How to Fix a 500 Server Error on your WordPress Website

Although anyone can create a WordPress website, there are still issues that can occur, such as the 500 server error. You don’t have to be an experienced designer to fix this problem. Just follow these steps:

Identify the Problem

You will know that you’re having a 500 server error when your website has a large black header that says 500 Internal Server Error. You wont miss it! What this means is that there is an error with the website’s server. Unfortunately, this HTTP error cannot be more specific. This is a common error for WordPress websites, and is usually caused by the .htaccess file in your website. To solve this issue, you can rename the file as a .bak file for backup, and upload a new .htaccess file. This article will go into further detail in solving the issue. As a heads up, if this does not solve the internal server error, it is best to contact your website host for support.

Solving the Issue

To start, you will need FTP access to your website. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It allows you to access, add, and delete files for your website. For this example, I am using FileZilla. If you do not already have FTP access, log into your hosting and you should find it there. The credentials you will need are:

  • Host name
  • Username
  • Password
  • Port

If you are having trouble finding the port, the standard for HTTPS websites is port 22. Once you get the necessary information it is advised to create a new site using the site manager. This will allow you to access your files via FTP at any time without having to re enter your FTP credentials. If using FileZilla, click on the top left icon:

Once in the site manager window, go to the general tab, and enter in the following fields:

  • Host
  • Port
  • Protocol- if you are using HTTPS use SFTP, if not use FTP
  • Logon Type- If you have a password, use ask for password
  • User

You can choose “remember password” for quick access each time you need your files.

Once you are connected to your website, go into the WordPress folder. If there is no WordPress folder, you are already in the right folder. Next, locate the .htaccess file. This is the file that is corrupt, and is causing the server error. Name the .htaccess file something else, like .htaccess.bak for example. If you are using FileZilla, you can right click on the file and choose to rename it. It is that simple! Make sure the changes have been made, and reload the page. If your website is now working, kudos to you! You have solved the problem.

If renaming the file has solved the issue, you will have to go into your WordPress website and save the permalink. This will generate a new .htaccess file. Simply log into your WordPress website, and go to the dashboard. Hover over settings, click on permalinks, and then click save. You are done!

Trouble Shooting

If this has not solved the issue, there could be a couple of different causes. Another cause for the internal server error can be from reaching the PHP memory limit. Signs that you are reaching the PHP memory limit can be when you see the internal server error when trying to upload a new photo, or when you log into your website as admin. If this is the case, take a look on how to increase your PHP memory limit.

If you do not see that any of the suggested solutions are fixing anything, than the plugins you have installed may be causing the error. For those who are ambitious, you will have to do quite a lot of trouble shooting. You will have to deactivate all of the WordPress plugins that you have installed. If this does the trick for you, than you now know it is one of the plugins that is causing the error. Simply reactivate each plugin one by one to figure out which is the plugin that is causing the error.

As previously mentioned, if none of these methods are working, your best bet is to contact your web hosting provider for support.

How did you solve the 500 server error?