There are various problems a website may face during its lifecycle. One of them is the group of 5xx server errors. Let’s take a look at what they mean, what leads to them, and how to fix any such mistake.
What Does “5xx server errors” Mean?
In general, a 5xx error is any problem on the server-side of the web page. They refer to an HTTP status code, including errors in the range 500–599. You can also find the 50x denomination related to status codes of some common errors of this type.
What triggers these errors?
Apart from common server-side descent, each 5xx error has its own origin. The reasons include but are not limited to coding mistakes in the application, bad maintenance of the website, sever overload, internal site problems, or even some unexpected force majeures that occurred temporarily. Here are some error examples:
- 500 (internal server one) — general message indicating a problem with the server without any further details.
- 503 (service unavailable) — issue caused by the servers overload or related to system maintenance, meaning that servers are not available because of too large traffic volume.
- 504 (gateway timeout) — while acting as a gateway or proxy, the server did not get a response in time from the upstream server needed to complete the request (sometimes also known as failed to respond error).
How to check 5xx server errors?
It may seem that it’s hard to check all the mistakes. Perhaps yes, if you try to check all of them manually. We suggest two better options: use reports in Google Search Console (GSC) or handle log file analysis.
Take a look at the detailed tutorial on Google Search Console Help.
Check your website for 5xx server errors
Audit your website to detect whether the site has pages with 5xx server errors
Why is this important?
All 5xx errors greatly harm the SEO performance of the website, especially in a later perspective. Here are two ways how exactly:
- They prevent the site and its content from being visited by users. This damages site visibility and decreases traffic volume.
- Server errors affect the crawling of any URL. The system doesn’t want to show the problematic page to a vast audience.
How to fix 5xx server errors?
Fixing the issue depends on a particular case and, consequently, the origin of the problem. For example, if the website faces more traffic than it can handle or the request processing takes too much time, you can lower the number of parallel requests. Or you can change the hosting service provider for a better one.
However, we advise contacting the webmaster ASAP, especially paying to the complex and versatile nature of 5xx errors.
For more information about 5xx server errors, their meaning, and ways how to check and fix them, take a look at our video guide: