500 Error

How to Fix a 500 Internal Server Error

When a user encounters a 500 Internal Server Error, it signifies that something has gone wrong on the server’s end, preventing it from fulfilling the request. This error can have a significant impact on website performance, leading to frustration among users and potentially causing them to leave the site.

Common Causes of 500 Internal Server Errors

Most of the time, this error occurs when there is a problem with the page or site’s code, but there is always the possibility that the fault is on your end. These issues may be caused by caching or cookie faults in a browser.

When an HTTP 500 error occurs on a server using Microsoft IIS software, more explicit information regarding the cause is often presented. For example, search for numbers following 500, such as HTTP Error 500.19 – Internal Server Error, which indicates that configuration data is incorrect.

Several factors can contribute to the occurrence of a 500 Internal Server Error:

Server Mis-configurations:

Server misconfigurations are among the primary culprits behind 500 Internal Server Errors. These misconfigurations can include:
  • Incorrect Server Settings: This encompasses a wide range of potential issues, such as misconfigured Apache or Nginx settings, improper virtual host configurations, or incorrect server directives. For instance, misconfigured rewrite rules in Apache’s .htaccess file can lead to unexpected errors.
  • PHP Configuration Issues: PHP configuration plays a crucial role in web applications. Errors in PHP settings, such as incorrect syntax in PHP.ini files or missing required modules, can result in 500 errors when executing PHP scripts. Common examples include incorrect memory_limit or max_execution_time settings.

Coding Errors:

Coding errors are another significant cause of 500 Internal Server Errors. These errors can stem from:
  • Syntax Errors: Typos, missing semicolons, or incorrect function calls within PHP, JavaScript, or other scripting languages can trigger internal server errors. Debugging these errors often requires careful examination of code snippets to identify and rectify syntax issues.
  • Logic Errors: Logic errors occur when the code’s logic flow leads to unexpected outcomes. For example, an infinite loop or incorrect conditional statement can cause the server to become unresponsive, resulting in a 500 error.

Plugin/Theme Conflicts:

In the context of content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, plugin and theme conflicts are common causes of 500 errors. These conflicts may arise from:

  • Incompatible Plugins: Using incompatible or outdated plugins with conflicting functionalities can cause internal server errors. For instance, two plugins modifying the same functionality without proper coordination can lead to conflicts.
  • Theme Issues: Similarly, incompatible or poorly coded themes can conflict with server configurations or other plugins, resulting in 500 errors. Themes that override core functionality or rely on deprecated code can contribute to these conflicts.

Server Resource Limitations:

Insufficient server resources can also trigger 500 Internal Server Errors. Common resource-related issues include:
  • Memory Limitations: When a server exhausts its available memory or exceeds allocated memory limits, it can lead to internal server errors, especially when handling resource-intensive processes or large datasets.
  • CPU Overload: High CPU usage due to excessive traffic or resource-intensive tasks can overwhelm the server, causing temporary internal server errors. This can occur during sudden traffic spikes or poorly optimized code execution.

How to Fix a 500 Error

Because the 500 Internal Server issue is a server-side issue, it is most likely caused by the website’s server rather than your computer or internet connection.

While it is unlikely, there might be a problem on your end, in which case you can try the following:

  1. Reload the webpage. You may do this by clicking the refresh/reload button, typing F5 or Ctrl+R, or entering the URL again in the address box. Even if the 500 Internal Server Error occurs on the website, it is possible that the problem is just temporary. Trying the website again is typically successful.
  2. Clear your browser’s cache. If there is an issue with the cached version of the website you are seeing, it may be producing HTTP 500 errors. Caching issues hardly cause internal Server Errors, however we have sometimes seen the error disappear after deleting the cache.
  3. Delete your browser’s cookies. You can resolve certain 500 Internal Server Error difficulties by removing the cookies connected with the website from which you are receiving the error. After deleting the cookie(s), restart your browser and try again.
  4. Instead, troubleshoot the 504 Gateway Timeout problem. It is uncommon, but some servers generate a 500 Internal Server Error when, in fact, a 504 Gateway Timeout message is more appropriate depending on the source of the problem.
  5. Contacting the website is another option. The site’s administrators may already be aware of the 500 error, but if you feel they are unaware, informing them can benefit both you and them.Most sites include support-based social media pages, and a few even offer email addresses and phone numbers.
  6. Come back later. Unfortunately, at this point, the 500 Internal Server Error is undoubtedly a problem outside your control that will eventually be resolved by someone else.
If the 500 Internal Server Error notification occurs at checkout during an online transaction, it may be helpful to understand that sales are most likely being disrupted—a fantastic incentive for the online company to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
Even if you’re receiving the 500 error on a non-selling website, such as YouTube or Twitter, as long as you’ve informed them of the issue or attempted to do so, there’s nothing else you can do but wait it out.

Fixing 500 Internal Server Error Problems on Your Own Site

A 500 Internal Server Error on your website necessitates a whole new course of action. Because the majority of 500 errors are server-side, if it’s your website, you’ll most likely have to repair it. There are several reasons why your site may be returning a 500 Error to your users, however the following are the most common:
  • A permissions error. In most circumstances, a 500 Internal Server Error occurs when one or more files or directories have improper permissions. The majority of these issues are caused by improper permissions on PHP and CGI scripts. These should normally be set to 0755 (-rwxr-xr-x).
  • A PHP timeout. If your script connects to external resources and they time out, an HTTP 500 error may result. If this is the source of the 500 problem, timeouts or improved error handling in your script should assist.
  • A coding error in.htaccess. While not as prevalent, ensure that your website’s.htaccess file is properly formatted.

If you’re using WordPress, Joomla, or another content management or CMS system, see their support pages for more particular assistance troubleshooting a 500 Internal Server Error.

If you are not utilizing an off-the-shelf content management platform, your web hosting provider, such as InMotion, Dreamhost, IONOS (1&1), etc., will most likely have some 500 Error support that is more unique to your scenario.
Ways You Might See an Internal Server Error

500 Internal Server Error List

Code

Explanation

500.0

Module or ISAPI error occurred.

500.11

Application is shutting down on the web server.

500.12

Application is busy restarting on the web server.

500.13

Web server is too busy.

500.15

Direct requests for Global.asax are not allowed.

500.19

Configuration data is invalid.

500.21

Module not recognized.

500.22

An ASP.NET httpModules configuration does not apply in Managed Pipeline mode.

500.23

An ASP.NET httpHandlers configuration does not apply in Managed Pipeline mode.

500.24

An ASP.NET impersonation configuration does not apply in Managed Pipeline mode.

500.50

A rewrite error occurred during RQ_BEGIN_REQUEST notification handling. A configuration or inbound rule execution error occurred.

500.51

A rewrite error occurred during GL_PRE_BEGIN_REQUEST notification handling. A global configuration or global rule execution error occurred.

500.52

A rewrite error occurred during RQ_SEND_RESPONSE notification handling. An outbound rule execution occurred.

500.53

A rewrite error occurred during RQ_RELEASE_REQUEST_STATE notification handling. An outbound rule execution error occurred. The rule is configured to be executed before the output user cache gets updated.

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