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The 503 error code no website owner wants to see

25th July 2022

The 503 error code no website owner wants to see


As an online consumer we’ve all had those frustrating moments when you visit a particular site to buy certain goods or services and upon arrival you’re met with the HTTP 503 Code – Service unavailable – server error message. And it’s at this point we sigh and have one of two reactions. We either give up hope entirely, shutting our laptops or locking our phones in a rather annoyed fashion, or we think, ok let’s see where else I can buy that.


For the owner of the site, neither reaction is a good one!


HTTP 503 means your site is down, and anyone visiting the site will have no clue whether this is for scheduled maintenance, (bear with us we’ll be back up and running shortly), or if this is a site not built or fit for purpose, perhaps there’s a glitch, maybe too many people are on the site and it’s become overloaded – will it ever come back online?

Angry frustrated office worker having problems with his laptop and connection, computer problems and troubleshooting concept


Either way the outcome for you as the site owner is the same. You’ve lost that sale, you’ve potentially lost that customer for the future, and you’ve lost your reputation for being reliable. No business wants to have this as an outcome with any customer interaction (or in this case lack of interaction!).


So how do you avoid being victim to the 503 error code? 


If the downtime on your site is planned for necessary maintenance (we’ve all got to do it), then try to communicate as much as possible with your customers – let them know in advance, have your team prepared to handle more calls during this time, ensure you have a maintenance page installed that can let customers know this is temporary, and try to organise these downtimes to take place when your site is least active.

However, for those unexpected error messages, the best solution is to test your site as much as possible, so that any actions leading to error messages are detected as early as possible. Testing your site can ensure your customers are never left waiting, no matter which platform they’ve used to access your site, and no matter how many customers are on your site at the same time. 


If you would like help to avoid glitches and overloading issues on your site, get in touch with thinkTRIBE. Our team is experienced and ready to help you and your site today.