Troubleshoot the 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress

While it is true that knowing the source of an issue can make it easier to solve. There are situations where the cause of an error may not be immediately apparent. In such cases, a process of troubleshooting and elimination can be employed to narrow down potential causes and eventually identify the source of the bugs.

Server errors can be particularly frustrating for webmasters, especially the 500 internal server error that is common among WP websites. This error can cause panic and confusion. As it provides little information about the cause of the problem, leaving webmasters to grope in the dark.

For e-commerce, community, or WooCommerce sites, even a minor downtime can have a significant impact on their business. Therefore, it is critical to resolve any issues, such as HTTP errors in WordPress, as quickly as possible to minimize the impact on website availability and performance.

However, resolving the 500 internal server error can be one of the most challenging tasks in troubleshooting. As it provides no additional information to narrow down the potential causes. As a result, it can take a significant amount of time and patience to pinpoint the root cause of the error.

In this post, we will provide useful tips and strategies to help you quickly identify and resolve HTTP errors in WordPress, ensuring that your website is up and running smoothly.

What is a 500 Internal Server Error?

500 demo

This is an HTTP status code that occurs when a website’s server encounters an unexpected condition that prevents it from fulfilling the request. When a browser sends a request to the hosting, the server responds with requested resources, such as PHP, CSS, and HTML, along with the HTTP status code. A code of 200 indicates everything is fine, while 500 indicates something is wrong.

Different web servers, operating systems, and browsers can cause variations of the 500 internal server error. However, the essence of all variations remains the same. Some examples of variations include:

  • 500 Internal Server Error.
  • HTTP 500 – Internal Server Error.
  • 500 Internal Server Error. Sorry, something went wrong.
  • 500, that is an error. There was an error. Please try again later. That is all we know.
  • Is currently unable to handle this request. HTTP ERROR 500

The type of HTTP server being used (such as NGINX, Lightspeed, and Apache) as well as the operating system (such as Ubuntu, CentOS, and Red Hat Linux) can also affect the appearance and cause of the error.

In WordPress, the 500 internal server error often occurs when a script that is part of templates or plugins does something it shouldn’t have done, ultimately causing the server to crash. To prevent this issue, it’s recommended to use escaping and validating themes and extensions. Additionally, can be caused by configuration issues, software bugs, or problems with scripts used on the website.

How to Fix 500 Internal Server Error WordPress

Encountering a 500 HTTP error can be frustrating, and it can be challenging to know where to begin troubleshooting. However, understanding the common causes of this error can help you identify the issue and resolve it quickly. Here are some common causes and ways to fix this issues.

Try to Reload the Page

One simple step to try when encountering a 500 HTTP error is to reload the page. It may be that the host is overloaded, and reloading the page can help resolve the issue. If the problem persists, you can try using a website checker tool to see if your site is down or if the problem is on your end. Simply paste the link to your site into the tool to get more information. Here are some popular toolkits on the marketplace: Geekflare, KeyCDN, WebFX, and more.

Clear The Cache of Your Browser

Clearing the browser cache can also help resolve the 500 internal server error in WordPress. It’s a good first step to try before diving into deeper troubleshooting related to caching. While the process may vary depending on the browser you use. a quick Google search with the keywords “clear cache [browser name] for 500 internal server error WordPress” should provide you with specific instructions for your browser.

Turn on Debugging

Debugging allows you to see any errors or warnings that are occurring on your site and can give you insight into what is happening behind the scenes.

To turn on debugging, you will need to edit the wp-config.php file. You can do this by accessing the file via FTP or using a file manager in your hosting control panel. Once you have opened the file, locate the line that says “WP_DEBUG” and set it to true. Also enable debug logging and dev versions of core files by adding the appropriate lines of code, as shown in the example next line.

// Enable WP_DEBUG mode
define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );
// Enable Debug logging to the /wp-content/debug.log file
define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true );
// Use dev versions of core JS and CSS files (only needed if you are modifying these core files)
define( 'SCRIPT_DEBUG', true );

After saving the changes to the file, reload your site to see if the error has been resolved. If you are lucky, the error may have been fixed. However, if you encounter a different issue, locate the source of the problem. If you find that a plugin is causing the problem, disable it to see if that resolves the issue.

Even if turning on debugging does not immediately solve the problem, it is a good idea to keep it enabled until the issue is resolved. Debugging can provide valuable information that can help you identify and fix the issue.

Plugins and Themes

If your WordPress site is displaying a 500 internal server error, it may be due to a problem with your plugins or theme. To troubleshoot, start by deactivating all of your plugins and checking if the error goes away. If it does, you can then reactivate each plugin one at a time to identify the one causing the issue. Keep in mind that certain plugins, such as those related to Elementor, WooCommerce, and BuddyPress, are more resource-intensive and may be more likely to cause issues.

Also possible that the issue is with your WP theme. Always ensure that you install a compatible and accessible ready template. Switch to a default one such as , Shoper, Kadence, or to see if the issue is fixed. To do this, you can rename your current theme’s folder in the “wp-content/themes” directory to something else.

If these steps do not resolve the issue, you can try turning on debugging as mentioned earlier. This may give you more insight into what is causing the problem. If you find the issue in a plugin folder, disable that plugin.

Remember to keep debugging on until the issue is resolved. And always make sure to keep your plugins and themes updated to their latest versions to prevent any compatibility issues.

Inspect .htaccess file:

The .htaccess file contains a set of rules that guide the server on how to behave under different conditions. It is commonly used for rewriting URLs or preventing malicious access to your site.

To check if you have a .htaccess file in the root folder, open your FTP editor and make sure it displays hidden files. If you find the file, create a backup of it immediately.

Next, delete all the contents within the .htaccess file or delete the file entirely. Then, check if the website loads without any issues.

Keep in mind that editing the .htaccess file can be risky, and any mistakes can lead to further problems with your website. If you are not confident in making changes to the file, it is recommended to seek help from a professional developer or your web hosting provider.

The PHP Memory Limit

When your server exhausts the PHP memory limit, it can result in 500 internal server errors on WordPress. Before increasing the limit, make sure your website meets the WordPress requirements. If it does, you can proceed with increasing the PHP memory limit.

To do this, open your FTP client and navigate to the wp-config.php file. Right-click on the file and select view/edit, and then choose the default editor. Locate the desired line under the WP_DEBUG line. If it’s not there, add the following lines to the file:

define( 'WP_MAX_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M' ); 
define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M' );

If modifying your wp-config.php file doesn’t resolve the issue, you may need to adjust the PHP settings on your server. The php.ini file is the default PHP configuration file, but many shared hosting providers don’t allow access to it. If you can edit php.ini, try changing these values:

memory_limit = 256M
upload_max_size = 64M 
post_max_size = 64M
upload_max_filesize = 64M
max_execution_time = 300
max_input_time = 1000

If you don’t have access to php.ini, you can try modifying the .htaccess file instead. Keep in mind that the .htaccess file is hidden, so you may need to adjust your SFTP file manager settings to display hidden files.

In your .htaccess you can add:

PHP 5.+

php_value memory_limit 64M

PHP 7.+

php_value memory_limit 64M

Save the file, and then refresh your website to see if the error has been resolved. If not, try to address the issue within your server settings.

Keep in mind that increasing the PHP memory limit is not always the solution. There may be other factors causing the error, such as poorly coded plugins or themes. If you suspect this to be the case, consider contacting your hosting provider or a WordPress expert to help you identify and fix the underlying issue.

Check File Permissions

File permissions are important for the proper functioning of your WordPress site. If the permissions are not set correctly, you may encounter HTTP errors on your website. To check the permissions of your WordPress files, log in to your FTP client and navigate to your site’s directory.

You should see that all folders are set to 755 and all files are set to 644. If any of the permissions are different, you should update them immediately. To do this, right-click on the file or folder and select “File Permissions” or “Permissions” from the menu.

In the permissions dialog box, enter the correct number for the file or folder. For folders, enter 755 and for files, enter 644. Once you have updated the permissions, refresh your website to see if the HTTP error has been resolved.

Coding or Syntax

Coding or syntax errors in CGI and Perl scripts are a common cause of HTTP errors. If you’re working with CGI scripts, here are some steps you can take to avoid errors:

  • Always use a plain text editor like Atom, Sublime, or Notepad++ to edit your scripts. This will ensure that they remain in ASCII format.
  • Make sure that the correct permissions (chmod 755) are set on your CGI scripts and directories.
  • When uploading your CGI scripts, be sure to transfer them in ASCII mode and upload them to the cgi-bin directory on your server. You can select this option in your FTP client.
  • Check that the Perl modules required for your script are installed and supported by your server.

Error logs:

The error logs will usually provide more detailed information about the error, including the file or line number causing the issue. Access your site’s error logs through your hosting provider’s control panel or by using an FTP client to download the log files.

Reinstall WordPress

Consider reinstalling the core WordPress files as a possible solution to the 500 internal server error in the wp-admin area. This can help eliminate any corrupt files that may be causing the issue. You can find various methods to reinstall WordPress online.

Contact Hosting Provider

If you’ve tried all of the troubleshooting steps and the issue persists, it’s possible that there is an underlying server issue causing the problem. At this point, it’s best to contact your hosting provider for assistance.

A hosting provider can help you identify any server-side issues that may be causing the error and work toward a resolution. In some cases, it may be necessary to switch to a different hosting provider with servers that are better optimized for WordPress sites.

Remember to provide as much information as possible when reaching out to your hosting provider, such as error messages, steps you’ve taken to troubleshoot the issue, and any changes you’ve made to your website recently. This can help them diagnose the problem more quickly and accurately.

Related video

To find help with resolving the WordPress 500 internal server error, consider watching videos created by experts on YouTube and other social networking websites. They may have tips and solutions that could help. Here are a few video links that I recommend:


Encountering a 500 internal server error can be frustrating, but don’t worry! There are common reasons why this error occurs, such as third-party plugins, fatal PHP errors, or database connection issues.

We’ve provided you with some troubleshooting tips to help you quickly resolve the issue and get your website up and running again. These tips are easy to follow, even for beginners. We hope that at least one of these tips solves your problem.

Remember, always keep a backup of your website before making any changes, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.

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Saiful Islam

Saiful Islam, the founder of aThemeArt, is a successful freelancer, a father of two boys, and an enthusiast in coding, YouTube, and gaming. Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay updated with my latest endeavors.

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