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500 Internal Server Error: How to Fix It

Have you ever gone to your website and seen the “500 Internal Server Error” message? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. A lot of people see this error message at some point or another. But what does it mean, and more importantly, how do you fix it?

What is a 500 internal server error?

A 500 internal server error is a very general HTTP status code that indicates something has gone wrong with the server that hosts the website, but the server cannot provide more specifics.

You might see something like this in your browser when you get a 500 error message:

Internal server error

Other ways you could see an HTTP 500 error:

  • 500 Internal Server Error
  • Internal server error
  • HTTP 500- Internal Server Error
  • 500 error
  • Temporary Error (500)
  • HTTP Error 500

Causes of 500 Internal Server Error

A 500 internal server error signifies a problem with the website’s server. Most likely, the issue is with the website’s programming. Possible causes of a 500 internal server error include:

  • A permission error
  • Corrupted or broken .htaccess file
  • The PHP memory limit is exceeded
  • Faulty third-party plugins or themes

How to fix the 500 Internal Server Error

Fixing errors on your site:

  1. Ensure PHP setup is configured properly

An Internal Server Error 500 usually results from incorrect permission on a file or folder. Usually, the problem lies with incorrect permission on a PHP or CGI script. You can resolve the issue by creating timeout rules or error handling for your script. Check also your permissions and make sure they are correctly set.

  • Deactivate a plugin or theme

Your current server configuration may be affected by newly installed software, add-ons, or third-party scripts. To determine what exactly is causing the error, try uninstalling or deactivating the software add-ons one by one.

With WordPress, you can do this easily with plugins. Choose Plugins > Installed Plugins from your dashboard and deactivate the first plugin. When the error is resolved, you know the problem is this plugin. Deactivate the first plugin and reactivate it, and then repeat the process for all plugins to determine which one is causing the problem.

  • Ensure that your site’s .htaccess file contains the correct code

There could be an issue with your .htaccess file due to incorrect coding or an incorrect structure. By using the .htaccess file, you can control how long resources should be stored in the cache.

You might be able to fix the 500 internal server error by editing the file.

Find your .htaccess file and access your website files with a file manager like cPanel or via FTP/SFTP. You will probably find it in the public_htmldirectory. You may need to turn on hidden files on your server if this file is hidden by default.

  • Identify issue using WP Debugging

Consider installing a plugin to help you identify the issue with your server if your site is powered by WordPress and comfortable with WordPress debugging. WP Debugging can quickly help you determine what is wrong with your site.

Fixing errors when you are trying to load a page:

  1. Refresh the page

The issue might be temporary, so refreshing the page might help.

  • Clear your browser’s cache

HTTP 500 issues can occur if there is a problem with the cached version of the page you’re viewing.

  • Delete the cookies in your browser.

You might try deleting your browser’s cookies if clearing your browser history doesn’t work. When the cookies are associated with the error-prone webpage, deleting the cookies may help reload it.

  • Try troubleshooting as a 504 Gateway Timeout

Occasionally, some servers will report 500 Internal Server Errors when they should display 504 Gateway Timeout, based on the cause of the error.

  • Come back later

Since the error is on the server side, it’s beyond your control that it will eventually get fixed by someone else.

A constant 500 internal server error messages may not be helpful to your business or visitors. The best that you can do is to look into the problem and fix it as soon as possible before it can affect your SEO performance and prevent users from accessing your website.

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