Instagram Stories have become an integral part of the Instagram experience, allowing users to share brief photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. However, you may have encountered the frustrating “This Story is Unavailable” error when trying to view someone’s Story.

So, I will explain what this error means, why you may see it, and how to troubleshoot the issue.


What Does “This Story is Unavailable” Mean?

When you tap on someone’s story circle icon at the top of the Instagram feed and instead see the message “This Story is Unavailable”, it means the content of that Story cannot be accessed or viewed.

There are several potential reasons why you may encounter this error message:

The Story Has Been Deleted

The most common reason for the “unavailable” error is that the user has deleted that particular Story. If the Story had been posted recently before being deleted, you may still see the colorful story ring around their profile picture, even though the content is now gone.

The Account Has Been Deactivated

If the account that posted the Story has been deactivated or deleted by the user, any of their previous Stories will also become inaccessible to viewers. Trying to view the Story will surface the “unavailable” message.

You Have Been Blocked

If the account has blocked you, you will be unable to view any of their current or previous Stories, prompting the error message when you try to view their content.

The Account Is Private

If you try to view the Story of a private account that you don’t follow, you’ll encounter the “unavailable” screen. Instagram automatically makes Stories from private accounts only viewable to approved followers.

Technical Issues

Less commonly, technical glitches on Instagram’s servers could also be the reason behind the “unavailable” error message.

Why Do You See “This Story is Unavailable”?

Now that you understand what the “unavailable” error means, let’s explore the main reasons why you may be seeing it when trying to view someone’s, Instagram Story.

The Story is More Than 24 Hours Old

Instagram Stories are only available for 24 hours from the time they are posted. If you try to view an expired Story, you will see the “unavailable” message. Instagram deletes Stories automatically after 24 hours unless the creator adds it to their Highlights.

The Story Has Been Hidden From You

Instagram allows users to hide their Stories from specific people. If someone chooses to hide their Story from you, you’ll get the “unavailable” error when trying to view it.

You Violated Community Guidelines

On rare occasions, Instagram itself removes Stories that violate its community guidelines and terms of service. Attempting to view such deleted Stories will show the “unavailable” error.

Internet Connectivity Issues

Unstable internet connections can also end up displaying the “unavailable” message on Instagram Stories intermittently. Slow/disconnected WiFi or cellular data prevents Stories from loading properly.

How to Fix “This Story is Unavailable” Error

If you encounter the “This Story is Unavailable” message on Instagram, try these troubleshooting tips before assuming you’ve been blocked or the account deactivated:

Check If Instagram is Down

See if Instagram is experiencing an outage by visiting Instagram’s status page or checking other social media platforms. Global outages can cause Stories to show unavailable errors.

Restart the Instagram App

Close and relaunch the Instagram app to clear any cached data or refresh connectivity. This can resolve temporary glitches causing the error.

Update the Instagram App

An outdated version of the app may be the reason behind Stories showing unavailable. Updating to the latest version can fix bugs.

Check Your Internet Connection

Make sure your Wi-Fi or cellular data connection is strong enough to use Instagram properly. Slow/disconnected internet prevents Stories from loading.

See If Other Stories Load

Try viewing the Stories of other accounts you follow to check if the problem is isolated or widespread. Account deactivations will prevent all of their Stories from loading.

Switch Instagram Accounts

Attempt accessing the unavailable Story using a different Instagram account you have to see if the error persists. Narrow down if it’s an account-specific or general error.

Contact the Account Owner

If you still see the error after troubleshooting, reach out to the Story poster directly via DM to check if your access was intentionally blocked or confirm their account status.

Can “Unavailable” Stories Become Accessible Again?

In some cases, an unavailable Instagram Story can become viewable again if the underlying cause is fixed:

  • If the Story or account was temporarily deactivated but restored later, the Stories may load upon reactivation.
  • If Instagram experienced a widespread outage, Stories impacted during the downtime may load normally after issues are resolved.
  • If connectivity problems were preventing Stories from loading, they would load when internet access is restored on your device.

However, if the account owner intentionally deleted the Story or their account, or specifically hid the Story from you, it will likely remain permanently unavailable to you.

Final Thoughts

The “This Story is Unavailable” error message on Instagram can certainly be confusing and disappointing if you are eager to view someone’s Story. However, in many cases, the issue is temporary and can be fixed by troubleshooting connectivity problems or app glitches.

Only when the Story has been permanently deleted or your access intentionally blocked would the content remain unavailable indefinitely.

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Vineet Maheshwari is a passionate blogger and relationship oriented digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience in SEO, PPC management, web analytics, domain investing, affiliate marketing and digital strategy. He has helped high tech brands connect with customers in an engaging manner, thereby ensuring that high quality leads are generated over time.