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How to fix WordPress Internal Server Error (HTTP 500 Error)

The dreaded "Internal Server Error" in WordPress, also known as the HTTP 500 error, can be alarming and frustrating. It's a generic error message that indicates something has gone wrong on the server, making your website temporarily inaccessible. While the error can be caused by various factors, it's typically fixable with some troubleshooting. In this blog post, we'll explore common reasons behind the WordPress Internal Server Error and guide you through the steps to resolve it.

Understanding the WordPress Internal Server Error: Before we delve into the solutions, let's briefly understand why this error occurs:

  • Plugin or Theme Conflicts: Incompatible or misconfigured plugins or themes can lead to conflicts that result in the 500 error.

  • Exhausted PHP Memory: Running out of PHP memory can cause the server to terminate scripts, resulting in the error.

  • Corrupt .htaccess File: Issues with your .htaccess file can disrupt the server's functionality.

  • Server Configuration: Server-side problems, such as misconfigured server settings, can also trigger the Internal Server Error.

Step 1: Check for .htaccess Issues

  1. Access Server Files: Using FTP or your hosting control panel, locate the .htaccess file in your WordPress root directory.

  2. Backup .htaccess: Before making any changes, create a backup of the .htaccess file.

  3. Edit .htaccess: Open the .htaccess file and ensure it doesn't contain any unusual or conflicting rules. If you're unsure, you can replace it with a default .htaccess file for WordPress:

# 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

Step 2: Deactivate Plugins

  1. Deactivate Plugins: Use FTP or your hosting control panel's file manager to rename the "plugins" folder within the "wp-content" directory to something like "plugins-old."

  2. Test Your Website: Try accessing your website. If the error is gone, reactivate the plugins one by one, testing the site after each activation to identify the conflicting plugin.

Step 3: Switch to a Default Theme

  1. Access Server Files: Use FTP or your hosting control panel to navigate to the "themes" folder within "wp-content."

  2. Rename Your Current Theme: Locate your current theme folder and rename it (e.g., change "my-theme" to "my-theme-old"). WordPress will automatically switch to a default theme.

  3. Test Your Website: Check if the error persists. If it's gone, the issue may be with your theme. Contact the theme developer for assistance.

Step 4: Increase PHP Memory Limit

  1. Access Your Hosting Control Panel: Log in to your hosting control panel (e.g., cPanel).

  2. Find PHP Settings: Look for PHP settings or options to configure PHP memory limits.

  3. Increase PHP Memory: Increase the PHP memory limit to at least 128MB or higher.

Step 5: Seek Professional Help

If none of the above steps resolves the WordPress Internal Server Error, consider consulting a professional WordPress developer or contacting your hosting provider's support team. They can perform advanced troubleshooting and identify any server-related issues.

The WordPress Internal Server Error (HTTP 500 error) can be alarming, but it's often fixable by addressing plugin or theme conflicts, verifying the .htaccess file, increasing PHP memory, and enabling debugging mode. Remember to create backups before making significant changes to your website's configuration, and proceed with caution when troubleshooting. With patience and the right approach, you can resolve this error and have your WordPress website up and running smoothly again.


If you looking to transfer your WordPress Web Hosting Service or starting a new WordPress website Ozzietel offers great WordPress Web Hosting solutions.

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