Most Common Website Errors and How to Fix Them (Part 2)

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Most Common Website Errors and How to Fix Them (Part 2)
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Maintaining a website is important to maximizing your business potential. It’s how customers find you, learn about you, and transact with you. Without it, it could be challenging for you to break into a competitive market. One great way to ensure your business’s lasting impact is to make sure that your site is user-friendly and error-free. 

Here’s the continuation of common website errors and the steps you can take to fix them.

  • 500 Internal Server Error

This is one of the most common error messages users will encounter on the internet. It is a catch-all response to indicate an internal problem encountered by a web server, preventing it from fulfilling a request. 

What Causes It: 

When you get this error, it means something went wrong with the server, but it’s unsure what it is. Usually, it is caused when the server is overloaded. However, it can also be caused by a number of things, such as uploading the incorrect file, a bug in a piece of code, incorrect web server configuration, or conflict or restriction when carrying out a request. 

How to Fix It: 

To resolve this issue, administrators must first locate and analyze the error log to see the reasons for the site failure. Other ways to get around the problem include:

  • Server Permission

If the error is caused by incorrect permissions on a folder or file containing one of the scripts, check to see what the permissions should be and ensure that they are set on the server accordingly.

  • Server Time-out

If the reason is that the server timed out or the script you’re running timed out, increase the Apache server timeout in httpd.conf by changing Timeout 600.

  • Script Timeout

If it’s the script that’s causing the problem, change the max execution time to something longer. If you’re using PHP, change the max_execution_time from the default 30 (seconds) to max_execution_time 60. 

  • Errors in .htaccess Files

Sometimes, it stems from an error in the coding of an .htaccess file, which interferes with the webpage you’re trying to load. Double check the .htaccess configuration for a possible syntax error. To confirm whether a misconfigured .htaccess is the reason for the 500 Internal Server error, remove or rename the .htaccess file temporarily and then try to reload the page.

  • Clear Browser Cookies and Cache

If you are a website visitor and want to make sure that the problem isn’t on your end, clear your browser cookies and cache. It might be that you are viewing the wrong version of the site after a few recent changes have been made. 

  • Reload or Refresh the Webpage

Often, the issue is only temporary. You happened to visit the site at exactly the wrong time when a service restarts, so all need is to refresh or reload the page. 

  • 501 Not Implemented

To load a page in a web browser, you first need to input the URL, and then a request is made to the webserver to retrieve the content. After receiving the request the server understands it and returns with the corresponding result.

If the error message starts with a 5, it means the error is on the server-side. In the case of 501 Not Implemented, it indicates that the webserver does not support the functionality required to fulfil the request and does not recognize the request method. Other forms of messaging that can be displayed on the web browser are:

  • Error 501
  • HTTP 501

What Causes It: 

There are several reasons in which the message may appear, including:

  • Virus and Malware

Viruses and malware can prevent the browser from establishing communication with the webserver. While this situation can cause Error 501 to be displayed as a request return, the real root of this problem is not on the server but the infected computer.

  • Server Overload

An increase in traffic can overload the server, slow down communication, and cause the request to fail. This problem is common during promotions and among online stores because of the large number of visits to a page.  

  • Outdated Server Software

While this is rare, an expired or out-of-date server software or environment triggering the error is a possibility.

  • Incorrect Server Configuration

Any software updates or changes in settings executed improperly can also cause server errors and communication failures. 

How to Fix It: 

Usually, you may have to contact the server hosting service to have this error resolved. Despite it being a server error, it is still important to check your site and local computer settings before making the call. 

  • Perform a virus scan

Keep your antivirus up to date and perform a complete scan of the system to ensure that no security threats are causing the communication failure. 

  • Reload the page

The error may have been caused by a brief drop in communication with the server. Trying to reload the page is a valid option to see if the internet has resolved itself after a few minutes. 

  • Clear browser cache

Clear the cache so all files are updated. Every time you load a page, several files are stored on the computer, but not all of these files are reloaded when you make a new request. If the server had undergone any changes, some of these files will be out of date. The difference among files can cause communication failure with the server. 

  • Disable proxy server settings

If your browser is using a proxy server, this can make it accessing a page difficult. Check whether your browser has it enabled and if it is, disable it.

  • 502 Bad Gateway

The 502 error means that the server received an invalid response from an inbound server. The Internet Engineering Task Force defines it as, a “status code indicates that the server, while acting as a gateway or proxy, received an invalid response from an inbound server it accessed while attempting to fulfill the request.”

Variations of this error message include:

  • 502 Service Temporarily Overloaded
  • Error 502
  • HTTP Error 502 – Bad Gateway
  • 502 Proxy Error
  • 502 Server Error: The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request
  • 502 bad gateway Cloudflare
  • Bad Gateway: The proxy server received an invalid response from an upstream server
  • A blank white screen

What Causes It: 

There are several possibilities why the 502 error message appears. It could be that the server is overloaded, or there are network issues between two servers, which are just temporary problems. It could also stem from an improperly configured firewall or a coding error. 

How to Fix It:

  • Reload the page

It’s worth taking a shot to reload the browser a couple of times. It could simply be because the host or server is overloaded at the moment, which is causing the issue. You can also try checking if the site is down for other people. Tools like isitdownrightnow.com or downforeveryoneorjustme.com help you see if others are having the same trouble.

  • Clear browser cache and cookies

Your browser may have cached outdated or corrupt files, causing the 502 error. Remove these cached files and then try opening the website may solve the problem.

  • Check plugins and extensions

If you have a couple of extensions on your browser, disable all extensions and then access the website. If the error disappeared, it is most likely that one or more plugins are causing the issue. Enable the plugins one by one to find the culprit. 

  • Try another browser

A browser issue may also be the reason. One easy way is to see a different browser to see if it works just fine. If the error occurs in the new browser as well, then you can try the next steps.

  • Restart devices

If you have eliminated the site and browser issue, it could be your computer or networking equipment (WIFI, router, modem, etc.) that is triggering the error. A simple restart of your devices might help.

  • Change DNS servers

DNS problems can also cause 502 errors. DNS servers are usually set up by an internet service provider. You can change them to a third-party DNS server like OpenDNS or Google DNS, and that might fix the problem. Changing DNS servers can also improve speed and reliability.

  • 503 Service Unavailable

The 503 error message means that the server is temporarily unable to handle the request. Unlike the 500 Internet Server error, this issue indicates that the server is still functioning properly and still able to process the request, but is simply unavailable right now.

You might see the error as:

  • 503 Service Unavailable
  • 503 Service Temporarily Unavailable
  • Http/1.1 Service Unavailable
  • HTTP Server Error 503
  • Service Unavailable – DNS Failure
  • 503 Error
  • HTTP 503
  • HTTP Error 503
  • Error 503 Service Unavailable
  • Error 503 Backend fetch failed

What Causes It: 

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly the reason for the 503 issue, although it commonly occurs when the server is overloaded or down for maintenance.

How to Fix It: 

The most common resolutions for 503 Service Unavailable are:

  • Reboot the server

Congestion happens in the server chain that is hosting your website. To fix and refresh it, simply restart the webserver. If your website is hosted on multiple servers, ensure you have restarted all of them to get it up and running again. 

  • Check if the webserver is under maintenance

Webservers are normally down when undergoing maintenance. If you have access to your server’s administration settings, check the configuration option and see the schedule of maintenance sessions. If you have complete control over your server’s maintenance, you can also disable automatic updates. Many content management systems will automatically install updates to their base software, issuing the 503 Service Unavailable error. 

  • Fix firewall configurations

The firewall is meant to protect your site from malicious users and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. But, improper firewall configuration can cause the firewall to consider requests as an attack and reject them, resulting in an error.

  • Sift through server-side logs

Server-side logs can be two things – application logs and server logs. Application logs list your website’s history, which pages were requested by visitors, and the servers it connected to. Server logs contain information about the health and status of the hardware running your server. A thorough examination of both server-side logs may help you uncover any unusual information about your server or website.  

  • Find bugs in the website’s codes

A mistake in your code can affect the webserver’s ability to correctly respond to requests. Combing through your codes to find bugs can help you diagnose the error and see the exact moment things went wrong.

  • 504 Gateway Timeout Error

This error means that a server attempting to load a page failed to get a timely response from another server. Unlike the 408 Request Timeout error, which is a direct message from the active server itself unable to process the request within a given time, 504 Gateway Timeout error is returned when the server, while acting as a gateway or proxy, did not get a timely response from an upstream server to complete the request. To put it simply, the 2 web servers involved in processing a request are not communicating with each other fast enough.

You might see the error message in different ways, including:

  • 504 Gateway Timeout
  • 504 Gateway Timeout NGINX
  • NGINX 504 Gateway Timeout
  • Gateway Timeout Error
  • Error 504
  • HTTP Error 504 — Gateway Timeout
  • Gateway Timeout (504)
  • This page isn’t working — Domain took too long to respond
  • 504 Gateway Time-out — The server didn’t respond in time
  • A blank white screen

What Causes It: 

The error can occur when the other server is not functioning properly, overloaded, or down.

How to Fix It:

  • Reload the page

The issue may be a temporary one, and refreshing the page is worth the shot. If the problem persists, you can also try to check if the site is down for other people using tools like isitdownrightnow.com and downforeveryoneorjustme.com.

  • Reboot network devices

If the site is just down for you, there could be temporary issues with your computer and your networking equipment. A simple restart may do the trick.

  • Check proxy settings

A proxy server works between your device and the internet, mostly used to hide private information from websites and webservers. While it is rare for a proxy server to cause the 504 error, incorrect proxy server settings can still cause the problem. Try disabling the proxy server and then reload the page to see if it fixes the issue.

  • Check for DNS issues

DNS issues on the server-side or the client-side (or both) can also cause the 504 Gateway Timeout error. This is most likely to occur if you have recently changed host servers or moved your website to a different IP address. It is crucial to wait for the domain’s DNS records to propagate completely, which can take up to 24 hours. 

  • Contact your host

One of the most common causes of a 504 error is server issues. High-traffic and e-commerce websites are susceptible to this error because of server overload. You can consider contacting your hosting company to check how you can properly resolve this issue.

Errors and status codes are there to help you determine what might have gone wrong. Although they may be frustrating, understanding each error can help you work towards a better website and point you in a generally better business position. 

Don’t worry about errors again! Local SEO Search offers web design and development services to enable your website to make a good lasting impression. We’ll take care of your website’s functionality, layout, design, and most importantly, security. Call us today at (416) 888-8756 or email info@localseosearch.ca.

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