WordPress error message
“HTTP 500 Internal Server Error”
On English-language servers, the error may also read “HTTP-Error 500: Internal Server Error”.
First of all, the HTTP error 500 is a collective error when something unexpected occurs on web servers that prevents the WordPress page from being output. The error message is not issued by WordPress, but directly by the server. The causes can be varied. We have compiled a list of possible sources of error and possible solutions below. As always, if you are unable to resolve the issue yourself, please feel free to contact our WordPress support.
Possible causes for the HTTP 500 Internal Server Error are:
- Faulty plugins or themes: A plugin or the activated theme causes a server error.
- Error in .htaccess file: The .httaccess file is located in the WordPress main directory. Incorrect syntax can cause the error.
- Not enough PHP memory: The server does not have enough reserved memory for WordPress (PHP memory limit).
- Error in the rights system: The access rights for files and folders are set incorrectly.
FTP or SSH access to the server is required to solve the “Internal Server Error”.
1. Check server error logs
The first step should always be to take a look at the web server’s error logs. Where you find these is different for each web host. Some of these can be accessed via FTP (top folder level in the “logs” folder), some of the error logs can only be accessed via the web host’s configuration interface.
2. Disable plugins
In general, we recommend always deactivating all plugins in the event of WordPress errors. If the “Internal Server Error” also occurs in the WordPress administration area, the plugins can still be deactivated via FTP. See also: Deactivate WordPress plugins WITHOUT admin access (backend).
3. Switch to default theme
The currently activated theme can also cause the server error. Therefore, we recommend switching to a standard WordPress theme, eg “Twenty Seventeen”. The switch is also possible without access to the WordPress administration area. See also: Change WordPress theme without admin area.
5. Check .htaccess file
A faulty .htaccess can trigger an “Internal Server Error”. Even if you haven’t made any changes to the file, you shouldn’t ignore this source of error. There are plugins such as SEO and caching plugins that can make changes to the .htaccess. If you don’t have any knowledge of the .httaccess syntax, we recommend the following procedure:
- Make a backup of the .httaccess (it is located in the main WordPress directory).
- Delete the .htaccess (or just rename it).
- Now log into WordPress and go to the settings under “Permalinks”.
- Save the permalinks settings without making any changes. WordPress will now create a “fresh” and error-free .htaccess.
Note: If you have made individual adjustments in the old .htaccess, these must be updated manually later.
6. Increase PHP memory
The “Internal Server Error” can also occur when there is not enough PHP memory available. The following error usually appears in the error logs: Allowed memory size of x bytes exhausted (tried to allocate bytes). The PHP memory limit can be changed via the web host’s administration interface. However, the maximum value is limited with most web hosting packages. If you have your own server, you can individually increase the memory limit in php.ini.
7. Check file permissions
The “HTTP 500 Internal Server Error” can also occur if the file permissions are not set correctly. According to the WordPress Codex, the following permissions are recommended:
- 644 for files
- 755 for folders
- for special files such as wp-config.php there are some deviations from the recommendation.
You can change file permissions via FTP, or via SSH with the chmod() command.
Were you able to fix the “HTTP Error 500: Internal Server Error”?
If not, contact our WordPress support now without obligation. We are glad to help you.