5XX Response Codes

April 9, 2024
5 min read
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Introduction

HTTP status codes are basically the conversion between the web browser and the website's server. In most cases, you as a user won't be able to see the HTTP status codes unless and until there is an issue. In case of an issue, HTTP status codes are used as a way of communicating errors to the user.

Response messages, or we can say HTTP codes, are displayed when your internet browser is unable to reach the page requested by a user.

What is a 5xx Response?

HTTP status codes or response codes that fall into the 5xx category specify problems with the server.

When you visit a website, your web browser will send your request to the web server. If there is an issue at the server site, it will return a 5xx response code.

Generally, this response suggests that the problem is not with your computer, internet connection, or website, and more often it is an issue on the server-side.

What do 5xx Responses Look Like?

A 5xx response is generally a problem on the server, not on the client-side. They are visible in any operating system, software installation, so you may encounter this error message when using a desktop computer or a smartphone, or a tablet. Server errors are mostly displayed inside a web browser window. For instance, you may encounter a 500 Internal Server error like this-

500 error

Or a 502 Bad Gateway error like this-

502 Bad Gateway error

503 Error looks like this-

503 error

And 504 error may look like this-

504 error

Every HTTP 5xx response code has its own set of variations. Different browsers, servers, or applications are free to customise the response. We will talk about specific response codes in different articles.

A Guide to HTTP 5xx Response

There are a number of different 5xx server responses, numbered with their own response codes, so that the problem can be identified.

Some of the most common HTTP 5xx response codes are listed below:

Unofficial Codes

Cloudfare's expansion of codes

5xx Response Impact on SEO

When Google gets a 5xx response on a website, it lowers that page ranking or drops it from the index. Of course, your page ranking will not drop as soon as 5xx response appears. There have to be multiple causes of the occurrence of 5xx responses over a week or two for a page to get removed from the Google index. So, you will have plenty of time to correct the error.

A search engine can't crawl and analyze your site if it gets 500 and 503 responses. This also means that 5xx response codes can cause a poor user experience and negatively impact your site's ranking and indexing.

If your site is only down for say 10 minutes and it's being crawled consistently a lot of times the crawler will simply get the page delivered from the cache. However, if the site is down for an extended period of time, say 6+ hours, then Google might see the 5xx response as a site-level issue that needs to be addressed. This could impact your rankings.

3 simple steps to clear HTTP 5xx Response

The HTTP 5xx response code is a server-side problem, meaning the issue is most likely at the server end. The problem is not likely to lie within your internet connection or device.

Here are a few simple steps that you can take before seeking further help or advice:

  1. Refresh your browser: The problem can only be temporary and can be solved by simply refreshing the browser and reloading the web page.
  2. Remove Browser Cookies: Sometimes 5xx response codes due to the cookies that are used for tracking and saved while we browse a website. Simply deleting these cookies and refreshing the browser can often solve the problem.
  3. Contact your host/ server: If the problem still persists, it is better to contact your host or server so that they can provide an error code specific remedy. Chances are they are already undergoing maintenance to resolve the error.

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Rupesh Garg
Rupesh Garg
CEO and Chief Architect
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