What is Server Error (5xx)? How to Fix it?

A server error (5xx) is an HTTP status code that indicates that the server encountered an error while processing a request. This type of error occurs on the server side and can be caused by various issues such as a misconfigured server, a poorly written code, or an overload on the server.

What is Server Error (5xx)? How to fix it?
Server Error (5xx)

The Server Error (5xx) status codes are typically divided into the following categories:

  • 500 Internal Server Error: The server encountered an unexpected error that prevented it from completing the request.
  • 501 Not Implemented: The capability needed to perform the request is not supported by the server.
  • 502 Bad Gateway: The server acting as a gateway or proxy received an invalid response from the upstream server it accessed in attempting to fulfill the request.
  • 503 Service Unavailable: The server is currently unable to handle the request due to maintenance or an overload.
  • 504 Gateway Timeout: The server acting as a gateway or proxy did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.
  • 505 HTTP Version Not Supported: The HTTP protocol version that was used in the request is not supported by the server.
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HTTP request

To fix a server error (5xx), you need to identify the root cause of the issue. You can do this by checking server logs to determine the exact error message and by reviewing any recent changes made to the Server Error (5xx) server or application. Once you have identified the problem, you can take the following steps to fix it:

  • Fix any coding errors that may have caused the issue
  • Optimize server configuration and resources such as memory, CPU, and disk space
  • Restart the server and check if the issue persists
  • Contact your web host or server administrator if you are unsure of the cause of the error or require assistance in resolving it.

Why Need To Care About Server Error (5xx)?

It is important to care about Server Error (5xx) because they can negatively impact the user experience, and may result in lost revenue, Server Error (5xx) decreased customer satisfaction, and damage to the reputation of the website or web application.

Significance of Server Error(5xx) for Web Admins

A Server Error (5xx)

tells a website owner or developer that a user tried to reach a URL but was unable to do so. Also, if a website is accessed by search engine crawlers and they get a Server Error (5xx), they may give up and delete the URL from the search index, It may have a detrimental effect on the traffic to a website.

Understanding Different Server Error (5xx) Codes

500—Internal Server Error

This error suggests that an unforeseen circumstance was encountered by the server but was not properly handled. Normally, this denotes that an application request was unable to be performed due to improper application configuration.

501—Not Implemented

This error indicates that the server does not support or does not understand the capability the client has requested. This can mean that the server will take this kind of answer into consideration in the future.

502—Bad Gateway

This error shows that the server is a proxy or gateway and that an upstream server sent an incorrect answer. Or to put it another way, the proxy is unable to forward the request to the target server.

503—Service Unavailable

This error indicates that the server is temporarily incapable of handling the request, for example because it is undergoing maintenance or is experiencing excessive loads.

The Retry-After header on the server could include the anticipated duration of the delay. If there is no value in the Retry-After header, this response is functionally equivalent to response code 500.

504—Gateway Timeout

This error tells the proxy that a server upstream is not responding to it quickly enough. This just indicates a delay in obtaining a response, which might be caused by a network or latency issue, not a fault with an upstream server.

505—HTTP Version Not Supported

This error shows that the major HTTP version that the request utilised is not supported by the web server. The answer includes a component that explains why the requested protocol version is not supported and lists alternative protocol versions that the server does support.

506—Variant Also Negotiates

This error occurs when using Transparent Content Negotiation—a protocol that enables clients to retrieve one of several variants of a given resource. A 506 error code indicates a server configuration error, where the chosen variant starts a content negotiation, meaning that it is not appropriate as a negotiation endpoint.

507—Insufficient Storage

This error indicates that the client request cannot be executed because the server is not able to store a representation needed to finalize the request. Similar to a 503 error, this state is transient. It frequently has to do with the server’s Memory or disc capacity restrictions.

508—Loop Detected

This error occurs in the context of the WebDAV protocol. That means the server terminated a client action after spotting an endless loop. When a client submits a Web dav request with Depth: Infinity, this may occur.

509—Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

This error shows that the bandwidth allotment set by the server administrator was exceeded. The server configuration specifies a bandwidth check interval, and the restriction is only reset after this time. Client requests will keep failing up until the following cycle, when the bandwidth cap is reset.

510—Not Extended

This error shows that the client did not adhere to the resource’s access policy. The client will get the data from the server they require to increase access to the resource.

511—Network Authentication Required

This error indicates that the resource accessed requires authorization. The response should provide a link to a resource that allows users to authenticate themselves.

What Causes Server Error (5xx)

Many levels of the server environment might experience Server Error (5xx). These levels of a web application consist of:

  • Content distribution network (CDN)
  • Web server (such as Apache)
  • Web development framework (such as PHP)
  • Content management system (such as WordPress)
  • Plugins running within the CMS

In a Kubernetes application, these layers include:

  • Load balancer or service mesh
  • Services
  • Pods
  • Containers
  • Applications running in containers

Regardless of the kind of application, the following are a few typical causes of 5xx server errors:

  • Code bugs—the application serving the request is experiencing an error as a result of an internal bug.
  • Updates—The programme has been updated, however the newer version cannot fulfil the request as intended.
  • Incompatibilities—the application is not compatible with other software on the host or with hardware on the host.
  • Operating system issues—operating system crashed, corrupted, or misconfigured.
  • Hardware issues—hardware failure or misconfiguration on the host.
  • Back-end failure—a back-end component the application relies on has failed or is not responding.
  • Insufficient resources—the host may not have sufficient resources to serve the current application load.
  • Insufficient bandwidth—the host’s network bandwidth may be exhausted by the current application load.

Resolving Server Error (5xx)

Debugging Server-Side Scripts in Web Applications
5xx server errors are often caused by customer scripts you are running on a web server. Here are a few things you should check if your web application returns a Server Error (5xx):

  • Check server permissions—your script may not have permission to perform the necessary operations on a file or folder. For instance, the script could need to write files but not necessarily have that ability for its folder.
  • Check for script timeouts—the script may have timed out. Coding errors or other issues might cause a script to use excessive resources or get stuck in a loop.
  • Check for server timeouts—in some cases the script itself is working properly, but the server is not working properly—for example, restarting or disconnected from the network.
  • Check for .htaccess error—on an Apache web server, the .htaccess file defines the configuration of the web server on a certain directory. The .htaccess files encoding mistake might cause 500 errors.
  • Check for script-specific errors—turn on error logging in your web framework to identify what is wrong with the custom script. Runtime environments and scripts both have the potential to return errors.
  • Check for server-specific errors—consult with the hosting provider or server administrator to see if they are familiar with an error caused by the specific server or a component interacting with the server.

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