Web Hosting for Dummies: What is a 503 Error?

what is a 503 error


what is a 503 error

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
  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Opera
  • Safari

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.

What Then, is a 503 Error?

Your browser will display a 503 error when a server where the desired website is experiencing an issue retrieving your requested image or page. In the case of HTTP errors, the message seen by a user can be customized by the web host, so it may be communicated back to the user in a variety of ways. Common variations of the displayed error message include:

503 Error
503 Service Unavailable
503 Service Temporarily Unavailable
HTTP Server Error 503
HTTP 503
HTTP Error 503
Error 503 Service Unavailable

This means either the server is receiving too many requests for it to handle at once, or that it may be undergoing maintenance. What is interesting about the 503 error is that it is actually an indication that the server is operating fine. It is just deferring requests intentionally until either traffic slows or maintenance is completed.

what is a 503 error

How to Resolve 503 Errors

Users can resolve 503 errors easily often by refreshing a page or by clicking on the F5 or Ctrl+R keys. If this doesn’t resolve the issue you can try again later or take the time to reboot your device and/or modem.

For those hosting a site or sites, getting 503 errors can be more concerning. It could likely mean you are getting more traffic than your server is designed to handle. For most, this is good news but you will need to react. If you have your own on-site server or servers, a simple reboot may resolve the issue. It may also be an indication you need to increase your bandwidth or overall system resources. If 503 service errors last for more than a few minutes or become common, you will want to consider an upgrade or contact your web hosting solution provider to see if perhaps there are routine maintenance issues. They can also guide you to increased server capabilities that could also resolve the issue.

It is important for both those hosting websites and for consumers to be aware that if a 503 error is encountered in the middle of a financial transaction, multiple purchases may result. This is just one of the reasons you want to minimize downtime. It can also be helpful to note that 503 errors can be seen on a variety of digital devices including mobile ones.

The Importance of Uptime

To minimize the display of 503 errors, uptime is critical when choosing a web hosting solutions provider. At OrangeWebsite.com, we are pleased to offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee backed with 24/7 customer service. Customer service and technical requests generally get a response within minutes. This exceptional service is available worldwide as OrangeWebsite hosts websites from over 100 different countries. Users not only appreciate our reliability and quick response times but our anonymous sign-up process and acceptance of Bitcoin, cash by mail as well as credit cards.

Our data centers in Iceland give us easy and quick access to internet users in North America and Europe. Our location also allows us to provide eco web hosting solutions through the use of 100% renewable energy sources like geothermal. Users have free access to use of our Green Label for their hosted websites, demonstrating environmentally conscious initiatives. Our Icelandic location provides us with more moderate weather and minimal air conditioning costs that result in lower costs for our customers. Iceland is also a country that values its internet freedom of speech and privacy. We offer a variety of hosting and co-location services and packages to serve your expanding needs. Learn more about our green hosting solutions by visiting OrangeWebsite.com. We look forward to minimizing the errors your customers encounter when visiting your websites.

Are Data Centers the Steel Plants of this Generation?

Data Center Pollution
Data Center Pollution

Are Data Centers the Steel Plants of this Generation?

There was a time when the United States and Europe were large steel producers. Today, China has grown to be the largest steel producing nation on the planet, followed by Japan and the United States. The fact is, China produces about half of the world’s steel. Along with that title, China has developed a pollution problem and a serious one. In fact, China reduced or shut down dozens of steel plants through the winter of 2017-2018 to curtail the out of control air pollution in the country. It is said to be the largest shutdown of steel mills in history. China is experiencing the problems of an industrialized economy, much like that was seen in the United States and Europe in the 1950’s and 1960’s when smog hung heavy in the air over most major cities. Certainly, the world needs steel but that has to be balanced with the critical importance of clean air and water.

As North America and Europe have become less industrialized and more stringent pollution standards have been put in place, air quality has improved. However, there is an area of growing concern when it comes to the use of fossil fuels and energy use. It is the increasing problem of the massive energy use being created by data centers.

While it may be hard to imagine how the internet can cause a potential problem for our planet, one needs only perform a little due diligence to recognize the problem is real and it is growing. The question must be asked, “Are data centers the steel plants of this generation?”

Data Center Pollution

A Look at the Numbers

The numbers are attention-grabbing and perhaps a bit alarming.

  • Industry research indicates there are about 9 million data centers across the globe.
  • These data centers are using almost 1.9 billion square feet of space.
  • These data centers are always running 24-hours each day, every day.
  • To stay available, servers are running 100% of the time, even when not in use or when being used very little.
  • 90% of worldwide data center server space is used by American companies.
  • Data centers account for 10% of all the power used by the United States Government.
  • There is a data center in the US for every 100 of its citizens

While the number of data centers are said to be declining, that number can be a bit deceptive. More companies are hosting in the cloud, rather than having their own data center. Then there is another concern ahead. That of self-driving cars.

As we get closer and closer to the time where autonomous driving cars and trucks become a reality, it will create an increasing demand for server space as cars communicate with GPS and other vehicles through the internet.

Even large companies who may consider themselves “green” should take another look at how and where their data is being stored. Small companies can benefit as well.

Energy Use and Data Centers

Consider the power it takes to operate the servers in some 9 million data centers across the planet. Now, think about the other power being used on other electrical powered items like lights and monitors. Consider the fuel used by employees of these centers traveling to and from work every day. The biggest user of energy, however, is a critical component to the health and well-being of large servers. It is air conditioning.

Cool air is critical in the smooth operation of computers and servers. Much of the world’s 1.9 billion square feet of data center space needs to be cooled. To make the environmental problem worse is that many countries where these data centers are located still rely heavily on non-renewable energy sources like fossil fuel. You can begin to see why data centers just may be the steel plants of this generation.

Data Center Pollution

The Answer is Eco Web Hosting

The answer lies in eco web hosting solutions from a company like OrangeWebsite.com. OrangeWebsite is based in Iceland where over 99% of the energy is from renewable sources like geothermal. Because of Iceland’s cool climate, air conditioning use is minimized. Since we have clients in over 100 countries in multiple time zones, our server use is more spread out, making our 99.9% uptime guarantee effective use of energy. Additionally, most of our staff are urged to work at home, minimizing traffic and fuel use. Our commitment to a greener planet doesn’t stop there. We support eco-friendly causes to help combat damage that has already been done to our environment.

Eco web hosting with OrangeWebsite doesn’t mean you have to pay more or expect less. Our customer service is second to none and available 24/7 no matter where you live on the globe. We offer a variety of hosting plans and because our energy cost is less, you pay less. We accept everything from bitcoin to credit cards to cash by mail. Sign up is anonymous and your site is hosted in a country that values its internet privacy and freedoms. It is also a country considered one of the world’s safest when it comes to data centers. With OrangeWebsite there are no fears as we offer a 30-day money back guarantee. You will have the added benefit of displaying the Green Seal proudly on your website, verifying to users that you are environmentally friendly when it comes to your web hosting.

Join us in spreading the word about eco web hosting and put the Green Seal on your website. Visit OrangeWebsite.com and select from a choice of plans to suit your needs. OrangeWebsite is your 100% green web hosting solutions provider.

Why Even Small Businesses Should Promote Eco Web Hosting

Eco Webhosting
Eco WebHosting

When competing against larger, better-financed competitors, small businesses need to take advantage of every tool available to them. Small businesses need to be more agile and make better decisions because they have less room for error. This is true for a bricks and mortar business as well as those marketing strictly online.

Businesses, especially smaller ones, need to stay ahead of the trends in marketing and advertising and in how changing demographics are affecting how and why people make buying decisions. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, for example, Millennials are now the largest population group on the planet. Those born between 1982 and 2000 now make up about 25% of the population but they spend about 28% of all daily consumer spending. Forbes Magazine says that this expected to increase to 35% in the next 12 years. They already spend about $600 billion annually. That is a lot of buying power. Millennials, however, don’t necessarily make buying decisions like those before them. Understanding how they make decisions can help increase your odds of appealing to this market.

Millennials are taking longer to get married and buy a house. Many are just as satisfied renting apartments in urban areas and using bicycles or ride-sharing apps than buying a car. They also use different criteria when choosing where to make their consumer purchases. They want purchases to be simple, easy, and they expect superior customer service. They often put as much weight in online reviews as they would asking a family member about a product or service. They also want to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. This includes how their consumer dollars impact others and the environment.

Millennials often buy from companies who reflect their own views on life. For this generation, they frequently care more about how and where products are produced than their predecessors. They appreciate companies who conduct business responsibly. They care about FairTrade, organics, and companies who operate in an environmentally friendly fashion. They appreciate the value of “green” products and practices. Research indicates that a significant portion is even willing to pay more for products that meet their standards.

How does this impact your small business? It means taking steps to position your company as environmentally friendly can pay dividends, especially with this younger, valuable demographic. Taking steps to be green can be relatively simple, especially when it comes to eco-friendly web hosting.

Why Eco-Friendly Web Hosting Is Important

Most companies, including small businesses, choose web hosting based on some relatively straightforward criteria.

  1. Price
  2. Customer and Technical Assistance
  3. Guaranteed Uptime
  4. Features

There are reasons you should consider adding a fifth criteria to your list. That is choosing a web hosting solutions company that is eco-friendly.

First, eco-friendly web hosting can save a significant amount of energy. The U.S, Government alone says about 10% of all the energy it uses goes to power its data centers. If data centers used in the country were just 20% more efficient, the country could save more than 20 billion kWh by 2020. That is a cost savings of about $2 billion. It is further estimated that for every 1 kW of power saved in powering IT equipment, another 2 kW of power is saved in the data center itself. By 2020, data centers will potentially create more pollution than the airline transportation industry.

When you choose web hosting from OrangeWebsite.com, your website is being hosted in Iceland, a country where all of its energy is provided by renewable energy sources. In Iceland, 75% of energy comes from hydroelectric and 25% coming from geothermal sources. We are also eco-friendly because our cooler climate minimizes the use of air conditioning in our data centers. As an added bonus, Iceland is also among the world’s leaders in maintaining free speech and anonymity on the internet.

Eco Webhosting

How Eco-Friendly Hosting Can Help Your Small Business

Because eco friendly web hosting uses less energy it is often more affordable for small businesses. In addition, when you host at OrangeWebsite.com, you can display the “Green Seal” on your website. This seal tells your visitors and potential customers, that you are hosting in an environmentally friendly fashion. When consumers, in particular, Millennials, are making a buying decision, this seal could help make the difference. It is another advantage, another tool, that you should use in promoting your business. We provide use of Green Site Seals free to all of web hosting customers. Placing the seal in a visible spot on your website is easy and doesn‘t require any programming skills.

OrangeWebsite.com takes our role in protecting the environment seriously. We allow most of our staff to work exclusively from their homes, saving energy and creating less traffic. We support various environmental organizations and foundations to help their work in preserving our planet.  Through the Canope Project, we are planting 250-1000 new trees every month to reverse the deforestation of rainforests. OrangeWebsite is a smart and responsible choice to host your website.

The best part may be that eco-friendly web hosting with OrangeWebsite.com is affordable and easy to accomplish. There are no sacrifices with OrangeWebsite’s eco-friendly hosting solutions. We offer secure hosting solutions and 24/7 support. Our hosting plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 99.9% uptime. You can even sign up anonymously. OrangeWebsite accepts Bitcoin, PayPal, Wire Transfer, and cash by mail.

Take the step to more responsible web hosting and take advantage of this valuable tool to better position your business with Millennials. Contact OrangeWebsite.com today!

20 Facts About Google in Their 20th Anniversary Year You May (Or May Not) Know

Google 20th Anniversary
Google 20th Anniversary

This year marks the 20th anniversary of search engine giant Google. When Larry Page and Sergey Brin incorporated Google on September 4, 1998, Microsoft had just become the most valuable company in the world at over $260 billion on the NYSE, coinciding with the release of Windows 98. Apple Inc. unveiled the iMac and popular films of the year included Titanic, Armageddon, Mulan, and Saving Private Ryan.

Today, Forbes Magazine has Apple at the top of its most valuable company list at $903 billion, with Alphabet (Google) second at $688 billion. Microsoft is now third at $655 billion.

To help celebrate Google’s 20th anniversary, we put together a list of 20 facts about Google you may (or may not) be aware of.

1. Brin and Page first met at Stanford when Page was first enrolled and Brin was requested to show him around. Today, Larry Page serves as the president of Alphabet, the umbrella company of Google while Brin serves as its CEO.

2. The pair shopped Google to Yahoo but initially, Yahoo showed little interest. In 2002, Yahoo offered $3 billion for the company. That $3 billion offer was rejected. Today Google is worth some 200 times that amount.

3. Google’s simplistic homepage was the result of the founder’s lack of knowledge in HTML. The company, known for its quirkiness, has stayed with a simple design ever since. One significant change was made in 2001 when Google centered the content on the page when it previously was aligned to the left.

4. The word “Google” was officially recognized as a verb (as in “I am going to google it”) in 2006 when Merriam-Webster and Oxford English Dictionaries both included it.

5. Google is presently scanning almost 130 million unique books and plans to have the project done within the next two years. They already have video of about 30 million miles of roadways via Google Earth. Google Earth was released in 2001.

6. Google was not the company’s original name. It was actually called “Backrub” because of its initial heavy reliance on back-links to validate the popularity of a website it was indexing.

7. Gmail, the brand’s popular free email service debuted on April 1, 2004. This had many people believing it was initially an April Fool’s Day joke. Google says its Gmail has over 1 billion active accounts.

8. The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on Google bypasses all the paid rankings, taking you instead to the most popular searches. It is thought this button costs Google over $100 million a year in lost revenue.

9. The word Google is a derivative of the word googol, which is the mathematical term of the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. While they are varying stories on how googol became Google, one popular one is that it was typed in that way by mistake when the original domain name was purchased.

10. Google’s Doodles, which often recognize significant dates and holidays on their home page, got their start in 1998 when Brin and Page used the Burning Man stick-man logo to serve as a message they were out of the office. The pair were attending the Burning Man Festival in Nevada.

Google 20th Anniversary Logo Progression

11. The original Google had 10 four gig hard drives. In order to facilitate anticipated growth, they were housed in a cabinet constructed out of Lego bricks. This original Lego cabinet is on display on the Stanford campus.

12. Google first delved into foreign languages in May of 2000 when 10 new languages were added to searches. It can now translate 27 languages.

13. In July of 2001, Google images were launched with 250 million different images. Today, it is estimated there are close to a trillion images available when conducting a Google Image search.

14. While Google has been hugely successful, many consider that one of its major missteps was Google Glass. Google Glass was wearable tech, that in theory, would keep wearers constantly connected. The trouble was, consumers didn’t respond. Either it was the hefty price (about $1,500), the geeky image wearing the glasses portrayed or the invasion of privacy the devices almost promoted but it was quickly taken off the market. While Google likely gained tons of data and information from its users, it ended sales after two years in 2015.

15. Google Chrome is the world’s most popular web browser with over 58% market penetration. They are followed by Safari at about 14% and Internet Explorer at 9%.

16. We’ve all heard Google is a unique place to work, particularly at the home of Googleplex campus. Worldwide, the company employs over 70,000 employees.I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

17. The top three search terms Googled in 2017 in the United States were TV talk show host Matt Lauer, rock singer Tom Petty, and Hurricane Irma.

18. Google’s unofficial mission statement is “Do the right thing; don’t be evil. Honesty and integrity in all we do. Our business practices are beyond reproach. We make money by doing good things.” It often boiled down to “Don’t be evil.”

19. The colors of the Google logo were chosen for a reason. They used primary colors but instead of placing them in order, the secondary color letter was used for the “L”. It was another way for Google to express they don’t follow the rules.

20. Google’s Mountain View campus is so large that associates have the opportunity to use free bikes to get to free cars. They can also take big Google buses to get to smaller Google buses.

Of course, when Google was incorporated it was the early days of the internet when the environmental impact of data centers wasn’t much of a concern. Today, they increasingly consume energy and drain the planet of resources. At OrangeWebsite.com, we believe we are on track for the solution. Our Eco Web Hosting solutions are located in Iceland, a country almost totally reliant on 100% renewable energy resources. Because ours is a cooler climate, less energy is used air conditioning our facilities, a major expense for data centers. We encourage you to make the smart move to Eco Web Hosting at OrangeWebsite.com.

Digital Banking: Is Your Local Bank Branch About to Become a Dinosaur?

Digital Banking

Digital Banking – Phasing our the Bring and Mortar Banks Branch

Digital Banking

Digital Banking: Is Your Local Bank Branch About to Become a Dinosaur?

In the past, we have written about digital currencies like Worldcoin and BitCoin. For most, however, the dollar is still king and traditional financial institutions remain a big part of our lives. Until the past decade or so, banking has remained relatively unchanged. Banks consisted of a quiet, almost library-like lobby. Velvet ropes would guide us to the next teller, who would sit behind a window or tall counter. But the banking industry is undergoing growing, and in many cases, shrinking pains. There are big changes taking place in this legendarily stoic business and odds are they will, if they haven’t already, affect you.

The Growth of Digital and Mobile Banking

Banks have always seemed to be just a step behind when it comes to transforming digitally. In part, this reluctance to change has been purposeful. This was to cater to an older customer base who held significant deposits and were less likely to appreciate change. It also was due to security concerns and significant investments in bricks and mortar buildings and infrastructure. In the past, banks dealt with a large amount of currency and needed secure locations to store and manage it. Today, most money already exists in the digital realm.

Since the Great Recession of 2008, bank branches and employees have dropped significantly. This was due to economic concerns, competitive reasons, and the transition of a significant number of their customers to digital banking. Millennials, today’s largest generation, prefer digital banking and is quite comfortable conducting banking tasks on mobile devices. If checks aren’t direct deposited, banking apps can easily scan and deposit funds quickly and securely.

A report by a research firm CACI and quoted in an article in The Financial Brand predicts that physical visits to bank branches will drop by 36% by 2022. It also anticipates mobile banking to rise by a whopping 121% over that same period. This increase in mobile banking will lead to a drop in “old” technology like desktops and laptops by 63% over that five year period. Younger consumers are already comfortable with digital and mobile banking. By 2022, it is expected that these 18-25-year-olds will only find it necessary to visit a bank branch twice annually. Even older customers may find their visits limited to five to seven times per year.

Digital Banking

What Will Happen to Bank Branch Locations?

The American Bankers Association says that the banking industry has lost over 67,000 jobs since 2009. That is a bit deceiving because the industry is in transition and is hiring. Instead of hiring tellers and loan officers, however, banks are hiring more IT and technically adept employees to help facilitate this major shift in their industry.

Traditional banks are looking for ways to reinvent the banking experience into a more contemporary model. The traditional “Bankers hours” will likely become a thing of the past and the sterile bank branches will give way to more convenient alternatives. In Europe, banks are already experimenting with pop-up and kiosks type banking centers in malls and retail stores. In the United States, some large retailers have worked in establishing banking offices in their locations. They still mainly operate like traditional branch locations.

Will your local bank branch become a dinosaur? Well, a report from commercial real estate firm JLL says that bank branches will be reduced by over 25% within the next ten years. That still leaves thousands of bricks and mortar locations. What will they do at these locations and how will banks improve the customer experience with fewer employees?

Digital Banking

The Transition from Financial to Technological

To keep up with their strictly digital competitors, banks are making the transformation to become as much technical organizations as financial. They are also taking the opportunity to expand their services and products into other financial areas. But with a shrinking number of employees and locations, how will they accomplish this?

The answer may lie in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

You see, banking, after all, is a data-driven business making it an almost perfect industry for machine learning and artificial intelligence. Using predictive and customer analytics, your “teller” of the future will know the best time to suggest refinancing your home, changing credit cards, and even when you should start thinking about buying a new car. They know your age and can prompt you to increase your retirement savings. They will learn your willingness to accept or desire to avoid risk and offer investment products accordingly.

Your bank can determine when you get paid and how much you make. Currently, much of this data is siloed in different locations, on different servers in various data centers or in the cloud. It is just a matter of time before this information is connected and machine learning and AI combine to create your teller of the future. Will it actually be a robot? It will more likely be in the form of a digital image on your phone or on a touchscreen in a discrete, cozy private office at a bank branch. It will recognize you, pull up your past transactions and financial history, conduct your transaction, and offer financial advice and products. Some will find it imposing and a bit frightening. Others will embrace the speed, accuracy, and convenience of this new way of banking. They will sell you on the convenience and advantage of having all your financial data with one bank so they can better help you manage an all-compassing financial plan. It will be a compelling argument.

Banking may have been just a tad slow in embracing technology in the past but it is riding a tidal wave of change right now. Bank branches may not totally disappear but they will certainly change in form and function. Considering the drudgery traditional banking has been in the past, most of us will view this as a good thing. A very good thing.