503 HTTP Response Status Code Definition: Example, Usage, Methods

The 503 HTTP Status Code means that the request is service unavailable. The 503 HTTP Status Code server error response code indicates that the server is not yet prepared to handle the request. A server that is down for maintenance or that is overloaded is a common cause. This response should only be used for temporary conditions, and the Retry-After HTTP header should, if possible, include the estimated time for service recovery. The difference between the 503 HTTP Status Code and the 500 HTTP Status Codes is that the 500 HTTP Status Code indicates that the server is unsure how to handle the situation, whereas the 503 HTTP Status Code indicates that the server is not prepared to handle the request.

What does 503 HTTP Status Code Mean?

The 503 HTTP Status Code indicates that something is preventing the browser from connecting to a website server. This usually indicates that the server was unable to handle the information requested, but the cause of the problem isn’t always noticeable. Often the only advice you can get for this error is the rather unhelpful ‘try again later’.

How to Use 503 HTTP Status Code for a Website?

To use the 503 HTTP Status Code in a website, the web developer should use the back-end technologies for the webserver to send the 503 HTTP Status Code. A developer can use the 503 HTTP Status code with “header” function in PHP, and “RewriteRule .* /webpageaddress [R=503,L]” in HTAccess. The 503 HTTP Status Code indicates that the page or resource is not available. A server may return a 503 error for a variety of reasons, including maintenance, a bug in the server’s code, or a sudden spike in traffic that causes the server to become overwhelmed. Whatever the cause of the 503 HTTP Status Code, it is usually only temporary; the server will restart, traffic will slow, and the problem will resolve itself.

How to Check 503 HTTP Status Code?

To check the 503 HTTP Status Code use the web browser network tab and developer tools for every resource that the client uses.

Which HTTP Method is used with 503 HTTP Status Code?

There is only one method used with the 503 HTTP Status Code which is the PUT method. In the 503 HTTP Status Code, the PUT method is used to submit an entity to the specified resource, which frequently results in a state change or side effects on the server.

There is only one related HTTP Response Header with the 503 HTTP Status Code which is the Retry-After HTTP Header. The Retry-After HTTP Header specifies how long the user agent should wait before attempting another request. This indicates how long the service is expected to be unavailable when sent with a 503 HTTP Status Code. 

What are the Browsers Compatibility of the 503 HTTP Status Code?

You can see the table that shows the browser’s compatibility of the 503 HTTP Status Code below. 

Browser NameBrowser Compatibility of 503 HTTP Status Code
ChromeYES
EdgeYES
FirefoxYES
Internet ExplorerYES
OperaYES
SafariYES
WebView AndroidYES

What are the other Similar Status Codes to the 503 HTTP Status Code?

There are other similar HTTP Status Codes to the 503 HTTP Status Code. The following HTTP Status Codes are listed below.

  • 500 Internal Server Error HTTP Status Codes: The server has encountered a situation that it is unsure how to handle. The 500 HTTP Status Codes is similar to the 503 HTTP Status Code which is also a server error response. 
  • 501 Not Implemented HTTP Status Code: The server does not support the request method and cannot process it. The only methods that servers must support (and thus must not return this code) are GET and HEAD. The 501 HTTP Status Code is similar to the 503 HTTP Status Code which is also a server error response. 
  • 502 Bad Gateway HTTP Status Code: This error response indicates that the server received an invalid response while acting as a gateway to obtain the response required to handle the request. The 502 HTTP Status Code is similar to the 503 HTTP Status Code which is also a server error response. 
  • 504 Gateway Timeout HTTP Status Code: This error response is returned when the server is acting as a gateway and does not receive a response in a timely manner. The 504 HTTP Status Code is similar to the 503 HTTP Status Code which is also a server error response.
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