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How to Fix the 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress

Are you seeing 500 internal server error in WordPress? Internal server error is one of the most common WordPress errors. Since the error doesn’t give any other information, many beginners find it quite frustrating. In this article, we will show you how to easily fix internal server error in WordPress.

How to fix internal server error in WordPress

What Causes Internal Server Error in WordPress?

Internal server error is not specific to WordPress. It can happen with any website running on a web server. 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.

Example of a WordPress website showing internal server error

Internal server error in WordPress is often caused by plugin 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 admin area while the rest of the site works fine.

That being said, now let’s take a look at how to go about troubleshooting the internal server error in WordPress.

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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 FTP or File Manager app in your hosting account’s cPanel dashboard.

Once you connected, the .htaccess file will be located in the same directory where you will see folders like wp-content, wp-admin, and wp-includes.

Editing .htaccess file in WordPress

Once you have renamed the .htaccess file, try visiting 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 page in WordPress admin area and click the save button without making any changes. This will generate a new .htaccess file for you with proper rewrite rules to ensure that your post pages do not return a 404 error.

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 internal server 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 fixed the problem for you, then you have only fixed the problem temporarily. You still need to find the cause 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 more troubleshooting.

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 instructions in our guide on how to deactivate all WordPress plugins without WP-Admin.

Deactivate all WordPress plugins

If disabling all plugins fixed the error, then you know it is one of the plugins that is causing the error.

Simply go to the WordPress admin area and click on ‘Plugins’. Now you need to 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.

First you will need to visit the WordPress.org website and click on the Download button.

Download WordPress

This will install WordPress zip file to your computer. You need to extract the zip file and inside it you will find a wordpress folder.

Next you need to connect to your WordPress website using an FTP client. Once connected go to the root folder of your website. It is the folder that has wp-admin, wp-includes, wp-content folders inside it.

In the left column open the WordPress folder on your computer. Now you need to select wp-includes and wp-admin folders and then right-click and select ‘Upload’.

Upload fresh WordPress files

Your FTP client will now transfer those folder to your server. It will ask you whether you would like to overwrite the files. Select ‘Overwrite’ and then select ‘Always use this action’.

Overwrite files

Your FTP client will now replace your older WordPress files with newer fresh copies. If your WordPress files were corrupted, then this step will fix the internal server error for you.

Ask your Hosting Provider

If all methods fail to fix internal server error on your website, then it is time to get some more help. Contact your web hosting support team and they will be able to check the server logs and locate the root cause of the error.

If you want to continue troubleshooting on your own, then see our ultimate WordPress troubleshooting guide for beginners.

We hope this article helped you fix the internal server error in WordPress. You may also want to see our complete list of the most common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

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Reader Interactions

659 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. in my case it was simple although i spend few hours… I typed wrong sql server. Suprisingly it didn’t throw window with wrong config settings.

  2. Hi!

    Thanks for this information. I renamed the .htaccess and my sites are up and running. My server is godaddy.
    My question is, can I erase the old renamed .htaccess , because I called many times to godaddy to fix this kind of 500 internal error after many callings ?

    Thanks

  3. thank you! that just saved the day when I made the .htaccess ftp change. i can breathe again… ; D

  4. i am facing this 500 error to last 15 days on godaddy hosting. i have tried everything what ever you mention here but not able to solve this error and also called godaddy for help, he said site are working fine on our site you check in different system.

    Now feeling hopeless and thinking to move another hosting provider… :(

    plz help me and suggest me for better option for hosting.

    Thank you.

  5. Hello
    i had the same problem with my website and went through all
    your advices, without solving it. At the end i contacted my host and
    they checked things for me, finding that some folders in the FTP had
    CHMOD permissions different from 775. I didn’t do anything to cause
    that, it just happened one day and i can’t get why. Anyway they fixed
    the problem for me and said it’s easily manageable with ftp clients or
    via their own file manager.
    Just hoping it may be useful :)

  6. Hi, I’m a non-techie and a newbie… Had this issue of Internal server error last week. It all began with my admin access getting restricted. But the site was working well. Sat through this with the Hosting provider (GoDaddy) for more than 4.5 hours through the night with 3 different personnel.(This was the 3rd time over a period of 4 days or so) They were helpful to a certain extent and identified the problem (wp-admin folder was missing). They emphasized that I should have deleted it as they did not have access(Just 2 days back they changed the files for me!!). I was logging in after a periodof 7 or 8 months of setting up the site. Anyways, I asked if they could restore the folder to a previous date. They denied. The solution given was a fee of $150, where they will “try” to find out the file changes etc, but with no guarentee. (While reading the above, I assume they should have used the above content as the questions/instructions were in the above written order).
    Anyways, from one of the discussions (forgot the site), I found that if the wp-admin folder(of the version installed) is put in, it should solve. Yes, it did work for me… I activated all my plugins(they had deactivated it) and the site was working. I also updated all the plugins and themes that i was using/trying. the site is up and running!

  7. @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:
    auto
    binary
    ascii

    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!

  8. 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

  9. Thank you very very very much! That was the best and only place where I found solution, after a day’s search on the web.

  10. Hey guys n girls…
    What i dont get with this error is that i CAN upload images without getting the http error but My client gets the error… Same server, same files… Why ooo why… Anybody?

  11. Hi, guys. Awesome post! I use this page every time I get an Internal Server error.

    I would offer an additional step, however. Actually, this should be the very first step before anything else is done. That is to verify there is not a problem with the web host.

    I went through all the usual steps this morning on a client’s site that went down an hour ago only to find, quite by chance, that PHP was not working on the host. A quick check of the service bulletins on the web host’s website indicated a problem had occurred with that particular server. So, all we can do is wait until they fix it. (there are other tricks like changing the A record to a different server, but that’s only if the server issue is long term.)

    That said, other parts of the server are still functioning so a quick and dirty index.html was created just so visitors see something nice instead of an error.

    It’s also handy to create a “test.php” file that demonstrates if PHP is working or not, and then try to access that file every so often. When service is restored, delete or rename the index.html so that the index.php will load instead.

    Here is my test.php code:

    PHP Test

    <?php echo ‘<p>Hello World</p>’; ?>

    I sure hope this helps someone in a similar boat. All the best.

  12. Thanks for your help! My site only exhibited the “500 Internal Server Error” when I tried to see what plugins were installed. Naturally, I figured there was a misbehaving plugin. After several attempts to fix the problem by removing all of the plugins, I found your article. Your “memory=64MB” in a clean php.ini, placed in wp-admin, did the trick. Now at least I can work with the site to determine what is hording all the RAM. Nice article!

  13. I have been locked out of logging into WordPress for 2 weeks, as it tells me the security certificate is not verified. Can someone fix this so I can log in?

  14. I can’t even log on to my admin panel at all to try to deactivate plug-ins etc… I talked with my hosting provider and they couldn’t find any problems. Any suggestions for what to do when you can’t even get to the admin panel?

  15. 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..!

  16. 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.

  17. 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 :)

  18. 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…

  19. 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.

  20. 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 :)

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

  22. 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!!

  23. 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.

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