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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 experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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Comments

  1. Karan says:

    The problem with my site is that sometimes it loads correctly and sometimes it shows 500 internal server error. Can you please tell me the reason for this?

  2. Andrew P. says:

    So, I have a really weird internal 500 error happening. My homepage loads up fine but whenever I click a link in the nav bar to go to another page the internal error pops up. I ran through this list of fixes and can’t seem to figure it out. Also my hosting provider doesn’t have a clue any ideas?

  3. Sheff says:

    Thank you for this. My dashboard crashed midway through a Wordfence Security update. I tried for over 3 hours to fix it but could not get into my dashboard. (500 http error in IE, white screen in firefox)

    I was about to get my host to do a restore from last night and lose a day’s work until I found this page. I used FileZilla renamed the plugins folder on the serer to “plugins-frs” and was able to get into my dashboard with all 14 plugins deactivated. I then renamed the folder back to “plugins” and was able to activate them one at a time. They retained all of their settings, no problem.

    I manually downloaded and uploaded the latest version of the Wordfence Security plugin that started my problems and activated the new version without issue.

    I need to move to Newfoundland and become a cod fisherman before I go insane!

    Sheff

  4. Maher Aarag says:

    What is a FTP?
    And how to log in to my site using the FTP?
    Do you mean log in to my Godaddy domain? or worldpress?

    • Prashant says:

      FTP = File transfer protocol.

      to login with ftp (in Godaddy Cpanel) you should go to your control panel and then go to FTP options and create new ftp by selecting ‘public_html’ directory and then login with any ftp clients like Filezilla.

      host: ftp. yourdomain. com
      username and password: as your specified while creating FTP user.
      port: leave blank or 21.

  5. Lisa Martin says:

    Thanks you. I’ve used this technique multiple times on the same site. How can an .htcaccess file get corrupted? Is there anything that can be done to prevent it?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      You should check your .htaccess file permissions using an FTP client. These file permissions should be set to 644.

      • Lisa Martin says:

        Thanks – I just thought to check here for your reply. The permission on the file is set to 644, but it keeps happening. It always works to rename the site and reload it, but often the client has to tell me his site is down before I know to go fix it for him. It looks like this is an issue in many WordPres forum threads as well.

  6. Jon says:

    Thank you for the tips, as I successfully recovered my site using these suggestions. A corrupt hta access file was the issue. Using FileZilla (highly recommended FTP Client) I was able to disable my plugin folder, then disable the hta access file.

  7. Richard says:

    What do I do when I can’t even enter the WP Admin without getting this error??
    I can sign in fine and see those options, but the moment I want to enter the Admin panel, it gives me this error. I can’t even look up themes, customizer, etc because it involves the WP Admin menu.

    What Do I Do?
    Please Help
    PS: I’ve never had issues with my site, but the WP Admin.

  8. Hiago Ams says:

    Great! Thanks so much, the best step by step available for most things I want is here ;)

  9. Danielle Olson says:

    Thank you! This was so helpful. When I added _deactivate to my plugins folder, I got a different error message that had to do with one plugin in particular. So, I went in and added _deactivate to individual plugins until I found the one that was the problem.

  10. msmith00 says:

    Just had an issue with this and thought I’d pass along my findings… looking in the root folder, a second .htaccess file had appeared overnight and created the 500 Internal error.

    I simply removed the new .htaccess file (where it came from I don’t know), and all is back to normal.

  11. Elliot K says:

    This is the best WordPress help site around hands down! Love it so much! Guides are simple and everything always works for me first try. Thanks wpbeginner :)

  12. Adil Adeel says:

    This is a very informative and simple to understand tutorial for WP Beginners like me. I am using WordPress for last 5 years but as a blogger. Recently I had to install and look after couple of WordPress sites. Now 10 days back first WordPress site went down with 500 internal server error. I searched for the solution and landed on this page and did first step i-e renamed .htaccess file and problem was solved. Now again today the second site went down :) OMG !!!!! But again I visited this page to check for the solution.Now I have done all the steps explained on this page and nothing worked for me :( I have contacted the hosting provider and they are looking into problem for me. I will come back to share the solution once they rectify the problem. Thank you

  13. jofralogo says:

    After trying everything (.htaccess, fresh install of wp-include/wp-admin, deactivate plugins…) I finally solve this problem doing this:

    1) Create a new folder in your wp directory.
    2) Move all files to this new directory.
    3) Move them back to the original folder.
    4) Ta-da!

    I know it sounds stupid but it worked for me.

  14. Shahin Shateri says:

    This helped me a lot. fixed the issue.

  15. JCP says:

    Thanks for saving my ass guys, just got a new job and got thrown into fixing the website (despite not part of my job description) and wow, those pesky plugins! As deemyboy says: BACKUP that wp-content folder!!!!!!!

  16. ed says:

    maybe be a plugin

  17. thankfulpj says:

    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.

  18. Paulo André Matta says:

    Hi, I have tried all those sollutions above, but none worked for me. Im getting kind of desperated. Im new to WP.. I was changing some Settings (in the wp-admin link) and when I hit save, the 500 error came up. Idk what to do :(

  19. Shaswat Shah says:

    I uploaded the php.ini file to my /wp-admin/ folder. But now I am confused how can i know if 500 interneral server error is fixed or not ? because the error was coming simultaneously not all the time. Please help.

  20. Patricia Mirasol says:

    I know I got the internal service error because I was tinkering with my .htaccess file right before it occurred. Tried to log in using FTP clients (FileZilla and WinSCP) but I kept getting a connection error timeout. Just emailed my hosting provider. Hopefully, my provider will be able to help me with this.

  21. Andrea Spila says:

    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!

  22. rajesh adulapuram says:

    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

  23. Matt says:

    I got back into my WP-Admin by renaming .htaccess but when I did settings>permalink>save as you recommend, I got locked out of admin again. Now renaming .htaccess does nothing. Any ideas?

  24. Furkanicus says:

    I’ve had this problem so many times and I feel comfortable sharing my advise on this as an 500 Error expert. Sometimes the problem was solved by changing the htaccess file, but it was a temporary solution. As it’s pointed out in the article, 500 service errror is mostly caused by PHP memory limit and unfortunately adding a php.ini file is not going to cut it. Most hosting companies set Php limit to 128MB, including Dreampress, and if you exceed that limit, your hosting provider will momentarily cut the connection to your website. My advise for you people who has this problem is this. Install P3 Plugin and designate the memory-hogging plugins. If they’re not essential, remove them. Also, changing your host provider to a boutique one instead of Bluehost or Hostgator will get your better customer service and higher product quality.

  25. WPBeginner Staff says:

    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.

  26. Tobie! ® says:

    i still have a problem with this. i cant find my .htaccess file, and i have been locked out of admin. the whole site can’t be viewed. please help me

  27. Tobie! ® says:

    i’ve tried all these, and it still doesnt work!! i cant find my .htaccess file and i cannot generate it because i’m locked out of admin, HELP PLEASE!!!

  28. Chirag Patel says:

    Change index.php permission to 644 :)

  29. Hasan Zaheer says:

    Very helpful, but one more thing, mostly its due to w3 total cache plugin, if you have that you can rename cache plugin folder through FTP and then try, my site was fixed this way

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