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How to fix network error 503 on YouTube?

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Some users report that they regularly see the error “There was a problem with the network error 503” while using the YouTube web application on Windows, Android and iOS. In most cases, affected users report that the error occurs when they click on a video in the Watch Later list.

The strange thing about this problem is the fact that if the user tries to view the same video from a normal search, it usually plays fine without any error messages. Whenever this error occurs, the YouTube application does not upload comments or descriptions of the affected videos.

What is causing the error “There was a problem with the network 503”?

We investigated this particular topic by looking at various user reports and commonly used repair strategies to fix the There was a problem with the network error 503.

By looking at the status code, we can determine that this is a server-side issue that typically appears when the site’s server cannot be accessed (for one reason or another). It is known to occur with a variety of browsers and operating systems, both on smartphones and desktop devices.

In most cases, the error ends up being caused by the connector in one way or another. Based on our research, there are several different culprits that have the potential to trigger this particular problem:

Connection timeout –

A connection timeout is known to occur in cases where the APN settings have been changed from their default values. This can end up causing some inconsistencies in the way the device can access data from other servers. If this scenario is applicable, you should be able to resolve the problem by resetting the access point names to the default values.

Corrupted Cached Data –

This is one of the most common triggers on Android devices when it comes to this particular error code. It turns out that certain Android builds will trigger this particular problem if the cache data folder gets corrupted. In this case, you can solve the problem by clearing the cache data.

The server is too busy or undergoing maintenance –

It is also possible that the problem is on the server side: Either a scheduled maintenance or an unexpected outage period that is impacting your area. In this case, you have no repair strategy at your disposal other than to check the status of the YouTube servers regularly.

Playlist queue too long –

It is also possible that this particular problem occurs because the application is trying to load the playlist queue that loads when a playlist is playing, but it ends up crashing because the playlist is too long. This usually happens in cases where the Watch Later list has more than a thousand different videos. In this case, you can solve the problem by deleting enough videos until you hit the three-digit mark.

Method 1: Check the status of Google servers

Before moving on to the other methods below and starting to troubleshoot the problem with various repair strategies that other users have found helpful, it is important to make sure that the problem is not beyond your control.

YouTube servers have a reputation for being reliable, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have maintenance periods from time to time. Just last year YouTube suffered a major outage and error 503 was at the top of the list when it comes to user reporting.

YouTube Status Report

To make sure the problem is not entirely server-side, take a couple of seconds to visit websites like DownDetector or Outage to see if other users like you are also running into the same problem.

YouTube shutdown problem

Another good place to look is the official YouTube Twitter account. They have a habit of posting any kind of scheduled maintenance or major power outage that they may be facing.

If you’ve checked and there aren’t any major events that could trigger the There was a problem with the network error 503, scroll down to the next method below for some troubleshooting guides.

Method 2: Delete Videos from Watch Later List

In most cases, there was a problem with the network error 503 occurs with users who have many videos added to the Watch Later list. Although there is no official explanation as to why this method is effective, several users have reported that they have managed to fix the problem after deleting all the videos that they had previously added to the Watch Later list.

Once they did this and restarted the application, any new video they added to the Watch Later list did not cause the error There was a problem with the network 503. This seems to suggest that the Google platform suffers from a recurring problem but could end up causing this problem.

Here are a couple of quick guides on how to delete videos from Watch Later list. One is for desktop devices (PC and Mac) and one is for mobile devices (Android and iOS). Follow the guide that corresponds to the type of device you are using.

Remove videos from the “Watch later” list on Android:

  1. From your home screen, access the YouTube application.
  2. Once you’re in the YouTube app, use the horizontal menu at the bottom of the screen to select Library.
  3. Then, from the Library menu, tab in See later to access the menu we are looking for.
  4.  Once inside the Watch Later menu, simply tap the action button associated with each video and tap Remove from Watch Later.
  5. Note: If you have a lot of videos on this list, an even better approach would be to tap the action button in the upper right corner and select Delete Watched. This option will delete each and every video that you have previously added to the “Watch later” folder, which will save you a lot of time.
  6. Restart the YouTube app, add a new video to the Watch Later list, and see if you can play it without encountering the There was a problem with network error 503.

Delete the videos from the “Watch later” list on the PC:

  1. Open your default browser and visit the YouTube web application (here).
  2. Click the action button on the right to bring out the vertical sidebar.
  3. Click Watch Later from the Library section of the menu.
  4. Once you’re in the Watch Later list, click the action button (three-dot icon) associated with each video and click Remove from Watch Later. Do this for each video within the Watch Later section until the list is completely empty.
  5. Add a new video to the Watch Later list and see if the There was a problem with the network 503 error still occurs when you try to play it.
  6. If you keep getting the same error code even after you’ve followed the above method, skip to the next method below.

Method 3: Clear Youtube Cache Data (if applicable)

It turns out that this particular issue can also be client-side on Android devices. There are many reports from users who encountered the There was a problem with the network error 503 and it managed by clearing the YouTube application and data cache.

This solution has been confirmed to be effective on both new and old versions of Android. Here’s a summary of how to clear YouTube cache data:

  • From the home screen, tap the Settings icon.
  • From the main Settings screen, tap Applications.
  • Once you are inside the Apps screen, scroll through the list of applications until you find YouTube. Once you see it, tap once.
  • Once you are in the Information of the Youtube application, click on Storage. In the Storage menu, click on Clear data and confirm.
  • When the process is complete, click on Clear Cache and confirm.
  • Restart the Youtube application and see if the problem is solved.
  • If you are still encountering the error There was a problem with network error 503, go down to the next method.

Method 4: Reset APN Settings to Default Values ​​(If Applicable)

Several Android users have reported that they managed to resolve the network error 503 by resetting the access point names to the default values. After doing this and restarting their device, some affected users have reported that the There was a problem with the network 503 error no longer occurred.

This solution has been confirmed to work with Android KitKat, Lolipop, Marshmallow, and Nougat.

Here is a quick guide on how to reset the APN (Access Point Names) on an Android device:

  1. From the home screen, access the Settings menu. Within the Settings menu, click on Mobile data, and then choose your active data connection.
  2. Once the active data connection is active, tap on Access Point Names.
  3. Within your APN settings, click on the action button (three dots icon) and click on Reset to Default.
  4. Restart your Android device and see if the problem is resolved on the next system startup.
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