A Guide to 5xx server errors and how to fix them

How many types have you encountered issues while browsing the World Wide Web? There must have been many occasions when there were some backend issues, and an error showed up on your browser screen. If you’ve ever heard of the 404 ‘not found error, yes, these are HTTP error categories, and the 5xx range is included in them.

A site owner or web developer should always be monitoring for changes on the site structure. A SEO Audit or continuous SEO monitor can help you get alerted when something breaks.

The 5xx server errors show up only when there is some communication issue between your browser and the webserver. There can be many types of HTTP errors, so what do 5xx server errors define?

The 5xx server errors are an HTTP error category. The 5xx error codes are only returned if there are request-response issues between the client and the server. These errors can be fixed easily by refreshing the browser, removing cookies, or contacting the host or server.

How do 5xx server errors work?

Reading codes can be pretty tricky; how do you know what they’re trying to tell you?

A 5xx server is generated by the server whenever there is an issue with the website server. It also generates a statement written beneath the code.

A 5xx server would have the code 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, and so on. Whenever there is a problem with the website server backend, an error box is generated.

You don’t need to have a specific browser to view the error. It would display on any browser at all, so never worry about missing website server error feedback.

The statement would also be legible, making it easy to understand even if you don’t have prior technical or Internet knowledge.

How can you get rid of a 5xx server error?

5xx server errors are pretty easy to handle!

Regardless of the type of 5xx server error, you can remove each one by:

Deleting cookies: Cookies keep a website’s information safe. This also means that any generated errors may be stored, even when there is no problem with the server backend. So it’s always wise to keep clearing your cookies, especially when you suspect that it’s been very long and the error isn’t going away. Follow these steps to remove all the cookies from your web browser:

  • Open the history section of your web browser
  • Simply click delete
  • If cookies are mentioned separately, and there is another box given, check the delete box.

Refreshing the browser: At times, your web browser may get stuck on one page, retaining its elements too.

Contact the host or the server: This should be the last option. If all else fails, directly initiate contact with the server or your host.

Here are other common reasons behind 5xx server errors showing up:

Additionally, if you can’t seem to fix the 5xx server error, one of these problems may be going unnoticed:

  • An incomplete or corrupted software upgrade. You can try uninstalling the software update before re-installing.
  • The permissions on the specified host may be incorrect.
  • If you have too many themes and plugins and one or some of them may be incompatible with the software update made. Delete any new themes and plugins to check whether the error disappears or not.

Detecting one of these reasons is slightly tricky. If you’re unable to find any one of them, contact a troubleshooter to guide you, as there may be deep, hard-to-understandserver script issues.

How many types of 5xx server errors are there?

There can be many types of 5xx server errors!

The 5xx server error codes range between 500 to 510. Each code highlights a different problem with the website server.

So you’re trying to access a website, but it’s not opening. How do you know what the problem is at the backend?

Although the error code generated will also have the problem stated along with it,

500 (Internal Server Error)

The 500 server error is straightforward. It is generated when the server problem cannot be understood.

501 (Not Implemented)

The 501 error is generated when the server system is outdated.

502 (Bad Gateway)

A simple, invalid response from the web server because proxy servers have been improperly configured.

503 (Service Unavailable)
The 503 error is temporary and appears only when the website is either scheduled for maintenance or there is too much traffic.

504 (Gateway Timeout)

The 504 error happens because of a lack of improper communication between a series of web servers.

505 (HTTP version not supported)

When the protocol initiated by the client computer goes unrecognized because an improper number was assigned.

506 (variant also negotiates)

The web server has configuration issues that only the system administrator can solve.

507 (Insufficient storage)

The web server has run out of hard disk memory. The system administrator would need to be contacted in this case.

508 (Infinite depth/maximum resources reached)

Too many processes are running on your end, which may include excessive CPU and RAM usage.

509 (Bandwidth limit exceeded)

The web server has a bandwidth limit, and it gets exceeded.

510 (Not extended)

The received HTTP request has an extension that the web server doesn’t recognize.

When do 5xx server errors appear?

5xx server errors make up a part of the HTTP request-response cycle.

The HTTP request-response cycle is a process in which communication takes place between the client and the web server.

These are the steps involved in a typical HTTP request-response cycle:

  1. Your web browser starts by sending the IP address name to the DNS (domain name server).
  2. The IP address is converted into its respective numeric form.
  3. A socket is opened to connect the IP address and make the website accessible.
  4. Your browser will send data through the opened socket.
  5. A data stream would also be received from the server end. In case of any issue, a 5xx error would be returned instead of data.

Recap: 5xx server errors and how to fix them

So 5xx server errors are HTTP type errors generated during the request-response cycle between your web browser and the web server. Fixing 5xx server errors is easy if there is no long-term server error at the administrator’s end. Then, all you have to do is refresh the webpage or delete the cookies. Of course, you can try doing both as well.

And if neither works, initiate communication and contact with the server administrator. In some cases, software upgrades could be the cause, too, so it’s better to uninstall and reinstall any updates or plugins that you suspect. Hence, handling 5xx server errors is easy, don’t let them scare you!