HTTP 502 Response Status Code Guide: What is it, Usage, Methods

Jun 11 2024 by Oskay Günaçar

What Is HTTP 502 Status Code?

The HTTP 502 status code, also known as "Bad Gateway," indicates that a server, acting as a gateway or proxy, received an invalid response from an inbound server. This error typically occurs when one server on the internet receives an invalid response from another server. Common reasons for a 502 Bad Gateway error include:

  1. Server Overload: The server may be overloaded and unable to handle the incoming request.
  2. Server Maintenance: The server could be down for maintenance.
  3. Network Issues: There may be network errors between the servers.
  4. Firewall Blocks: A firewall might be blocking the communication between servers.
  5. DNS Issues: DNS problems can prevent the gateway from finding the target server.

When a 502 Bad Gateway error occurs, it often requires server administrators to investigate and resolve the issue by checking server logs, configurations, and network connectivity.

Importance of the HTTP 502 Status Code in SEO

The HTTP 502 status code, "Bad Gateway," is important in the context of SEO for several reasons:

  1. User Experience: Frequent 502 errors can lead to a poor user experience as visitors are unable to access the content they are looking for. A bad user experience can increase bounce rates, which can negatively impact SEO rankings.

  2. Crawling and Indexing: Search engine bots, like Google's crawler, may encounter 502 errors while trying to access your site. If these errors are frequent, it can hinder the crawling and indexing process. Pages that are not indexed will not appear in search results, reducing your site's visibility.

  3. Site Reliability: Search engines strive to provide users with the best possible results. If your site frequently returns 502 errors, it may be perceived as unreliable, leading to lower rankings in search results.

  4. Negative Impact on Rankings: While occasional 502 errors are unlikely to have a significant impact, persistent errors can signal to search engines that your site has ongoing issues. This can result in lower rankings over time.

  5. Loss of Traffic: If your site is experiencing 502 errors, users may not be able to access it, leading to a direct loss of traffic. This can reduce overall engagement and conversions, affecting your site's performance.

How to Fix the HTTP 502 Error From the Website?

Fixing an HTTP 502 Bad Gateway error involves several steps to diagnose and resolve the underlying issue. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you troubleshoot and fix this error:

  1. Check Server Status:

    • Verify that your server is up and running. If it’s down, restart it.
    • Check your server logs for any signs of errors or issues.
  2. Server Overload:

    • Ensure your server isn’t overloaded with too many requests.
    • Consider upgrading your server resources if you frequently experience high traffic.
  3. Network Connectivity:

    • Check for any network connectivity issues between your server and upstream servers.
    • Ensure there are no firewall blocks preventing communication between servers.
  4. DNS Issues:

    • Verify your DNS settings and ensure they are correctly configured.
    • Clear your DNS cache to make sure you’re using the most current DNS information.
  5. Check for Server Updates:

    • Make sure your server software and dependencies are up to date.
    • Update any outdated software that might be causing compatibility issues.
  6. Review Proxy Settings:

    • If you’re using a proxy server, check its configuration.
    • Ensure the proxy server is correctly forwarding requests to the backend servers.
  7. Firewall and Security Software:

    • Check your firewall and security software settings.
    • Ensure they aren’t blocking legitimate traffic or causing interruptions in communication.
  8. Application Code and Configuration:

    • Review your application code and configuration files for errors.
    • Look for any recent changes or updates that might have introduced the issue.
  9. Content Delivery Network (CDN):

    • If you’re using a CDN, check its status and configuration.
    • Ensure there are no issues with the CDN’s connection to your origin server.
  10. Load Balancer Issues:

    • If you’re using a load balancer, check its configuration and status.
    • Ensure it’s properly distributing traffic and not causing bottlenecks.
  11. Third-Party Services:

    • If your site relies on third-party services or APIs, check their status.
    • Ensure they are operational and not causing the 502 error.
  12. Restart Services:

    • Restart your web server and any related services.
    • Sometimes a simple restart can resolve transient issues.

Specific Steps for Popular Web Servers:

For Nginx:

  • Check the Nginx error log (/var/log/nginx/error.log) for specific error messages.
  • Verify your upstream server configuration in the Nginx configuration file.
  • Restart Nginx: sudo systemctl restart nginx.

For Apache:

  • Check the Apache error log (/var/log/apache2/error.log or /var/log/httpd/error_log) for details.
  • Verify the reverse proxy settings in the Apache configuration file.
  • Restart Apache: sudo systemctl restart apache2 or sudo systemctl restart httpd.

By systematically going through these steps, you should be able to identify and fix the cause of the HTTP 502 Bad Gateway error on your website.

How to Check HTTP 502 Status Code?

To check for an HTTP 502 status code, you can use various methods depending on your technical setup and preferences. Here are some common methods to check and troubleshoot this status code:

1. Browser Developer Tools

Most modern web browsers have built-in developer tools that can help you check the status codes of HTTP requests.

  1. Open your web browser.
  2. Press F12 to open the developer tools.
  3. Go to the "Network" tab.
  4. Reload the page that you suspect is returning a 502 error.
  5. Look for requests that return a 502 status code in the list of network requests.

2. Command Line Tools

You can use command line tools like curl or wget to check for HTTP status codes.

Using curl:

curl -I

This command will show the HTTP headers returned by the server, including the status code.

Using wget:

wget --spider

This command performs a HEAD request and shows the status code.

3. Online Tools

There are several online tools that allow you to check the HTTP status code of a URL. Here is the best one:

HTTP Status Code Checker

Simply enter the URL you want to check, and the tool will display the status code.

4. Server Logs

Checking your server logs is one of the most effective ways to diagnose HTTP 502 errors.

  • Nginx: Check the error log, usually located at /var/log/nginx/error.log.
  • Apache: Check the error log, usually located at /var/log/apache2/error.log or /var/log/httpd/error_log.

Look for entries that correspond to the time when the 502 error occurred.

5. Monitoring Tools

Use server monitoring and logging tools to automatically detect and alert you about HTTP 502 errors.

  • New Relic
  • Datadog
  • Pingdom
  • Google Cloud Monitoring

These tools provide detailed insights and alerting features to help you quickly identify and address 502 errors.

Example with curl

If you suspect a specific endpoint is returning a 502 error, you can use curl to check it directly:

curl -I

This will return headers similar to:

HTTP/1.1 502 Bad Gateway
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2024 12:00:00 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 173
Connection: keep-alive

What is the Browser Compatibility of HTTP 502 Status Code?

The HTTP 502 status code, "Bad Gateway," is a standard part of the HTTP/1.1 specification and is widely supported by all major web browsers. Here is an overview of its compatibility across various browsers:

Browser Compatibility

  1. Google Chrome: Fully supports HTTP 502 status codes. When a server returns a 502 error, Chrome displays a built-in error page explaining that the server received an invalid response from another server.

  2. Mozilla Firefox: Fully supports HTTP 502 status codes. Firefox shows a built-in error page with a similar message about the server receiving an invalid response.

  3. Microsoft Edge: Fully supports HTTP 502 status codes. Edge displays an error page indicating that the server encountered a bad gateway error.

  4. Safari: Fully supports HTTP 502 status codes. Safari presents an error message stating that the server encountered a problem and cannot handle the request.

  5. Opera: Fully supports HTTP 502 status codes. Opera shows a message indicating a bad gateway error.

Mobile Browsers

  • Chrome for Android: Fully supports HTTP 502 status codes, displaying the same error message as the desktop version.
  • Safari on iOS: Fully supports HTTP 502 status codes, displaying a similar error message to the desktop version.
  • Firefox for Android: Fully supports HTTP 502 status codes, showing the same error page as the desktop version.

Key Points

  • All modern browsers provide built-in error pages for HTTP 502 status codes.
  • The presentation of the error message may vary slightly between browsers, but the underlying functionality and support are consistent.
  • Users are typically informed that the server is acting as a gateway or proxy and received an invalid response from an upstream server.


Understanding and addressing the HTTP 502 status code, or "Bad Gateway," is crucial for maintaining a seamless and reliable web experience for your users. This error, which indicates that a server acting as a gateway or proxy received an invalid response from an upstream server, can arise from various issues such as server overload, maintenance, network problems, firewall blocks, and DNS issues.

The impact of HTTP 502 errors extends beyond user experience, significantly affecting SEO. Frequent 502 errors can lead to higher bounce rates, hinder search engine crawling and indexing, damage your site's reliability in the eyes of search engines, and ultimately result in lower search rankings and traffic loss.

By following a systematic approach to diagnose and resolve these errors—checking server status, ensuring proper network connectivity, updating DNS settings, and reviewing server configurations—you can mitigate the negative effects of HTTP 502 errors. Additionally, leveraging tools like browser developer tools, command line utilities, online status checkers, server logs, and monitoring solutions will help you effectively identify and fix these errors.

Moreover, understanding the broad compatibility of HTTP 502 status codes across all major browsers ensures you can effectively troubleshoot and address issues regardless of the user's browsing environment.

In summary, proactive management of HTTP 502 errors is essential for maintaining a high-performing website that offers a positive user experience and strong SEO performance. By staying vigilant and using the right tools and techniques, you can ensure your website remains accessible and reliable for all users.

Oskay Günaçar
Oskay Günaçar is a Technical SEO expert and backend developer. His main areas of interest are back-end programming, Python, Django, Go, semantic SEO, technical SEO. With more than 5 years of SEO experience, he has held SEO specialist positions at İkiler, Webtures, Boosmart, and companies, and has been involved in numerous projects as an outsourced expert. Through the TechSEOHub website, he aims to share the expertise and experience he has gained from managing and developing (SEO) processes for many successful and large websites in the industry, and to produce content for easy access to accurate and high-quality information.