It is not uncommon for website users to encounter error messages when browsing. Error messages are an important way for users and hosting providers to help determine where an issue may lie. One relatively common error message is the 503 error. In encountering a 503 error message, users may not understand what is happening. More importantly, those hosting the site may not understand a 503 error or how it is resolved. In this edition of our web hosting for dummies, we will take a closer look at these 503 errors.
HTTP Errors Explained
Your digital device likely uses one of the five most popular web browsers to “surf” through the internet. These include:
- Google Chrome
- Internet Explorer
Each of these browsers uses HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) when sending a request to retrieve a file (webpage, image, photograph, etc.) from a server on the internet. These are noted by the “HTTP” that precedes “www.” in web addresses. The vast majority of these requests result in the expected display of the desired file or webpage within the browser, usually fairly promptly. On occasion, however, an error will occur and an error message may be displayed.
Each error message is designed to give the viewer and host reasons the requests could not be completed. These error codes are group into triple-digit groups, starting with 100 numbered codes up through the 500’s. Error codes that begin with a “5” are server-side errors, meaning the problem is not with the browser or digital device of the user but with the server the website is hosted on. A 5xx error is not only an indication the problem is with the server, it tells us the server recognizes it has a problem.