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HTTPS Error 503: What Causes It and How to Fix It

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Is your website unavailable to visitors because of HTTPS Error 503?

If yes, we get you. We get the fact that it can be one of the most confusing error messages to decode and diagnose for any website owner.

Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about it anymore. Because in this tutorial we’re going to explore everything about this error, and how it can be fixed. By the end of it, you’ll know how to fix it (or at least you’ll be in the right direction). Let’s start!

Frequently Asked Questions

vector graphic showing an illustration of https error 503

What is HTTPS Error 503?

The HTTPS 503 error, also known as the “Service Unavailable” error, is a generic error that’s presented when a server can’t handle any request in spite of being online and working fine. It’s a server-side issue that can make your website unavailable to visitors.

What Causes HTTPS Error 503?

Since it’s a generic error message, it is generated for a number of reasons. And therefore, it’s difficult to pinpoint a single cause behind it. However, some common reasons include, 1) server is under maintenance mode, 2) server is completely occupied with other requests, or 3) issue with the firewall configuration of the server.

What You’ll Need to Fix HTTPS Error 503

You’ll need the following things in order to fix this issue:

  1. Contact information of your hosting provider’s support team
  2. Understanding of servers and your tech stack (or another person who understands these things)
  3. Access to your hosting dashboard or control panel.

How to Fix HTTPS Error 503: Step-by-Step Instructions

As we said above, there are a number of things that can cause this error. Fortunately, you can deal with all of them by implementing a simple 5-step action plan. Just follow the steps outlined below, and by the end of it, the error will be fixed.  

Step #1. Restart Your Server

The first thing you should try is restarting your server because, like any ordinary computer, your server is a computer too.

Just as a normal computer can fix many errors by doing a restart, web servers can also fix several issues on their own if restarted.

If you’re using multiple servers, you need to reboot all of them in order to fix the HTTPS Error 503 issue.

Step #2. Check for Server Maintenance

Many times servers become unreachable because they are under maintenance.

That’s possible for your server too, so it will be better that you check for it with your hosting provider’s support team before doing anything else.

Just reach out to them over a call or chat and ask why your website is down. If server maintenance is going on, they’ll let you know and you need to have patience in that case.

Step #3. Reset Your Firewall

Firewalls protect our servers from spammy traffic and bots, but sometimes if there’s a misconfiguration in them they can start blocking all web traffic (or maybe traffic within a geographic region) from accessing the website.

In such a situation, the only solution is to reset your firewall.

Now, how to do that may depend upon the server that you’re using. In fact, there may be different methods to reset the firewall even within a web hosting company depending on the type of server, so we’d suggest that you inquire about it from the support team of your hosting provider.

Step #4. Analyze Your Server Activity Logs

Each web server maintains two types of activity logs:

  • Application-level logs that reveal all the activity of your applications running on the server;
  • Hardware-level logs that reveal the health, status, and availability record of your server hardware.

You should analyze both of them to pinpoint the time since when your website became unavailable because of the HTTPS Error 503.

You can access these server logs from within your hosting dashboard. Read more about them and how to access them from the links given below, depending on your hosting provider:

  1. Hostgator — Log files;
  2. Server Logs — Bluehost;
  3. Check cPanel error logs — InMotion Hosting;
  4. View Server Logs — Kinsta;
  5. System files and Log file locations — Media Temple;
  6. Locations of common log files on cPanel servers — LiquidWeb.

If you use any other web hosting, check their website or reach out to their support team to find out how can you access your server logs.

Once you’ve found the log files, analyze them to identify the script or code that might have caused the error.

Step #5. Analyze Your Code and Fix the Bugs

Performing the last step might have given you an idea of which script or code made your website go into unavailable mode and start serving the visitors with HTTPS Error 503.

You should have a clear idea by now of what is the root cause behind this issue (i.e. a bug, a virus, or something else).

Now if you are technically skilled enough to fix these issues, then you can try to fix them on your own while taking the inputs of your hosting provider’s support team.

Otherwise, we’d suggest that you hire someone who is experienced and skilled with the tech stack being used by your website, as they’ll be able to fix the issue while minimizing the downtime and risks to your site.

Similar Tutorials to Check Out

  • How To Fix 401 Error: This error is generated by a web server when someone requesting a resource doesn’t have the valid credentials to access it. This tutorial explains how it can be fixed.
  • How To Fix Error 500: Generated for a number of reasons, the 500 error code is another popular error faced by people while browsing websites. This tutorial aims to explain how it can be resolved.
  • How To Fix Error 520: This error code is generated when an error message sent by the server doesn’t fit anywhere in the list of standard HTTP error codes. Why it is generated, and how it can be fixed, is the scope of this tutorial.

Wrapping Up

There are many errors in the world of the internet that we can’t attribute to a single cause or reason. HTTPS Error 503 is also among them, but fortunately, it’s not too difficult to deal with it, as you can see in the steps outlined above.

So give these steps a try, and let us know which one fixed the issue for you in the comments. Also, if you have any thoughts about this short guide, do share them as well. All the best!

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