What Does Bad Gateway Mean?

By David Wayne

When a “502 Bad Gateway” error prevents you from visiting a website, the interruption is only temporary and you can take steps to find out if your computer or the website in question is causing the problem. Technical issues with Internet protocol trigger this error from your Web browser.

Understanding a Bad Gateway Error

A Bad Gateway error usually happens when you visit a website that uses a relay point, called a proxy server, that keeps data separate from the server hosting the site's main page. If the main server and proxy server don't properly connect due to incorrect Transmission Control Protocol data, your browser determines the proxy, or gateway, to be bad. TCP data includes the HTTP information necessary to find the website, and if the site's main server expects a different HTTP implementation than it receives from the proxy, it returns an error message to your browser. Less common causes of a Bad Gateway error are Internet service provider dropouts, bad firewall configurations and browser cache errors.The browser cache is a block of memory that speeds up page loading by storing frequently accessed data where your browser can quickly access it.

Finding a Solution

To find out if the problem lies with the website or your computer, visit a site such as Down for Everyone or Just Me, Is It Up or Is It Down for Everyone (links in Resources). Enter a website's URL in the text box and press “Enter” to test the site from a different IP address, eliminating problems with your firewall or ISP as the cause. If the problem lies with your computer, try temporarily disabling your firewall to see if a bad configuration caused the 502 error. In Windows, press the “Windows” key, type “Firewall” and click “Windows Firewall.” Choose “Turn Windows Firewall On or Off,” then select “Turn Off Windows Firewall.” After testing whether the website loads, enable the firewall again to keep your computer protected. If the problem persists, contact your ISP to find out if an unusually heavy load caused recent service interruptions.