How to Fix 504 Gateway Timeout Error in WordPress: Complete Troubleshooting Guide

Have you ever encountered a frustrating error message “504 Gateway Timeout”? It might prevent you from accessing your content. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. The 504 error is one of the most common WordPress errors. It indicates a communication hiccup between your web server and another server it relies on to deliver your website.

In this blog, I’ll tell you what causes the 504 gateway timeout and how the WordPress experts fix it.

What is a 504 Gateway Timeout Error in WordPress?

A 504 Gateway Timeout  is a common error code in WordPress. It indicates a communication issue between your WordPress site’s server and another server it needs to interact with to function properly. This other server could be internal (part of your hosting infrastructure) or external (like a Content Delivery Network or an API gateway).

When a visitor tries to access your site, the server needs to retrieve necessary elements from another source to fulfill the request and display the website. The 504 error occurs when the server waits too long for a response from that other source, leaving the website unable to load.

Now before we tell you about the fixes for the 504 gateway timeout error suggested by the best WordPress development services, let’s take a look at its causes.

What Causes the 504 Gateway Timeout Error in WordPress?

The 504 Gateway Timeout Error in WordPress can stem from various issues on either your web server or an external server it interacts with. Here’s a breakdown of some common culprits:

  • Server Overload: If your website experiences a sudden surge in traffic, your server might become overloaded and struggle to keep up with requests. This overload can lead to delays in communication with other servers, causing the timeout error.
  • Plugin or Theme Conflicts: Certain WordPress plugins or themes might have compatibility issues or resource-intensive processes that overload the server. These conflicts can disrupt communication and trigger the error.
  • Corrupted Database: A corrupted WordPress database can lead to various problems, including communication issues with the server. Corrupted database files can cause the server to malfunction and fail to respond within the expected timeframe.
  • CDN Issues: If you’re using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for faster website performance, problems with the CDN itself could cause a timeout error. The main server might be unable to establish a proper connection with the CDN server, resulting in the timeout.
  • DNS Propagation Delays: After making changes to your domain name system (DNS) records, it can take some time for those changes to propagate across the internet. During this propagation period, visitors might encounter a 504 error if their local DNS server hasn’t yet received the updated information.
  • External Server Issues: In some cases, the timeout error might originate from an issue with an external server your website relies on. This could be an API gateway malfunctioning or a server outage at a third-party service you integrate with.

By understanding these potential causes, you can effectively troubleshoot the 504 Gateway Timeout Error and identify the root of the problem within your WordPress environment.

Want to keep your WordPress site in a tip-top shape?

How to Fix 504 Gateway Timeout Error in WordPress?

Encountering a 504 Gateway Timeout Error on your WordPress website can be stressful, but fret not! There are several steps you can take to diagnose and fix the issue. Here’s a breakdown of potential solutions:

Basic Checks

Although the 504 error may have been caused by something more serious, sometimes, even some basic checks help take care of it. So before diving deep, try some quick fixes.

  • Reload the page: Sometimes, a temporary glitch or network hiccup can cause the error. Simply refreshing the page (Ctrl+F5) can clear the issue.
  • Clear your browser cache: Cached data in your browser can become outdated and interfere with communication. Clearing the cache ensures you’re loading the latest website version.
  • Reboot network devices: Restarting your router and modem can resolve temporary network issues that might be causing communication problems.

If these basic checks don’t help, go ahead and try the other fixes.

Check Server Load

If the basic checks don’t work, contact your WordPress hosting provider to inquire about server load. The server your website is residing on might be experiencing high traffic or resource limitations. Then it might struggle to handle requests efficiently, leading to timeouts.

Depending on your hosting plan and provider, they might be able to offer temporary resource upgrades to handle the surge. They may even suggest a more powerful hosting plan with better resource allocation.

Deactivate Plugins and Switch Themes

Installing WordPress plugins can help integrate features into your website more effectively. And installing a WordPress theme will define the design and layout of the website. But sometimes, WordPress plugins and themes can sometimes introduce compatibility issues, disrupting communication between your website and other servers.

  • Deactivate all plugins temporarily: This isolates if a specific plugin is causing the conflict. You can check the plugin for compatibility issues. If the error disappears after deactivation, re-enable plugins one by one to identify the culprit.
  • Switch to a default theme like Twenty Twenty-Four: This helps rule out theme-related conflicts. If the error persists, the issue likely lies with a plugin.

Make sure you choose the suitable plugins carefully. Installing too many can cause conflicts on the backend. Also choose the theme carefully, so there are no issues down the line.

Clear Database Cache

A bloated or corrupted database cache can lead to communication problems. Use a plugin like WP Super Cache or access your hosting provider’s control panel to clear the WordPress database cache. This can help remove outdated or corrupted data that might be interfering with communication.

Temporarily Disable CDN

If you’re using a CDN (Content Delivery Network), try temporarily disabling it. This helps determine if the CDN is causing the timeout issue. If the error disappears after disabling the CDN, it suggests the CDN might be experiencing issues or configuration problems. Contact your CDN provider for further assistance.

If the error persists, the problem likely lies elsewhere in your server setup or configuration.

Check Error Logs

Your server’s error logs often contain detailed information about communication breakdowns. These logs can be accessed through your hosting provider’s control panel.

Look through the WordPress error logs and check the specific messages related to the 504 timeout. These messages can provide valuable clues about the source of the issue, such as:

  • Server-side errors during communication attempts.
  • Resource limitations or timeouts on the upstream server.
  • Plugin or theme conflicts causing communication disruptions.

You can consult with our WordPress developers to understand how to take care of these errors.

Address Firewall or Security Issues

Review your firewall settings and security plugins to ensure they’re not inadvertently blocking communication with essential servers. Our WordPress firewall guide would help.

You can also temporarily disable them to see if the error resolves. Remember to re-enable them with appropriate configurations after troubleshooting.

Check the DNS Propagation

If you recently made changes to your domain name server (DNS) settings, allow ample time for propagation (usually 24-48 hours). During this time, your website might experience temporary connection issues that could lead to a timeout error.

You can use online tools (like DNS Checker) to check the propagation status of your DNS changes.

Contact Hosting Provider

If none of these solutions work, it’s time to seek assistance from your WordPress hosting provider. They have access to server-side diagnostics and expertise. So they can identify and address complex issues that might be causing the timeout error.

Explain the problem you’re facing and provide any relevant details like error messages or troubleshooting steps you’ve already taken. Your hosting provider can analyze server logs and investigate resource allocation. They will identify potential server-side issues that might be beyond your scope to fix.

By following these steps systematically, you should be able to identify and fix the 504 gateway timeout error in your WordPress website and get it back up and running smoothly. Remember, keeping your WordPress core, plugins, and themes updated can help prevent compatibility issues that might contribute to such errors.

If you need help with fixing the 504 gateway timeout error, our WordPress development services will help. We’ll diagnose the issue and get your site back online as soon as possible.

FAQs on Fixing the 504 Gateway Timeout Error in WordPress

Why do I keep getting a WordPress timeout error when trying to update my website?
This is likely due to a plugin or theme conflict on your website. When updating, WordPress needs to run various processes in the background, and if a plugin or theme is causing a conflict, it can result in a timeout error.
How can I check which plugin is causing a timeout during WordPress updates?
You can use the Health Check plugin, which allows you to troubleshoot and disable individual plugins. This will help you identify which plugin is causing the timeout issue during updates.
Will increasing my website's memory limit help with WordPress timeout issues?
Yes, increasing your website's memory limit can help fix timeout issues during WordPress updates. By default, WordPress sets a low memory limit, so increasing it can give your website more resources to complete the update processes.


The 504 gateway timeout error can be a frustrating experience for website owners, leading to disruptions in site functionality and user experience. This error in WordPress is often triggered by server-related issues, heavy plugins, or inadequate server resources.

When visitors encounter these errors, they are likely to abandon the site, impacting user engagement negatively. Moreover, search engines consider sites with 504 errors unreliable, negatively affecting their rankings.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Basic Checks
  • Check Server Load
  • Deactivate Plugins and Switch Themes
  • Clear Database Cache
  • Temporarily Disable CDN
  • Check Error Logs
  • Address Firewall or Security Issues
  • DNS Propagation Issues
  • Contact Hosting Provider

And, of course, if the issue still persists, you can consult with our dedicated WordPress developers. We’ll help get your site back online and working at its best as soon as possible!

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Chinmay Pandya is an accomplished tech enthusiast specializing in PHP, WordPress, and Laravel. With a solid background in web development, he brings expertise in crafting innovative solutions and optimizing performance for various projects.

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