DAMM YOU WordPress 500 Internal Server Error
If someone gave you $500 for doing nothing, you would be so happy. But is if you saw a WordPress 500 Internal Server Error you would not be so happy. The good news is in the majority of these situations, it is very easy to fix. We want to run you through 5 things to isolate the WordPress 500 Internal Server Error and then the steps you can take after to fix it.
#1 ASK YOUR HOST FOR SUPPORT
The 500 internal server error on WordPress is a very general HTTP status code that means something has gone wrong with the site’s server. It is a general error and could be more to do with the WordPress application you are running on the server or something the host is doing on their end. You should always ask them first to take a look. This will rule out the server being the issue so you can troubleshoot further on your end. Some hosts might even help you fix the WordPress issue but do not count on that. By the way here is a list of server error codes and what they mean. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_HTTP_status_codes
#2 MAKE SURE HOST IS CORRECT
So if your host tells you that the server is fine, you can take their word for it but we suggest you verify that statement. It is so simple to do so too. Using either FTP access or your web hosting file manager, you want to upload the file at THIS LINK. Make sure you unzip this file before you upload it. This will be uploaded to the root folder of your server and once that is completed, you will visit YOUR_DOMAIN.com/info.php. If the server is working as it should, this address should load and you will see some server info. If you still get a 500 Internal Server Error on WordPress, the server is not working and you can go back to the host and provide them this URL stating it should load as it is only a 1 line file that does not depend on anything to load.
#3 CHECK .HTACCESS FILE FOR ERRORS
This file is the soul of your server configuration and 1 simple wrong character in this file can quickly crash your site and cause a WordPress 500 Internal Server Error. A very quick and easy way to see if this is the issue is to connect to your site’s files using either FTP or your web hosting control panel and rename the file. If the site loads after that and the WordPress 500 Internal Server Error is gone, then you found the root cause. Simply login to your site and re-save your permalinks by going to SETTINGS > PERMALINKS and hit save. This will re-generate your .htaccess file. Happy days now!!!
#4 RULE OUT WORDPRESS CORE AS AN ISSUE
Sometimes for many different reasons, your core WordPress installation may have an issue. This could be files missing, changed or corrupted. You want to make sure that your core WordPress installation is fresh and new to rule out this being the cause of your server WordPress 500 Internal Server Error. Take a look below to see how you can manually remove and re-install WordPress core files.
- Get the latest WordPress zip (or tar.gz) file.
- Unpack the zip file that you downloaded.
- Deactivate plugins.
- Delete the old
wp-admindirectories on your web host (through your FTP or shell access).
- Using FTP or your shell access, upload the new
wp-admindirectories to your web host, in place of the previously deleted directories.
- Upload the individual files from the new
wp-contentfolder to your existing
wp-contentfolder, overwriting existing files. Do NOT delete your existing
wp-contentfolder. Do NOT delete any files or folders in your existing
wp-contentdirectory (except for the one being overwritten by new files).
- Upload all new loose files from the root directory of the new version to your existing wordpress root directory.
NOTE – you should replace all the old WordPress files with the new ones in the
wp-admin directories and sub-directories, and in the root directory (such as index.php, wp-login.php and so on). Don’t worry – your wp-config.php will be safe.
Be careful when you come to copying the wp-content directory. You should make sure that you only copy the files from inside this directory, rather than replacing your entire wp-content directory. This is where your themes and plugins live, so you will want to keep them. If you have customized the default or classic themes without renaming them, make sure not to overwrite those files, otherwise you will lose your changes. (Though you might want to compare them for new features or fixes..)
Lastly you should take a look at the wp-config-sample.php file, to see if any new settings have been introduced that you might want to add to your own wp-config.php.
#5 CHECK IF YOUR PLUGINS OR ACTIVE THEME IS THE ISSUE
Now if all the above does not isolate the cause of your WordPress 500 internal server error, you can check to see if it is a plugin or your active theme making this hair pulling issue happen. For this you will need either FTP access or access to your web hosting control panel file manager area. What we will do here is navigate to our plugins folder which will have a path of WP-CONTENT > PLUGINS. All you need to do now is rename the PLUGINS folder to something like PLUGINS_OFF. Now try to reload your site. If it loads up with an error, you know for sure it is a plugin. Login and visit your plugins page. Doing this will turn them all off. Now go back and revert the folder name back to its original folder name PLUGINS. Now go reload the plugins page inside your admin area and turn them on 1 at a time until you find the one that causes the WordPress 500 internal server error.
If the WordPress 500 internal server error is being caused by your active theme, we can know this for certain by navigating to your themes folder which will have a path of WP-CONTENT > THEMES. Now rename the THEMES folder to something like THEMES_OFF. Reload the site and if it loads, you know 100% that the theme is the issue.
We really hope this was helpful if isolating the cause of your WordPress 500 internal server error. If you are stuck or have any questions about any of this, please comment below.
— Viorel P (@Veo_twit) January 8, 2017