500 Internal Server Error: Solved! Learn What it Means and How to Fix it

500 internal server error solved!

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Encountering the pesky 500 Internal Server Error can be quite the headache for any website owner.

If fortune favors you, it might be accompanied by a helpful hint like “Connection Timed Out” or “Kindly verify your internet connection and give it another shot.”

Alas, if there’s no such clarification, you might be left staring at a blank page, unable to proceed.

As a WordPress aficionado, the infamous “500 Internal Server Error” will eventually cross your path.

This pesky error pops up on your WordPress site when an underlying issue arises.

If your site falls victim to this error, it’s a sure sign that your web hosting provider’s server configuration has hit a snag.

Stumbled upon a website and been greeted by the dreaded 500 Internal Server Error message?

Keep calm and carry on!😎

This typically implies the server is struggling to handle the request appropriately.

Fear not, for there are ways to mend this issue.

Solutions await you right here.

Eager to unravel this mystery? Alright, let’s start by grasping the mistake, deciphering why it’s a server issue, and discovering the solution.

What is a 500 Internal Server Error?

500 internal server error image
Common 500 Internal Server Error Window
Screenshot of the error page "this page is not working"

To kick things off, it’s crucial to understand that the notorious internal server error 500 is, in fact, an HTTP error, and it’s just one of the numerous status codes linked to the delightful world of Hypertext Transfer Protocol, AKA HTTP.

Feel free to feast your eyes on the comprehensive list of status codes right here:

10 Status Code Definitions.

Today we will deal with one of the worst status codes: the status code 500 Internal Server Error. This HTTP status tells you that the server hosting the website you are accessing is unable to process such a request. There are many causes for this error, but in general, it is best to investigate the server itself.

What causes a 500 Internal Server Error?

There are many reasons why a 500 Internal Server Error may occur, some of which are: 

  • No permission to access the website
  • You cannot connect to the server hosting the website
  • There is a configuration problem with your network
  • Excessive PHP timeout
  • PHP memory limit exceeded
  • Incompatibility with the PHP version

Fixing 500 Internal Server Error WordPress

Fixing 500 Internal Server Errors can be a challenge, even for an IT professional. They occur when the server is busy or can not handle all your requests at once, and they are usually caused by problems configuring the hosting server that runs most websites.

To fix this 500 HTTP protocol server error, we first need to locate it. This requires a troubleshooting strategy. So let us begin.

Troubleshooting 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress.

Learning to fix the 500 internal server error
Learning all About the 500 Internal Server Error

Troubleshooting 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress can be a daunting task, to say the least. The first thing you should do is check that your server is working and operational. If the server is up and running, you should check if your hosting provider has a customer support hotline. The problem is that sometimes the hosting provider’s support team takes too long to respond and you need to fix the 500 error now. That’s why we created this 500 Internal Server Error Troubleshooting Guide.

In this guide, we will troubleshoot your 500 Internal Server Error in five steps:

  1. Check if plugins are causing the problem
  2. We will check the installation of the theme
  3. Check if the .htaccess file is corrupted 
  4. Ask help to the support of the hosting provider
  5. Reinstall or reset WordPress

1. Checking WordPress plugins

Plugins on wordpress provoking the 500 internal server error
Checking Plugins on WordPress!

A clever method to uncover the sneaky plugin causing that pesky 500 status error is to give them all a timeout by disabling them. Then, like a detective, activate each one individually to catch the troublemaker in the act. Fixing the issue becomes a breeze! Deactivating those plugins is a piece of cake, and here’s the recipe:

3 Steps to disable all WordPress Plugins:

  1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Under Appearance, find the “Plugins” section. Hover over the word “Plugins” and click on “Installed Plugins”.
  3. In the plugin dashboard, click on “Bulk Actions”, select “Disable” from the list of drop-down options and click on “Apply”.

All installed plug-ins should now be deactivated.

Now it is time to find the culprit!

For this, you need some patience because you have to go through one plug-in after the other until you find the plug-in that is causing the 500 Internal Server Error.

The best way to find out which plugin is causing the HTTP 500 Internal Server Error:

  1. After you have deactivated all plug-ins, keep the normal browser open in which you have deactivated all plug-ins. Then open an incognito browser and open your website or the web page that triggered the Internal Server Error Code 500.
  2. Go back to the normal browser (not the incognito browser) and activate the first plugin in the list.
  3. Clear the entire cache, wait 1-2 minutes and press Ctrl+Alt+Sup on the incognito page.
  4. Check whether the error occurs again. If it does, you have found the culprit. If the error does not reoccur, continue troubleshooting all other plug-ins until you find the one causing the error.

Alright, completed all those steps and the issue is resolved?

Fantastic, you can get back to business!

If not, though, additional testing is in order.

There’s another potential situation where you’re unable to access your website entirely, thanks to a pesky 500 internal server error.

When this occurs, you’ll need to sneak into your cPanel and head over to the “File manage” section.

Look for the folder housing all those plugins and give them a little time-out by disabling them right there.

Here’s a handy guide on how to disable all plugins using cPanel.

Steps to disable all WordPress plugins using cPanel:

  1. Log into your cPanel and click on the file manager folder.
  2. Navigate to your WordPress installation folder. Example – Public HTML/your-website
  3. Locate the plugins folder, which you can find here: Public HTML/your-website/wp-content/plugins. There are all plugins you were using in your WordPress website.
  4. Now rename the plugins folder, to something like “faulty-plugins”. To rename the folder – > simply right-click on it – > Rename

At this point, all the plugins in your WordPress have been deactivated.

Give your site a whirl in your browser’s incognito mode to check if the issue has vanished.

If it has, it’s time to play detective and figure out which plugin was the culprit.

First things first, whip up a new folder and christen it “plugins”.

Now, stealthily open your website in an incognito tab.

The smart move is to enable the plugins one by one, checking for the problem’s return after each addition.

The beauty of this method is that you won’t be bombarded with error messages if a plugin is playing up.

No need to scrutinize which one is causing the chaos – just nix the renamed plugin folder, and bid adieu to that pesky 500 Internal Server Error.

500 Internal Server Error: Conquered!

Still no luck?


Let’s soldier on with our troubleshooting quest!

2. Check the WordPress theme installed

Themes are prone to internal server errors that can be fixed with the right know-how.

There are many reasons why your website is not working properly, but some of them point to your installed themes. WordPress is a popular content management system that often has issues with themes. With the right know-how, you can rule out your theme as the culprit for the 500 Internal Server Error by deactivating the theme marked as “active” in your theme’s dashboard. These are the steps:

  1. – Log in to your WordPress dashboard
  2. – Hover over the “Appearance” left menu item and click on “Themes”.
  3. – Deactivate the active theme and activate a default theme. (WordPress currently comes with three default themes: Twenty Nineteen, Twenty Twenty and Twenty Twenty-One).

After performing this method, you should open an incognito tab again and try to load your website. If it works, you have found the culprit. 500 Internal server error fixed!

But what if you can no longer log into the WordPress backend dashboard because of this 500 Internal Server Error?

Then you need to follow these further steps to manually deactivate the themes via cPanel.

Disabling WordPress Themes Using cPanel:

  1. Log in to your cPanel and click on “File Manager”.
  2. Double-click on the “public_html” folder and navigate to the “wp-content” folder and click on the “themes” folder. 
  3. You should then see the list of installed themes. It is best to rename your main theme folder to “testing-theme”.

After completing the task, give your website a whirl in a stealthy incognito tab to see if it’s up and running!

Should it falter, fear not!

We’ll advance to the third and delightfully uncomplicated approach to tackle that pesky 500 Internal Server Error.

3. Check if the .htaccess file is corrupted

The pesky internal server error on your WordPress site it’s more common than you think and often stems from a troublesome .htaccess file.

You know, the one that might’ve been tampered with during some site updates or tweaks that went awry.

Fear not!🏆

You can combat the 500 Internal Server Error by repairing, restoring, or even recreating your .htaccess file.

This little gem lets you modify your website’s configuration without digging into the server’s nitty-gritty files.

But be warned 💥- with great power comes great responsibility.

Mishandling this file can wreak havoc on your site, causing the dreaded 500 Internal Server Error and other unpleasantries.

Corrupted Htaccess files can be quite the headache, leading to broken links, internal server errors, and those annoying, unexpected redirects.

So, handle with care!

If your .htaccess file becomes corrupted, it is usually because you have installed a faulty plugin (often nulled plugins) or tried to customise the file by adding commands that are not supported by your web server.

The most common cause is themes that are not coded correctly (or trying to install nulled themes). In any case, you need to fix this 500 Internal Server Error (and stop using nulled plugins and themes). So let us try to fix this server error by correcting your .htaccess file.

The best option you have is to use a backup that you or your hosting provider may have. 

If you replace your current .htaccess file with a backed-up file, most websites that experience this 500 Internal Server Error due to a corrupted .htaccess file will be back online and the error fixed!

Where can you find the .htaccess file?

Oh, you do not know how to find your .htaccess file? I do not know that either! XDDD. Just kidding, here are the steps to find the .htaccess file:

Typically, the elusive .htaccess file can be spotted hanging out in the root directory – you know, the same neighborhood where the cool kids like wp-admin, wp-content, and wp-includes reside.

Now, some hosting providers play a sneaky game of hide-and-seek with the htaccess file, since it’s quite the VIP for your website’s operation. If it’s playing hard to get, ensure all hidden files are visible by tinkering with your WordPress hosting account’s file manager settings. Wink, wink.

How to find an Open .htaccess File?

  1. Go to your file manager folder – > you will find the folder public HTML. (root folder)
  2. If you cannot see the .htaccess file, navigate to the top-right menu, there you will see the word “Settings”, click on it and activate the option Show hidden files.
  3. Now activate the display of all hidden files so that you should now be able to see the .htaccess file.

Here’s your chance to either erase the file and whip up a new one or revamp the present one.

Take a look at how to execute these two missions:

Mission one: Obliterate the .htaccess file:

Simply give the file a click and hit delete!

Piece of cake, right?😎

Mission two: Write a new .htaccess file:

Alright, this one’s a breeze too, and it’s best to do it straight from the cPanel control dashboard.

Follow these steps to generate a spanking new .htaccess file:

Hit the New File button at the pinnacle of the menu.

You’ve got to label the file .htaccess, yup, with the dot leading the way.

Slap in the code I’ve provided below, as that’s the standard setup your WordPress site requires, then click “Create” to seal the deal.

Which are the .htaccess file default settings?

The default settings of the Htaccess file are:

How to use an FTP client to upload the .htaccess file

Additionally, you have the choice to utilize an FTP client.

An FTP Client is a program that handles files on a distant server.

Thus, if you’re employing an FTP Client for uploading your website content rather than using WordPress’ integrated editor, follow to these instructions:

Head to the Server menu and activate the “Force showing hidden files” feature.

Now, the previously concealed .htaccess file should be visible.

You might be curious: Are these procedures identical across all hosting services? They might differ slightly, but overall, the discrepancies are minimal.

Alright, let’s put this to the test! Is the salt sweet? Does your website load flawlessly? Fantastic, you’ve successfully resolved the 500 Internal Server Error. Cheers!🏆

No? Are you saying the error persists? Well, then it’s time to seek assistance!

4. Ask for the support of your hosting provider

If you have come this far and your 500 Internal Server Error still persists after all of the above, it is time to ask the support team at the company providing your hosting service to reset your site to the last working version from which a backup was made.

Some unusual problems can trigger these 500 internal server errors in WordPress, but at this point, it may be best to ask your host. The problem may even be a genuine server issue that they can at least confirm, and they can also investigate things like file permissions errors and other causes.

The problem with this method is that hosting providers sometimes have very poor customer support. To fix the error today, try contacting the provider, preferably via live chat. If there is no such thing as live chat, change hosting providers. 😛😛, Nah, just kidding, send them an email or give them a call. 

However, at this stage, these assistance aspects serve as a gauge for your hosting provider’s prowess, and if they’re subpar, it’s high time you migrate to a superior one.

Plenty of choices abound, and I’ll gladly share with you 4 of the finest:

  1. SiteGround
  2. Hostinger
  3. WPEngine
  4. Namecheap

Now for the last method, which I list last because it should be your last option, namely resetting your WordPress installation.

5. Reinstalling your WordPress site

Imagine that none of the earlier solutions have succeeded, and even your hosting provider’s support hasn’t gotten back to you, but resolving that 500 Internal Server Error is an absolute must today. Drastic times call for drastic measures!

In this article, we’ll meticulously attempt to rectify everything, lending you a helping hand. So, let’s dive in and do it correctly.

First off, securing a backup of your files is crucial. You’ve got a few delightful options to consider for this task:

This are the two best options to backup your website

  1. Download the backup created by your hosting provider.
  2. Manually create your own backup.

Whatever you decide, these are the steps to create a backup of your website:

How to download a backup from your hosting provider:

  1. Log in to your cPanel dashboard.
  2. Look for an icon labelled Tools & Utilities. There you should see an option called Backup Manager.
  3. Then click on the appropriate icon for the backup file you want to download and save the file to an easy-to-find location on your computer.

Manually create a backup of your website’s files.

There are two options here, depending on how serious your 500 Internal Server Error is.

  1. If you are able to log into your WordPress backend dashboard, you can simply export a backup using the “Export” option you see when you click on the “Tool” option in the left side menu of WordPress.
  2. If you do not have access to your WordPress dashboard at all, you’ll need to go to the cPanel dashboard or use an FTP client. Let us take a look at how to do this properly.

Create a backup of your website via the WordPress dashboard:

Backup Your website for FREE

Creating a backup of your website thru cPanel and FTP Client

Backing up Your Website using cPanel

Finally, and no less importantly, once you have backed up all your files, you can simply reinstall your WordPress, preferably from your cPanel dashboard. If you need help reinstalling WordPress, here is another nice video:

Uninstalling & Reinstalling WordPress to Troubleshoot.

Reinstalling and installing WordPress

How does the 500 Internal Server Error impact SEO?

By now, you’ve grasped the concept of an internal server error and the steps to mend it. It’s high time we delve into the impact this glitch may have on your website’s search engine optimization.

An internal server error could be a major headache, resulting in lost visitors, dwindling revenue, and even a plummeting search engine ranking. For this reason, putting resources into website optimization services is a wise move.

If you dawdle, it could take months to bounce back. So, it’s crucial to tackle this issue before your website takes a hit.

A nifty way to pinpoint potential 500 server errors on your site is by carrying out weekly technical audits, catching problems before they snowball into monstrosities.

You definitely don’t want your digital venture to bear the brunt of 500 server errors for an extended period.

Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t fret! Just shoot us a message in the comments below, and we’ll swoop in to save the day.

Fixing the 500 Internal Server Error Final Words.

Thus, we’ve covered all the highly efficient remedies for an incredibly frustrating issue that often tests our patience each time it occurs. Should you have any inquiries, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, and we’ll be more than happy to assist!

I’ve put in my finest effort so that folks of all expertise levels can comprehend.

Fingers crossed, this piece proved valuable to you – do spread the word to your buddies and, of course, your feline friend.

Best of luck!

Jesus Guzman

M&G Speed Marketing LTD. CEO

Jesus Guzman is the CEO and founder of M&G Speed Marketing LTD, a digital marketing agency focused on rapidly growing businesses through strategies like SEO, PPC, social media, email campaigns, and website optimization. With an MBA and over 11 years of experience, Guzman combines his marketing expertise with web design skills to create captivating online experiences. His journey as an in-house SEO expert has given him insights into effective online marketing. Guzman is passionate about helping businesses achieve impressive growth through his honed skills. He has proud case studies to share and is eager to connect to take your business to the next level.