Error 500 Troubleshooting – Pascale Beier

Your WordPress site won’t load and just shows a white page or 500 error.
This is how you fix the error!

Lately I had the problem that my site stopped working without my intervention. That’s when I came up with the idea of ​​describing my solution in this post.

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WordPress Error 500: What Does It Actually Mean?

On the web, all errors have their own error code for better identification. For example, where 404 indicates a web address that cannot be found, the 500 error is usually due to incorrect configuration of the web server or PHP daemon, or simply to a faulty PHP script.
In the case of WordPress, you will usually only find an empty page and cannot access the admin area.

Finding the source of the error: Plugins are usually the cause

In the vast majority of cases, the error 500 is not due to a misconfiguration of your web or PHP server. Very few use their own server for their WordPress website. So the problem must be somewhere on your side.
More precisely with your plugins.

Step 1: Rename the plugin directory

If you rename the plugin directory wp-content/plugins via FTP program, WordPress deactivates all plugins and you can access your site. If your page is actually visible after the renaming, the error was due to a plugin.

Step 2: Activate plugins one by one

Now you apply the elimination procedure: activate your installed plugins one after the other and check the functionality of your site each time. At some point you will find the error devil. Note the relevant plugin and rename it.

Step 3: Update faulty plugin

If you’re lucky, an update is already available that will fix your plugin’s critical bug that was bringing your whole site down.

Step 4: Use support forum

If you are not lucky, there will be no update available. Use the plugin’s support forum in the official WordPress directory or on the manufacturer’s website and describe your problem. Most importantly, include the WordPress version, hosting environment, and other plugins you’re using.
The theme used can also be helpful. There may also be conflicts here, for example if you have updated another plugin or your theme.

Nothing helps? Other sources of error and attempted solutions

  1. Check your settings, especially those of your plugins and especially the faulty plugin.
  2. Have you recently uninstalled a plugin that you use to call in your theme? Check your functions.php for orphaned functions without security prompt (if function exists)
  3. Check your backups – you might be able to restore a recent backup and find the error.
  4. Question in WordPress communities.
  5. Also ask your hosting provider. Maybe they know something.

No matter where you are looking for help: Always provide as much information as possible – not everyone is clairvoyant 😉

Ever had that famous blank page or 500 error? What did you do about it?