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How to Fix the HTTP 503 Service Unavailable Error in WordPress

  |  August 17, 2023
How to Fix the HTTP 503 Service Unavailable Error in WordPress

Running into errors on your WordPress website is often daunting. Most errors offer some clue as to what caused them, making it easier to troubleshoot. Unfortunately, the 503 Error isn’t as simple and doesn’t offer the same information.

The 503 Error in WordPress signifies your website cannot be reached as a result of the associated server being inaccessible. This occurs as a result of the server being too busy or under maintenance.

In this article, we’ll cover what the 503 Error is and guide you through troubleshooting steps. 

Basic info about the 503 Error

In contrast to other error codes, 503 signifies that your web site is on-line and running but cannot be reached. The specific error offers little additional data. Most of the time, it simply shows up with a “Service briefly unavailable” message. 

The 503 blunder code can often be a result of your WordPress site needing upkeep. WordPress has a tendency to set your website to maintenance mode with plugin, theme, or core software.

In the cases of a persistent 503 Error, users are unable to go to your website. As your site admin, you will lose access to your WordPress admin space, meaning you can’t update your website, troubleshoot, or retrieve the files.

503 Error Types

The 503 error will appear during a load of the way code, making it easy to spot. Here are a number of variations you would encounter, dependent on your server configuration and browser:

  • 503 Service unavailable
  • 503 Service temporarily unavailable
  • HTTP Server Error 503
  • HTTP Error 503
  • Error 503 Service unavailable

How to Fix the 503 Error in WordPress

Since you can’t automatically determine what caused the 503 error, you’ll have to troubleshoot methodically. The subsequent six sections serve as a possible fix, aimed toward resolving the potential root causes.

Briefly Deactivate Your WordPress Plugin

One of the most common reasons for the 503 Error in WordPress is module similarity issues. To determine what’s happening, disable all of your site’s plugins.

Since the 503 error prevents you from accessing the WordPress admin space, use an FTP client for this step. If you don’t have one created, we tend to suggest FileZilla.

When your FTP customer is readied, interface with your site and explore to your WordPress root organizer. It’s typically referred to as public_html, html, public, www, or your site’s name. If you’re a Kinsta shopper, it’s your public folder.

Open that folder, and navigate to the wp-content directory. Inside, you’ll see a folder referred to as plugins that contain individual subdirectories for each of the plugins in on your website (both active and inactive).

Right-click the plugins folder, and rename it. We suggest plugins.old or plugins.deactivated

WordPress is unable to notice any of your plugins and will disable those plugins.

Return to the WP-Content registry, and rename your unique modules organizer. Disable your plugins one by one, till you discover the erroring plugin.

To do this, open the wp-content/plugins directory. Inside, you’ll notice one folder for each plugin. Start with the primary folder, and rename it. Check your website to determine if the error is gone. If it isn’t, move on to subsequent plugin on your list, repetition the on top of steps.

This method will take a minute, however it’s very important to examine every plugin successively. If you determine the plugin that’s inflicting the error, uninstall or replace it with another tool.

Deactivate Your WordPress Theme

Now that you’ve ruled out your plugins as  the reason for the 503 error, it’s time to look into  your active theme. 

WordPress will not revert to the default theme by renaming  the theme folder.Instead, access your WordPress information through phpMyAdmin

Click into the “wp_options” table, then the “Search” tab. You may need to look to the “option_name” guide.

Under the “option_value” column you will see this name of your theme. Change the theme to one of the default themes, such as “twenty nineteen.”

Check your web site once more to see if the error was resolved.  

Temporarily Disable Your Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Sometimes, the 503 error can show up as a result of  a drag on your website to your Content Delivery Network (CDN). The process is different depending on the CDN you’re using. Cloudflare has been known to cause 503 errors.

If you don’t use a CDN or you are unable to pause  your service, there are still additional ways to troubleshoot. 

Limit the WordPress ‘Heartbeat’ API

The WordPress Heartbeat is an API engineered into WordPress that the platform uses for auto-saving content, showing plugin notifications, recognizing  if another person is on a post you’re attempting to access.

The API works in the background at a high frequency so it doesn’t miss anything. The API consumes server resources. In some cases, it results in a 503 error if your server can’t handle the load.

The fastest way to determine if the problem is the Heartbeat API is to quickly disable it. To do that, connect with your WordPress web site via FTP, open your current themes folder and look for the functions.php file within:

Disable the Heartbeat API. Save the changes to the functions.php file and access your web site.

Disabling the API altogether removes helpful practicality. Instead, we suggest  simply ‘slowing down’ the Heartbeat, so it doesn’t cause issues.

The easiest thanks to do this is through the Heartbeat management plugin.Navigate to Settings > Heartbeat control section. search for the Modify Heartbeat choices, and drop the frequency number:

Increase Your Server’s Resources

If the 503 error remains, the problem is often scarce server resources. Upgrade your hosting commit to see if that fixes the problem as low cost WordPress hosting have a tendency to throttle resources.

Upgrading your server arrangement is a huge decision. Contact your webhosting support service and discuss the 503 error with them. 

Use an APM Tool to Pinpoint Errors

Application Performance Management tools, such as Stackify Retrace, provide the insight to pinpoint application errors across your entire stack.  Coupled with aggregated logs from common logging frameworks, easily find every exception in your code. Retrace your code with lightweight code profiling and track and monitor all key application and server metrics.  

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