503 Service Unavailable HTTP Status Code


The HTTP status code 503 indicates "Service Unavailable." This response code means that the server is currently unable to handle the request due to a temporary overload or scheduled maintenance, which will likely be resolved after some delay. Unlike a 500 Internal Server Error, a 503 error suggests that the condition is temporary and the service should be restored after some time.

It's a common practice for web administrators to use the 503 status code to signal when a server is down for maintenance or temporarily overloaded. When a 503 status is returned, it can also include a Retry-After header, indicating how long the service is expected to be unavailable, guiding the requester on when to try again. This helps in managing the expectations of the client (the user or user agent) and can reduce the load on the server by discouraging immediate retry attempts for the duration specified.


503 Service Unavailable

Common Causes

There are several specific causes for this status code:

  1. Server Overload: This happens when the server receives more requests than it can handle, leading to a temporary service disruption.

  2. Maintenance: Servers may be intentionally taken offline for updates or repairs, during which time a 503 error might be displayed.

  3. Server Misconfiguration: Incorrectly configured web servers, proxies, or related systems can cause 503 errors if they prevent the server from responding correctly to requests.

  4. DDoS Attacks: A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack can overwhelm a server with traffic, effectively pushing it to its limits and causing a 503 error.

  5. Network Errors: Issues with the network between a client and the server, such as DNS problems, can result in a 503 error if requests cannot reach the server properly.

  6. Application Errors: In some cases, the underlying application running on the server may encounter an error or become overloaded, which leads to a 503 response.

  7. Resource Limitations: The server might have reached its resource limits, such as memory, CPU, or number of concurrent connections, preventing it from processing additional requests.

It's important to note that the 503 status code is a temporary condition, and administrators usually work to resolve the cause as quickly as possible so that normal service can resume.

Browser Support

The following table will show you the current browser support for the 503 Service Unavailable HTTP status code.

Edge Chrome Firefox Opera Safari
Tablets / Mobile
Chrome Firefox Opera Safari Samsung Webview

Last updated by CSSPortal on: 1st April 2024