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How to Fix The 502 Bad Gateway Error in WordPress

The WP Umbrella Team

Are you trying to resolve the 502 bad gateway error in WordPress? If you’ve encountered a 502 Bad Gateway Error in WordPress, you are not alone. This error can result from multiple causes and can manifest in a number of ways.

If you’re dealing with WordPress, you’ll likely encounter various errors that can be both frustrating and confusing. Errors like the Missing a Temporary Folder Error and the 400 Bad Request Error often come to mind.

However, the 502 bad gateway error is even more popular and affects the entire internet, not just WordPress.

Because this error can be caused by a variety of factors, it can be time-consuming to troubleshoot for beginners.

In this article, I will guide you through the steps to fix the 502 bad gateway error in WordPress.

502 Bad Gateway Error in WordPress

What Exactly is a 502 Bad Gateway Error in WordPress?

A 502 Bad Gateway Error occurs when one server receives an invalid response from another server. This article will delve into the possible causes and solutions specific to WordPress users.

Understanding the 502 Bad Gateway Error

In any web transaction, your browser sends a request to the server hosting the website you wish to access. The server processes this request and sends back the required resources along with an HTTP header and status code. A 502 Bad Gateway Error is one of the HTTP status codes that indicates that one server on the internet received an invalid response from another server.

This error code explains that the client received an invalid response from an inbound server: when the requested page cannot be delivered by your WordPress hosting server, it triggers a 502 bad gateway error.

Let’s breakdown the process leading to the 502 Bad Gateway error in WordPress.

First, your browser sends a request to a web server whenever you visit a website.

Then, upon receiving a request, the web server processes it, and sends back the requested resources along with an HTTP header & status code. 

Usually, an HTTP status code isn’t displayed unless there’s a problem. In essence, it is the server’s way of notifying you that something went wrong, plus instructions on how to correct it.

Many different types of 500 status errors exist (500, 501, 502, 503, 504, etc.) and each with a different meaning but they all fall into the same category.

The 5xx codes and what they mean in WordPress

500 error codes mean that the request was accepted by the server, but the request could not be fulfilled.

A 502 bad gateway error can appear in a variety of ways depending on the browser, web server, and operating system:

  • “502 Bad Gateway”
  • “Error 502”
  • “HTTP Error 502 – Bad Gateway”
  • “502 Service Temporarily Overloaded”
  • “502 Proxy Error”
  • “502 Server Error: The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request”
  • “HTTP 502”
  • Temporary Error (502)
  • 502. That’s an error
  • 502 bad gateway Cloudflare
  • Bad Gateway: The proxy server received an invalid response from an upstream server

However, they all refer to the same thing: an issue with the server delivering your website.

Causes of the 502 Bad Gateway Error in WordPress

502 Bad Gateway errors can appear frustratingly vague at first glance. However, they usually point to more specific underlying issues. Let’s delve into some common triggers.

Server Processing Delays & Traffic Spikes

One common cause is a delay in server processing. When you make a request, your request travels from your computer to the web server. The web server then processes your request to deliver the website. If this server takes too long to respond a 502 error can be triggered.

This is likely to happen in shared hosting environments where multiple websites share the same server. If one website has a spike in traffic, the other websites on the same server may experience the 502 bad gateway errorr.

Poorly Coded WordPress Themes or Plugins

WordPress themes & plugins offer great features, but can also introduce errors if they are poorly designed or coded. A malfunctioning theme or plugin can cause conflicts, use excessive resources, or interfere with the server’s ability to process requests, leading to a 502 error.

Therefore, always ensure that you install themes and plugins from reputable sources. Moreover, keeping them updated ensures that you’re benefiting from fixes and improvements that can prevent such errors.

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Server Misconfiguration

Another factor contributing to the 502 error is server misconfiguration. This could be anything from incorrect settings in a .htaccess file, faulty PHP scripts, or issues with server modules. In managed WordPress hosting environments, server misconfiguration is less common but still possible. Do not hesitate to reach out to your hosting provider if you think that it’s coming from it.

Step-by-Step Guide to fix the 502 Bad Gateway Error in WordPress

Typically, the 502 Bad Gateway error happens when the server encounters an issue but can’t pinpoint the exact reason for the invalid response it got from the server. This means that resolving the error may require a bit of detective work, so let’s get started!

Step 1: Reload Your WordPress Website

Due to increased traffic or low server resources, your server may sometimes take longer to respond. Usually, the problem will resolve itself in a few minutes. Reload the web page you are viewing to see if that was the cause of the problem.

In that case, you do not need to continue reading. However, If you encounter this error often, I invite you to keep reading since there may be something else to look at.

Step 2: Clear Your Browser Cache

Although the issue has been fixed, you will still see the 502 error because the browser is loading your website from the cache.To fix this, just refresh your browser’s cache.

Step 3: DNS Issue

It is also possible for a 502 gateway error to originate from a DNS issue. If you’ve recently migrated your WordPress site to a new host, DNS settings might still be in the process of propagating across the web.

This is similar to updating your address with the postal service; it takes time for the change to be recognized everywhere. During this period, you may experience intermittent 502 errors. Full propagation usually takes up to 24-48 hours, although it can sometimes be quicker.

Alternatively, your DNS server itself might be down. If the server that’s supposed to guide your browser to the right IP address is not working, you’ll likely encounter the 502 error.

To fix these DNS-related issues, you might need to clear your DNS cache and reach out to your hosting provider for further diagnosis.

Step 4: Disable the CDN or Firewall

A problem with your content delivery network (CDN), or firewall may also be to blame. The simplest way to check whether your CDN is causing the problem is to temporarily disable it. By doing so, you’re bypassing the CDN and allowing traffic to go to your server. If the error disappears, you’ve found the root of the issue.

Some security services, like Cloudflare, offer DDoS protection that can also trigger a 502 error. If you notice that the error specifically mentions Cloudflare, it’s a good idea to check their documentation and reach out to their support team.

Step 5: Check Your Plugins and Themes

Keep Everything Updated

Always make sure that all your plugins, themes, and the WordPress core itself are updated to their latest versions. It’s also essential to run an up-to-date version of PHP to minimize compatibility issues.

Sometimes, scripts and queries are canceled by the server due to bad code in your WordPress site, possibly from a 3rd-party plugin or theme. The 502 error has also arisen from caching plugins that have been configured incorrectly. Here’s how to isolate the issue:

Deactivate All Plugins

Start by deactivating all your plugins. Don’t worry – this won’t delete any of your data. If you can still access your WordPress admin panel, go to “Plugins,” select all, and choose “Deactivate” from the bulk actions menu. This will disable all plugins simultaneously.

Identify the Problematic Plugin

With all plugins deactivated, reload your website. If the 502 error disappears, one of the plugins was the likely cause. To identify which one, reactivate each plugin one by one, refreshing your site after each activation. When the error reappears, you’ve identified the problematic plugin.

If you can’t get into your WordPress admin panel, you’ll need to use an FTP client. Log in and navigate to your plugins directory, usually located at wp-content/plugins. Now, rename the entire directory to something like “plugins_debug” and check your site again. If it’s working, the issue is indeed coming from one of the plugins.

Renaming Individual Plugin Folders

To find the exact plugin that’s causing the issue, rename the plugins directory back to “plugins.” Now go inside and rename each plugin folder one by one, checking your site after each change. When the 502 error returns, you’ve found the offender, and you can go to the next step!

Reach Out for Support

Once you’ve found the rogue plugin, you can either delete it permanently or contact the plugin’s developer for a solution. You can also report the issue in the WordPress support forums.

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Step 6: Check With Your Hosting Server

When all the above troubleshooting steps fail, then it is likely that there is a problem with your server. In such a situation, the problem can be resolved by contacting your hosting company’s support team. You can tell them all the steps you’ve taken to troubleshoot the problem, it will help us to troubleshoot the issue more quickly.


Resolving a 502 Bad Gateway Error in WordPress can be a challenging task, especially given the various factors that could be causing it. This guide aims to streamline the troubleshooting process. If the error persists after attempting these steps, professional help is advised. For those in search of a reliable hosting service, Kinsta or Cloudways comes highly recommended.