We’ve all been there, where a site that was working a few seconds finely before deciding to throw an internal server error at us. The WordPress admin may still work if you’re lucky, but it may refuse to comply in other instances.
One of the most common WP faults you’ll run into as a WordPress publisher is the 500 internal server error. This problem is caused by corruption in your WP files or a server issue with your hosting company. Unfortunately, it doesn’t inform you what the problem is. Hence, this error can be annoying, especially for WordPress beginners.
To locate and fix the WordPress 500 internal server error, you’ll need a little patience and determination. Also, there are several options for resolving this issue. Many of these solutions are simple, you don’t need much technical knowledge to get started troubleshooting. We’ll discuss how to fix an internal server error in WordPress in this article with details.
- 1 What Does the 500 Internal Server Error Mean?
- 2 The 500 Internal Server Error: Few Variations
- 3 What Causes a WordPress Internal Server Error?
- 4 How Do I Fix a WordPress 500 Internal Server Error?
- 5 1. Create a Backup of Your Website
- 6 2. Reload the page to see if it helps
- 7 3. Clear the cache in your browser
- 8 4. Look through your error logs
- 9 5. Look for the message “Error Establishing a Database Connection.”
- 10 6. Check for permissions issues.
- 11 7. Check your CGI/Perl script for code or syntax errors.
- 12 8. Checking for a corrupt .htaccess file.
- 13 9. Extending PHP’s memory limit.
- 14 10. Disable all plugins.
- 15 11. Re-uploading Core Files
- 16 12. Inquire with your hosting provider.
- 17 13. Enable debugging
- 18 Conclusion
What Does the 500 Internal Server Error Mean?
The 500 internal server error is a pain to deal with since it is so vague, but when an error occurs, you usually don’t get much information about it. It’s possible that you won’t get any information at all.
The 500 error is a common problem that isn’t exclusive to WordPress. You’ve likely come across it before in your internet searches. However, despite its name, it does not always imply that your server is malfunctioning. Instead, it could be a problem with your browser or website.
If you see this issue on your site, you should fix it as soon as possible. If a 500 internal server error is left unattended, it might have a negative influence on your SEO if a search engine crawls your site while it’s down. In addition, the error may be misinterpreted as a problem with your site.
This error might degrade your User Experience (UX) and give visitors the impression that you are unprofessional. A poor user experience can influence how Google ranks your site. It can even cause you to lose your clients. After all, you can’t do business if your website isn’t up and running.
A multitude of factors can cause the 500 error, making it difficult to resolve. Here are some of the reasons for the 500 internal server error in WordPress:
- Issues with plugin compatibility.
- PHP memory limit has been reached.
- Files that have been corrupted.
- Errors in coding or syntax.
The fact that error messages are often imprecise doesn’t help matters. But, with a bit of knowledge, you can handle many of these problems on your own.
The 500 Internal Server Error: Few Variations
The appearance of the error varies depending on your operating system, browser, and the reason for the error. If it cannot make a database connection, for example, you may see something like this:
A simple white screen can show a 500 internal server error, also known as the White Screen of Death (WSoD).
In addition, many website owners can modify their 500 internal server error messages. As a result, you may encounter this error in a variety of formats.
What Causes a WordPress Internal Server Error?
WordPress isn’t the only program that can cause an internal server error. It can happen to any website that is hosted on a server, because of the error’s generic nature, it provides no information to the developer. Also, many website owners can change their 500 internal server error messages. As a result, you may encounter this error message in a variety of formats.
Internal server errors are triggered by plugin or theme functionality in WordPress. For example, a corrupted .htaccess file or a PHP memory limit can cause Internal server errors in WP, internal server errors also appear only when attempting to access the admin section. At the same time, the remainder of your site functions right.
How Do I Fix a WordPress 500 Internal Server Error?
Now that you’ve learned about the 500 internal server error, it’s time to talk about how to fix it. Firstly, let’s look at tips for resolving this problem with WordPress. The error can be resolved quickly with the upcoming steps, but before that, you need to follow a few initial steps for solving the issue.
It’s usually a good idea to back up your website before playing with it. Firstly, you’ll need to save copies of your WP files and databases from constructing a complete backup. Then, using SFTP software like FileZilla, you can back up the files on your website, navigate to the WordPress files you wish to save once you’ve connected to your server. The WordPress core installation, plugins, themes, pictures, and other files are included in this backup folder. Right-click on the files and select download to save them all.
You’ll need to back up your database now, which you can do with phpMyAdmin. From the left-hand panel, select the database you want to download, then click the Export tab.
Then you must pick between a “Quick” and a “Custom” export, unless you need to manage more advanced options, the Quick export should suffice.
After you click the Go button, your download will begin, after you’ve backed up your website content, you can now start resolving the 500 error.
2. Reload the page to see if it helps
Let’s begin with the most optimistic scenario, some 500 internal error situations will go away on their own after a few minutes. For example, you might see a server error if changes were recently made to a plugin or theme or if your host is experiencing high traffic. If this is your situation, a quick page reload should restore to normalcy.
As a result, the first step is to wait for a minute or two, during which the error should resolve itself. You can then try reloading the page by clicking F5 or (command + R on a Mac).
3. Clear the cache in your browser
Clearing your browser cache is also an easy way to fix a server problem. It is conceivable that the cache became corrupted, this might have caused issues when trying to access websites.
You could start by looking Down whether the 500 internal server error occurs for everyone or it’s just Me. This will identify whether there is a widespread issue or if you are the only one having trouble accessing the website.
If you’re having trouble with a 500 error, the issue may be with your browser also. Firstly, try to view your site with a different browser, if this alternative works, the problem is most likely with your cache. You can erase your cache in Google Chrome by typing Ctrl + Shift + Delete. Or, you can select More tools > Clear browsing data from the three vertical dots in the top-right corner of the browser window.
Make sure the cached pictures and files box is checked then, select the Clear data button or you can use the keys Ctrl+Shift+Delete on the keyboard for shortcuts in Firefox to clear the cache. The Clear Recent History window will appear, choose everything in the ‘Time range to clear’ drop-down menu. Select ‘OK’ after checking the Cache box.
You may clear your history in Safari by going to the History on the menu bar, but know that this will remove everything from your computer including cookies and recently visited pages as well.
You can try to re-visit your website once again after clearing your browser cache if the 500 internal server error persists, it’s time to move on to more extensive solutions to resolve the issue.
4. Look through your error logs
The error logs on your site may reveal what’s causing the 500 error, these logs may be cycled depending on your host, so check them out as soon as possible. You can inspect your error logs by using SFTP to access your site’s files and look for the logs directory, then select the site that is experiencing the problem then at this stage, you may notice many directories, firstly the one with the most recent data should be checked.
You can view the log by downloading it and opening it in a text editor of your choice, your error logs will give you more information about the 500 error. Enabling the WordPress to debug log is another option, you may do this by using SFTP to connect to your site and opening the wp-config.php file. Look for the following line within it:
define('WP_DEBUG', false); Replace it with the following once you find it. define( 'WP_DEBUG', true ); define( 'WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false ); define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true );
This will create a debug.log file in the /wp-content/directory, which you may find there when you’ve finished troubleshooting make sure to set the WP DEBUG option back to “false“.
5. Look for the message “Error Establishing a Database Connection.”
Your site will be unavailable to visitors if there is a problem establishing a database connection, you will also be unable to access the WordPress admin panel. This could be because of many different reasons, the following are some that could be the reasons:
- Login credentials to the database are incorrect.
- A WordPress database that has been corrupted.
- A WordPress installation file that has become corrupted.
Let’s start with a common source of database connection errors improper login credentials. If you’re a DreamHost customer, your database credentials can be found in your control panel, if you choose a different host the process will most likely be similar.
Under the database on this server section, go to MySQL Databases here pick the one that corresponds to your website, under the Database heading you’ll discover your database name, and under the Users Access column, you’ll find the username.
‘Where to find your MySQL username in DreamPanel’ is the alt-text. Firstly, click on the username to reveal the password then, scroll & go down to the next screen and click the Show option next to the password.
Compare these credentials to those in your wp-config.php file next, you can use SFTP to get to this file in your site’s main directory once you’ve downloaded the file, then open it and double-check that the information under MySQL Settings corresponds to what you discovered in your panel.
Then, if your database is corrupted, you can use phpMyAdmin to fix it. Log in and go to the left panel to your database choose the Repair table from the drop-down menu after selecting all the tables.
Finally, let’s look at how to fix a WordPress installation file that has become corrupted. Begin by downloading and unzipping a fresh copy of WordPress, the wp-content folder and the wp-config-sample.php file must be deleted.
Overwrite any existing files on your site with the rest of the contents via SFTP, you now have a completely clean WordPress installation. You should also delete your browser cache before returning to your website.
6. Check for permissions issues.
Suppose the permissions on any of your files are configured wrong for example, you might get the 500 internal server error, again these permissions can be checked and changed using SFTP. To launch a new dialogue window, right-click on any file and select File permissions. You can examine if necessary and change the file’s permissions in this box.
Set files to “644” and directories and executables to “755” in most cases. If you’re unsure about the correct values, you should verify with your host.
7. Check your CGI/Perl script for code or syntax errors.
Any coding errors you make while running CGI programs could result in a 500 error, Secure Shell Access is an excellent way to find out if your CGI scripts are having problems (SSH). In addition, you can troubleshoot your CGI using the following command once you’ve logged in.
The terminal should display a generic error message and the line number where the problem exists then you may start working your code magic. There are a few best practices to remember when dealing with CGI to avoid difficulties, begin using a plain text editor to ensure that the ASCII format is maintained and you should be able to pick ASCII mode in your FTP client when uploading scripts.
Finally, if necessary, upload to your server’s cgi-bin directory, after you’ve uploaded your files, you can double-check their permissions.
8. Checking for a corrupt .htaccess file.
When debugging the internal server error in WordPress the first thing to do is to look for a corrupted .htaccess file. Rename your main .htaccess file to something like “.htaccess old” to do the process.
To rename the .htaccess file go to your hosting account’s cPanel dashboard, login with FTP or the File Manager app. The .htaccess file will be in the same directory as the wp-content, wp-admin, and wp-includes folders once you’ve connected.
After renaming the .htaccess file, go to your site to see if the problem has been resolved. If it did, congratulate yourself for resolving the internal server error.
Before going further, make sure you go to the WordPress admin area’s Settings and select remove the Permalinks page, and hit the save button without making any changes.
This will create a new .htaccess file with rewritten rules, this will help in preventing the 404 errors on your post pages. If the solution does not work, continue reading this article.
9. Extending PHP’s memory limit.
When your PHP memory limit is reached, an internal server error can occur. To fix this, see our instructions on how to raise the PHP memory limit in WordPress it may help you resolve 500 internal server error.
If the internal server problem appears only when you try to login to your admin or upload an image in your wp-admin, it would help if you have increased the RAM limit by taking the following steps:
- First, make a php.ini text file that is blank.
- Fill in the blanks with the following code: memory=64MB.
- Save the document.
- Using FTP, upload it to your /wp-admin/ folder.
Several users reported that completing the steps above resolved the admin side issues, for example, if increasing the memory limit you have solved the problem, it was only a temporary solution. You must still determine what is causing your RAM limit to be exceeded.
It could be a theme function or a poorly coded plugin. You can ask your web hosting provider to examine the server logs to get the relevant diagnoses if the issue is not resolved even after increasing the PHP memory limit. Then, you will need to conduct further investigation on it.
10. Disable all plugins.
Suppose none of the preceding suggestions succeeded the error is certainly due to a specific plugin. It’s also likely a problem with a group of plugins that aren’t getting along. Unfortunately, there is no simple way to find out it will help if you disable all WordPress plugins at the same time.
If disabling all plugins fixed the problem, you know it’s one of the plugins that’s to blame. Click on ‘Plugins’ in the WordPress admin section and must reactivate each plugin one by one until you locate the one that is causing the issue. Then, remove that plugin and notify the plugin’s author of the issue.
11. Re-uploading Core Files
Suppose the plugin option failed to resolve the internal server error try re-uploading the wp-admin and wp-includes folders from a fresh WordPress installation. This will NOT delete any of your data, but it may help. Firstly, resolve the situation if a file is corrupted, you must first go to the WordPress.org website and click the Download option.
This will download the WordPress zip file to your computer and install it. But, you must first extract the zip file which will contain a wordpress folder. The next step is to use an FTP client to connect to your WordPress website, now go to the root folder of your website once you’ve connected.
It’s the folder that contains the wp-admin, wp-includes, and wp-content directories, firstly, open the WP folder on your computer in the left column now you must right-click on the wp-includes and wp-admin folders and select ‘Upload.’
The FTP client can now transfer these folders to your server. Next, it will ask, if you want, to overwrite the filesc choose ‘Overwrite’ and then ‘Always use this action.’
Your FTP client will now overwrite your old WP files with newer, cleaner versions. This step would fix the internal server errors if your WordPress files were corrupted.
12. Inquire with your hosting provider.
Suppose all the above approaches fail to resolve the internal server problem on your website. Then, it’s time to seek more help first, contact your web hosting support team, the hosting provider will be able to examine the server logs and pinpoint the error’s source.
13. Enable debugging
I recommend turning on debugging if WordPress gives you a white screen of death or a server error. While this may not solve the problem, it will provide more information about what is going on.
You can enable Debugging by modifying the wp-config.php file on your site. Look for WP DEBUG in this file once you’ve accessed it set it to “true” when you discover it. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ll have to make it yourself. Anyways, you will have a line that looks like this “define(“WP_DEBUG”, true ).”
Reload your site after saving to see the changes if you’re lucky, the server error will go away, and a new message will tell you exactly where the problem is. If this is the case, investigate the source of the error once you Disable the plugin the error should go away.
If enabling debugging does not yield positive results. Remember to keep it on until the problem is set right. It will help developers better understand what’s going on. Once you’ve completed the maintenance, remember to switch off debugging.
In most cases, internal server failures in WP are not caused by genuine server errors. The majority of the time, you can rectify them using the procedures indicated above.
Start simple by refreshing the page and deleting the cache in your browser. Then you can go on to more involved remedies like boosting your PHP memory limit. If in doubt, always ask your host, they have far more advanced capabilities for locating and resolving difficulties. We hope this article helped fix the WordPress http 500 internal server error.