How to Fix 503 Service Unavailable Error on WordPress?

Are you facing the 503 Service Unavailable Error on your WordPress website? We have got you covered! This blog post provides a step-by-step guide to identify the specific cause of the error and fix it, including server overload, updates, newly added plugins or themes, corrupted WordPress files, and issues in the connection between the database and the website.

Blog Author
Ganeswar Swain

Apr 17, 2024

WordPress is one of the most widely used CMS platforms for developing comprehensive websites. This platform has become a top choice for many developers around the world for its wide range of plugins and theme development features. However, no platform is perfect, there are errors and there will be errors. These errors can be caused due to many possible reasons, some from the user end, some from the server end, and some from the service provider end.

Errors are basically safety protocols performed by the website to help the website stay protected. But running into these errors is surely a daunting task and sometimes can also become a never-ending bug-finding task. Most of these platforms describe the issue to make it easy for the user to resolve it, but sometimes it is not the case. One of these kinds of errors includes “503 Service Unavailable Error WordPress”. In this blog post, we will discuss how to find which part of the website is causing this issue and how to resolve it to get your WordPress site back on track.

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What is 503 error in WordPress?

One of the challenging tasks about dealing with the service unavailable is you cannot possibly find the direct cause of the error. 503 service not available error usually means the server has run out of necessary resources, undergoing maintenance, or experiencing unknown errors and hence shows that it is unavailable.

According to leading WordPress developers in Bangalore, this error ultimately caused the server to not accept any more active requests. The error does not occur due to any problems in WordPress, it occurs because of these possible issues on the server.

Possible causes of 503 Service Unavailable Error error

  • One of the most common reasons for this error is server overload. This can be caused due to excess traffic visiting your website.
  • Any updates or changes require putting the website on maintenance mode, this can also show a service unavailable error.
  • A newly added plugin or theme can also lead your server to be unavailable to the users.
  • It might be possible that the error can also be from the hosting provider's end.
  • Corrupted WordPress files in the file manager can also lead to this error.
  • Any issues in the connection between the database and the website result in this error.
  • DDoS attacks send too many requests at the same time to a server which can lead to causing the service not available error.

Steps to identify the specific Cause

  1. Review the error logs in the hosting account to find any specific error messages.
  2. Try increasing the memory limit temporarily and see if the problem persists.
  3. Find where the website is hosted, here let's look at C-Panel, in the c panel go to file manager, click on the WP content folder and then navigate to the plugins and themes. Now try renaming the plugins and themes folders and check whether the error is gone.
  4. This can help you identify if the error is caused due to themes or plugins.

Steps to fix the WordPress dashboard https error 503

Before finding the solutions to fix the error, it is important to understand updates are very crucial in the overall health of the website. They make sure that the website is safe from online vulnerabilities and helps it stay protected and also prevents errors such as 503.

Deactivating the plugins

Plugins are one of the most common causes of the errors. Installation of new plugins or not updating the plugins might result in this error. To fix the issue find the plugin that's causing the issue, to do this you will need to disable all the plugins.


  1. Find where the website is hosted, here let's look at C-Panel, in the C-Panel go to file manager, click on the WP content folder and then navigate to the plugins.
  2. Tap on the plugins folder and you will find all the installed plugins on your site.
  3. Right click on the folder and rename this.
  4. Try reloading the site, if the error is gone, the problem is caused due to one of these plugins.
  5. Do this until you disable each plugin one by one to find the reason.

Deactivating the Themes

If the issue still persists after verifying all the plugins go to themes. Themes usually cause compatibility issues as WordPress is an open-source platform, not every theme is tested for every scenario. This can lead to the error, to fix the issue follow the below steps:


  1. Log in to cPanel and open File Manager
  2. Navigate to the Themes Folder and Go to the public_html directory (or the directory where your WordPress is installed).
  3. Open the wp-content folder.
  4. Find and click on the themes folder.
  5. Right-click on the themes folder, select Rename and change the name of the folder.
  6. This will deactivate all themes and revert your site to the default WordPress theme.
  7. Refresh your website to see if the error is resolved, if the error is gone, one of the themes was causing the issue.
  8. To find out which one, rename the folder back to themes.
  9. Inside the themes folder, rename each theme folder one by one (except the default WordPress theme) and check your site after each change.

Disabling the CDN

Content Delivery Network can also cause this error, if you are using a CDN try disabling it.


  1. Login to your CDN provider’s dashboard and access the dashboard to go to settings
  2. Find the option pause or disable in the CDN service and disable the service.
  3. Check whether there is an option to purge or clear CDN cache, this can solve the issue without disabling it.
  4. After disabling the CDN, refresh the site and see if the error persists.
  5. Once the issue is resolved re-enable the CDN for performance enhancements.

Increasing the server’s resources

By increasing the server’s resources you can resolve the 503 service unavailable error as this is caused due to increased traffic and the site’s inability to process them.


  1. Log in to access your control panel with your credentials.
  2. Look for options ‘Service Plan’, ‘Hosting Plan’, ‘Upgrade’, or ‘Resources’.
  3. Check the current resource usage statistics if available and identify which resources are being maxed out (e.g., CPU, memory).
  4. Select an upgrade option that provides higher resource limits.
  5. Confirm and pay for the upgrade and review the new resource limits and costs.
  6. After upgrading, monitor your site’s performance and resource usage.

Reviewing the logs and enabling WP_Debug

Reviewing the logs and enabling the WP_Debug are key steps in diagnosing the site for errors including error 503 WordPress images.

Review Your Logs:

  1. Log in to your hosting control panel.
  2. Find Error Logs under ‘Advanced’, ‘Metrics’, or similar.
  3. Now, open the error logs and look for any entries that correspond to the time the error occurred. Note down the recurring errors or specific file references.

Enable WP_DEBUG:

  1. In your hosting account, open the File Manager and navigate to the root directory of your WordPress site.
  2. Now, edit wp-config.php, locate the wp-config.php file and right-click on it and select ‘Edit’.
  3. Add WP_DEBUG Code: Find the line that says /* That's all, stop editing! Happy publishing. */.
  4. Just before this line, add the following code:
    // Enable WP_DEBUG mode
    define('WP_DEBUG', true);
    // Enable Debug logging to the /wp-content/debug.log file
    define('WP_DEBUG_LOG', true);
    // Disable display of errors and warnings
    define('WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false);
    @ini_set('display_errors', 0);

  5. After adding the code, save the file and close the editor.
  6. Try to replicate the error by visiting your site.
  7. Return to the File Manager and navigate to /wp-content/. Look for a file named debug.log and review any new entries.


In conclusion, an 503 service unavailable error on WordPress is a server issue and can be caused due to server overload, maintenance, or faulty plugins or themes. This blog has covered all the necessary steps to find the issues and resolve them. However, if you are still facing issues after trying all the above mentioned steps, contact your hosting service provider for proactive measures and immediate solutions that can prevent your site from being down for a long time.