What is HTTP error 503 in WordPress and how to Fix it?

Have you ever seen 503 services unavailable error in WordPress? If you are a beginner, then it will be a frustrating thing. WordPress is one of the most popular CMS nowadays. Learning WordPress is not as much difficult but there are some issues which do not solve out easily. 503 service unavailable error is one of the common issues which many people face. In this article, we will show how we can fix 503 service unavailable error in WordPress.

What is HTTP error 503?

HTTP error 503 is also known as service unavailable error can cause due to the heavy number of requests that overloading your website. When the server is not able to process the request, then this error will occur. There are many reasons which can cause the issue. Some of the reasons are:

  • Server Maintenance
  • Hacking of Server
  • Bug Problem
  • Bad coding
  • Large Data Transfer


Fixing 503 service unavailable error

As we discussed, there are many reasons which can cause the error. Mainly, it occurs when a Web server is unable to process the request or not getting a proper response from the PHP scripts running in the background. There are many steps which you have to follow to diagnose and troubleshoot the issue. These are:

Deactivate WordPress Plugins

Plugins are the main reason for 503 service unavailable error. All plugins are PHP scripts and they are the main cause of the error. This is due to some bad coding of the plugins. So the first thing you have to do is deactivate your plugins. For more details, read our previous article on how to deactivate plugins in WordPress.

You are thinking, as we are not able to login to the dashboard, then how we can do this? To do that, you have to connect your website using an FTP client or cPanel. Then go to /wp-content/ folder and rename the plugins folder to plugins-old.

Now create a new folder and named it plugins.

Now visit your website to see if the issue is solved.

If solved, then it means one of the plugin causing the issue. All your plugins are deactivated. Again connect your website with FTP client and delete the empty plugins folder you created.

Now rename the plugins-old folder back to plugins. Then log in to the dashboard and one by one activate the plugins to see which of the plugin causing the issue.

If the problem still persists, then move on to next step.

Deactivate the theme

The next step is deactivates the active theme and switch to a default theme. A Theme can be the reason for the error.

Connect your website with FTP client and navigate to /wp-content/themes/ folder.

Locate your active theme and download its folder as a backup.

Now after downloading the active theme, delete the active theme folder(here is YourActiveTheme) from your database.

It will automatically activate the default theme of WordPress. Now visit your website to check the if the issue is resolved.

Another Method

If the issue still persists, then you have to take the following steps:

  • Contact your WordPress hosting company to know the issue.
  • At last, you can reinstall WordPress with a fresh copy.

We hope you like this article. If you have any query, you can ask in below comment box.

You can also check How to Disable the Search option in WordPress.

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Kapil Garg

Kapil Garg has 7 years of experience in building professional websites. He is a leading web developer, web designer and Google adwords certified partner. His passion is to designed and developed most impressive websites.

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