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Fix 503 Service Unavailable Error in WordPress

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503 Service Unavailable

The ‘503 Service Unavailable’ error is one disturbing error that you’ll face while using WordPress. The 503 error is a bit confusing as it points your website to an offline state without mentioning the reason.

The causes for a 503 service unavailable error can vary, and the error codes also vary as well. In this article, we’ll talk about the reasons for a ‘503 Service Unavailable’ error and the way to fix it.

What Causes the ‘503 Service Unavailable’ Error?

The WordPress hosting services around the world provide limited resources for each account. In the case of shared hosting, such a small limit could not handle a bulk usage of the server’s resources.

‘503 Service Unavailable’ error is displayed when your website tries and couldn’t get a proper response from any PHP script. The script can be of a WordPress plugin, a WordPress theme, or any naughty custom coded snippet. If it is a server glitch, DDoS attack, or a heavy server usage that has created the error, you can relax. The error will automatically unriddle in a few minutes’ time. Anyhow, if a badly written code in your website is creating the error, it will continue to show until the code is found out and disabled.

Now, let’s look at how easy it is to solve the error.

Here’s the Fix For the ‘503’ Error

Before jumping into concluding on what’s causing the 503 error, it always helps to perform a proper diagnosis of faulty plugins and themes.

You can perform the diagnosis in two different ways:

1. By disabling all plugins

2. By disabling your active theme

I know what you’re thinking. How could you disable plugins and theme when you can’t even access the admin dashboard of your WordPress?

Luckily enough, you can also disable the themes and plugins through the backend from the server without losing any data. Let’s see how!

1. Manually Disable All WordPress Plugins

Every plugin in WordPress is a PHP script. So, it is crucial to try deactivating all the plugins to make sure if they are causing trouble. Since it’s not possible to log into your WordPress Admin dashboard, you should connect to the website using an FTP client like FileZilla. After accessing the website, navigate to the wp-content folder and make a backup of the plugins folder to your desktop. After that, rename the folder to plugins.deactivate.

503 Service Unavailable

After renaming the folder, create a folder of the same name ‘plugins’ in the wp-content folder. Next, refresh your website to check whether the issue is solved. If yes, it makes sure that the error is caused by one of your active plugins.

Now, to find out the culprit plugin, delete the plugins folder, and rename the plugins.deactivate folder back to plugins. All plugins will, however, be deactivated at the time. You can go to the admin dashboard and try activating one plugin at a time. While reloading the website each time, you can find out which plugin is causing the 503 error.

If all the above steps didn’t solve the error, come let’s move on to the next step.

2. Change Your Default Website Theme

If you were not able to solve the error by checking the plugins, the problem may be with a faulty theme. Any carelessly written script in a theme can make it faulty. So, let’s give a try disabling your active theme.

Login to your server with an FTP client and navigate to the Themes folder from WP-Contents folder in the server.

503 Service Unavailable

Make a backup of the current theme’s folder (here, it is Ben) by downloading it to your desktop. Then, delete the theme’s folder from the server. Now, WordPress will be forced to automatically revert the website back to one of your default WordPress themes, such as TwentyEighteen or TwentyNineteen.

Check the website once you have loaded the default theme. If it is working fine, the problem was with your active theme. You can communicate with the theme provider to fix the issue.

Still Getting The Error?

You have now tried checking the plugins and your active theme for any issue that causes the 503 error. If you still can’t find anything peculiar, the following are the steps you should take:

1. Only your WordPress website hosting company will be able to know what the issue is other than the basic code issues in plugins and themes. Contact them and they might be able to troubleshoot the error.

2. If nothing works at all, the best you can do is uninstall your WordPress and replace it with a fresh and good copy.  With that, you can start fresh without concerns about any errors. If you are not that thorough with WordPress, you can hire a professional to do the job.

Wrapping Up

Errors are inevitable companions of a WordPress page. All you have to know is that there are fixes for all troubles. We really hope we were able to help you with your website’s 503 error. If you have any other solutions or opinions regarding the issue, let us know.

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