Let’s look at a scenario where your website is running as smoothly as ever.
The going’s good, but all of a sudden, you log-on to your WordPress dashboard, and it shows the following error.
(The 500 Internal Server error).
If you’re a veteran in the WordPress game or have faced this error before, you can relate to the confusion and frustration newbies go through when it first pops up on the screen.
This error is unique in that its origins are due to multiple factors. When it does arise, it disables yours and your users’ access to your website. So, not only are your users stuck, so are you in debugging the exact issue that caused this error.
To make your life easier, we’ve written this post to give you a picture of the various factors that cause this error. Hopefully, after reading through it, you will be in a better position to fix this issue.
What causes the 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress?
In a nutshell, three common issues cause this error. Namely, they are:
- Errors within the code of your WordPress plugins.
- Errors due to the server and hosting environment.
- Corruption within the .htaccess file on your server.
- Errors within your present WordPress installation.
In the coming sections, we’ll be discussing all these issues. But before we begin:
A Word of Caution
Troubleshooting this issue involves you visiting your backend through the cPanel. You will be deleting your WordPress files and replacing them with newer ones.
Because you’ll be editing the backend of your website, we recommend you attempt this in the company of a WordPress developer or someone experienced.
If that’s not possible, you should have a working backup of your WordPress website so that when things go wrong, you have a working copy of your website at the ready. The problem here is that you can’t access your wp-dashboard.
The alternative to it is that you should contact your hosting provider and ask them for your site’s most recent backup. If that’s not possible, you can visit the cPanel of your WordPress site and, from the backups app, create a copy of your site.
The process would also involve the use of an FTP client. Among them, FileZilla is the most commonly used application. If you want to make sure the process is smooth, you need to learn how to use it .
Once you’ve taken care of these considerations, it’s time we move on to troubleshooting.
Solution #1: Deactivate All Plugins
Perhaps the easiest solution to the 500 Internal Server Error on WordPress, deactivating your plugins can help solve the error.
But the problem is that you don’t have access to your wp-admin dashboard. Now what? You can use the FTP application to deactivate the plugins from the backend.
Visit the wp-content folder. From there, look for the plugins folder and rename it to plugins.old. It disables WordPress’s access to the plugins file.
Log-in to your website to check whether you can access it. If you can, then congratulations! Now, what you need to do is revisit the FTP and revert the name of the plugins.old folder into plugins.
Access your dashboard again and from there, visit the Plugins section. You will see all your previous plugins are now deactivated. Activate one, log out, and then log in again.
If you activate the plugin and see the error return, perform the “renaming” process again. The only difference this time is to remove the plugin that’s causing the problem. Once you’re done with that, your site will cease to display the 500 Internal Server Error.
If you see the error even after doing this, you can try the second solution.
Solution #2: Consult Your Hosting Company
If you can’t solve the error through the plugin, you should consult with your hosting provider to be on the safe side. They will provide expert advice on the matter and help you fix the 500 Internal Server s from the server-end.
Solution #3: Create A New. htaccess File
To resolve this issue on your own, you need to go back to the FTP client. From there, search or scroll through for a site called .htaccess.
Once you see the file, change its name to Solution #1. After you’ve restricted WordPress’s access to the file, log in to your site and see if the error goes away.
If it does, then it means the error was caused due to a corrupted .htaccess file. Now, you renamed the file, but you still need it.
From your WordPress dashboard, head on over to Settings > Permalinks. When you’re there, click on Save Changes, and that’s it. Now, go back to your FTP and delete the renamed file.
Solution #4: Fix Corrupted WordPress Core Files
For one reason or another, your WordPress file becomes corrupted. The causes behind this are plenty, but it all stems from a corrupted file. That’s why the 500 Internal Server is being shown.
The easiest way to fix this issue is to replace the old wp-admin and wp-includes folder with newer files extracted from a fresh WordPress installation.
So, first off, visit WordPress.org and download the latest WordPress version.
On your PC, extract the WordPress file and visit the folder named WordPress. Copy the wp-admin and wp-includes folder from your PC into the FTP.
When you’re done, log-in to your website again to see if the problem persists. If the problem is not showing, then your WordPress installation became corrupt for some reason.
Conclusion and Alternative Solutions
The 500 Internal Server Error on WordPress is tricky and pesky. You don’t know what caused the problem, so you have to troubleshoot the problem from different angles.
An alternative solution you can try is to increase the PHP memory limit of your WordPress website. Often, the limit gets overreached, and you get the error. You can solve it by going to the wp-config.php file on your FTP.
Open the file in your code editor, and at the very bottom, paste the following code:
If you find this too technical, you can get a WordPress Developer or your hosting provider to do it for you.
Hopefully, reading through this article gave you a headway into what this error is all about.
Hope you enjoyed reading.
Jibran Ahmed Sheikh is a WordPress Expert at B2BWoo. A Tech Fanatic by day and a reader by night, Jibran enjoys exploring the ever-changing world of Technology, Development, and eCommerce.