What is a 503 Service Unavailable Error (And How Can I Fix It)?

A 503 service unavailable error occurs when a web server is temporarily unable to handle a request that has been made from it. Almost always, the error is on the website itself and there is nothing you can do about it, but try again later. Still, there are some quick things you can try on your end.

What is a 503 Service Unavailable Error?

A 503 service unavailable error indicates that a web server is temporarily unable to handle a request. That could be the web server you’re trying to access directly, or another server that the web server in turn tries to access. It’s called a 503 error because that’s the HTTP status code that the web server uses to define that type of error. The error can occur for a number of reasons, but the two most common reasons are that the server is overwhelmed with requests or is being serviced.

Error 503 is different from an internal server error 500. Error 500 occurs when something prevents the server from handling your request, while error 503 actually means that the server is fine: it can process your request and returns error 503 by design.

As with other errors like this, website designers can customize what a 503 error looks like. Therefore, you may see different-looking 503 pages on different websites. Websites may also use slightly different names for this error. For example, you might see things like

: http/1.1 service unavailable 503 Error 503 Service temporarily available 503 Service

    unavailable Service unavailable: DNS error HTTP Error 503 HTTP

  • 503 Error
  • 503

  • Service
  • Unavailable

One important thing to remember is that error 503 is a server-side error. That means the problem exists with the website you’re trying to access, and not with your computer. That’s good news and bad news. It’s good news because there’s nothing wrong with your computer, and it’s bad news because there’s usually nothing you can do to solve the problem from your end.

However, here are some quick things you can try.


we mentioned, a 503 error indicates a temporary problem, and sometimes that problem is very temporary. A site might be overwhelmed with traffic, for example. Therefore, updating the page is always worthwhile. Most browsers use the F5 key to refresh and also provide an Update button somewhere in the address bar. It doesn’t fix the problem very often, but it only takes a second to try.

Warning: Be sure to pay special attention if the error occurs while making a payment. Refreshing the page may cause you to be charged twice, so keep an eye out for that.

Check if the site

is down

to other people Whenever you

can’t access a site (for whatever reason), you can also check if it’s just you who has trouble connecting or if other people have the same problem. There are many tools for this, but our favorites are isitdownrightnow.com and downforeveryoneorjustme.com. Both work more or less the same. Insert the URL you want to check and you’ll get a result like this.

If you get a report saying the site is down for everyone, there’s not much you can do but try again later. If the report shows that the site is active, then the problem could be on your end. It is very rare for this to be the case with a 503 error, but it is possible, and you can try some of the things we describe in the following sections.

Restart your devices

Therefore, you have used a site verification tool and determined that the site is down for you. And, you have tried another browser and are having the same problem. This tells you that the problem is probably something on your end, but it’s not your browser.

There may be some strange and temporary problems with your computer or network equipment (Wi-Fi, router, modem, etc.). A simple restart of your computer and network devices can help fix the problem.

Another possibility is that the error is caused by a DNS problem but on a DNS server instead of your computer. In that case, you can try changing the DNS servers and see if the issue is resolved.


the website

Another option is to contact the website owner directly. Look for their contact information on the website and contact them about the page in question. If there is no contact form, you can try to reach the website on your social networks.

Image Credit: Micha / Shutterstock