What is an internal server error in WordPress?
The 500 Internal Server Error is one of the most common issues encountered by WordPress site owners. It can be viewed when a user is logged into WordPress and when they are logged out of the platform.
Due to the variety of web servers, operating systems, and browsers, the 500 Internal Server Error can be loaded in a variety of ways. however, they all signal the same thing. Below are some of the many different versions you may see around the web:
- 500 internal server error
- HTTP 500 – Internal server error
- internal server error
- 500 internal server error. Sorry, something went wrong.
- HTTP error 500
- 500 – Internal server error
- Can’t process this request at this time. HTTP ERROR 500.
- 500. This is a mistake. There was a mistake. Please try again later. That’s all we know.
- The website cannot display the page HTTP 500.
- 500 errors
- A blank white page with no content.
Have you recently seen this error? You may be wondering what exactly is causing it and how to avoid it. Even if this strange problem seems a bit confusing, it has its solution. Stay up to date with our guide on how to fix internal server errors in WordPress.
What is the reason for showing internal server error in WordPress?
We are talking about a generic type of error like the “Error establishing a database connection”. A major disadvantage is that the error contains insufficient information. Typically, the confusing message displayed in the browser is as follows:
internal server error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to process your request.
Please contact the server administrator at webmaster @ to let them know when this error occurred and what actions you took just prior to this error.
You may find more information about this error in the server error log.
You may think it is related to WordPress. In fact, the error occurs on websites managed by various content management systems (CMS). This is an issue observed on various servers as well. Its generic essence makes it a bit harder to fix than desired, though. But don’t worry, we’re here to walk you through the process together.
Important: Before proceeding with the guide below, please take a look at your site backup. You need a saved copy of the current version of your website as this will save you if something goes wrong.
How to Fix the 500 Internal Server WordPress Error
The HTTP error 500 can also happen if your server is working properly. This can be a signal that something has failed at the end of the website. When it comes to a WordPress site, it can signal that a theme-related script or an installed plugin has been executed maliciously in a weird way.
This, in turn, indicates that the solution may require sufficient time and patience. But don’t lose heart. We’ll show you different solutions to this problem and walk you through the troubleshooting process.
One of the easiest fixes reported by website owners who are experiencing this frustrating website problem is related to the cache. This can either be the cache in your browser or the cache accumulated by a caching plugin you use for the site. Therefore, we recommend clearing the entire cache before proceeding with more complicated fixes.
Fixing the corrupted .htaccess file
If it wasn’t the cache that was preventing the site from loading properly, you should look for a corrupt .htaccess file. To access this file, you must log into your site.
As the WordPress panel may not be available at this time, you will need to use the file manager available in your hosting provider’s cPanel or an FTP client tool of your choice.
Once you access the database, you will find the .htaccess file. It’s probably somewhere near the wp-content, wp-admin, and wp-contains directories. All you have to do when you find it is rename it to something like .htaccess_test.
To rename it you need to right-click on it and select View/Edit or Rename option depending on how you access your site’s database.
Once you are done with the step of renaming the .htaccess file, try to open your website. If it loads correctly, congratulations, you’ve fixed the pesky internal server error.
Beware! There is one more step you should take. You need to generate a new .htaccess file that doesn’t contain the wrong rules that will break the site. This way you also prevent some 404 errors from occurring. Now go to the WordPress admin panel and locate the Settings section. Then select the Permalinks option and click the Save button without making any changes.
In case the .htaccess file wasn’t the reason your site is down, then continue with the steps below.
Expand PHP memory limit
Sometimes reaching the limit of your PHP memory can cause internal server errors. One way to increase the storage limit involves the following steps:
- 1. Create an empty text file and name it php.ini
- 2. Paste the message Memory = 64MB in there.
- 3. Save the file.
- 4. Go to the FTP client and upload the file to the /wp-admin/ folder.
Several users whose websites were down due to the same issue have reported that completing the steps above helped them debug.
Note that this update is a temporary fix. They have yet to figure out exactly what forced the site to hit its storage limit. Chances are there is a poorly coded plugin or outdated theme functionality wreaking havoc.
The best approach, in this case, is to contact the support of your WordPress web hosting company and ask their representative to check the server logs for you. You are likely to be able to share accurate and informative diagnostics.
Disable all installed plugins
Here we are three steps ahead and the 500 Internal Server Error is still with us. This probably means that the reason is related to the performance of a plugin installed on the site. Or it could even be a deadly combination of plugins that somehow fell out. Sadly, this could only be identified the hard way.
First, you need to disable all WordPress plugins at once. One way to do this is:
- 1. Go to the WP admin panel.
- 2. Click Plugins.
- 3. Go to Installed section and select all plugins.
- 4. From the mass actions drop down menu select the Deactivate Opportunity.
- 5. Click Use.
In case you don’t have access to the WP admin panel, here’s what you can do:
- 1. Go download and install an FTP client software like FileZilla. Or use one of your choice.
- 2. Connect the FTP client to your website.
- 3. When the process is done, navigate to /wp-content/ folder.
- 4. Select the Plugins folder. It contains all plugins installed on your site.
- 5. Right-click the Plugins folder and choose Rename.
- 6. Changing the name of the folder will disable all installed plugins.
This method will automatically disable all installed plugins. If WordPress cannot find the Plugins folder, it will not load any plugin-related files.
Once you have performed all of the actions listed above, you should try loading your site again. If it loads normally, large, you can proceed to the next step of this chapter. If it doesn’t, you should rename the folder to Plugins again and check out our other fixes.
If you are sure that a plugin is causing the HTTP error 500 to appear in the browser, then it is necessary to find out which one is problematic. For this purpose, you need to activate one plugin at a time and check your site’s behavior. This way you can finally understand which one is corrupting the site.
- 1. Go back to the WordPress admin panel.
- 2. Dial plugins.
- 3. Start reactivating them one by one.
- 4. Identify the problem.
- 5. Disable and delete it.
- 6. Report the bug to the plugin author to support the community of other website owners using the same plugin.
Don’t forget to clear the cache collected by the caching plugin if you use one. This can also solve the problem.
Contact your web hosting support team
If you have followed all the above steps and still need a solution to the 500 Internal Server Problem, we recommend you to contact your hosting provider. Explain to the support team what you have been doing so far, you can share this article if you want to show them the steps you have tried and ask them for further help. They will certainly appreciate your efforts as it will allow them to pinpoint and fix the problem much faster.
As you can see, internal server error is a problem that has various triggers. Hence, the solution can sometimes be time-consuming. We hope the above guide helped you figure out what went wrong and eventually got your site up and running again.