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The dreaded 500 internal server error. It always seems to come at the most inopportune time, and suddenly you’re wondering how to get your WordPress site back online. Trust us, we’ve all been there. Other similar errors you may see include the dreaded database connection error and the dreaded white screen of death. As soon as your website goes down, you lose visitors and customers. This is not good for your brand.
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Today we’re going to dive into 500 internal server errors and walk you through some ways to get your website online faster. Read below to find out what causes this error and what you can do to prevent it in the future.
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The 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress can occur for many reasons. If you’re experiencing one, it’s more likely that one (or more) of the following components is causing the problem:
A 500 (Internal Server Error) status code indicates that the server encountered an unexpected situation.
When you visit a website, your browser sends a request to the website’s server. The server receives the request, processes it, and returns the requested resources (PHP, HTML, CSS, etc.) along with the HTTP header. HTTP is also known as HTTP status code. A status code is a way to tell you about the status of a request. This could be a 200 status code, meaning “everything is fine,” or a 500 status code, meaning an error occurred.
A Simple Explanation Of A 502 Bad Gateway Error & How To Resolve It
There are 500 different status error codes (500, 501, 502, 503, 504, etc.), and they all mean something different. In this case, a 500 internal server error indicates that the server has encountered an unexpected condition, which has fulfilled the request (RFC 7231, 6.6.1).
Due to different web servers, operating systems, and browsers, the 500 internal server error can present itself in different ways. But they all do the same thing. Below are the different variations you can find online:
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request. Contact your server administrator and let [email protected] know when the error occurred and what you did wrong. More information about this error can be found in the server error log.
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Other times, you may see a white screen. This is common in browsers like Firefox and Safari when dealing with 500 internal server errors.
Big brands may have their own 500 internal server error messages.
If this is an IIS 7.0 (Windows) or later server, there are additional HTTP status codes that will more clearly indicate the cause of the 500 error:
How To Fix The 500 Internal Server Error On WordPress Website
Unlike 503 errors, which are used in WordPress maintenance mode and ask Google to review later, 500 errors can have a negative impact on SEO if not fixed immediately. If your website is down for only 10 minutes and crawls multiple times in a row, the crawler will serve the page from the cache. Or it may not have a chance to crawl again before Google backs it up. In this case you are perfectly fine.
However, if the site is down for a long time, say 6+ hours, Google may see the 500 error as a site problem that needs to be addressed. This will affect your ranking. If you’re worried about repeating 500 errors, you need to figure out why they’re happening to begin with. Some of the solutions below may help.
Where should you start troubleshooting when you see a 500 internal server error on your WordPress site? Sometimes you don’t even know where to start. Usually 500 errors are on the server itself, but in our experience, these errors are caused by two things, the first is user error (a client-side problem) and the second is a problem with the server itself. So let’s dive into both.
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Check out these common causes and ways to fix the 500 internal server error and be up and running in no time.
This may seem obvious to some, but the easiest and first thing you should try when encountering a 500 internal server error is to wait a minute or so and reload the page (F5 or Ctrl+F5). The host or server is overloaded and the website may crash. While you’re waiting, you can quickly try a different browser.
Another thing you can do is link the website to downforeveryoneorjustme.com. This site will notify you if the site is down or if there is a problem with your page. A similar tool checks the HTTP status codes returned from the server. If it returns anything other than 200 “All OK”, it returns the following message.
Diagnosing Http 500 / Internal Server Errors
We’ve also noticed that it sometimes happens immediately after updating a plugin or theme on your WordPress site. Usually this happens on hosts that are not properly configured. What happened was that they immediately experienced a temporary blackout. However, things usually resolve themselves within seconds, so all you have to do is refresh.
Clearing your browser cache is another good troubleshooting step before diving into deep troubleshooting your website. Below are instructions on how to clear the cache in various browsers:
Use your error log. If you are a customer, you can easily see the errors in the log viewer in my dashboard. Especially if it’s a result of a plugin on your website that can quickly reduce this problem.
How To Fix The Nginx 500 Internal Server Error?
If your server doesn’t have a logging tool, you can enable WordPress debug mode by adding the following code to your wp-config.php file.
Posts are usually located in the /wp-content directory. Others may have a special folder called “Memory” like here.
If you’re a customer, use our analytics tool to get a total of 500 errors and see how often and when they occur. If it’s an ongoing issue or if it resolves automatically, this will help you resolve the issue.
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If the 500 error is due to a fatal PHP error, you can try running the PHP error report. Add the following code to the file that causes the error. You can usually minify the file from the console of Google Chrome DevTools.
A 500 internal server error is also seen from the database connection error. Depending on your browser, you may see different errors. But both will generate a 500 HTTP status code regardless of your server log.
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Below is an example of what an “Error establishing database connection” message might look like in your browser. The entire page is blank because the connection is not working properly and the data cannot be retrieved to display the page. This will not only break your site’s front-end, but also prevent you from accessing your WordPress dashboard.
Third-party plugins and themes can easily cause 500 internal server errors. We’ve seen everything from slider plugins to ad spinner plugins created here. You should see the error several times after installing a new one or running an update. This means we recommend using an environment for frequent updates, or at least running updates one at a time. Otherwise, when you encounter a 500 internal server error, you’re suddenly wondering what’s causing it.
Some ways to fix this is to block all your plugins. You will not lose any data if you disable the plugin. If you still have access to your admin, the quickest way to do this is to go to “Connections” and select “Block” from the General Actions menu. This will disable all your plugins.
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If that solves the problem, you should find the culprit. Start executing them one by one and reload the site after each operation. When you see a 500 internal server error return, you’ve discovered a faulty plugin. For assistance, you can contact the plugin developer or submit a support ticket in the WordPress repository.
If you can’t access the WordPress admin, you can FTP into your server and change the plugins folder to plugins_old. Then check your website again. If it works, try each plugin one by one. Rename your plugins folder to “plugins” and then rename each one