Handling a WordPress website comes with a lot of responsibility and that corresponds to managing the website and upholding its standards. Of all the errors you might face, a 502 bad gateway error can be a nuisance.

A WordPress site is not just content laid out on a page, it is more of complex and simple functional parts working in cohesion. Your theme, plugins, and integrations; anything can be causing an error. How would you know what it is?

While most of the errors are easy to resolve, some of them like the error 502 can be a little tougher to deal with. You might have to go through a number of possible solutions before you land the right one.

It is tough to know what is causing the 502 error and that is the reason it gets tougher for you to resolve it quickly. The right way to go about this is to make sure that you recognize the cause behind the bad gateway error.

To understand why the 502 bad gateway error occurs, we need to know what is a 502 error? After that, we can continue towards the possible ways in which the error can be resolved.

What is a 502 bad gateway error?

According to developers, a Bad Gateway Error refers to the condition where the upstream server returned an invalid response to the server acting as a proxy or a gateway.

In simpler terms, the error occurs when your server does not connect to the upstream server and is classified as a bad gateway for connection by the upstream server.

This classification as a bad gateway might correspond to a number of possible issues with your browser, website, or security. Before resolving the error itself, you need to determine the cause of the error.

What causes a bad gateway error?

An error 502 can be caused by a number of reasons related to your website, security, traffic, and even the browser of the visitor. Each of these causes can show the 502 error.

To list in detail, the causes are:

  1. Database errors
  2. Timed out or unavailable server
  3. Traffic overload due to either a DDOS attack or excess traffic
  4. Issues with reverse proxy servers
  5. Faulty PHP scripts: Plugins or themes

You can try to resolve these causal issues if your website displays the 502 bad gateway error.

Resolving the bad gateway error

Now we are going to go through simple steps that can help you resolve the causal issues that might be causing the bad gateway error on your website.

1. Running a Traceroute

You can start by simply running a traceroute to know if you can access your server smoothly or not. In case your server is not accessible, you can contact your hosting provider to resolve the accessibility issue.

In case your server is accessible, the issue is on your end and you can fix the issue on your end by following the next step in this guide.

2. Checking the DNS settings

Your DNS settings could be a reason behind the bad gateway error and it is easy to change the settings in the DNS to avoid the error in the future.

Simply go to your Internet Protocol versions in the DNS  settings found in your connectivity options in the Windows Control Panel. You can change your settings to suit your website accessibility.

If this does not help, you can work on other possible reasons that might be causing the 502 error for your website.

3. Clear your browser cache

Coming to the simplest issue that might be causing the bad gateway error, you can try to resolve any issues with your browser. Sometimes, your browser collects cache that causes a bad gateway.

You can clear your browser cache and revisit the website to see if the error is resolved or not. If you want to make sure that your browser is the reason behind the error before clearing the cache, access the website from another browser using the private browsing option.

If you don’t see the bad gateway error on another browser, you should clear your browser cache before trying to access the website on your browser.

You can clear the browser cache by simply clearing the browsing data and cache from your browser settings. If this does not resolve your issue, you can move to the next step.

4. Disable your CDN

Your Content Delivery System or the CDN depends on a reverse proxy for connection to a server. This involves an intermediary between the connection and thus, sometimes can cause a bad gateway.

You can go into your CDN settings and temporarily disable it to check if it is causing the problem or not. If the problem resolves by disabling the CDN, you can work on fixing the reverse proxy for the CDN.

If the problem persists even after disabling the CDN, you might have to move to the next diagnostic step.

5. Test your themes and plugins

A lot of times, your themes and plugins might have faults in coding and the PHP scripts. This can lead to your website being inaccessible due to a bad gateway error.

You can disable your current theme and choose the default WordPress theme to see if your theme is causing the problem. Although it is a simple and safe process, you should still have a recent backup of your website just in case.

If your theme is the culprit, you can choose a better theme with clean coding to support your website and save it from being under the bad gateway shade in the future.

For the plugins, you will need to disable them one by one to see which one is responsible, if any, and replace it later on. If a certain plugin, say an image related plugin, doesn’t work, you can always replace it with a tool like this and ease the load on your website.

In a nutshell

You can go through these steps to figure out what’s causing the bad gateway error and if you cannot still figure out the reason and resolve it, you can contact your hosting provider and ask for a possible solution.

For almost all cases, these 5 scenarios pan out and solve the bad gateway issue without much fuss. Good Luck solving yours.