How To Fix 504 Gateway Time-out on Nginx

Fix 504 Gateway Time-out on Nginx

In today’s fast-paced digital world, website performance is crucial for delivering a seamless user experience. However, encountering errors like the 504 Gateway Timeout can be frustrating for both website owners and visitors. This error occurs when the server acting as a gateway or proxy fails to receive a timely response from another server it is communicating with. In this comprehensive guide, we will dive deep into the causes of the 504 Gateway Timeout error on Nginx and provide step-by-step solutions to help you resolve this issue efficiently.

Understanding the 504 Gateway Timeout Error

Before we delve into the troubleshooting process, let’s first understand what the 504 Gateway Timeout error means. This error is an HTTP status code that indicates a communication problem between servers. When a user requests a web page, the server acting as a gateway or proxy (in this case, Nginx) tries to fetch the necessary resources from another server (upstream server). If the upstream server fails to send a response within the specified timeout period, Nginx returns the 504 Gateway Timeout error to the user’s browser.

Common variations of the 504 error message include:

  • “504 Gateway Timeout”
  • “504 Gateway Timeout NGINX”
  • “HTTP 504 Error”
  • “Gateway Timeout (504)”
  • “This page isn’t working – Domain took too long to respond”

Causes of 504 Gateway Timeout Error

To effectively troubleshoot the 504 Gateway Timeout error, it’s essential to understand its potential causes. Some common reasons behind this error include:

  1. Server Overload: When the upstream server is overwhelmed with a high volume of traffic or resource-intensive tasks, it may fail to respond within the designated timeout period, resulting in a 504 error.
  2. Network Issues: Connectivity problems between the Nginx server and the upstream server can lead to delays or interruptions in communication, triggering the 504 Gateway Timeout error.
  3. Timeout Settings: If the timeout values configured in Nginx are too short, the upstream server may not have enough time to process the request and send a response, causing a timeout.
  4. DNS Issues: Incorrect DNS configurations or unresolvable domain names can hinder the gateway server’s ability to establish a connection with the upstream server, leading to a 504 error.
  5. Firewall or Security Settings: Overly restrictive firewall rules or security settings can block legitimate requests, resulting in timeouts and 504 errors.
  6. Application or Code Errors: Bugs, inefficiencies, or resource-intensive operations within the application code can cause delays in processing requests, contributing to 504 Gateway Timeout errors.

Troubleshooting Steps for 504 Gateway Timeout Error

Now that we understand the causes behind the 504 Gateway Timeout error let’s explore the troubleshooting steps to resolve it.

Check Server Logs

The first step in diagnosing the issue is to examine the Nginx error logs. These logs provide valuable insights into the specific cause of the 504 error. To access the logs, navigate to the Nginx log directory (e.g., /var/log/nginx/) and open the error.log file. Look for entries related to the 504 error and analyze the accompanying details to identify any patterns or clues.

Verify Upstream Server Availability

Ensure that the upstream server is accessible and responding correctly. Use tools like ping or telnet to check the connectivity between the Nginx server and the upstream server. If the upstream server is unresponsive or experiencing issues, contact the appropriate administrator or hosting provider to resolve the problem.

Adjust Nginx Timeout Settings

If the 504 error persists, adjust the timeout settings in the Nginx configuration file (nginx.conf) can help mitigate the issue. Open the configuration file and locate the http block. Add or modify the following directives:

proxy_connect_timeout 600;
proxy_send_timeout 600;
proxy_read_timeout 600;
send_timeout 600;

These directives set the timeout values to 600 seconds (10 minutes), allowing more time for the upstream server to respond. Adjust the values according to your specific requirements. After making the changes, save the file and restart the Nginx service using the command:

sudo systemctl restart nginx

Optimize Application Code

If the 504 error is caused by inefficient or resource-intensive application code, optimizing the code can help alleviate the issue. Review the application’s performance, identify bottlenecks, and implement optimizations such as caching, query optimization, or code refactoring. Efficient code execution reduces the likelihood of timeouts and improves overall performance.

Increase PHP-FPM Settings

If your application relies on PHP and utilizes PHP-FPM (FastCGI Process Manager), adjusting the PHP-FPM settings can help prevent 504 errors. Open the PHP-FPM configuration file (e.g., /etc/php/8.2/fpm/php.ini) and modify the following directives:

max_execution_time = 300

This directive sets the maximum execution time for PHP scripts to 300 seconds (5 minutes). Additionally, open the PHP-FPM pool configuration file (e.g., /etc/php/8.2/fpm/pool.d/www.conf) and adjust the request_terminate_timeout directive:

request_terminate_timeout = 300

After making the changes, restart the PHP-FPM service:

sudo systemctl restart php-fpm

Monitor Server Resources

Regularly monitor your server’s resource utilization, including CPU, memory, and disk usage. High resource consumption can lead to performance degradation and contribute to 504 errors. Use monitoring tools like top, htop, or third-party monitoring solutions to keep track of server metrics. If the server is consistently overloaded, consider scaling your infrastructure or optimizing resource-intensive processes.

Implement Caching and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

Caching and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) can significantly reduce the load on your servers and improve response times. Implement caching mechanisms at various levels, such as server-side caching (e.g., Nginx’s proxy_cache directive) or application-level caching (e.g., Redis, Memcached). Additionally, leveraging CDNs to serve static content from geographically distributed servers can minimize latency and alleviate the burden on your primary server.


Encountering a 504 Gateway Timeout error on Nginx can be frustrating, but with the right troubleshooting approach, it can be resolved efficiently. By understanding the common causes and following the step-by-step solutions outlined in this guide, you can identify and fix the underlying issues causing the 504 error.

Remember to regularly monitor your server’s performance, optimize application code, and adjust timeout settings as needed. Implementing caching and utilizing Content Delivery Networks can further enhance your website’s performance and reduce the likelihood of encountering 504 errors.

If the issue persists after applying these troubleshooting steps, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from your hosting provider or a professional system administrator. With proactive monitoring and timely resolution, you can ensure a smooth and uninterrupted user experience for your website visitors.




r00t is a seasoned Linux system administrator with a wealth of experience in the field. Known for his contributions to, r00t has authored numerous tutorials and guides, helping users navigate the complexities of Linux systems. His expertise spans across various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. r00t's work is characterized by his ability to simplify complex concepts, making Linux more accessible to users of all skill levels. His dedication to the Linux community and his commitment to sharing knowledge makes him a respected figure in the field.
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