WordPress Tutorials

How to Fix 503 Service Unavailable Error in WordPress

We believe that you must have seen 503 Service Unavailable Error displayed on your screen ever, unless you are very new to WordPress websites or seldom surfing on the internet. For beginners, when the error occurs in front of you, it may drive you crazy, because you have no clue about what is causing the unavailability. To help webmasters on WordPress platform, we are to explain the 503 Service Unavailable Error and show you the process of fixing the error in WordPress. We hope the article can help users, especially beginners to confidently solve the error quickly.

Possible Reasons of 503 Service Unavailable Error in WordPress

Most WordPress hosting provides offers the cheap web hosting accounts with limited amount of server resources. Then, those websites created based on shared hosting cannot handle the heavy traffic and server resources usage because of the resource limitation.

Actually, a 503 Service Unavailable Error happens to your site when your web server cannot obtain the response from a PHP script. And the PHP script can be a WordPress theme, plugin, or even a misbehaving custom code snippet.

Sometimes, it could be your website consuming too much usage of your web server resources. Besides, DDoS attacks and server glitches all can lead to 503 Service Unavailable Error, but the error caused by these mini issues will automatically disappear soon later.

Differently, if your site always has the 503 errors happening, then you need to check out if there is bad code existing on your site. To fix it, you have to find out and disable the bad code. For this type of reason causing 503 Service Unavailable Errors, we address the method to fix it in below. Let’s set off and help you out.

Fix 503 Service Unavailable Error in WordPress

Like we talked before, the 503 error occurs because your web server cannot obtain proper responses from a PHP script that is running in the backend. In order to kill the continuous error appearing on your site, we plan to disable the PHP scripts that are unnecessary, and we will go it one by one until we fix the error. In below, we will introduce different methods to cope the question. Now, let’s begin.

Deactivate Your WordPress Plugins

All WordPress plugins are the PHP scripts, therefore to deal with 503 error well, you can firstly check out your WordPress plugins and see if they have something wrong to break the response. So, we need to deactivate these WordPress plugins.

During the 503 error period, you are unable to log into your WordPress dashboard, thus to deactivate plugins, you will have to connect to your site by leveraging a File Manager or FTP client in your cPanel control panel. Under the connection, you need to find the /wp-content/ folder and then rename the plugins folder as plugins-old.

The next is to set up a new folder and name the folder as plugins.

Now, you can visit your WordPress website and see whether the 503 error is fixed. If the error is still there, then it means what you have changed via the cPanel does not work to that issue and the 503 error on your site is caused by a WordPress plugin. Also, the steps above have deactivated all your WordPress plugins.

The rest thing to solve the error is to figure out the wrong plugin. With the purpose, you have to go back to your file manager or FTP client in the cPanel. Then, find the /wp-content/ folder as well as delete the plugins folder you just created.

The next step is to rename plugins-old folder back to the name of plugins. The step is to make your old plugins available to WordPress, but these previously installed WordPress plugins will continue to remain deactivated.

In order to activate your WordPress plugins, you have to visit the admin area in WordPress, and go to Plugins page where you are able to activate them one by one. You can view different pages on your site once you activate each plugin.

You need to continue these steps of activating each plugin and checking each page, until you figure out the target plugin causing 503 error.

Luckily, you complete the step and the 503 error on your WordPress website is solved. However, unfortunately, your problem remains on your site, and then you can follow the rest instruction on the page or you need to go and follow the rest part of this guideline.

Go Back to a Default WordPress Theme

If you are checking out this method, it means you failed to solve your problem by deactivating all WordPress plugins. Here we want to introduce the second method is to go back to a default WordPress theme and it is going to deactivating the current theme your WordPress site is using.

Likewise, the first step is to connect to your site via a File Manager or FTP client in your cPanel. After you connected, you need to visit the /wp-content/themes/ folder.

Next, you need to locate the WordPress theme that activates now, and then download it as a backup. After doing this, you need to return to the location of your currently activate theme and delete it.

If you have a default WordPress theme such ass Twenty Sixteen or Twenty Seventeen that was already installed on your WordPress site, then once your deleted your currently activate them, the default one will be activated automatically. If you do not have one installed already, you need to go ahead again and pick one default theme and install it on your site.

After activating the default WordPress theme, you can completely check out your WordPress website and make sure the 503 error has been fully resolved.


Generally, the both method showed above can solve the 503 Service Unavailable Error in WordPress, but if you are unlucky that the both did not work, then there are several tips you can take as following:

  • When you cannot solve the 503 error, you can contact WordPress hosting provider, and it has experts to examine the problem and correctly find out the cause of the error.
  • If you want to solve it by yourself still, you can reinstall WordPress with the latest copy. Of course, it is a little complicate and may lead to a series of issues, so we regard it as the last resort.


In a nutshell, we hope these methods can really help WordPress users, especially those beginners, solve the 503 Service Unavailable Error quickly. To run a better WordPress website, you can also check out WordPress Tutorials to see more WordPress common issues and how to solve them.

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