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How to Fix the 500 Internal Server Error on Your WordPress Website
How to Fix the 500 Internal Server Error on Your WordPress Website

Learn how to identify the root causes, such as plugin or theme conflicts, corrupted .htaccess files, or server issues.

Updated over a week ago

The 500 Internal Server Error is one of the most common and frustrating issues that can occur on a WordPress website. It prevents users from accessing your site and can indicate various underlying problems.

This article will guide you through the steps to diagnose and fix the 500 Internal Server Error on your WordPress website.

Note: This troubleshooting guide may require that you make server-side changes to your website. If you are uncomfortable making those changes, you should contact your hosting provider for assistance.

A 500 internal server error can appear in a variety of ways, including:

  • 500 Error

  • 500 Internal Server Error

  • 500 – Internal Server Error

  • Currently unable to handle this request. HTTP ERROR 500.

  • HTTP 500

  • HTTP 500 – Internal Server Error

  • HTTP Error 500

  • Internal Server Error

  • The website cannot display the page – HTTP 500

Common Causes of the 500 Internal Server Error

There are several reasons why you may be getting a 500 internal server error, including:

  • Browser cache

  • Corrupted database

  • Corrupted .htaccess file

  • Corrupted WordPress core or installation files

  • Database server problems

  • Incorrect file and folder permissions

  • Problem with the PHP memory limit

  • Third-party plugin or theme

How to Fix a 500 Internal Server Error

There are several troubleshooting steps to take when you see a 500 internal server error. Before you do anything, though, it’s recommended that you create a backup of your website. If you don’t already have a backup solution, look at our list of the best WordPress backup plugins.

Reload the Page

The first thing to try is reloading the page after a minute or two. The site should return quickly if the host or server is temporarily overloaded.

It’s also not uncommon for a site to go down for a minute or so after you’ve updated a plugin or theme. This usually means the host isn’t set up properly, and there’s a brief timeout after the update. Often, this problem fixes itself with a page refresh.

Try the Page on a Different Browser

Open up a different browser and see if you are still getting the error there. If you’re loading the page fine on one browser but not another, then that tells you it’s likely a browser issue. Wait a few minutes, then reload to see if it’s worked itself out.

Clear the Browser Cache and Delete Cookies

Clear your browser cache and delete cookies. Each browser has its own (easy) steps to follow for these processes, so it’s best to look up the instructions for the browser you’re using if you can’t find the options quickly (the image below shows where to find the settings in Chrome). Restart the browser, and then try the webpage again.

Deactivate Your Plugins

To see if a plugin is causing the problem, deactivate them individually, then test the website to see if you’re still getting the error.

  1. Go to WordPress Dashboard → Plugins → Add New Plugin

  2. Install and Activate the Health Check & Troubleshooting plugin

  3. Go to Tools → Site Health → Troubleshooting

  4. Enable the Troubleshooting mode

This will deactivate all plugins for you. It’s a good idea to log out of WordPress, clear your cache, and restart the webpage.

Enable Divi's Safe Mode

  1. Go to WordPress Dashboard → Divi → Support Center

  2. Enable the Safe Mode

  3. Check if the 500 issue is resolved

Update the .htaccess File

It’s not uncommon for your WordPress site’s .htaccess file to become corrupted. To see if this is the problem, log into your FTP.

Find the .htaccess file and rename it to .htaccess_old. Reload your site to see if the error message has cleared. If it has, you know the .htaccess file was causing the error.

Reset the Permalinks

  1. Go to WordPress Dashboard → Settings → Permalinks

  2. Choose the Plain option

  3. Click on the Save Changes button

Increase the PHP Memory Limit

If the 500 internal server error is being caused by too little memory, you’ll want to increase the memory limit to see if that takes care of it.

While you can head into your FTP to make this change, some hosts don’t allow users to fiddle with the memory limit, so it’s best to check with them first and let them handle it for you if they can.

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