Web Development

YouTube 503 status code: how to fix it?

By Jazz, on April 5, 2021, updated on March 11, 2023 - 2 min read

The 503 error on YouTube corresponds to an HTTP response code returned by the server where the YouTube video you wanted to see is hosted.

503 Server Error: Service Unavaible

Why does a 503 error occur on YouTube?

When you click on a link to access a web page or write the page directly to your browser, the browser (the client) will send a request to a server, which will decrypt that request and return the requested page.

Servers therefore receive a request for such-and-such a URL corresponding to such-and-such a video and must return the corresponding video page.

When the server returns a 503 error, it means that it is not available at the moment and therefore cannot return the requested page.

This can happen for several reasons:

  • The servers of YouTube are overloaded and cannot handle all the simultaneous requests.
  • The servers of YouTube are dead. It seems unlikely, but the accident in early March 2021 at OVH in Strasbourg made it clear that the Cloud was just physical servers in buildings, and they could go up in smoke.
  • the servers are under maintenance.

Whatever browser you are on, whether you are on mobile, desktop, or tablet won’t matter. The error will be the same for all users trying to access the site at that moment.

What to do with a 503 status

The problem is server-side, so you can’t fix it.

You can:

  • Check the status of the YouTube servers, for example, on a site like www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com. This will let you know if the problem is actually coming from YouTube and not your connection.
  • If it is indeed a problem at YouTube, try refreshing the page by clicking F5 or “Shift + F5” if you want to ask the server without using the cache. This time, might manage to answer you.
  • You can also try launching Youtube from a window in private browsing. Sometimes not being logged in to your account can override some errors.

Now you know what to do when faced with the monkey that cimbals to tell you an error on Youtube. Google makes sure this almost never happens to you.