The 504 Gateway Timeout error is one of the most common HTTP status codes (server error) that both visitors and website owners may face. This server error indicates that a web browser requested the resource from the server, but the server did not receive a timely response from another server and failed to fulfil the request. 

To put it simply, the 504 Gateway Timeout error is primarily a problem with the server communication speed or the network connection, as the server is not able to load the requested page. 

However, the 504 Gateway Timeout error takes different forms and displays different error messages across various browsers, operating systems, and servers. Here are a few variations of this error: 

  • 504 Gateway Timeout NGINX
  • Gateway Timeout Error
  • Gateway Timeout (504)
  • HTTP Error 504
  • Error 504
  • 504 Error
  • 504 Gateway Time-out. The server didn’t respond in time
  • This page isn’t working. Domain took too long to respond
  • HTTP Error 504 – Gateway Timeout
  • 504 Status Code
  • 504 Error Code

Even a single second of downtime can have a negative impact on the search engine performance of your WordPress website. Consequently, it becomes essential to fix any type of error your users may encounter. 

Before starting to fix the 504 error, you should first diagnose the cause. So, let us first go through some of the most typical causes of the 504 Gateway Timeout error. 

Potential Causes of the 504 Gateway Timeout

Let us walk through a few typical reasons for the 504 error to occur: 

  • Firewall Issues: It may be the case that faulty firewalls may be the cause of the 504 error. There are some firewalls whose DDoS protection and mitigation system blocks the request from a specific internet service provider (ISP) or content delivery network (CDN). 
  • Unresolvable Domain: When the domain is not able to resolve the IP address correctly, you may receive the 504 error. You may experience this issue when the website you are trying to access has recently changed to a different hosting nameserver or IP address. 
  • Web Server Overload: A web server may get overloaded if it runs low on resources. As a result, the web browser gets responses from the server very slowly, which results in time out of resources by other servers. 
  • Connectivity Issues: When your network equipment experiences connection issues temporarily, you may encounter the 504 error on your browser. 
  • Limited PHP Workers: PHP workers generate HTML pages to serve a website’s visitors. Also, they determine the number of uncached requests a website can handle simultaneously. When there are insufficient PHP workers, it becomes impossible for a website to handle multiple requests.
  • Domain Name System (DNS) Issues: The domain name system (DNS) transforms human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses. The incorrect DNS configuration and outdated or corrupted DNS cache may be the causes of the 504 error. 

How to Fix the 504 Gateway Timeout Error?

Though the 504 error is a server error, many times, it may cause due to incorrect configuration or other issues on the client side. In such a scenario, here are a few basic troubleshooting steps that may help you fix the 504 Gateway Timeout error. 

1. Reload the Page

Reloading a web page is the most simple and basic solution to troubleshooting the 504 error. It may be a case that the server of the web page is receiving more requests than usual. So, refreshing the page can help you get rid of the error. 

Simply press the F5 key on the keyboard or the refresh/reload button on your screen to reload the web page you are trying to access. Alternatively, you can enter the URL of the web page once more time in the address bar for the page to get loaded properly. 

2. Reset Your Network Devices

One of the major causes of the 504 error may be the issue with your networking devices, such as a router, switch, modem, etc. In such a case, restarting your network devices would work for you. 

Note: The order in which you turn on the network devices plays a very important role, regardless of the order in which you switch them off. Make sure to maintain the order outside-in while switching on the network devices. 

Read: 8 Best WiFi Routers You Can Buy

3. Check the Proxy Server Settings

If there is an issue with the proxy server settings, you may receive the 504 error. So, ensure to check your browser’s or application’s proxy server settings. However, if your computer system does not have proxy settings, simply skip this solution. 

4. Try a Different Browser

Many times, there may be a problem with your browser from which you are trying to access the desired web page. Try accessing the web page from a different browser, or use the incognito mode of the same browser. 

Furthermore, you can even clear the browser cache and cookies, as this solution works for troubleshooting many internet issues. 

5. Change Your DNS Servers

DNS problems may take place on both sides, client-side and server-side. The server-side DNS issues occur due to unresolved IP addresses, while the corrupted or outdated DNS cache is the reason for the client-side DNS issues. If there are DNS issues, most probably, you encounter the 504 error. 

For client-side DNS issues, you can simply flush the DNS cache, which results in the elimination of the outdated and corrupted cache. 

Furthermore, if all your devices on a network encounter the same 504 error, the best solution is to change DNS servers. 

6. Contact the Internet Service Provider (ISP)

If you are done trying all the aforementioned solutions to troubleshooting the 504 Gateway Timeout error, try connecting with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). It may be a network issue that only your ISP can resolve. 

7. Try Accessing the desired Web Page After Sometime

If you are not able to fix the 504 error even after contacting your ISP, just relax for a while. After some time, try accessing the web page again. This could probably resolve the error if it is on the client side. 

How to Fix 504 Gateway Error on Your Own Website? 

As a website owner, you have to take care of the 504 error. Though it may neither be your fault nor the users, there are certain actions you can take to resolve the 504 error. 

  1. If you have a WordPress website, your users may encounter this issue if there are corrupted database files. To correct your database, install the WordPress plugin WP-DBManager. This plugin lets you optimize, repair, restore, and back up databases. Try the ‘Repair DB’ feature followed by ‘Optimize DB’. 
  2. Ensure that the .htaccess file is correct. 
  3. Finally, you can try contacting your hosting service provider, as it may be an issue on their side. 

Also, learn about 500 Internal Server Error and 404 Not Found Error.

To Sum It Up

The 504 Gateway Timeout is a server error with limited information about the cause of the issue. As a result, it becomes pretty challenging to fix the 504 error. Though there is no foolproof solution to prevent this error, the aforementioned steps can help you many times. 

As a website owner, it becomes essential to fix the 504 error as soon as possible to make sure that your visitors enjoy accessing any web page and reduce the negative impact of the website’s SEO.  

A passionate freelance technical writer with several years of experience specializing in crafting engaging technical content for a diverse range of businesses and platforms. With a track record of developing original, client-centric content, I excel at tailoring my writing to meet the unique needs of each project. Thorough research and attention to detail enable me to deliver content that not only meets but exceeds client expectations.


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