5xx Server Error On Instagram (What Does This Mean?)

As an avid Instagram user, you’ve likely encountered the dreaded ‘5xx Server Error’ message at some point when trying to access the app. The frustration of not being able to scroll through photos or check updates can be aggravating.

However, it’s important to understand what’s happening behind the scenes. Instagram’s servers power the platform and allow millions of people to use the app simultaneously.

When there is a server issue, error messages like ‘5xx Server Error’ display to alert users that Instagram is temporarily unavailable. While inconvenient, these errors help ensure your data and privacy remain protected.

By gaining insight into the reasons for server errors you can better appreciate the technology that makes Instagram possible and find patience when they occur.

Another factor that can lead to server errors is maintenance or system upgrades. Instagram, like any complex software application, requires regular updates and maintenance to ensure its smooth operation and security.

To implement these updates Instagram may temporarily take servers offline or restrict access to certain features leading to server error messages.

While server errors can be frustrating, they are an inherent part of using any online platform. Understanding the reasons behind them can help foster an appreciation for the technological challenges that Instagram’s engineers face in maintaining a stable and secure platform for millions of users.

What Is A ‘5xx Server Error’ On Instagram?

Instagram Errors are caused by several reasons.

A ‘5xx Server Error’ on Instagram means their servers are experiencing issues and cannot process your request. Instagram’s servers handle billions of requests per day, so occasional errors are inevitable.

There are a few common reasons Instagram’s servers may return a ‘5xx Server Error’:

  • High traffic volumes overload the servers. Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users, so high traffic periods can strain their servers.
  • Software updates or maintenance. Instagram regularly updates its software and performs server maintenance, which can sometimes cause temporary errors.
  • Hardware issues. Instagram’s servers could be experiencing hardware problems like memory errors, storage failures, or network connectivity issues.
  • Programming errors. There may be a bug in Instagram’s software code that is causing server errors. Their engineers work to identify and fix these issues as quickly as possible.
  • How long will the error last?

Most ‘5xx Server Errors’ on Instagram are temporary and resolved within a few minutes up to a couple of hours. However, in rare cases, more significant issues can take longer to fix. The best approach is to wait and try accessing Instagram again later. Repeatedly trying to load the app or website will not resolve the issue faster and will only add more traffic to their already overloaded servers.

Reason 1: Too Much Traffic Overloads The Servers

A lady opening the Instagram app
This server error ‘5xx Server Error’ may occur due to the excessive load of traffic

Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users sharing and interacting with content. At times, the high volume of traffic and requests to the Instagram servers can overload them, causing them to become unresponsive.

The servers are unable to handle the immense load, resulting in ‘5xx Server Error’ messages for users.

To resolve high-traffic server overloads, Instagram works to quickly scale its infrastructure by:

  1. Adding more servers to increase capacity and bandwidth.
  2. Optimizing server software and configurations to improve performance.
  3. Rerouting some traffic to backup servers to reduce demand on primary servers.

Once server loads return to normal levels and the issues have been addressed, Instagram services will become available again for all users. While inconvenient, these types of overloads are often unavoidable for large global platforms. The key is for Instagram to work swiftly to restore services and ensure maximum uptime and availability.

With its massive scale and popularity, Instagram must continuously improve its infrastructure and technology to provide the best possible experience for its broad range of users around the world. Preventing and resolving server overloads is an ongoing challenge, but one of Instagram’s technical teams works hard to solve it.

Reason 2: Software Glitches and Bugs

A woman checking her Insta on phone
The server error also occurs due to some software glitches

Instagram’s servers can experience temporary outages or downtime due to software glitches and bugs. As with any technology platform, Instagram’s software and infrastructure are complex systems with many moving parts.

Occasionally, issues arise that the engineering teams did not anticipate or catch during testing. These types of software bugs and errors can disrupt service and cause the ‘5xx Server Error’ message to appear for users.

Software IssuesInstagram’s Response
Diagnosing and Resolving IssuesInstagram’s engineers work to diagnose software problems, find solutions, and implement fixes to restore service as quickly as possible.
Time-consuming ProcessDiagnosing and resolving software bugs can take time. The engineering teams need to determine the root cause, develop a solution, test it, and then deploy the fix.
Range of ImpactSoftware glitches can range from minor bugs to major issues that disrupt systems and cause outages.
Ongoing Software UpdatesAs Instagram updates its app, website, and backend systems, new software bugs are inevitable. Instagram continuously strengthens testing and monitoring to minimize disruptions.
Transparency and CommunicationInstagram provides status updates on official accounts to inform users about ongoing issues and restoration timelines.
Imperfect TechnologyNo technology system is perfect, and occasional errors like ‘5xx Server Error’ are part of using any software or technology service at such a large scale.
Summary Table on Software Issues

Reason 3: Issues With Instagram’s CDN or Database

Instagram’s Content Delivery Network Issues

Instagram displays ‘5xx Server Error’ messages when there are issues with their Content Delivery Network (CDN) or database. Instagram’s CDN is a globally distributed network of proxy servers and their associated data centres.

Instagram App
There must be an issue with the CDN or the database of Instagram

The CDN stores cached versions of Instagram content like photos and videos to provide fast delivery to users. If there is an outage or issue with Instagram’s CDN, it can lead to ‘5xx Server Error’ messages.

Some potential problems with Instagram’s CDN that could cause server errors including:

  • Hardware or software failures: If a server or network device in the CDN fails or there is a software glitch, it may return ‘5xx Server Error’ messages to users. Instagram’s engineers would need to diagnose and fix the issue to resolve the errors.
  • Capacity problems: If there is a spike in traffic to Instagram that overloads their CDN, it can max out available bandwidth and resources, leading to server errors for some users. Instagram may need to scale up its CDN to handle the increased load.
  • Configuration issues: Incorrect settings or policies on Instagram’s CDN servers or network devices could also potentially cause ‘5xx Server Error’ messages. The configurations would need to be checked and adjusted to fix the problem.
  • Data centre outages: If there is a power outage, connectivity issue, or other problem at one of Instagram’s data centres that support their CDN, it may impact the CDN and return server errors. The data centre providers would need to resolve any outages or infrastructure issues to get the CDN back online.

When Instagram’s CDN or databases are experiencing problems, their engineers work to diagnose and fix the issues as quickly as possible to restore normal service. However, resolving CDN or database issues can sometimes take time, leading to extended periods of ‘5xx Server Error’ messages during more severe outages.

What To Do When You See A ‘5xx Server Error’ on Instagram?

A Youtube video on how to fix the 5xx server error

When Instagram displays ‘5xx Server Error’ messages, it means their servers are experiencing issues. Here are the steps to take:

Check Instagram’s Status

First, check Instagram’s official status page to confirm there is an ongoing issue with their servers.

They will post updates there on the cause of the error and when normal service is expected to resume.

Be Patient and Try Again Later

Unfortunately, there is little you can do to resolve server issues on Instagram’s end. The best approach is to be patient and try accessing Instagram again in a few hours.

Their technical team will be working to get the servers back online as quickly as possible.

Don’t Keep Refreshing the App

Continuously refreshing the Instagram app or website will not speed up the process and will only add additional traffic to their already overloaded servers.

Give the servers time to recover instead of exacerbating the problem with excessive refresh requests.

You May Experience Other Issues Too

When Instagram servers go down, it often also impacts other services like messaging, posting, and notifications.

Comments, likes and follower counts may be temporarily unavailable or inaccurate until normal service has been restored.

Your Account and Information Remain Secure

While experiencing a ‘5xx Server Error,’ your Instagram account and information are not at risk. These types of server issues do not compromise user data or account security. Once the servers are back online, all of your account information, photos, comments, likes, and followers will return to normal.

In summary, the best way to handle Instagram server issues is with patience and by avoiding actions that could slow down the recovery process. Your account and information will remain secure, so take a break from the app until their status page indicates normal service has resumed.


  • The next time Instagram is down, and you receive one of these errors, take a break and try again in a little while.
  • The issue is likely on Instagram’s end, not with your account or device. If the problem persists for an extended period, Instagram will typically post an update on its official Twitter account.
  • Though no technology system is perfect, Instagram works hard to minimize downtime and keep its platform running 24/7.
  • Stay patient and keep checking back – your feed will be up and running again before you know it.

What’s Next?

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