503 error for days, host no help

For a few days my website has been unavailable and returning 503 errors. I thought I had a free Cloudflare account already, but my hosting provider said that I needed to set one up, so I have, still same issue.

My question is this, if I previously set up a Cloudflare free account directly with cloudflare, and now have set up another account through a partner as a CNAME, can they be in conflict?

I’ve tried to find my original account on the Cloudflare site, and while it recognizes my login, I can’t get to a user dashboard. Any ideas?

Oh, and yes. I’m very unsophisticated in this area, so please ask qualifying questions. You can’t offend me!


  1. What’s the domain?
  2. A 503 error is rate limiting. Was your site on Cloudflare when you were getting these errors?


I thought it was, but host had me set up the CNAME acct, but it seemed like a canned response, not an actual answer to my request.

They said that I had a big spike in traffic, I’ve never had a big spike in traffic. Ever, and can’t think of anything that might have triggered one. I’ve also not had any new order, comments or requests for information. My concern is that I’ve been under attack…

It does appear that you’re using a CNAME setup, so your traffic for ‘www’ will go through Cloudflare (that’s a CNAME limitation)

As far as I know, the only way Cloudflare will throw a 503 is if you’ve configured Rate Limiting.

However…your site has a canonical URL without ‘www’. Any hits to ‘www’ will redirect to the naked domain, and that goes straight to your host. They’re the ones who rate limited you.

To answer your question…there’s no conflict. Your own Cloudflare account has nothing to do with the current situation.

It’d be nice if you just went and got a better host, but your own Cloudflare setup can improve things. You’ll just need to completely deactivate that CNAME setup, and any other Cloudflare settings at your host.

Then add your site to your own Cloudflare account. You’ll need to go to your domain registrar (Ionos?) and configure your WHOIS to use only the two name servers Cloudflare assigned to your account.
You’ll also need to make sure all your DNS records here match the ones at your current host.

That should take care of most of it. Just those two things:

  1. Deactivate Cloudflare in your hosting account.
  2. Add your domain to your Cloudflare account.


I’ve had all of this I care to deal with for today, I’ll get to that tomorrow. Still waiting on the host enable Awstats in cpanel. You may be correct about finding a new host. I’ve had these guys for 3 years and this is the first problem, but it’s a big one.

Here are the stats they sent this morning:

Total number of unique IP addresses: 81
Total number of requests: 1898
Total number of unique request strings: 1093
Total number of unique referers: 561
Total number of unique user agents: 26
Total bandwidth sent in responses: 7M [ 7674770B]

Are those stats over 24 hours? Even at 81 IP addresses, that’s a really light load, even if that’s just one hour of stats (That would be a hair over one visitor per minute). 7 MB of data over one hour is about 117KB per minute…that’s SUPER light.

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Request count distribution per hour of the day:
Hour: 0 Count: 56 / 02.95%
Hour: 1 Count: 62 / 03.27%
Hour: 2 Count: 40 / 02.11%
Hour: 3 Count: 51 / 02.69%
Hour: 4 Count: 27 / 01.42%
Hour: 5 Count: 39 / 02.05%
Hour: 6 Count: 31 / 01.63%
Hour: 7 Count: 44 / 02.32%
Hour: 8 Count: 46 / 02.42%
Hour: 9 Count: 22 / 01.16%
Hour: 10 Count: 43 / 02.27%
Hour: 11 Count: 99 / 05.22%
Hour: 12 Count: 261 / 13.75%
Hour: 13 Count: 375 / 19.76%k
Hour: 14 Count: 400 / 21.07%
Hour: 15 Count: 302 / 15.91%

Even the peak of 400 requests breaks down to an average of 7 per minute. Heck, just one of my average home pages requires at least ten requests. So it’s as if your host can’t handle one visitor per minute. Unless their stats mean something different than my stats.

Even if that 7 per minute is 7 unique visitors doing their thing, that’s about one per ten seconds, and even a halfway decent page will load in less than five seconds. Worst case is all seven people hitting the site at the same time. Seven concurrent visitors. That’s still ridiculously light.

The good news is that with Cloudflare properly set up, Cloudflare will offload the static resources so your host won’t get so bent out of shape over a light load.

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Sweet! Thanks for your help!

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