504 Gateway Timeout Error: What Causes It and How You Can Fix It

4 min. read

Only a few other things are as annoying and alarming as browsing on your website and coming across a site error. You might, for example, encounter a 502 Bad Gateway error or experience a 404 error. And for many businesses, these errors can lead to a decrease in visits and revenue. When a visitor sees an error on your site, they will get an impression that the site is not trustworthy and professional. Consequently, they will likely leave the page and go to your competitor's.


Moreover, a 504 error can negatively impact your SEO. If your site experiences an error for an extended period of time, then Google might identify this as a site-level issue that shouldn't have been resolved. As a result, your site can experience a dramatic drop in Google rankings.


In this post, we'll dive into the504 Gateway Timeout error. Read below what it is and a few tips on how to fix it.

What Causes a 504 Gateway Timeout Error?

The most important thing to do before trying to fix the error is to understand what it means. By knowing the cause of the error, you can prevent it from happening in the future.


There are many different 500 status error codes, including 500, 501, 502, 503, 505, 508, 510, and more. These 500 status codes mean that it's a server error. They are no fault of the client. Your request is good, but the server can not generate the requested resource.


The 504 Gateway Timeout error indicates that your web server didn't get a response on time from another server that it was accessing while trying to load the page. In other words, your web servers aren't communicating with each other fast enough.


As a result, you or your visitors will get a message like in the photo below:

How Can the 504 Bad Gateway Error Appear?

A 504 Gateway Timeout error can show up in any browser, on any operating system, and any device. Whether you're using Safari or Google Chrome, Windows or macOS, a 504 error can appear on your screen.


So, the error can appear in different ways, depending on the browser, the OS, or the website itself. In fact, some sites can customize the way the504 Gateway Timeout error is presented to users.


Even if you see a message that says "504 Gateway Timeout" or "HTTP 504," they all have the same meaning. Your web servers aren’t communicating with each other fast enough.


Here are the most common ways how a 504 Gateway Timeout error can appear on your screen:

  • 504 Bad Gateway

  • 504 Gateway Timeout

  • HTTP 504

  • 504 Error

  • Gateway Timeout Error

  • HTTP Error 504 - Gateway Timeout

  • Gateway Timeout (504)

  • Error 504 Gateway Timeout


Other platforms and services can also customize their 504 messages. For example, Google displays a message that says: "504. That’s an error. The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request. Please try again in 30 seconds. That’s all we know.”


How Do You Fix a Connection Timeout?

In most cases, a 504 Gateway Timeout error is a network error between the servers or a problem with an actual server. The error doesn't come from your end. So if you come across this type of status code, don't get frustrated. There are ways to fix it. Here's how:

Reload the page

The majority of people, when they come across an issue on a website, try to reload it. And that's what you should do when a 504 error shows up on your screen.


Wait one minute and click the refresh button on the upper left side of the screen. Or, click F5/Ctrl+R on your keyboard.


If the error disappears, it might have been a temporary error between the servers.


But if you still see the problem on the screen, try some of the other tips explained below.


Restart your device and networking equipment

If the refresh doesn't work, then there might be a problem with your device or networking equipment. Before moving on with changing your DNS servers or contacting your host, try restarting your device.


If this doesn't help, proceed with restarting your modem, router, and other networking devices that might be the source of the issue.


Try loading the page again. Did it work? If yes, then it might have been a temporary issue with your device or equipment.

Change your DNS Servers

Are all the devices on your network getting the same 504 Gateway Timeout error? If yes, then there's a chance that the problem is with your DNS servers.


Although this doesn't happen often, you might want to consider changing your DNS servers.


Your DNS servers are probably set by your ISP. You can switch them to a third-party DNS server like Google DNS or OpenDNS, quite easily. If you've never changed your DNS settings before, here's how you can do it.

Fix faulty firewall configurations

Your firewall is the protector of your website. It keeps your site safe from attacks and malicious visitors.


With that said, it's possible your firewall to be the cause for your 504 error. The firewall on your server might be experiencing some errors, have an incorrect configuration, or some rules that prevent a connection from establishing correctly.


To see if this is the reason for the error, check your firewall configuration.

Contact your host

In some cases, contacting your host is the best thing you can do. There's a chance that their server is down for maintenance.


To find out, contact your host and explain the issue you're experiencing on your website. Even if their server is not down for maintenance, they will be able to look deeper into what's the root cause of the error. They might discover that the issue is on their end and fix it quickly. Or, they might pinpoint a problem on your end and walk you step-by-step on how to resolve it.

Try accessing the website later

If everything else fails, the last option you have is to try and access the website later. If you tried all of the tips below, then this is the only solution left. 


If it's a problem with your hosting provider, no doubt they will fix it as soon as possible.


Don't forget to check back with the site regularly.

Other HTTP Status Codes Similar to 504 Gateway Timeout

The online world can be messy. From server errors and client issues to connectivity problems, there's a wide range of things to be aware of. When it comes to HTTP errors, your site will likely come across a number of them. For example, you'll likely need to apply a 301 Moved Permanently at least a few times. Or, you'll be faced with a 500 error at some point in your lifetime. And when this happens, you need to be prepared.


We've put together this comprehensive HTTP status code cheat sheet to help you understand the different types of status codes and their meaning. Use it to quickly reference codes and determine what each type of error implies and how you can fix it.


Finally, don't forget to regularly perform monthly website maintenance to detect errors faster and resolve them on time.

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