The 500 Internal Server Error is a generic error message that is displayed when a website is inaccessible. The web server where your website is hosted on will return this error message when it there are some issues on the server. You can determine the cause of the error by checking the error log in the control panel. The error log will display complete details of the error such as the date/time of the occurrence of the error, error description and the file/folder that is causing the error.

What to Do First When You See a 500 Internal Server?

Usually, the 500 internal server error is not caused by problems with your computer or internet connection. Instead, the root problem has to do with the website server. When you encounter this error, the first thing you should do is to try to reload the webpage by pressing the refresh button in the browser. If you encounter this error when you are on the checkout page, you should order later as going ahead to complete the checkout can result in your credit card getting charged more than one time. However, a reputable e-commerce store will have some kind of automatic protections set up to prevent the customers’ credit cards from being charged when a server error occur.

Wrong File Permission

Incorrect file permission is one of the factors that contribute to 500 internal server errors. You must make sure that the permissions of the PHP files are not set above 775. You also have to make sure that the parent folder and directories are set correctly. You can adjust the permission of the file/directory via the File Manager in Cpanel or a FTP client. Both the parent folder/directory and the .htaccess file should be set to 755.

Corrupted WordPress Plugins

Internal server error could also be caused by corrupted plugins on your WordPress blog. You must first deactivate all the plugins and then reactive each one individually until you find the plugin that cause the error. You are to delete the error plugin from your WordPress blog. If the webpage still display the 500 internal server error message, you can reset your theme to the Twenty Fourteen theme. If it is not caused by a theme problem, you will have to locate your .htaccess file and rename it.

Timeout Sessions

Some servers will display the 500 internal server error when in fact the proper message it should display is 504 Gateway Timeout. In 504 Gateway Timeout, the script is taking longer than the usual time to process so the server will kill the process. To fix this, your web hosting company must increase the duration of the timeout.

Error in Perl Script

The 500 internal server error could also be caused by an error in the Perl script. In this case, you won’t be able to find out about it in the error log. Error in Perl script can be recognized by a missing character in the code for example, a missing semicolon.

Clear Your Cache

Sometimes, the error is caused by an error with the cached version of the page on your browser. To fix this, you should go to History and clear off the cache and cookies. Afterwards, you can refresh the webpage to see if it still display the 500 internal server error.

Overusage of the PHP Memory

The 500 internal server error can also happen due to the overloading on the PHP memory of the server. You can fix this by pasting the code memory=64mb in the php.ini file and upload it to the wp-admin/folder with a FTP client.

Conclusion

In conclusion, websites that are down will usually display the 500 internal server error. If you have no experience in fixing this, you should contact the customer support of your web hosting company to examine the server logs and fix the issue.