What Is a 503 Status Code?
The server is currently unable to handle the request due to a temporary overload or scheduled maintenance, which will likely be alleviated after some delay.
The server MAY send a Retry-After header field1 to suggest an appropriate amount of time for the client to wait before retrying the request.
Note: The existence of the 503 status code does not imply that a server has to use it when becoming overloaded. Some servers might simply refuse the connection.
- 1 Retry-After RFC7231 Section 7.1.3
- Source: RFC7231 Section 6.6.4
503 CODE REFERENCES
Rails HTTP Status Symbol
Go HTTP Status Constant
Symfony HTTP Status Constant
Python2 HTTP Status Constant
Python3+ HTTP Status Constant
Python3.5+ HTTP Status Constant
Apache HttpComponents Core
503 status code example
Here’s an example of a request and response for a 503 status code:
GET /api/v1/users/123 HTTP/1.1
HTTP/1.1 503 Service Unavailable
"error": "Service Unavailable",
"message": "The server is currently unable to handle the request due to a temporary overload or maintenance of the server. Please try again later.",
In this example, the client is requesting information about a user with the ID “123”. However, the server is currently unable to handle the request due to a temporary overload or maintenance. As a result, the server sends a 503 Service Unavailable status code in the response, along with a Retry-After header indicating that the client should try again after 3600 seconds (1 hour). The response also includes a JSON body with an error message explaining the situation.
How to fix a 503 status code
A 503 Service Unavailable status code usually indicates that the server is temporarily unable to handle the request due to maintenance, high traffic, or other reasons. To fix a 503 error, you can try the following steps:
- Check if the issue is on your end: Make sure that your internet connection is stable, and that your device is not the cause of the issue. You can try accessing other websites or services to see if they work fine.
- Check the server status: If the 503 error occurs when trying to access a specific website or service, check if the server is down or experiencing issues. You can check the website or service’s status page, social media channels, or contact their support team to inquire about the issue.
- Wait and try again later: In some cases, the server may be experiencing high traffic or undergoing maintenance. In this case, you can wait for a while and try again later.
- Clear your browser cache: Clearing your browser cache can help fix some temporary issues with your browser or the website you are trying to access. You can try clearing your browser cache, cookies, and history, and then try accessing the website or service again.
- Contact the website or service’s support team: If the issue persists, you can contact the website or service’s support team and provide them with information about the error, including any error messages or codes you received. They may be able to provide more specific guidance on how to fix the issue.
What is the difference between a 500 status code and a 503 status code?
The main difference between a 500 status code and a 503 status code is the reason for the error.
- A 500 Internal Server Error status code indicates that the server encountered an unexpected condition that prevented it from fulfilling the request. This could be due to an issue with the server’s software, hardware, or configuration. In other words, a 500 status code indicates a general server-side error that is usually not related to traffic or overload.
- A 503 Service Unavailable status code, on the other hand, indicates that the server is currently unable to handle the request due to temporary overloading or maintenance. This can occur when the server is overwhelmed with too many requests or when it is undergoing maintenance or updates.
In summary, a 500 status code indicates a general server-side error, while a 503 status code indicates a temporary issue with the server’s availability.
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