Understanding the 500 Internal Server Error

Meaning of the server error http status 500

Content Roadmap

Have you ever been flummoxed by a ‘500 Internal Server Message’ before? Anyone that’s ever tinkered around managing or developing websites is familiar with the stress-inducing message. What precisely does it entail, and how might one go about fixing it?

There could be many reasons behind these glitches when running your website, such as unexpected conditions that bar servers from fulfilling requests correctly or configurations not set up optimally, or maybe traffic is just becoming too overwhelming, among other potential reasons worth exploring in-depth in the next paragraphs!

Luckily enough, we’re not going into this without proper guidance as renowned digital marketer and web developer Jesus Guzman takes an expert look at everything 500 Internal Server Errors.

Let’s dive in.

Illustration of a cat holding with its mouth the plug of a server - 500

What is a 500 Internal Server Error?

When it comes to browsing online, encountering errors can be a real headache – and none more so than the infamous 500 Internal Server Error. This particular HTTP status code typically indicates that there’s an issue occurring on the server side of things – however, it doesn’t offer any further context beyond this vague description. In essence, it acts as a general error message for those times when specific details aren’t available.

How Does a 500 Error Impact Your Website?

What impact does a five hundred error have on your site? Not only does it create problems for users, but it can also severely hurt your SEO efforts if not addressed promptly. Ignoring this issue might lead to decreased rankings by search engines impacting visibility and ultimately resulting in lower traffic volumes.

Root Causes of the 500 Error

Sometimes operating websites goes awry; as you might experience when you encounter an HTTP Error 500 message on your website page.

Server Overload

Such issues appear for various reasons such as your server could be having resource overload due to numerous requests initiated by users causing timeouts hence leading to errors displaying.

Incorrect Server Configuration

Moreover, blaming it on incorrect settings configured in the server would not be false either; this plays as one of the culprits behind HTTP 500’s recurrent presence.

Faulty Plugins or Scripts

Installing recently created scripts or plugins which are incompatible with pre-existing configurations can trigger similar experiences and inconvenience exposed by HTTP Errors.

Corrupted .htaccess File

Using corrupt Apache .htaccess files increases probabilities for repetitive exposures able enough to cause redirects failures, thus leading up onto new error notifications popping up during browsing activities.

PHP Timeout

Lastly, if PHP script instructions drag along too long, the process will – after reaching its limit- end up losing track of its previous actions thus preparing a fertile bed for tracking down those recurring internal server errors.

How to Identify a 500 Error

Troubleshooting errors can be a frustrating process. But taking a comprehensive approach to identifying their sources is key to finding solutions. Though error messages themselves may provide some clues as to what went wrong.

It’s wise to also consult backend tools and server logs for additional insights. Armed with this knowledge, we are better equipped to resolve issues quickly and effectively.

Common Fixes for the 500 Error

Experiencing errors on your website can create serious disruptions and affect everything from traffic flow to revenue streams. But by taking some strategic steps when encountering such issues.

You may be able to get things back on track more quickly than expected.

For example, one of the first things you should investigate is your server logs – there might be valuable insights there that lead directly to answers and solutions.

Similarly, if any recent changes were made (particularly in regard to code or functionality), revisiting those updates or tweaks could shed light on what’s gone wrong and how it might be fixed.

Other common culprits include PHP memory limits that are inadequately configured or file permissions that haven’t been properly established; checking for these scenarios can provide significant gains in terms of identifying (and solving) underlying issues affecting performance and stability. Even with these efforts in play, though.

Sometimes it takes involving experts (like hosting providers) who have experience dealing with similar problems – their guidance may very well offer clarity and restore full functionality to your website.

If you use WordPress, we have prepared a step-by-step guide to help you solve this 500 error issue:

Solving Common WordPress Errors: 500, DB, 404 And WSOD

The common fixes are these:

  • Check Server Logs
  • Debugging the Website’s Code
  • Increase PHP Memory Limit
  • Check File Permissions
  • Contact Your Hosting Provider

Preventing Future 500 Errors

Safeguarding against potential future instances of 500 errors calls for deliberate efforts in both continuous monitoring practices and proactive updating procedures.

By consistently ensuring all components, such as plugins, scripts and server configurations, remain up-to-date can play an instrumental role in mitigating these types of issues from arising.

Moreover, adopting a dependable website monitoring tool could potentially further assist with this matter.


In summary, while the 500 Internal Server Error can be a nuisance, understanding its causes and solutions can help you handle it effectively. With the right measures and a proactive approach, you can keep your website running smoothly and your users happy.

  1. What is a 500 error?

    A 500 error is a server-side error that indicates a problem with the website’s server, but the server cannot identify the exact issue.

  2. How can I fix a 500 error?

    You can fix a 500 error by checking server logs, debugging the website’s code, increasing the PHP memory limit, checking file permissions, or contacting your hosting provider.

  3. Can a 500 error affect my website’s SEO?

    Yes, if a 500 error is not resolved promptly, it can lead to lower search engine rankings, affecting your site’s visibility and traffic.

  4. Are there preventive measures against 500 errors?

    Yes, regular monitoring, timely updates of plugins, scripts, and server configurations, and the use of a reliable website monitoring tool can help prevent 500 errors.

  5. Is a 500 error always the fault of the server?

    While a 500 error is a server-side error, it might be caused by issues like faulty plugins, scripts, or a corrupted .htaccess file, which are not strictly server-related.

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.