for The 503 service unavailable error as follows:

  • Unfunctional custom PHP script
  • Glitches of server
  • Buggy themes or Buggy plugins
  • Lack of server resources
  • Attacks like Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack

How to fix 503 Service Unavailable Error

If server is overloaded

When facing 503 Service Unavailable Error, do not consider some hard coding error. The 503 Service Unavailable Error is just because of the server. The number of visitors of your website gets more than the server limit and now it is not ready to take extra load.

Technically the server is not able to handle more HTTP requests, so cause the 503 Service Unavailable Errors.

If you are running a website with the a fixed average amount of visitors per week and the amount increases and you keep the same web hosting. So it is possible for some visitors to see the 503 error due to unavailability of the server. When lots of visitors visit your website at the same time, then it may occur to get 503 Service Unavailable Error.

If the 503 Service Unavailable Error is due to Excessive Resource Use

Each web hosting company provides a limit for bandwidth and the percentage of the resources usage, if you exceed that limit, the possibility of the 503 Service Unavailable Error will increases. So you would better to add your hosting.

If the Server is under Maintenance

503 Service Unavailable Error can also happen due to the maintenance of the server. As your web hosting providers always do some changes and updates, so if users try to open your website at that time, they can get 503 Service Unavailable Error. So wait for a while.

Do not forget that 503 Service Unavailable Error often occurs due to busy server or the server being updated, so wait a little. But if it is the result of a wrong code you need to fix it, as wpbwgginer say you can go through the process that follows:

Firstly you should disable any WordPress Plugin

WordPress plugins are PHP scripts, so it is better to disable any WordPress plugin of your website. Obviously you cannot login to your website dashboard because of the 503 error, so you should connect to your website via a FTP client or File Manager in cPanel. After you are connected, brows the “/wp-content/ folder”, then rename the “plugins folder” to “plugins-old”.

disable any WordPress Plugin
disable any WordPress Plugin

Secondary, create a new folder as plugins folder

Now check your WordPress website to see if the problem is resolved.

If it did so, it shows that one of your website plugins was causing the error. By the above mentioned steps you have disabled your entire website’s Word Press plugins. Now you certify that one or some plugins are wrong.

For understanding which plugin is causing 503 Service Unavailable Error, go back to your FTP client or file manager in cPanel. Then, brows “/wp-content/ folder” and delete the empty plugins folder that you made in the previous step.

create a new folder as plugins
create a new folder as plugins

Then rename the “plugins-old” folder to “plugins”. This way you will make all previously installed plugins available to WordPress. However, all of these plugins would remain disabled. Now visit WordPress admin area, then go to plugins page and activate plugins one by one and visit different pages on your website after activating each plugin to see if it is fixed or not. Continue doing activating plugins until you find the fault plugin causing the 503 Service Unavailable Errors.

After this step your problem would be resolved, so you don’t need to follow rest of the instructions described in followed steps on this page. If not, move on to the next step and try them.

If your problem is not fixed up to now, thirdly, Switch to a Default WordPress Theme

If disobliging plugins, you could not resolve the 503 Service Unavailable Errors, for the next step you can switch to a default WordPress theme. This way you will deactivate your current WordPress theme and its problems also.

Initially you need to connect to your WordPress website via an FTP client or File Manager in cPanel, no other choice. When you are connected to your website, brows the ” /wp-content/themes/ ” folder.

Switch to a Default WordPress Theme
Switch to a Default WordPress Theme

find your currently active WordPress theme and download it to your computer as backup, because you may need it later. When you are finished with downloading your current theme, go ahead and delete this theme from your website, nothing will happen you have that theme on your computer system.

Then, if there is any default theme like Twenty Seventeen or Twenty Sixteen already installed in your website, it will be automatically activated on your website. If you don’t have any installed default theme, then you should install a default theme on your website. In order to the theme to be activated on your website. When you are finished with the new theme, check your website to make sure whether 503 service unavailable errors are resolved or not.

If your problem is not fixed up to now, for the fourth step you need Troubleshooting

If both methods mentioned in the previous steps fail to resolve 503 service unavailable errors, then follow and take the below steps:

  • You can Contact to WordPress hosting company which hosts your website, may be they can understand the problem and help you finding what is causing the 503 service unavailable error.
  • It is the last cure, if nothing has fixed the problem, you can reinstall WordPress.

Leave a Reply