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How to Fix the Internal Server Error in WordPress

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How to Fix the Internal Server Error in WordPress

If you have been surfing the web for more than a year, then you probably have seen the HTTP 500 Internal Server Error at least a few times. Internal Server Error is one of the common WordPress errors that can put a WordPress beginner in panic mode. Panic is the worst reaction you can have. Take a deep breath and know that others before you have had this issue as well. We have fixed errors like the internal server error, error establishing database connection, white screen of death, and others many times for our users. We can assure you that they are all fixable. It just requires a little bit of patience. In this article, we will show you how to fix the internal server error in WordPress by compiling a list of all possible solutions in one place.

Internal Server Error in WordPress

Why do you get Internal Server Error in WordPress?

Internal server error is not specific to WordPress, and it can happen with anything else running on your server as well. Due to the generic nature of this error, it does not tell the developer anything. Asking how to fix an internal server error is like asking your doctor how to fix the pain without telling them where the pain is. Having that said, internal server error in WordPress is often caused by plugin and/or theme functions. Other possible causes of internal server error in WordPress that we know of are: corrupted .htaccess file and PHP memory limit. We have also heard internal server error only showing up when you are trying to access the administrator area while the rest of the site works fine.

Lets take a look at how to go about troubleshooting the internal server error in WordPress.

Video Tutorial

If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading.

Checking for Corrupt .htaccess File

The first thing you should do when troubleshooting the internal server error in WordPress is check for the corrupted .htaccess file. You can do so by renaming your main .htaccess file to something like .htaccess_old. To rename the .htaccess file, you will need to login to your site using the FTP. Once you are in, the .htaccess file will be located in the same directory where you will see folders like wp-content, wp-admin, and wp-includes.

Once you have renamed the .htaccess file, try loading your site to see if this solved the problem. If it did, then give yourself a pat on the back because you fixed the internal server error. Before you move on with other things, make sure that you go to Settings » Permalinks and click the save button. This will generate a new .htaccess file for you with proper rewrite rules to ensure that your post pages do not return a 404.

If checking for the corrupt .htaccess file solution did not work for you, then you need to continue reading this article.

Increasing the PHP Memory Limit

Sometimes this error can happen if you are exhausting your PHP memory limit. Use our tutorial on how to increase PHP memory limit in WordPress to fix that.

If you are seeing the internal server error only when you try to login to your WordPress admin or uploading an image in your wp-admin, then you should increase the memory limit by following these steps:

  1. Create a blank text file called php.ini
  2. Paste this code in there: memory=64MB
  3. Save the file
  4. Upload it into your /wp-admin/ folder using FTP

Several users have said that doing the above fixed the admin side problem for them.

If increasing the memory limit fix the problem for you, then you have fixed the problem temporarily. The reason why we say this is because there has to be something that is exhausting your memory limit. This could be a poorly coded plugin or even a theme function. We strongly recommend that you ask your WordPress web hosting company to look into the server logs to help you find the exact diagnostics.

If increasing the PHP memory limit did not fix the issue for you, then you are in for some hard-core trouble shooting.

Deactivate all Plugins

If none of the above solutions worked for you, then this error is most likely being caused by a specific plugin. It is also possible that it is a combination of plugins that are not playing nice with each other. Sadly, there is no easy way to find this out. You have to deactivate all WordPress plugins at once.

Follow the following tutorial on how to deactivate all WordPress plugins without WP-Admin.

If disabling all plugins fixed the error, then you know it is one of the plugins that is causing the error. Simply go through and reactivate one plugin at a time until you find the one that caused the issue. Get rid of that plugin, and report the error to the plugin author.

Re-uploading Core Files

If the plugin option didn’t fix the internal server error, then it is worth re-uploading the wp-admin and wp-includes folder from a fresh WordPress install. This will NOT remove any of your information, but it may solve the problem in case any file was corrupted.

Ask your Hosting Provider

If nothing works, then you need to get in touch with your hosting provider. By looking at the server logs, they should be able to get to the bottom of things.

These are all the possible solutions that may fix the internal server error problem in WordPress. Did any of the above solutions fixed the problem for you? If so, then please let us know in the comments. Did you encounter the internal server error issue in the past? how did you fix it? If you know of a fix that is not listed in the article above, then please contribute in the comments below. We will make sure to keep the article up to date with any new advice from the users.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress lovers led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  • Shahin Shateri

    This helped me a lot. fixed the issue.

  • ed

    maybe be a plugin

  • thankfulpj

    Thank you so much for this guide! At least I was able to start somewhere while I wait for my hosting to check it. In my case, it was not any of the ones listed but a large error log on the home directory (it was 2GB) that did it. But when I re-uploaded the core files, I decided to delete it and it worked.

  • Andrea Spila

    Hi Silvia and thanks for this! I changed the permissions of the two files in wp-admin that were causing problems to 775 (from 664) and this solved then issue. And I don’t know why this happened too! It happened out of the blue. Mystery!

  • rajesh adulapuram

    I tried all the above steps and finally when contacted My host provider iPage it was rectified. They told the problem is with file permissons and they rectified. This should have been my First step

  • WPBeginner Staff

    If you cannot find your .htaccess file, then you can always create a new blank file in a text editor. Name this file .htaccess and upload it to your website’s root directory using an FTP client.

  • WPBeginner Staff

    You can download the old .htaccess file to your computer as backup.

  • deemyboy

    @Levent Ultanur

    One of the reason’s that some people might be getting an error with .htaccess and not with images is because they might be uploading it as a binary.

    In Filezilla (at least) you can set the transfer type in the Transfer menu tab to:

    I’m not certain but “auto” should usually work fine but it you’re only uploading text then maybe switch to “ascii” for that upload session, but remember to switch back again.

    I never knew about this till yesterday when all the images on my site were being corrupted when I downloaded them to local. So I googled and found a post mentioning transfer type “binary” for images, but when I checked I found the transfer type was set to “ascii” (for text – I don’t know how as I don’t remember touching it!!) So I switched it to “binary” and my images came down perfectly as before.

    The reason I say that “auto” is fine is because I’ve up and downloaded complete sites with a mixture of images (png, jpeg, gif etc) and text files (.php, .html, .css) and never had to set each transfer type individually or set it to “ascii” and upload only text files, then switch to binary and upload only images – Filezilla handles it all automatically…normally!

    In fact I was totally unaware of this setting and I’ve been using Filezilla for around 2 or 3 years!

    That MIGHT be the problem so get your clients to check the transfer type on their ftp application

    I hope it helps!

  • deemyboy

    You have not emphasised STRONGLY enough in the solution which replaces the WordPress core that people should
    a) backup the wp-content folder <— this is your website (plus the wp database which doesn't come into this as it should be unnaffected by replacing the core)
    b) make sure when they replace wp-admin and wp-includes they do not grab all 3 folders (ie. do NOT include wp-content) when uploading the new core

  • Henrique

    Thank you very much!

  • Jorge Santos Velasco

    Thank you very much!! this was very helpfull!!

  • Lakshay Sharma

    Many thanks for this post, resoled my issue.

  • WPBeginner Staff

    Sometimes server misconfiguration gets fixed and the error does not come back again. If it does then you should contact your web host.

  • WPBeginner Staff
  • Mitesh Raghwani

    Thank you so much for your help. A simple fix for what seemed a massive problem.

  • Kailash Ghodke

    I tried All Things which described above , but not worked for me :(
    Is any other option like to install new wordpress on domain with all old posts ???

    Your Help is needed please help to fix that issue..!

  • Lidia Lewis

    Thanks for this article! My .htaccess file was corrupt and every time I kept renaming it, another duplicate kept appearing! The site kept returning 500 error messages. What I didn’t realise was that I had to save the permalinks setting in WordPress to update the file. Hope this fixes it for good! Thanks so much.

  • Mark Brandson

    Thank you so very much. The .htaccess trick worked. You saved my life!

  • Astrid

    Deactivating the plug ins worked for me after the latest WP upgrade (April/8/14). Although I think it was the WP Mobile detector that was conflicting with my W3 cache who was the culprit.
    Thanks so much you are a life saver!

    My hosting company told me that I should have had a back up (which I thought I did via a plug in) and that if I wanted to get a recovery and back up I’d have to pay $75.00 bucks. Really? I am so disappointed but super happy I found this article.

    BTW, You are my go to guys when it comes to easy to understand, step by step issues with WP, plugins and the like. We need you around– Keep up the good work. Truly appreciate your efforts.

    You guys ROCK!

    Subscribed and following :)

  • sangeetha menon

    Hi Syed,

    I have deleted the infected files as I kept getting the 500 Internal server error. Now the host provider has asked me to upload the fresh files .. As I dont have any clue , I have asked the host providers to fix it..

    If i have to do it , when uploading to the web root should I give overwrite the existing files ?
    Should I do the htaccess file fix too ? Pls help…

  • luka

    Just change the php verison to 5.4 or higher. It work for me:)

  • Meg

    O.M.G. Nothing like waking up to a lost webpage. And yes, I did panic, but luckily found your post, took a deep breath and actually fixed everything with the first step: corrupt htaccess file. THANK YOU! I really do need to learn more about WordPress.

  • Kevin

    Thanks for the help, I was searching for quite a bit until I found your solution. I took a look at my .htaccess file and saw that it was corrupt, so I renamed it and it did the trick. Cheers :)

  • sherly

    With your help I just fixed my 500 internal server error. I’m a total newbie so this is very helpful!! Thanks!!

  • Derrick

    Hi Editorial Staff,

    Thank you very much!! The best 500 internal server error remedy post I’ve came across just when I needed it!!

    Thank you very much!!

  • Nepal

    Very helpful! Thank you so much…

    I didn’t do anything by myself but I contacted my hosting provider..Lets see how long will they take to fix this issue.

  • Anita Hunt

    Thanks so much for your help :)

  • Keely

    Thanks wpbeginner – the .htaccess fix worked for me :)

  • Olsi

    Deleting whole themes via File Manager and leaving only 1 theme worked for me