Anytime you visit your website and see a white screen is never a good experience. If you’re not technical, seeing this and the “helpful” numbers that sometimes occur (502, 503, 504 – huh?) isn’t very helpful at all. In fact, generally it causes a panic.

So what on earth do these numbers mean, and how do you fix it? Let’s have a look.

How to fix a 503 error in WordPress

The tricky thing about a “503 Service Unavailable” error is it could be many things. It could be an issue on your website, such as a plugin conflict (basically when some plugins stop liking each other and have a little tiff). Perhaps your theme has been poorly coded or needs an update. Or maybe it is an issue with the website host.

Any number of issues is possible. So how do you know where to start? Well, if you’re not technically minded, I’m going to give you a very simple solution.

Contact your website host – either log a support ticket, call them up or jump on a live chat.

If you have a reputable host, such as the ones we recommend (WP Engine or Flywheel), they will be able to pinpoint the issue. If it’s a plugin conflict, they can at least advise you if that looks like it’s the case. Sometimes if they can find it easily, they can deactivate the plugin for you so you can get back into your website and fix it.

In some cases it might be an issue with resources in your hosting account (i.e. maybe you don’t have a high enough plan and might need to upgrade). That one’s a simple fix too, which your webhost can help with.

However if this approach fails, you might need to call in backup from a company you can trust! We recommend WP Butler for WordPress Support. Great thing is, you can log a priority ticket for under $200 and have it corrected asap!