Dealing with a 500 Internal Server Error on a WordPress website can be challenging, as it's a generic error indicating that something has gone wrong on the website's server. However, it does not specify exactly what the issue is.
To debug and potentially fix a 500 error, you can follow these structured steps:
Understanding the 500 Internal Server Error
General Cause: The error typically indicates that there is a problem with the website's server, but the server could not be more specific on what the exact problem is.
WordPress Context: In WordPress, this can often be due to a theme or plugin conflict, a corrupted .htaccess file, or a problem with the server configuration.
Recent Changes: Recall any recent changes you made to the website (like installing a new plugin or theme, updating WordPress, or editing files).
Server Status: Check with your hosting provider to see if there are any server issues or maintenance tasks that could be causing the error.
Backup Your Site: Before you make any changes, ensure that you have a full backup of your WordPress site.
Error Logs: Check the error logs in your hosting control panel or use an FTP client to access the
error_logfile in your WordPress directory.
Detailed Debugging Steps
Reset .htaccess: Rename your
.htaccess_oldand see if this solves the issue. You can create a new
.htaccessfile by re-saving your permalinks in WordPress settings.
Manual Edit: If renaming doesn't work, access the file via FTP and ensure the default WordPress rewrite rules are present.
Increase PHP Memory Limit
Edit wp-config.php: Increase the PHP memory limit by adding
define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M');to your
Server Configuration: If you're unable to change it yourself, ask your hosting provider to increase the memory limit.
Deactivate All Plugins
Plugin Conflict: Use Divi's Safe Mode to deactivate all plugins. If the error goes away, deactivate the Safe mode, go to the Plugins page, deactivate all active plugins and reactivate them one by one to identify the culprit.
Delete or Replace Plugins: Once identified, delete the problematic plugin or replace it with an alternative.
Switch to a Default Theme
Theme Issue: Switch to a default WordPress theme (like Twenty Twenty-One) by going to WordPress Dashboard → Appearance and activate one of the WordPress default themes
Theme Update: If this fixes the issue, you may need to update your theme.
Check File Permissions
Correct Permissions: Ensure that files are set to
644and directories to
755. Incorrect permissions can cause a 500 error.
Enable Debugging: Turn on debugging in WordPress by adding
define('WP_DEBUG', true);to your
wp-config.phpfile. This may reveal specific errors that you can address. Click here to learn how to Enable WordPress Debug mode.
PHP Version: Ensure you're running a compatible PHP version for your WordPress version.
Database Server: Check if there are any issues with the database server.
Server Resources: Confirm you're not exceeding your server's resource limits.
Contact Hosting Provider
Expert Help: If none of the above steps work, contact your hosting provider's support team for assistance. They may be able to provide server logs that give more details about the error.
Prevent Future Errors
Updates: Regularly update your WordPress installation, themes, and plugins.
Security Measures: Implement security best practices to protect your site against malware and attacks.
Monitoring: Use uptime monitoring services to get alerted if your site goes down.