Using WordPress is an exciting way to build a website. With an endless combination of themes and plugins to choose from, you can create just about any site you desire. You can even use your coding prowess to create a unique site regarding looks and functionality.
But since you have to work with a lot of moving parts, you may eventually run into some problems such as the 500 internal server error.
What are 500 Internal Server Errors?
500 internal server errors are relatively common with the WordPress environment, but they can also occur in other content management systems and platforms. But unlike 404s that have obvious causes, such as broken links and changing page URLs, you need to dig a little deeper to understand the problem.
The first thing you need to do is to check the PHP or Apache error logs from your server. Since 500 internal error messages do not provide specific information on why it occurred, you need to look for any traces that can help you find the culprit yourself.
To view the error logs, sign into your web hosting control panel and go to the main “Websites/Domains” section. Keep in mind that the interface varies from each hosting company. Just look for a menu or toolbar where you can find the “File Manager,” “Web Server Settings,” “PHP Settings” or anything similar; the “Logs” option should be there as well.
The purpose of viewing the error logs is to give the 500 internal error message some context. Doing so will help you determine the fix that can be applied. Depending on your findings, below are the things you can try:
1. PHP Script Time Out
If your website’s PHP script creates external connections, some of these may time out and cause 500 internal errors. You can prevent these instances by specifying timeout rules or removing unnecessary external connections from your PHP scripts.
Another solution is to increase the PHP memory limit, which can be done by creating a blank text file named “php.ini.”
Write down the code “memory=64MB”, save, and then upload it to your WordPress directory using FTP.
2. Error in .htaccess File
Another common cause of 500 internal errors is a corrupt or misconfigured .htaccess file. A quick fix is to rename the old .htaccess file into something else – like ‘.htaccess_old.’ To do this, log in to your web hosting platform and go to the file manager. You should be able to find the file alongside WordPress folders like wp-content, wp-includes, and so on.
Upon successfully renaming the file, refresh your site to see if it fixed the problem. If the error message is gone, don’t forget to generate a new .htaccess file with the correct rewrite rules.
You can do this by logging into your WordPress dashboard, going to Settings à Permalinks, and then click the save button.
3. Faulty Plugins
If none of the previous solutions worked, then the error is probably caused by a faulty plugin. The culprit should be easily identifiable if you recently installed a new plugin before the error occurred. Otherwise, you need to check each plugin by deactivating all of them and then turning them back on – one by one.
To do this, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins, click “Select All,” and then choose “Deactivate” from the Bulk Actions dropdown menu.
The solutions outlined above should help you fix 500 internal errors. But if the problem persists, remember that server-related problems sometimes cause these errors. In which case, you need to contact your hosting provider and wait for their assistance.
Article by Christopher Jan Benitez
Christopher Jan Benitez is a professional freelance writer who provides small businesses with content that engages their audience and increases conversion. If you are looking for high-quality articles about anything related to digital marketing, then he's your guy! Feel free to say "hi" to him on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.