How To Fix The 500 Internal Server Error In WordPress?

How To Fix The 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress

Undertaking appropriate measures for website maintenance and care is essential if you have a business website or run an online store. Without proper website maintenance, you run the risk of getting spam and error messages on your site, or worse yet, your website could be hacked.

In this post, we will look into one of the common server errors in WordPress, which is a result of an unkempt website. The 500 internal server error in WordPress can be caused due to several website issues. Thus, let’s check out the causes in brief, and then dive right into learning how to fix these 500 internal server errors to ensure your website functions smoothly, and there is no downtime.

What Is WordPress 500 Internal Server Error?

While it is a common web server error, the 500 internal server error in WordPress could be due to a simple browser cache or outdated plugins and themes. It is an application-side issue on the server level and common among all websites and not limited to WordPress sites.

For instance, when you enter a URL in your browser (Google Chrome), the server will take the request and display the website or page you requested. However, if the server can’t display the requested page, it will show a 500 internal server error message.

The message displayed would be quite generic and is different based on the browser you are using.

What Causes 500 Internal Server Errors in WordPress?

Some of the top reasons or causes for 500 internal server errors in WordPress are corrupt databases, incompatibility issues with third-party plugins and themes, database server issues, exhausted PHP limits, or broken .htaccess files.

If not fixed immediately, the 500 internal server error can affect your SEO and invariably, your site’s ranking. It could also make it difficult for web crawlers or search engine robots to crawl your site, leading to inaccurate indexing. Most importantly, this error could have a negative impact on user experience, resulting in a high bounce rate.

Identifying the cause is the first step toward correcting this error. Once you identify the cause, you can find appropriate solutions and fix it.

What To Do Before Fixing the 500 Internal Server Error?

An important thing to do before you start fixing the 500 internal server error is to take a complete website backup. You don’t want to lose your precious data while fixing the error. Apart from protecting your files and data, a backup will ensure you can get your site up and running quickly in case you run into any further issues.

With WordPress, you can quickly take a website backup with a plugin. The top WordPress backup plugins are UpdraftPlus, Jetpack VaultPress Backup, and BackWPup. These plugins are simple to use and configure. Among these, the UpdraftPlus premium plugin offers backup, restore, and cloning features.


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Read: WordPress Security Checklist

How To Fix The 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress?

By now, you may have a clear idea of the probable causes of the 500 internal server error on a WordPress website. You also have a gist on what you need to do before trying the fix the error (hint: take website backup). Therefore, let’s move to and read how to fix the 500 internal server error quickly.

Try Browser Caching

Probably the easiest of fixes for the 500 internal server error is to clear browser cookies and cache. If you use Google Chrome, use Ctrl+Shift+Delete to clean cookies and cached images.


Enter the website URL again in the browser to check if the site is accessible. You could also try websites like Is it Down Right Now or Down For Everyone Or Just Me to determine if the issue is widespread or just faced by you.

The method to clear caching and cookies is different for each browser. Depending on the browser you use, the method for clearing the cookies and cache may differ. Just go to Settings and find the right tab and clear them. If the issue persists, you can try the other fixes mentioned below.

Check For Redundant Plugins

This is a common cause for the 500 internal server error in WordPress. Sometimes third-party WordPress plugins can cause an error after installation, or an outdated/redundant plugin on the site can cause a problem.

The easiest way to troubleshoot this problem is to go to your WordPress dashboard → Plugins → Choose bulk actions from the drop-down menu or manually select the plugins you want to deactivate → click Deactivate. 


Next, refresh your website to check if the error is fixed.

If this fixes the error, you have identified the cause. Now, you need to activate each plugin (one by one) and refresh your website after each activation. The whole process is quite tedious, but it’s the only way to find the issue and fix it. Once you have identified the plugin causing the 500 error, you could either delete the plugin or update it.

Sometimes the conflict may be caused by bad code within the plugin. In this case, you need to hire a WordPress developer to fix the issue.

Check Your .htaccess File

A corrupt .htaccess file could be a reason for the internal server error, as it is one of the core WordPress files. If the file is corrupted, create a new one. 

To fix this issue, log into your website via SFTP. Once you find the file, rename it to .htaccess_old.

Next, use the text editor to create a new .htaccess file and copy/paste the following.

# BEGIN WordPress
RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule .* - [E=HTTP_AUTHORIZATION:%{HTTP:Authorization}]
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
# END WordPress

Upload this new .htaccess file and refresh your site browser to check if the error is rectified. You could also check the WordPress Codex to find details on the default .htaccess file for multisite.

Conduct a Website Theme Audit

Like in the case of WordPress plugins, a new WordPress theme can also result in an internal server error. Here, a website theme audit can help. 

Go to your WordPress dashboard → Appearance → Themes → Activate the default theme (Twenty Twenty-Two). This will deactivate your current theme and activate the default theme. Reload your website to see if the error is fixed.


Use WordPress Debugging

Being the most popular CMS for creating a website, WordPress also comes with a debug feature. When enabled, it can help detect errors on your website. It could be the ideal solution to find the source of the 500 error in WordPress. The best part, the debug feature can also provide details on other possible errors on your site. To enable the debugging feature in WordPress, check out this simple guide.

Check the PHP Memory Limit

In WordPress, plugins and scripts require a certain amount of memory. If the PHP memory isn’t sufficient, it could lead to the 500 internal server error. 

To check your site’s PHP memory limit, log in to your WordPress dashboard → Tools → Site Health. Click on Info and scroll to the server section to view the PHP memory limit.


To increase the memory limit, you need to access your .htaccess file and add the following code.

php_value memory_limit xxxM

Or you could access your wp-config.php file and add the following code on top.

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', 'xxxM');

If this fixes the 500 error, well and good, but your job is not done yet! You need to now identify the reason why the memory is getting exhausted. A few reasons for it could be a faulty theme or plugin. Here, to find the exact cause, it is best to connect with your hosting provider.

Note: In some 500 error variations, access to the WordPress dashboard may be restricted. So, you might not be able to fix the 500 error with this step.

Check if the PHP Version is Compatible

Sometimes the 500 server error can be a result of an incompatible PHP version. As in the case of PHP memory limit, scripts & plugins also need a specific PHP version to run smoothly. If there is any incompatibility issue, it could result in 500 errors.

To check your site’s current PHP version, log in to your WordPress dashboard → Tools → Site Health. 

Click on Info and in the server section, you can view your PHP version. 


Here, try upgrading or downgrading the PHP version if you are unsure which PHP is needed.

Make the change, save the settings, and refresh your website to check if the error has disappeared. If not, revert to the initial PHP version and save the settings.

Connect With Your Web Hosting Provider

If you have tried all methods (fixes) mentioned above and the problem persists, you need expert help. Contact your web hosting provider, who can help detect the root cause by checking the server error logs. However, if the problem is with the host’s server, your site will experience some downtime until the error is fixed.

Restore Previous Site Backup

Another option is to restore your previous site backup, taken when your site was functional. If you are using a WordPress backup plugin that offers a restoration option, you could simply restore your site with a click of a button.

Open your WordPress dashboard → Settings → Backups (example UpdraftPlus). Under the Backup and Restore tab scroll to existing backup → current backup → click on the restore button.

Select if you want to restore a specific component (database, plugins, themes, or uploads) or choose full restore. The plugin will start the restore process. Once done, it will display the ‘restore successfully’ message. This should hopefully fix the 500 server error.

Re-upload the Core WordPress Files

If all else fails, the last option would be to re-upload the core WordPress files. Here, you would need to:


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  • Unzip the file and look for the WordPress folder.
  • Select all files in the folder and upload them to your website using an FTP client.
  • Next, choose ‘Overwrite’ and ‘Always use this action.’

This will replace the older WordPress files with new files. If the reason for the internal server error was corrupted WordPress files, this solution could fix the problem.

Note: If this step is too technical for you, it is best that you contact your hosting provider.

500 Internal Server Error Variations 

Depending on the browser, operating system, and web server that you are using, the 500 internal server error can be displayed as the following variations.

Error 500

HTTP 500

500 Error

HTTP Error 500

Temporary Error (500)

Internal Server Error

HTTP Error 500 – Internal Server Error

500 – Internal Server Error

HTTPS 500 error

HTTPS error 500

HTTP 500 – the website cannot display the requested page

500 – an error. That’s all we know.

A blank white screen or a descriptive error message can also be displayed ‘Contact the server administrator.’ A custom 500 internal server error page is also common.

Read: 10 Most Common WordPress Errors


A 500 internal server error is easy to fix once you find the exact cause for it. The above solutions for the 500 error are simple to follow, even for a beginner WordPress user. Before trying out any advanced-level solution, start by clearing your website cache and cookies. In most cases, this solution should work.

Next, conduct a plugins and themes audit, especially if you have added any new WordPress plugins/themes to your website. Debugging is also a simple fix to resolve the 500 internal server error. Contacting your web hosting provider should be next on the list, as their technical team can provide accurate guidance.

On the coding level, check the .htacess file, PHP memory limit, and PHP version. Make use of the code provided here to fix the 500 server error. Restoring the previous site backup can also help fix this issue. As a last resort, you should re-upload all the core WordPress files. 

As mentioned earlier, take a website backup before you carry out any of the 500 error fixes mentioned in this article.

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