503 error - nothing wrong with origin website - Always Online broken?


I just got an email from my Cron job on my website that my site was down. I have always online enabled (free account) and was scratching my head a bit. The 503 just said “Service Unavailable”. I tried to load my website in a browser and it was totally not working for all my visitors.

I looked that the FAQ/TIP’s page for this at Community Tip - Fixing Error: 503 Service Unavailable / Service Temporarily Unavailable and decided to try and disable “Always Online”. My website was immediately available again and working just fine. I was grateful for that FAQ!!!

This has left me a bit confused as I enabled this feature some months ago (and up until now all was well) but the feature seems (in my simple mind) to be broken. The whole point is to help me out if my server goes offline but it takes my site offline when it is enabled (only happened once and quite random).

It seems the opposite of what it is intended for. My origin server is fine and dandy so why did I get a period of 503 for all of my potentially now lost visitors because of Always Online. I am a bit confused. It is fortunate I have a hourly Cron Job (with an email when it fails to run). I was around to fix it quickly as it might have been down for days/weeks/forever if I did not with no email from Cloudflare to tell me there was a problem.


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Thank you for asking.

May I ask if you are checking “website is down” or “server is down” by the HTTP(S) or ping monitor directly to the server IP?

Or, are you using Coudflare Health Checks?

Furthermore, are Cloudflare IPs or the IPs from that monitoring service you are using allowed and whitelisted at your firewall and/or origin host/server? :thinking:


I am just doing what my customers or prospects would do. Searching for a business and clicking on a search result in Google. The result is a 503 when they go to my website (via its name / https) with “Always Online” enabled and perfectly fine when I disabled “Always on”. I will not be re-enabling it again!! It was never a problem up until the day I logged this question.


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