How to fix the 504 gateway timeout error for visiting websites and your own websites

The Internet is a network of interconnected computers, which means that you may experience connectivity problems when some parts of the network are not functioning properly. For example, we often encounter a 504 gateway timeout error that will prevent you from accessing the content of your website.

What is a 504 gateway timeout error?

504 gateway timeout errors are common, and it often means that the server you are trying to access does not receive a timely response from another server on which it depends to display the website. Most of the time, this usually means that one of the servers is misbehaving or misconfigured, causing the website server to “time out” while waiting for a response from another computer, so it will show an error instead of the website you want to visit.

There’s no standard way to display a 504 error, but it’ll usually include the code 504.

This is a fairly common error message, and it can happen on any platform – you can see a 504 error in any web browser, on any computer, and it appears on mobile devices and programs that rely on an internet connection. This also means that the exact appearance of the error may vary, but it will usually contain a 504 code to indicate the nature of the problem.

504 gateway timeout causes

When you see a 504 gateway timeout error, the overall problem is pretty easy to understand, but that simple explanation doesn’t explain why the timeout error is happening. There are a lot of possible root causes — here are the most common ones:

There’s a network connectivity error

It takes many network connections to successfully show a website in your browser, including modems, routers, network switches, cabling, and more.

If there is a problem with any of these links between two devices, it can cause a 504 error.

There is a server connectivity problem

Most websites are hosted on servers maintained by third-party providers, and if the server is offline due to hardware issues or maintenance, a 504 error may be generated.

There was a recent IP address or DNS server change

If the website’s server recently changed its IP address, it might take some time for the DNS server address to update. Because browsers find websites using a DNS server lookup, this can cause a 504 error until the update is complete.

The server’s firewall or other settings are misconfigured

There might be any number of basic configuration errors, especially in the server’s firewall, designed to prevent malware and intrusions by hackers.

There may be a problem with your own computer or network

In most cases, the 504 error is a problem on the connection side of the website server. However, in rare cases, your computer or network connection may be abnormal. This will result in every website you try to visit will usually encounter a connection error, not just one.

How to eliminate the 504 gateway timeout error on the website you want to visit

If you can’t reach a website because of a 504 gateway timeout error, try reaching other websites. If you only have trouble with just one website, the problem is almost certainly at the server and beyond your control. If you can reach the site’s administrator, you can inform them about the problem, but otherwise, you’ll just need to wait for it to be fixed.

If you see a 504 error at multiple websites, the problem is more likely to be at your end of the connection. Here are some things you can try:

Close and re-open the web browser, or restart your computer

You can go through this easy way to see if the 504 error has disappeared.

Reboot your network modem and WiFi router

Turn off both devices, wait at least two minutes, and then turn them back on. Start with the network modem and then, after it is fully connected, turn on the WiFi router and wait for it to make a solid connection.

Change your DNS server

This is usually configured by your internet service provider, but it’s possible to manually choose a different DNS server.

Turn off your proxy server or verify its settings

In the vast majority of situations, your computer should not be using a proxy server to connect to the internet. But if your computer is misconfigured or malware has configured your computer to connect through a proxy server, you can try to turn it off. In Windows, click Start and then Settings. In the Settings window, search for “proxy” and click Change proxy settings. Here you can turn off the proxy server or fine-tune the settings.

A 504 error can sometimes arise from a misconfigured proxy server.

How to fix 504 gateway timeout errors on your own website

If a website that you own or manage has a 504 error on its own, you can also take some troubleshooting steps to resolve your issue.

Update your DNS server

If you’ve recently changed your site’s IP address, you may need to update your DNS server. Changes to the DNS can take several hours to process, and you might generate 504 errors in the meantime.

Review your firewall settings

You might have a faulty firewall configuration that is preventing your server from communicating properly. To test this, you can temporarily disable the firewall completely to see if that resolves the issue.

Check for other connectivity issues

This can be caused by problems with your server, router, network switch, or system maintenance.

See if there are other configuration issues

WordPress-based websites, for example, are susceptible to corrupted databases. You might need to run the database repair tool in WordPress’s administrator dashboard.

In any case, 504 errors are very common, and you can also do a simple check while patiently waiting for the error to disappear on its own in order to restore the visit to the website faster.