How to Fix a 502 Bad Gateway Error on Your WordPress Site

May 2, 2021

The 502 Bad Gateway error is an HTTP status code used to indicate that the web server returned a bad gateway error. Troubleshooting the 502 error can be difficult, and cumbersome but we will run through some of the basic checks you should carry out to fix a 502 error for your WordPress site.

First, you need to understand what a gateway is. In the simplest terms, it is a point of entry. It is the place where the message travels from your computer to another server. One of the most common gateway errors is 502 bad gateway. If you get this error, it is usually due to a problem with your hosting service. So, you need to contact your hosting service and ask them if they can fix it.

The 502 Bad Gateway Error is typically thrown by the Apache and Nginx engines, which are the most popular web hosting solutions. When this type of 502 error occurs, your website may become inaccessible, or a message may be displayed in your browser. 502 Bad Gateway Error codes are not set in stone and can vary, depending on your particular hosting service and the type of error you are trying to report.

The 502 error code is generated when a server is unable to process an incoming request. Server problems usually trigger 502 bad gateway errors, but you can also resolve them with a few steps. A server's memory limitation is the most common cause of 502 bad gateway errors. If you're running a WordPress site, check to see if you're approaching your server's memory limit. If you are, you may need to upgrade your hosting plan or move to a better-equipped server. At Snappy Host, we provide 4GB RAM on all our premium plans, so this is not an issue in our setup.  

Usually, the error messages appear the same: "Bad gateway 502. Your server may be reachable, but a temporary network problem prevented the server from responding. Client IP: xx.xx.xx.xx." 

This error can be frustrating, but you can fix this issue with the solutions below.

DNS issue causing a 502 error

A method to fix a 502 bad gateway error is to contact your hosting provider and find out if the 502 error code is a DNS issue or not. If you are not sure, or you are running a web server, you could try by turning flushing your DNS cache and see if the error 502 bad gateway is still there.

Flushing your DNS cache on a Windows device is a useful troubleshooting step to take if you're having issues accessing certain websites or are receiving a 502 error. To flush your DNS cache on a Windows device, you first need to know how to access it. Ideally, the easiest way is through the command line. 

To do this, you need to hit start -> run and type CMD.

Or In Windows, open up Command Prompt from the Start menu and enter the following:

ipconfig /flushdns

Clearing browser cache to fix a 502 bad gateway error

Many people often wonder how to clear your browser cache. You may wonder what your browser cache is, and why you should clear it. The browser cache, or web cache, is a temporary storage space for web files, such as images, scripts and CSS files. Browser Cache is used to speed up the download time of web pages. When your browser retrieves a web resource, it is quicker to access via the stored cache in the browser for later use. When you visit a web page, your computer checks the local browser cache to see if it can find a copy of the requested resource. If it can find it, it will load the file from the cache immediately. If it cannot find it in the cache, it will download the files from the webserver. Clearing browser cache will force a site to load fresh files, potentially fixing a 502 bad gateway error.

It's important to clear your browser cache because it can lead to some very annoying problems. If you're having website issues, it might be helpful to see the cached version of the page rather than the live page. If you're having issues with the site, you might see the same error page repeatedly. Clearing your cache might help you see a new copy of the site or just a blank page. The first step is to open up Chrome and then open the menu. Click on "Settings", then click on "Advanced Settings". Then click on the "Privacy" section and click on "Clear Browsing Data".

Disabling WordPress plugins

The 502 error is a common one with WordPress and is one of the most frustrating issues you can run into as a blogger. The most common cause of 502 bad gateway errors are conflicting plugins or sub-optimal server settings.

WordPress is a great CMS. It is no doubt that everybody who uses WordPress, also use plugins. But what happens if one of the plugins started causing errors? I'm going to share some quick tips on how to disable plugins in WordPress. To disable a plugin, Follow the below-mentioned steps:

1) Login to your wordpress dashboard, and manually disable plugins by navigating to plugins -> then choose the plugin -> disable.

2) Login via FTP and rename the problematic plugin, or rename the plugin folder to "plugins_test" this will then force disable all plugins

3) If you have terminal access, you will need to navigate to the root wordpress folder by typing "cd public_html" (CD is change directory) -> type "wp plugin list" -> then choose the plugin name and type -> "wp plugin deactivate [plugin_name]

wp plugin deactivate test
Plugin 'test' deactivated.
Success: Deactivated 1 of 1 plugins.

Fixing a 502 bad gateway error by disabling CDN/Firewall

A 502 error means the server acted as a gateway or proxy and received an invalid response from the upstream server while trying to fulfil the request. The 502 bad gateway error is often caused by the server attempting to load a file off a different server, and the file is not found. Whether the 502 bad gateway is caused by an overloaded server, or a firewall and CDN issue, the solution is the same. It's easy to fix the 502 bad gateway error by temporarily disabling the CDN or firewall.

When the firewall is disabled, it will remove the additional DNS layer created between your browser and the hosting server. The connection will then load files directly from your server and bypass the CDN/Firewall service. If the site begins to loads once your CDN/Firewall is disabled, then this would show an issue is caused by one of them. 

Contact your host

No matter how hard you try, you can't seem to fix a 502 bad gateway error on your own. Time to call in the big guns. When you run into an bad gateway error like this, it's time to contact your web host and ask them to fix the problem. 

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