Hosting Tutorial & Guide

How to Fix the Error 503 in WordPress

updated on Oct 15, 2017
How to Fix the Error 503 in WordPress When running a WordPress website, you may encounter a lot of issues or errors that are caused by various reasons. Among these possibilities, the error 503 is a frequently met one. Actually, this is an HTTP status code, indicating that your web server is not available right now. So, it cannot get the response from the PHP script. If you meet this issue and do not know how to deal with it, you can check this tutorial about how to fix the error 503 in WordPress.

General Knowledge for the 503 Server Unavailable Error

Actually, when this error happens, there is nothing special on your website, but a white screen with the error message. The message might be different. Here, we have listed some common ones in the following.
  • 503 Error
  • HTTP Server Error 503
  • 503 Service Temporarily Unavailable
  • 503 Server Error
  • HTTP 503
  • Error 503 Service Unavailable

The 503 error occurs when your web server is unable to get the response of your PHP script. The script can be anything, such as the code snippet, your website template or a special plugin. Generally, the error is caused by the heavy usage of server resource, a DDoS attack or a server glitch. If so, you just need to do nothing for it can alleviate in a few minutes or disappear after some hours automatically. However, some web servers in this situation may refuse the socket connection. This can lead to various other errors due to the time-out of the socket creation.

What Lead to the Error 503 in WordPress

In the following, we have listed the common reasons that lead to this special error in your WordPress site.

Excessive Usage of Server Resources

Actually, all the WordPress hosting providers put the limited server resources for the monthly bandwidth and disk space that you can use. In this case, if you overuse the allocation of your hosting account or your bad neighborhoods do this, the server machine may fail to handle all the requests so as to make this error happen.

Huge Daily Traffic or the Sudden Traffic Spikes

The data transfer handled by a single web server is fixed. This means it cannot handle more HTTP requests than its capabilities. Upon the overloading, the error 503 is going to happen.

For instance, if your website normally has 3000 daily visitors, then, the number doubles, you may meet the error 503 if you still use the same hosting package without the upgrade.

Server Maintenance or Bad Coding Stuff

Your hosting providers may regularly do some changes or configurations on the server machines for the better running. If your visitors land on your website at these time periods, they also may get this error.

Another possibility is that you have some bad coding lines on the website. This situation is quite annoying, for the error can only be fixed when you find and remove the coding stuff.

Error 503 in WordPress

Fix the Error 503 in WordPress

The below practices are the common ways to fix the error 503 in WordPress.

Talk to Your Hosting Providers

It is possible that this error is caused due to the server-side error. If so, you can do nothing to fix this issue. Instead, you'd better contact your hosting providers and talk about this issue. Generally, the quality hosting providers can deal with this issue quickly.

Find the Bad Coding Inserted in Your Website

This requires the latest backup file of your website. If you know what you have embedded into your site, then, you just need to find and remove the new things. Otherwise, you'd better make use of your latest backup file to restore your website to the normal condition.

Ease the Server Resources Burden

The main reason that causes the error 503 is too many unnecessary PHP scripts so that lead to the heavy burden of your hosting solution. In this case, you can disable these scripts temporarily by deactivating the WordPress plugins of your site and switching to the default template, and then, upgrade your hosting solution or wait for the disappearing of the traffic spikes. When everything is back to normal, you can reuse your plugins and your custom template with all your customization options.

To deactivate your plugins, you should make use of your FTP client or the File Manager offered by the cPanel control panel. After all, due to this error, you cannot enter the admin panel of your WordPress site.

Once entering the /wp-content/ folder, you should find and rename the “plugins” folder, such as “plugin-remove”.

Rename Plugins Folder

Next, you should create a new folder, name it as “plugins” and upload to your root directory. Here, you can check whether your website is recovered. If yes, it means the error 503 is caused by your installed plugins. In this case, you should delete the new “plugins” folder that is empty actually, and then, rename the real plugins folder to “plugins”.

This way, all your installed plugins are available on your WordPress site, but need you to activate them one by one manually. Here, you just need to keep enabling them until find the one that leads to the error 503.

As for use the default WordPress themes, you can follow the same procedure as you have done to your plugins. However, before renaming your theme folder in the /wp-content/ folder, you'd better locate your current template and download it for the backup.

And then, you can download a WordPress default theme like Twenty Seventeen. If the error disappears after activating this theme, it means there is something wrong with your current theme.