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Fixing 503 service unavailable error in WordPress

Just a few days ago I was trying to open a website and saw 503 service unavailable error. It was strange, the website is working fine the other day. After some research I came to know that its a standard HTTP status code. It simply means that the website server is not available right now. Most of the time it occurs because server is too busy or because there’s a maintenance being performed on it.

What is meant by 503 service unavailable error in WordPress?

Well as I have already told you 503 service unavailable error in simply a standard HTTP status code. It simply means that the server is too busy to process your request. As you already know, WordPress website or blog requires a server to work. So there are chance that you might encounter WordPress service unavailable error. Don’t worry its a common error in WordPress and can be fixed easily.

Reasons for 503 service unavailable error in WordPress?

There are various reasons of getting 503 service unavailable error in WordPress. Few of the most common errors are listed below:

  • Server Overloading: A WordPress hosting company offer fixed amount of resource for each hosting account. If your website is on shared hosting then there are chances that it cannot handle heavy usage of server resources.
  • Badly coded PHP script: One of the reasons of getting service temporarily unavailable error in WordPress is, when your web server is unable to get a proper response from a PHP script. The PHP script could be a WordPress plugin, a theme, or a misbehaving custom code snippet.
  • Maintenance of the web server: Maintenance of a web server is a normal procedure. In this stage the web server admin updates the server and perform some important changes. If your users tries to open the website at this time then they will encounter 503 service unavailable error.

However if the error is caused by heavy usage, a server glitch, or a DDoS attack, then it will automatically disappear in few minutes.

Fixing 503 service unavailable error in WordPress

You can only solve the problem by yourself if it is cause by badly coded PHP script. If it is caused by some other reason like server unable to handle heavy traffic on your website then you have to contact your hosting provider and upgrade your hosting services.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to easily fix 503 service unavailable error in WordPress. Few of the methods have been mentioned below.

  • Deactivate all WordPress Plugin: All the plugins that you use in your WordPress installation are nothing more than PHP scripts. So first you have to deactivate all of them. Due to the 503 error you cannot access WordPress admin. So here are the steps that you must follow to deactivate all your plugin
    1. Connect to your web server using FTP client like FileZilla.
    2. Go to /wp-content/ folder.
    3. Here you will find plugins folder. All your WordPress plugins are installed in this folder. Rename this folder to plugins-old. See the image below
      503 service unavailable error
    4. Create a new folder and call it plugins.
    5. Now visit your WordPress site. The above process has automatically disabled all your plugins.
    6. Delete your newly created plugins folder and rename plugin-old folder to plugins. see the image below
      503 service unavailable error
    7. Visit your website again you will find all plugins are already disabled.  Now go to your WordPress admin and enable each plugin one by one and check which plugin is causing the 503 error. Disable that plugin and you are good to go.
  • Switch to Default WordPress theme: If the above step does not resolve the issue then it means there is no problem with the plugin. May be the problem is with the theme itself. You can switch to default WordPress theme by following these simple steps
    1. Connect to your WordPress site using FTP client.
    2. Go to /wp-content/themes/ folder.
    3. Locate your currently active theme and download as backup to your computer. See the image below
      503 service unavailable error
    4. After downloading your theme you can delete your theme from the web server.
    5. Now if you have a default theme like twenty seventeen or twenty sixteen installed it will be automatically activated.

See the video below for detailed information

If both the above methods failed to resolve the error, then contact your WordPress hosting company as they will be able to pin point the problem for you. At the very last resort, you can reinstall you WordPress installation.

That’s all for today guys stay tune for the next tutorial. If you have not subscribed for the newsletter then please subscribe now by clicking the link below

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