What Do 504 and 500 Errors Mean? How to Deal with These Errors

Thu, Jan 7, 2010, by Patrick Regoniel


How do you deal with common web server error messages like http 504 and http 500? Is there anything you can do about it on your side? This article describes and explains the errors.

I’m submitting a comment on one of Rox’s articles. When I pressed the Enter button, I got this message “HTTP 504 -Gateway Timeout”. I tried three times but in vain. I even lost my first comment and I have to recall what I wrote. I try to have a unique comment for each article I read. It’s frustrating thinking what to post then just lose it because of this error. I wrote on my notepad first to make sure my comments are not lost again.

Just what do these messages mean? Do I have to keep on clicking the Refresh button and try to get back to that page I was viewing? Is it worth my time trying to access the page again? This error wastes precious minutes which prevents me from making comments on my friend’s articles. Is this the same reason why sometimes the comments and the I Like It tab do not match in number?

I dismissed the idea of making comments for a while because this error is taking me long to post my comments. I already did something about it; cleared my browser history, optimized the registry, changed my browser, all in vain. I decided to find out what it really means to be able to make the correct decision whenever I encounter it.

Here are the things I learnt from reading about this message:

HTTP 504 and Variants

This error manifests itself in many ways. They can be encountered as

  • 504: Gateway Timeout
  • HTTP 504
  • HTTP Error 504 – Gateway Timeout
  • 504 Gateway Timeout error
  • HTTP Error 504 Gateway timeout

What HTTP 504 Means

This error means that one server did not receive a timely response from another server that it was accessing while attempting to load the web page or fill another request. So this is why by browser seems to be slower than usual.

This means that there is a network error between servers on the internet. Or the problem may be issuing from the actual server, the one operated by Triond. So this means that the problem may most likely be outside of your computer so there’s nothing you can do about it meantime. You may try though to write Triond about it so their webmasters can fix it. Or leave the site meanwhile, find your other favorite website or do other things, like getting to your word processor which I did in typing this article and upload it when the site is accessible again.

The 504 Gateway Timeout error applies to any internet browser in any operating system. So, don’t bother forcing your way in by changing browsers or using another OS. It’s a waste of time.

I believe the error in my case at this point is in the Triond server because I could browse the other sites and get this information. I thought I’d write to Bukisa meanwhile.

HTTP 500 and Variants

Variants of this error are

  • HTTP 500
  • HTTP Error 500 – Internal Server Error
  • HTTP 500 – Internal Server Error
  • Internal Server Error HTTP 500
  • 500 Internal Server Error

What HTTP 500 Means

This error is a bit more tricky to deal with. In my case, I encountered the error at the same time that HTTP 504 occurred. These, I suppose, are related errors. I encountered this error when I tried to click my main article in the Contents page, not just comment on articles.

Error 500 means that the server that runs the URL address or web site you have requested has come across an unexpected condition that stops it from fulfilling the specific request sent by your browser. It is a default computer code that doesn’t tell you much because it is a generic error generated by the web server. A little Greek?

Simply put, it’s like riding a bus that suddenly stops and wouldn’t start. And the driver tells you “Hey, I got a problem with my bus”. But the driver couldn’t tell which one so he will find a mechanic. The mechanic in the internet world is the programmer, who will then find out what’s wrong. Is there no more gas, is the battery exhausted, did the engine overheat, among others. We are the passengers, the driver is the server, and the programmer/s the mechanic. So they know their machine better than us so leave them to it. You can help by sending them an e-mail to notify them of the error. I did that before. They’ll get it fixed at some point by looking at their logs (report on server error) that will guide them in troubleshooting the problem. Meanwhile, do other things.

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