Encountering HTTP status code errors can be frustrating and stressful. This is especially true when you don’t know what the message means or what’s causing it. One of the errors you might be dealing with is HTTP 408 Request Timeout.

Fortunately, you can take a handful of steps to troubleshoot and resolve this issue. You’ll simply need a basic understanding of what could be causing the HTTP 408 error, then implement solutions to fix it.

In this post, we’ll explain the HTTP 408 status code and some common causes of the error. Then we’ll walk you through eight potential solutions for resolving it. Let’s jump in!

What the HTTP 408 Status Code Is

HTTP status codes indicate the status of a client’s request. They can also redirect clients to different resources, depending on their requests.

The most common HTTP status code is 404, which indicates that the requested resource could not be found. Other common status codes include 200 (OK), 400 (Bad Request), and 500 (Internal Server Error).

Status codes are divided into five categories:

  1. Informational: The server is still processing the request.
  2. Successful: The request was completed successfully.
  3. Redirects: The client should be redirected to a different resource.
  4. Client Errors: There was an error with the request.
  5. Server Errors: There was an error with the server.

HTTP 408 falls into the category of client errors. The status code communicates that the server did not receive a timely response from the client and that the server timed out waiting for the request. This can happen if the client takes too long to send the request or the server is too busy to process it.

The HTTP 408 error is similar to the 504 Gateway Timeout status code. However, the former doesn’t come from a gateway or proxy server. Instead, it comes directly from the web server the client is connected to.

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Common Causes of the HTTP 408 Request Timeout Error

There are a handful of potential reasons behind the HTTP 408 request timeout error. These causes include:

  • Network latency
  • Clients timing out
  • Servers being too busy to handle the request

The 408 Request Timeout error means the request you sent to the website server took longer than the server was prepared to wait. It can happen due to heavy traffic on the internet or a slow connection on your side.

The problem with this status code is that it can occur for both client-side and server-side-related reasons. In other words, although the 408 error is categorized as a client error, this doesn’t necessarily mean the issue stems from the browser or device. It’s possible that the server is misconfigured or isn’t handling requests correctly.

How To Fix the HTTP 408 Error (8 Solutions)

Now that we understand more about the HTTP 408 status code, let’s discuss how you can resolve it. Below are eight potential solutions you can use, separated into two categories: client-side and server-side.

Client-Side

Below are some client-side solutions you can use to resolve the HTTP 408 error!

1. Back Up Your Site

The first thing you should do before troubleshooting the HTTP 408 error is back up your website. Then, if anything goes wrong while trying to fix the issue, you will have a full, updated version of your files and database to restore.

There are several methods you can use to back up your site. One is the manual approach. This method involves using a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) client, such as FileZilla. After receiving your SFTP credentials from your host and connecting to the server, you can download your files from the root directory (public_html folder).

Next, you’ll need to download your database via phpMyAdmin. If you’re a Kinsta user, you can access this through MyKinsta > Sites > Info:

MyKinsta database section
The database access section from MyKinsta

Then select Open phpMyAdmin to launch the database manager. Select your site’s database from the menu:

The Kinsta phpMyAdmin screen
The Kinsta phpMyAdmin screen

Next, click on Export at the top of the screen. Make sure to select SQL under Format, then click on Go. Your database file should begin downloading.

You can also use a backup plugin such as UpdraftPlus. After installing and activating the plugin, navigate to Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups in your WordPress dashboard, then click on Backup Now:

Using UpdraftPlus to backup a WordPress site
Backing up WordPress site with UpdraftPlus

A third option is to back up your site through your web host. At Kinsta, you can view your existing backups by logging into MyKinsta and then navigating to the Backups tab:

The MyKinsta Backups tab
The MyKinsta Backups tab

You can create up to five manual backups, which are automatically stored for two weeks. We also offer DevKinsta, a free local WordPress development tool you can use for staging and backing up your site to a local environment.

You can do this by going to DevKinsta and selecting the Import from Kinsta option. You may need to verify your hosting credentials. Once you choose your site, DevKinsta handles the rest.

2. Check the URL

One of the reasons you may be seeing the HTTP 408 status code error is that you simply typed the wrong URL into the browser. Therefore, you should now double-check the URL to ensure you didn’t make any typos.

Pay close attention to the domain name, especially if there are slashes or hyphens. Try re-entering the URL and then reloading the page. If the timeout request error is still present, you can move on to the next solution.

3. Review Recent Database Changes

If you’ve made any recent changes to your database, they may be causing the HTTP 408 error. You’ll need to revert any changes you’ve made to fix the issue.

Recently installed extensions or updates to your database may have altered database records that are causing problems. To see if this is the case, we recommend opening your database (phpMyAdmin) and manually going through to check any tables or records that have been recently modified. If you find any, revert them to their original states.

4. Uninstall Extensions and Plugins

Adding extensions and plugins to your site can cause various incompatibility issues and errors, including the HTTP 408 status code. One of the easiest ways to see whether this is the case is to deactivate all of the plugins on your site.

If you have access to your WordPress dashboard, you can do this by navigating to Plugins from the admin area, selecting all of the installed plugins, then selecting Deactivate from the Bulk actions dropdown menu. Now click on Apply:

Deactivating WordPress plugins in bulk
Deactivating WordPress plugins in bulk

If you don’t have access to your dashboard, you can bulk deactivate your extensions by connecting to your site via SFTP, then renaming the plugins folder to something like “plugins_old”.

Revisit your site. You can assume a plugin was to blame if you no longer see the error message.

You’ll need to reactivate each plugin one by one, checking the site in between. Once you see the error message again, you’ll have to uninstall that extension and find a replacement (or contact the developer for more information).

5. Roll Back Recent Changes

If you’ve recently made any changes to your WordPress site, such as installing a new plugin or updating the WordPress software, you might be seeing the HTTP 408 error. New tools can sometimes lead to configuration problems. You can roll back recent changes by restoring your site to a previous version.

If you’re a Kinsta user, open your MyKinsta dashboard, then navigate to Sites and select your site. Next, click on Backups.

From the list of backups, find the version you want to restore, click on Restore to, then select Staging or Live:

Restoring a WordPress backup from MyKinsta
Restoring a WordPress backup from MyKinsta

Next, you can confirm the backup restoration and click on Restore backup. Once the backup is complete, you can check to see whether the error message is still displaying.

Server-Side

If none of the above solutions worked, the HTTP 408 error might be caused by a server-side issue. Let’s look at potential solutions you can use to resolve it.

6. Check Server Config Files

One of the ways you can determine the cause of the HTTP 408 error is to check your server configuration files via SFTP. The process for doing so will depend on your server software.

Chances are that your server is either running on Apache or Nginx. If you’re a Kinsta user, we use Nginx.

If you’re using Apache, you can look for the .htaccess file within your site’s root directory. When you locate the file, open it and look for the following lines:

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  • KeepAliveTimeout
  • RequestReadTimeout

If you find these directives, you can comment them out by using the # symbol prefix before the line. Then you can save the file and reload the page in your browser.

If you’re a Kinsta user, you can check your .htaccess file by opening your MyKinsta dashboard and navigating to your website under Sites. Locate the SFTP/SSH section to get your credentials, then use them to connect to your site via an FTP client.

Next, navigate to the public_html folder, then locate and open the .htaccess file:

The .htaccess file of a WordPress directory
The .htaccess file of a WordPress directory

Look for either of the directives listed above. If you see any of these rules, comment them out and save your changes.

7. Review Application Logs

Your server-side logs can be invaluable for providing information about your applications, including what they did, the pages requested, the servers connected to, and more. If you’re a Kinsta user, you can check your error logs using the log viewer in MyKinsta.

If you’re not using a Kinsta hosting plan or your host doesn’t provide a logging tool, you can insert the following code into your wp-config.php file:

define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );

define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true );

define( 'WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false );

This will enable WordPress debugging mode.

From MyKinsta, navigate to Sites > Logs:

The MyKinsta Log viewer
The Log viewer in MyKinsta

Here, you’ll find the Log viewer that displays your error logs. You can click on access.log from the dropdown menu. This is where you can find all the HTTP requests from your website. You can also look for any HTTP 408 requests using the search bar.

If you locate any errors, you can use the information to pinpoint which web page is causing the issue. This can help you narrow down the source of the problem.

8. Debug Apps or Scripts

At this point, if you’re still seeing the HTTP 408 error, it’s time to debug your site. There are a handful of options you can use for this process.

One is to use a plugin such as Query Monitor:

The WordPress Query Monitor plugin
The WordPress Query Monitor plugin

This free plugin debugs your website’s performance and development. It enables you to check database queries, scripts, timing, and more.

Another option is using an Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tool. This software helps you monitor and optimize the performance of your website or application.

Using an APM tool can help you debug your site by giving insight into its performance and the location of any bottlenecks. This information can help you identify and fix any issues causing your website to run slowly or have other performance problems.

You can use our Kinsta APM Tool. It’s a custom-designed performance monitoring tool for WordPress sites that helps you identify performance issues. It’s also free for all sites hosted with us.

You can access the Kinsta AMP via your MyKinsta dashboard by navigating to Sites > Kinsta APM:

The Kinsta APM tool
The Kinsta APM tool

Once you enable the APM, you can use a variety of tools and features. These include diagnosing performance issues and monitoring results.

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Summary

HTTP status codes can provide a wide range of information about client and server requests. However, some of these messages indicate problems, such as the HTTP 408 Request Timeout error.

As we discussed in this post, the source of the issue may be either client- or server-side. To troubleshoot and resolve the status code error, you should review and roll back recent changes, check your server configuration file and application logs, and debug your apps and scripts.

Do you want to switch to hosting that provides easy access to software for identifying, testing, and fixing issues on your site? Check out our Kinsta hosting plans to learn more about our APM and development tools!


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