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What is a 500 Error?

A 500 error means something went wrong with the website’s server, but the server could not be more specific on what was wrong.

Common Error Messages:

500 Internal Server Error
Temporary Error 500
HTTP 500 - Internal Server Error
Internal Server Error

Possible Reasons for Errors

Consider these common causes for 500 errors to see if any apply to your situation.

Permissions

What is it?

File permissions are assigned to files to establish who can interact with them. If you file permissions are incorrectly configured, it may be keeping your website from being viewable.

Is it happening to me?

This is the most common cause of the 500 error. The best way to check is to make sure your files are properly configured in the Account Control Center (ACC).

How to fix

Read our File Permissions article to learn about permissions and how you can set new ones in the ACC.

You can also contact support and they can help you make sure your permissions are configured correctly:

PHP Time Out

What is it?

There is a certain amount of time that PHP scripts are allowed to run. If it exceeds that amount of time, it will timeout, causing a 500 error.

Oftentimes, PHP scripts are linked to external resources and their response time sometimes causes the timeout.

Is it happening to me?

If you have recently edited your PHP scripts or you know you include external resources in your PHP scripts, this may be the cause of your 500 error.

How to fix

If you think this is the source of the problem, you should take a look at your site’s PHP scripts. Make sure all the external resources are still available. If you’ve recently edited your PHP scripts, double check them to make sure a script hasn’t gotten stuck in an endless loop.

WordPress Theme/Plugin Issue

What is it?

Sometimes plugins and themes malfunction or develop incompatibility with other features.

Is it happening to me?

If you recently downloaded a new theme/plugin or recently updated your old ones and your website gave you a 500 error afterwards, this could be the problem.

How to fix

For plugins, try selectively turning off each plugin one by one to figure out which plugin is the culprit. If it’s the theme, you may want to try switching to a different theme.

.htaccess

What is it?

.htaccess is a configuration file that allows the user to turn on/off features on a server.

Is it happening to me?

If your site is new or you have recently edited your .htaccess file, you should count this as a possibility. .htaccess files can throw a 500 error if the name is incorrectly typed (a common misspelling is “htaccess” without the period at the beginning) or if the wrong syntax is used in the file.

How to fix

Double check to make sure the .htaccess file name is spelled correctly and the period is included at the beginning. Also check the file and make sure all the syntax is in the correct format.

PHP Memory Limit

What is it?

Websites need memory, just like a computer does. Each application (such as PHP) gets an allotted amount of memory to use. If your PHP scripts exceed that, you will receive a 500 error.

Is it happening to me?

The 500 error may mention memory size being exceeded. If it does, there is a good chance that your PHP limit is the issue.

How to fix

If you increase the PHP memory size limit, the problem should be solved. You can modify the memory limit in the .htaccess file or in server settings. However, we recommend contacting support if you want to change the memory limit in server settings:

Updated on May 9, 2018

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