Error "Site is unavailable": why it happens and how to solve it

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A user opens a browser, enters a request, selects a link to your site among search engine results, clicks on it, and... Not Found. Every website owner's nightmare, right? The result of the entire team's work collapses literally on the last click. To avoid such "good luck letters" on your site, we will look at the reasons for the most common errors and tell you how to solve them.

Error 403 (Forbidden)


Let's start, perhaps, with the most harmless error from our list. In fact, this is not an error at all, but a notification that the page is unavailable to this particular user. This happens, for example, when a person is banned. But if you are sure that you did not restrict access to the page, and users still complain about 403, the reasons can be the following.


  • Incorrect index file. The main page file must have one of the following names (it is essential that all characters in lowercase):

    index.shtml, index.html, index.htm, index.phtml или index.php.

  • The page is located in an incorrect folder. To find out in which folder to upload files, go to "My domains" in the control panel. Each domain has a "Folder" field next to it.

  • Incorrectly configured rights (sometimes error 500). An administrator may have accidentally set a wrong access level in a CMS when created the page. Depending on the system settings and data type, the value of access rights may change. Most often, files are set to 640, while catalogs are set to 750


Error 404 (Not Found)


Probably every Internet user has experienced this error. It means that the specified page no longer exists at this address. To avoid this situation, do not forget to check external links periodically, or discuss this point with the partners who refer to your site. And pay attention to the characters' case in the link, because https://website/pic.jpg and https://website/pic.JPG are links to two different files.


The majority of modern CMS systems allow you to track how many times users clicked on non-existent addresses. After reviewing these statistics, a webmaster can set redirection directives to current addresses using CMS or web server settings.


Error 500 (Internal Server Error)


Error 500 occurs when a server cannot complete a user's request. This may happen due to the following reasons.

  • Problems with a .htaccess file. Find the .htaccess file in the website root directory and check it for any changes.

  • Error in a script or incorrect response headers. In the control panel, find log file errors and check the error log file.


Error 503 (Service Unavailable)


A user sees error 503 when the site does not have time to process all requests. This may happen due to the following reasons.

  • Many requests to the web server. Maybe there are a lot of images and JS-scripts on the page. If possible, combine some resources into a single file. Also, try not to overdo with elements such as chat, indexer bots, and search engines.

  • Problem with scripts. Heavy and outdated CMS components slow down the site. Here everything is simple. You need to identify everything unnecessary and mercilessly disable it. :) Also, reduce the number of SQL requests and optimize them. Do not forget about emailing, place the script in the system cron, and move emailing to the time when the server is least loaded.

  • DDoS-attack. Maybe your site doesn't have time to process all requests, because someone deliberately "bombards" it. Protecting yourself from attacks is not a trivial task, but it is quite feasible. By the way, we have already written about this.


How to detect an error before users?


It's bad when you learn about bugs on the site from users. Of course, it is better not to have errors at all. But since we live in the real world, you can learn to track them before users notice them.


Use browsers' built-in features to do this. For Google Chrome, this is the Dev Tools tab, and for Mozilla Firefox, the Firebug extension (configured in the Adds On menu). In the Network (or Net) tab, you will see some page errors. Even better to entrust the site management to a professional webmaster.




Eventually, it is not difficult to avoid unpleasant situations with site errors. Especially if you have a competent specialist in your team. Duly update CMS, keep an eye on external links, check pages for errors, and don't wait for complaints from users, and you will be happy. :) But even if the errors have already begun to bother the site's users, do not despair. Sort everything out, find out when the error first started to appear, what it might be related to, who and why made the last changes, and so on. Concerning high-quality hosting of both small and large-scale web resources, please contact us for competent advice 24×7.

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