How to Fix 503 Service Unavailable Error in WordPress

Published on March 28, 2019 2 min read

If you face 503 service unavailable error in WordPress then you can follow some steps given in below to solve the error. It gives no clues about what’s causing it which makes it extremely frustrating for beginners when the error occurs. In this article, we will show you how to fix the 503 service unavailable error in WordPress.

What Causes 503 Service Unavailable Error in WordPress?

Most of the WordPress hosting  companies offer fixed amount of resources for each hosting account. For websites on shared hosting, this limit cannot handle heavy usage of server resources.

The 503 service error is not available. It occurs when your web server is not able to get a proper response from a PHP script. This PHP script could be a WordPress plugin , a theme, or a misbehaving custom code snippet .

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

If it is caused by code which is bad on your website, then it will keep occurring unless you find and disable the code that’s causing it.

Let’s take a look at how to easily fix 503 service unavailable error in WordPress.

Fixing 503 Service Unavailable Error in WordPress

As we noticed above that this error is caused when your web server is unable to get a proper response from a PHP script running in the background.

To fix it, we will disable all unnecessary PHP scripts one by one until the error is resolved.

Let’s get started.

Deactivate All WordPress Plugins

All of your WordPress plugins are PHP scripts, so at first you need to deactivate all your WordPress plugins.

As you cannot login to your WordPress dashboard due to the 503 error, you will need to connect to your website using a FTP client or File Manager in cPanel. After connected, go to /wp-content/ folder and rename the plugins folder to plugins-old.

Rename plugins folder

After that you need to rename the plugins-old folder to plugins. This will make all your previously installed plugins available to WordPress. However, these plugins will remain deactivated.

Now, you need to visit the WordPress admin area and then go to the plugins page. You can activate your plugins one by one and visit different pages on your website after activating each plugin. Keep doing that until you find the plugin causing the 503 error.

If this step resolved your issue, then you don’t need to follow rest of the instructions on this page. Otherwise, you can move on to the next step.

Switch to a Default WordPress Theme

If the deactivating plugins didn’t resolve your error, then the next step would be to switch to a default WordPress theme. This will deactivate your current WordPress theme.

At first, you need to connect to your WordPress site by using an FTP client or File Manager in cPanel. After connected, go to /wp-content/themes/ folder.

Download your current WordPress theme

Locate your currently active WordPress theme and download it to your computer as backup.

After downloading your theme, you can go ahead and delete it from your website .

Now, if you already have a theme which is default like Twenty Seventeen or Twenty Sixteen installed, then it will be automatically activated. If you don’t, then you can go ahead and install a default theme  on your website.

Thoroughly check your website to make sure that 503 service unavailable error is resolved.

Troubleshooting

If both of the methods are fail to resolve the error, then you can take the following steps:

  • Contact your WordPress hosting company because they may be able to pinpoint what’s causing the issue.
  • As a last resort, you can re-install WordPress with a fresh copy.

We hope this article will help you learn how to fix 503 service unavailable error in WordPress.

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