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How To Fix The 500 Internal Server Error WordPress Message

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Seeing an internal server error instead of your WordPress website can be unsettling.

This error results from a problem with your website’s code or database.

The longer your website is down, the more risk there is of SEO damage and lost traffic.

Extended downtime can lead to Google de-indexing your page.

This error can also have major repercussions for your business and website.

If your website is down, you’re losing customers and potential conversions.

This can lead to a loss in revenue and search engine rankings.

That’s why it’s crucial to fix this error as soon as possible.

What is the 500 Internal Server Error WordPress?

The 500 internal server error is an HTTP status code that means the server had something go wrong.

The server could not identify the problem.

This error message is one of the most common that WordPress users see, and several factors can cause it, including faulty plugins, corrupt files, and incorrect file permissions.

You can identify this error if you see ‘Internal Server Error – The server encountered an error or misconfiguration.”

A frustrating aspect of this error is that you won’t see many details about what went wrong, and it can be challenging to track down the cause.

Can The 500 Internal Server Error Be Fixed?

However, there are some steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue and get your website back up and running.

This article will explain how to fix the 500 Internal Server Error.

Before starting to troubleshoot, back up your site.

This process will ensure you can revert to a version with your data intact.

1. Reload the Page

The initial step you should perform when you see the Internal Server Error message is to reload the page.

If you just updated some plugins, you may see this error if communication with the server is slow.

A simple refresh should clear this up.

Reloading the page will also help if you see the error after a WordPress core update.

WordPress updates can sometimes take a few minutes to complete, and your WordPress website may be inaccessible.

2. Turn On Debugging

If that doesn’t work, try turning on debugging.

To do this, edit the wp-config.php file.

You can access this file through an FTP client or File Manager on your hosting provider’s website.

Once you find the file, locate WP_DEBUG.

Change the wp debug value to ‘true.’

If you can’t locate WP_DEBUG, paste the following code at the end of the file:

define( “WP_DEBUG”, true );

Save this file and reload your WordPress page.

You should see an error message with a line of code listed that indicates the problem area.

Change the WP_DEBUG value to false when you finish debugging.

Debugging is turned off by default for security reasons, so it’s important to remember to turn it off when complete.

3. Deactivate Plugins and Change Your Theme

If reloading the page and turning on debugging doesn’t work, the next step is to deactivate each WordPress plugin and change the theme.

If you can access the WordPress Administrator screen, go to the Plugins page.

Select all plugins and choose Deactivate from the Bulk Actions menu.

This process will not delete any data and will hopefully eliminate the error.

If you cannot access the admin screen, use FTP or File Manager to locate the wp-content folder.

Right-click on the plugins folder and rename it to old-plugins or something similar.

Check your WordPress website to see if the error is gone.

If so, you need to determine which plugin caused the problem.

Active each plugin one at a time, reloading after each activation.

Hopefully, you do not have 200 plugins.

When you see the server error, you’ve found the culprit.

You can try updating the plugin, deleting it, or searching for help on the developer’s website.

If you can access the Administrator screen, go to Appearance -> Themes and change your theme to Twenty Twenty-Two or another default WordPress theme.

If you can’t access the admin screen, use FTP or File Manager to locate the wp-content -> themes folder.

Find your current theme and rename it with ‘-deactivated’ at the end.

The theme will revert to the default theme.

You know your theme was causing the issue if the error is gone.

You can try other WordPress themes or contact the developer for help.

4. Check the .htaccess File

If you have a corrupted htaccess file is corrupted, it can cause the 500 Internal Server Error WordPress message.

Using FTP or File Manager, locate .htaccess under the root directory. Rename it with ‘broken’ at the end.

See if this fixes the problem.

If not, create a new htaccess file by navigating to Settings -> Permalinks on the admin screen and saving changes.

This will generate a new htaccess file.

5. Increase Your Memory

The next thing to try is increasing your PHP memory.

If you’re getting the 500 internal server error when trying to perform a task that requires a lot of memory, such as importing a large WordPress file, you need to increase your memory limit.

Access the wp-config.php file through FTP or File Manager and search for WP_MEMORY_LIMIT.

Change the limit to 256M if you have the option.

If you don’t have the option, add this code to the end of the file:

define( ‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’ );

Save the file and refresh your page to see if the error remains.

You can also change the memory limit in the .htaccess file.

Add this code to the end of the file:

php_value memory_limit 256M

Another option is to edit the phpini file.

This file should be in the root directory. Add this code to the end of the file:

php_value memory_limit 256M

6. Check For Problems With the PHP Version

The PHP version you have installed can cause incompatibility issues with plugins.

You want to have PHP 7.4 or higher.

If you can access the Administrator screen, go to Tools -> Site Health -> Info to see your PHP version.

If you can’t access the admin screen, ask your hosting company how to check your PHP version.

You can also delete the problem plugin(s).

7. Contact Your Hosting Provider

If you’re still having issues, the next step is to contact your WordPress hosting provider.

They’ll be able to help you troubleshoot the problem and get your WordPress site up and running again.

To prevent the 500 Internal Server Error WordPress message, you should keep your WordPress site up to date.

Go to your WordPress dashboard and click on Updates -> Update Now to do this.

If any updates are available, install them and then click on Save Changes.

It’s also a good idea to protect your WordPress site from hackers.

To do this, go to your WordPress dashboard and click on Tools -> Site Health.

Then, select the issues you want to fix.

Wrapping Up

This internal server error can be frustrating and confusing for website owners.

This article provides several solutions when encountering the 500 Internal Server Error.

Hopefully, one of these solutions will fix the problem so you can get back to business as usual.

Keep your site updated and protected to help prevent this issue from happening again.

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