How to fix http error 503?

http error 503: The ‘503 error’ or the ‘503 service unavailable error’ in WordPress is an especially annoying case for those who are new to WordPress. Why? Because it gives you no explanation of the causes of the error, thus making it quite annoying. But since you have landed this article for help, we will not only explain to you the causes of this error but will also guide you about the troubleshooting methods packed with some interesting helpful insights that will allow you to sail smoothly with WordPress issues in the future too. So what are we waiting for? Let us dig in!

Fix http error 503

Why do you see 503 error in WordPress?

Let us deal straight with the root causes first in order to calm down the great anxiety about this error. As mentioned above the error doesn’t come with a specific reason for it, we have researched and made a list of the possible causes behind the error. Here are they:

  • The first reason is when there is an improper response from a PHP script. When the web server fails to get a proper answer from the PHP script. There can be several example of the PHP script such as- WordPress plug-in, any specific code snippet which is snot behaving well, any particular theme which is causing hindrance, and so on.
  • Sometimes 503 error in WordPress can be caused due to over usage, any server hitch, and DDos attack. Although such causes are temporary and they automatically go away in a very little while.
  • Another reason can be the defined amount of resources that is made available to the hosting account. The amount of resources is fixed by the WordPress hosting companies. Therefore in situation where there is a shared hosting, there can arise an issue with the limited amount of the resources, which thus leads to the 503 WordPress error.
  • Bad code can be another probability behind this error. When there is a bad code on your WordPress website, then you will find that this error keeps on reoccurring.  Unfortunately, this error in this case, won’t go away on its own. You need to locate that particular bad code and get rid of it to fix 503 error in WordPress.

What are the ways that can fix the 503 error in WordPress?

The main underlying reason that causes 503 errors in WordPress is the absence of a proper answer or response from the PHP script. So in this section, we will look at the ways with which we can resolve this error. Please make sure that you follow the given steps in the order mentioned here.  So let us start digging!

Method 1: Disable the WordPress Plug-ins:

Please follow these steps:

  • In this method we are trying to locate the bad PHP script or in other words- the bad WordPress plug-ins. Therefore, first of all please deactivate all your WordPress plug-ins.
  • Now as you are locked out of your WordPress website; in order to deactivate all the WordPress plug-ins, you would need to rely on things like FTP client or the File Manager in cPanel.
  • As you find yourself to be connected to your WordPress website, now you need to open the ‘wp-content’ folder.
  • Look for the plug-ins folder.
  • Now you need to rename the ‘plug-ins’ folder to ‘plug-in-old.
  • A the next step, create a new folder and name it as ‘plug-ins.’
  • After creating the above mentioned folder, open your WordPress website.

Now two scenarios will take place:

Scenario 1: At this stage, the 503 WordPress error has been resolved:

If the error gets resolved then it means that the plug-ins that your WordPress website was using were corrupt and causing this error. And by taking the above steps you have disabled the WordPress plug-ins.

Scenario 2: If you wish to locate the particular corrupt plug-in:

In order to locate the corrupt plugin, please follow these steps:

  • Firstly of all switch to the FTP client or the File Manager in cPanel.
  • Open the ‘wp-content’ folder.
  • Inspect the ‘wp-content’ folder for any empty plug-in folders. Please delete all those plug-in folders that are empty.
  • Rename the ‘plug-in-old’ folder to ‘plug-in’ folder. This step will allow your WordPress website to access all the previously installed plug-ins.
Please Note: The plug-ins at this stage will still remain deactivated.
  • Now go to the WordPress admin section.
  • Please open the ‘plug-ins’ page.
  • Here in the ‘plug-in’ page, you can activate the plug-ins one at a time.
  • At this stage it would be wise to activate one plug-in and verify its effect on your WordPress website by opening the related page of your website one by one.
  • Continue with this process in order to catch hold of the exact plug-in which is causing the issue.

Hopefully, the above steps should resolve the error. In case you still find the error to persist, then you can follow the next troubleshooting methods:

Method 2: Turn on the WordPress Default theme:

Turning on the WordPress Default theme will make the current WordPress theme disabled. Please follow the steps given below to turn on the WordPress Default theme:

  • With the help of the FTP client or the File Manager in cPanel, establish a connection to your WordPress website.
  • Now you need to open the ‘wp-content’ folder.
  • In the ‘wp-content’ folder look for ‘themes’ folder and open it.
  • Now look for the theme that you are currently using on your WordPress website and download it separately on your PC,. This step will create a backup of your current theme.
  • Now delete the theme from your WordPress website.
  • As the next step please install a new default theme on your website.

Once you activate the new default theme, please carefully inspect if the error has been completely eradicated.

Method 3: Last resort to fix the error:

If you find that the error still persists then, you can take the following measures:

  • You may need to reach out to your WordPress hosting company, since it can be some deep technical issue which is beyond 503 WordPress error.
  • Otherwise you can opt for doing everything from the scratch. Meaning- you can you can reinstall the WordPress with the help of a fresh file.