How You Might See the 503 Error
The 503 Service Unavailable error message can be customized by each website so the ways in which you might see it vary greatly. Here are the most common ways you might see the "service unavailable" error:
"503 Service Unavailable"
"503 Service Temporarily Unavailable"
"Http/1.1 Service Unavailable"
"HTTP Server Error 503"
"Service Unavailable - DNS Failure"
"HTTP Error 503"
- "Error 503 Service Unavailable"
503 Service Unavailable errors can appear in any browser in any operating system.
The 503 Service Unavailable error displays inside the browser window, just as web pages do.
Windows Update may also report an HTTP 503 error but it will display as error code 0x80244022 or with a WU_E_PT_HTTP_STATUS_SERVICE_UNAVAIL message.
Cause of 503 Service Unavailable Errors
The 503 Service Unavailable error is an HTTP status code that means the web site's server is simply not available right now. Most of the time this is because the server is too busy or because there's maintenance being performed on it.
Note: Sites that use Microsoft IIS may provide more specific information about the cause of a 503 Service Unavailable error by suffixing a number after the 503 as in HTTP Error 503.2 - Service Unavailable which means Concurrent request limit exceeded. You can see a complete list here.
How To Fix the 503 Service Unavailable Error
The 503 Service Unavailable error is a server-side error, meaning the problem is usually with the web site's server. It's possible that your computer is having some kind of problem that's causing the 503 error but it's not likely.
Regardless, there are a few things you can try:
- Retry the URL from the address bar again by clicking the reload/refresh button or pressing F5.
Even though the 503 Service Unavailable error means that there's an error on another computer, the issue is probably only temporary. Sometimes just trying the page again will work.
Imporant: If the 503 Service Unavailable error message appears while paying for an online purchase, be aware that multiple attempts to checkout may end up creating multiple orders - and multiple charges! Most payment systems, and some credit card companies, have protections from this kind of thing but it's still something to be aware of.
- Restart your router and then your computer or device, especially if you're seeing the "Service Unavailable - DNS Failure" error.
While the 503 error is still most likely the fault of the web site you're visiting, it's possible that there's an issue with your computer's or router's DNS server configurations and a simple restart of both might fix the problem.
Tip: If resetting your equipment didn't correct the 503 DNS Failure error, there may be temporary issues with the DNS servers themselves. In this case, pick new DNS servers from my Free & Public DNS Servers List and change them on your computer or router. See How To Change DNS Servers if you need help.
- Another option is to contact the website directly for help. There's a good chance that the site's administrators already know about the 503 error but letting them know, or checking the status on the problem, isn't a bad idea.
See my Website Contact Information list for contact information for popular websites. Most sites have support-based social network accounts and some even have phone numbers and email addresses.
Tip: If you the site 503 error is a popular one and you think it might be down completely, a smart Twitter search can usually give you the answer. Try searching for #websitedown on Twitter, replacing website with the site name, as in #facebookdown or #youtubedown. An outage on a big site will usually generate lots of talk on Twitter.
- Come back later. Since the 503 Service Unavailable error is a common error message on very popular websites when a huge increase in traffic by visitors (that's you!) is overwhelming the servers, simply waiting it out is often your best bet.
Frankly, this is the most likely "fix" for a 503 error. As more and more visitors leave the website, the chances of a successful page load for you increases.
Errors Like 503 Service Unavailable
The following error messages are related to the 503 Service Unavailable error: