How To Fix Openshift Docker Registry Error: 503 Service Unavailable

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Openshift docker registry returns 503 Service Unavailable.

$ docker login -u $(oc whoami) -p $(oc whoami -t)
WARNING! Using --password via the CLI is insecure. Use --password-stdin.
Error response from daemon: login attempt to failed with status: 503 Service Unavailable

In such case, we won’t be able to push/pull images to/from the Docker Registry.


The root cause is kinda obvious here, Docker registry isn’t available and does not accept connections. We’ll look deeper into the docker registry container logs and look for clues.

Step1: Check docker registry pod status

First thing first, let’s have a quick look at the status of docker registry pods in the default namespaces:

oc get pods -n default | grep docker-registry

Docker Registry pods should be running.

$ oc get pods -n default | grep docker-registry
docker-registry-1-6moc9               1/1     Running   0          2d
docker-registry-1-xpydw               1/1     Running   0          2d

If your pods aren’t running, check the event logs and container logs.

oc describe pod <docker-registry-pod> -n default 

Step 2: Check the pods/containers logs

The docker registry pod might be old and contains tons of logs, we only want to see the last entries with –tail option.

oc logs docker-registry-1-6moc9 --tail=50

Look for the error messages, in my case, I see the following certificate error:

logs.go:41] http: TLS handshake error from remote error: tls: expired certificate

I could also observe the following error:

Get : x509: certificate has expired or is not yet valid

These logs can help you to solve the puzzle.

In my case, It looks like the internal docker registry certs are expired while the public route certificate is still valid. The certs for docker-registry.default.svc and docker-registry.default.svc.cluster.local needs to be renewed.

You can verify that by checking the registry’s certificate expiry date

openssl x509 -in /etc/origin/master/registry.crt -text -noout | grep 'Not After'


Not After : Oct  1 09:12:10 2021 GMT

Step 3: Renew Docker Registry certs

SSH to the first master and execute the following commands:

Get the registry’s hostname and IP.

REGISTRY_IP=`oc get service docker-registry -o jsonpath='{.spec.clusterIP}'`
REGISTRY_HOSTNAME=`oc get route/docker-registry -o jsonpath='{}'`

Then generate the certs:

oc adm ca create-server-cert --signer-cert=/etc/origin/master/ca.crt --signer-key=/etc/origin/master/ca.key --hostnames=$REGISTRY_IP,docker-registry.default.svc,docker-registry.default.svc.cluster.local,$REGISTRY_HOSTNAME --cert=/etc/origin/master/registry.crt --key=/etc/origin/master/registry.key --signer-serial=/etc/origin/master/ca.serial.txt

Replace the certs:

oc create secret generic registry-certificates --from-file=/etc/origin/master/registry.crt,/etc/origin/master/registry.key -o json --dry-run | oc replace -f -

Restart docker-registry pods:

oc rollout latest dc/docker-registry

The certificates should be updated if no errors. More on this please visit the official documentation.

Step 4: Verify Docker Registry Status

Lastly, we can verify if Docker Registry is available. We can run docker login command and docker container logs to verify the TLS error is gone and the service is available.

docker login -u $(oc whoami) -p $(oc whoami -t)

You should see Login Succeeded:

$ docker login -u $(oc whoami) -p $(oc whoami -t)
WARNING! Using --password via the CLI is insecure. Use --password-stdin.

Login Succeeded

If you still can’t get it right, docker registry container logs is a good place to be looking.

oc logs docker-registry-xxxx --tail=50


In this short tutorial, we covered how to approach the “503 Service Unavailable” error in Openshift container platforms. We looked into the container logs and discovered the root cause. Finally, we renewed docker registry expired certificates and recovered docker-registry service.


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