The 500 error is a server error typically caused by a misconfigured web hosting account, a lack of server resources, or a WordPress problem. The internal server error is one of the most common WordPress errors. In this article, we’ll show you how to fix this issue.
What is the 500 internal server error?
The 500 error is frustratingly nonspecific, and many situations can cause it. It could mean that something is wrong with your server or a website, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the problem needs to be fixed by you as you might not have the required access.
When you see this error on your website, this means there is no way for the reader to access the content on your website. It can also impact SEO and UX because users won’t be able to navigate through your site properly without seeing an empty page or white screen (depending on what theme you’re using).
What is a common cause of this issue?
Internal server errors are one of the most common issues on WordPress websites. Some of these issues include broken themes or plugins that don’t work, and some cases stem from a plugin conflict with another plugin installed on your website.
If you’re not sure what’s causing this issue, it may be helpful to start by checking out the logs for error 500 (500 Internal Server Error) for more information about what might have gone wrong.
The most common causes for the 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress are:
- A plugin conflict
- A theme conflict
- Server issue
- Corrupted files
- Exceeding website memory limit
- Exceeding PHP memory limit
- Coding or syntax error
Let’s see how we can fix this issue!
How to fix 500 internal server error in WordPress
If you’re experiencing this error, here are some solutions that have helped many WordPress users get their website working again:
Back up your website
Before making any changes to your website – back it up first. A backup is a copy of your website that you can use to restore your website if something goes wrong.
If you’re not doing it already – make sure to back up your website regularly, especially when things are changing on the site.
Clear browser cache
If the website you’re trying to access gives you an error message saying “Internal Server Error,” the first thing you should try is clearing your browser cache.
Especially if this is right after you update specific plugins or themes in your WordPress website. Sometimes when a plugin is updated, WordPress hasn’t finished the process, and if we try to access the website, it could give a blank screen.
Reload the web page
When you are getting the 500 Internal Server Error, it might just be because your website needs a refresh. If this is the case, reloading the page will clear out any temporary errors and allow you to continue with regular operation.
Turn on debugging
When you cannot load WordPress, it is often because the server has run out of memory. To fix this, turn on debugging and see what is happening behind the scenes.
This can be done by turning on debugging in the wp-config.php file located in the root of WordPress’s installation directory and reviewing the errors on your live website after you reload the page.
To turn on debugging, you would need to search for the WP_DEBUG in the wp-config.php file and change it from “false” to “true.”
Deactivate plugins and themes
Next, try disabling all plugins one by one to determine which specific plugin is causing the error. To do this, head to the wp-content/plugins directory and add _disabled suffix to each of your plugins. Once completed, enable them one by one (by removing the suffix from the name) and refresh your website in the browser to see if it fixed the issue.
Increase PHP memory limit
The internal server error is potentially caused by your website exceeding the PHP memory limit. Increasing the PHP memory limit is one of the ways to boost performance, and there are a couple of ways to do this, depending on your server setup.
The methods to increase the PHP memory limit vary from updating the .htaccess file, php.ini file, or editing wp-config.php with a text editor such as Notepad++.
If you’re unsure how your server is configured, we recommend contacting your hosting provider and having them increase the PHP memory limit for you.
Check file permissions
When you get an HTTP 500 error, file permissions are one of the most common causes. To resolve this, make sure to set your files to 644 and folders to 755 permissions via the cPanel control panel’s File Manager or the command line (if you have it enabled).
Look for the ‘Error Establishing a Database Connection.’
The 500 Internal Server Error is caused by many moving parts with themes, plugins, and users constantly deleting and installing them. The cause could be missing or individually corrupt tables in the database, issues with your WordPress installation, or problems with your database host.
If you are experiencing an error establishing a database connection, ensure that the login credentials are correct.
If none of the steps above have helped, it would be best to contact your hosting provider, as the server logs should provide more information on what caused the issue. It could be an error with your website or potentially related to the server misconfiguration or lack of resources.
The 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress is a standard error that occurs when files in the core installation get corrupted. If none of the steps outlined above worked – we recommend reinstalling WordPress.
Download the WordPress core from the WordPress website, unpack it on your computer, and then use FTP to upload files and directories to your hosting account. Ensure to overwrite all files and folders when you get a prompt from your FTP client. Make sure to back up your site before proceeding to minimize the risk.
The 500 Internal Server Error is a vague message, and it’s usually hiding debug and backtrace information. Hopefully, the methods above helped you get down to the bottom of it, and you fixed your website.
If nothing works for you, then contact your hosting provider for support, as they should be able to assist in fixing these issues.