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Have you ever come across a website that displays ‘ ‘500 Internal server error’?

If you are someone who wants to get to the bottom of this error, and understand what it exactly means, then this blog is for you.

In this blog, we are going to discuss what this error exactly means, and some of the most common causes for it, and how you can prevent it if the issue keeps recurring.

What is 500 internal server error?

The Internet Engineering Task Force has defined 500 internal error as an unexpected condition a server has encountered that prevented it from fulfilling a particular type of request.

It is a server-side error, and has nothing to do with your device, browser or internet connection. Whenever you see 500 internal error while visiting a website, you need to understand that there can be multiple causes for this to appear on your screen.

Causes of 500 internal server error

As said above, 500 internal server error can happen for a myriad of reasons. Here are some of them:

  • Corrupted .htaccess file: Usually, all the server instructions are stored in a particular file called .htaccess file. These are the instructions that will tell your software or website how to work, and what to do when some unexpected situation arises. While this file is capable of running your website efficiently, its corrupted version can completely mess with the website as well. It can get corrupted during the plugin installation, file configuration, or if you are working on the server as well.
  • Exceeding PHP’s memory limit: PHP is a scripting language that is present in the HTML. It helps in the management of content, session tracking, managing databases, and many more. This language requires memory to work on different processes, and if there is not enough memory on the server side, then it can trigger a 500 internal server error on the website.
  • Permission error: The permission error usually happens on the user side. If a user is trying to perform an action on their device which they don't have permission to do, then it is common for a 500 internal error to pop up. They need to modify their permissions to prevent this from happening.
  • Faulty third-party plugins: Plugins and themes from third parties can make your website function more efficiently and give an aesthetic look as well. However, adding them to your website can put it at risk for different bugs. Usually, all of these third-party themes, and plugins are designed by a small group of programmers, and they won’t be able to address different kinds of bugs in a very short time. This will put your entire website at risk, and it is important to be extremely careful about this.

How to fix the error?

If you want to access the website despite the 500 internal error, here are some of the things that you can try. Always remember that these hacks may help you in resolving the error, but you cannot rely on them alone:

  • Refresh the page: Well, this is the first thing you are supposed to do when you find a 500 internal error on any of the websites you are trying to access. If it is a temporary loading issue, refreshing the page can solve it without any hassle.
  • Visit later: If the website is still down despite you trying to refresh the page multiple times, leave it as it is, and check the website later. As it is a server issue, the developers, and website owners will be trying to fix it from their side. So, just give them some time and check back the website later.
  • Check the URL on this website: There is this website named down for everyone or just me. Go to this website and paste the URL link to see if the website is completely down for everyone out there or is it just you. This will give you clarity on what you need to do next.
  • Delete browser history and cookies: You can try to delete the browser history, and then try to access the website again. Despite this, if you are unable to check the website it is time to delete all the browser-related cookies.

Troubleshooting 500 internal server error problems on your own site

Finding that your own website is down because of some 500 internal server error is nothing less than a nightmare. If you are facing this, then it is time for you to analyze and try to do something to fix this error as soon as possible.

1. Check the server logs

  • Access the server logs, typically located in /var/log/apache2/error.log for Apache servers or /var/log/nginx/error.log for Nginx servers.
  • Look for error messages or stack traces that provide insights into the cause of the error.
  • Pay attention to the timestamp of the error to correlate it with recent events or changes on your website.

2. Identify recent changes

  • Review any recent modifications made to your website, including changes to code, configuration files, or server settings.
  • If you made any updates or installations shortly before the error occurred, consider reverting those changes temporarily to see if it resolves the issue.
  • This step helps determine if the error is related to a specific change.

3. Debug your code:

  • If your website is relying on the server-side code, for example PHP, Python, or Node.js, then examine the relevant code for potential errors or exceptions.
  • Make sure that you enable error reporting or debugging in your code to obtain more detailed information about the problem. This could involve setting the error_reporting and display_errors directives in your PHP code or using appropriate logging mechanisms in other programming languages.
  • Utilize debugging tools and techniques specific to your programming language or framework to identify the root cause of the error.

4. Test with a minimal setup

  • Temporarily disable any plugins, themes, or customizations that are not essential to your website's functionality.
  • Check if the error persists with a minimal setup. If it doesn't, gradually re-enable components one by one until the error reoccurs. This helps identify the specific component causing the issue.

5. Check file permissions

  • Verify that file and directory permissions are properly set. Incorrect permissions can lead to a 500 error.
  • Most of the time, these files are supposed to have permissions of 644 (read/write for owner, read for group, and others), and directories should have permissions of 755 (read/write/execute for owner, read/execute for group, and others). However, these permissions may vary depending on your server's configuration and requirements.

6. Increase PHP’s memory limit

  • If your website runs on PHP, the error might be caused by insufficient memory allocated to PHP scripts.
  • Locate the PHP configuration file (php.ini) on your server. Common locations include /etc/php.ini, /etc/php5/php.ini, or /etc/php/7.x/php.ini.
  • In the php.ini file, find the memory_limit directive, and increase its value. For example, set it to memory_limit = 256M to allocate 256 megabytes of memory.
  • Save the changes and restart the web server for the modifications to take effect.

7. Restart services

  • Restart your web server, like Apache, Nginx, and any other associated services.
  • It helps in ensuring that there are no temporary issues or changes in the configuration, and the server will start with a clean slate.
  • During this step, it is important for you to use the appropriate commands to restart your server, such as sudo service apache2 restart for Apache or sudo service nginx restart for Nginx.

8. Consult your hosting provider

  • If you are using a hosting service, reach out to their support team for assistance. This is the last thing that you need to do.
  • Provide them with all the relevant details of the error, and any other important information you gathered during the troubleshooting process.
  • Hosting support can offer insights into server configurations, access server logs that might be outside your reach, or provide specialized assistance tailored to your hosting environment.
If none of these troubleshooting methods have worked for you, your website may face a 500 internal server error due to malware.


The 500 internal server issue is one of the most common issues websites face. We have provided some troubleshooting solutions for this problem, and hope one of them will work for you smoothly.

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