HTTP 500 Internal Server Error: What It Means & How to Fix It

Managing a website could be a headache sometimes. Configuration, setup, design, etc. can overwhelm a person. On top of that, it is in the nature of technology to have bugs and problems every once in a while. Today, thanks to social media and the Internet, debugging and fixing issues has become much easier. There is no question that the Internet doesn’t have an answer for.

The story is a bit different with error 500 for the internal server. It is not clearly stated what the issue is and a number of different things can cause this error. In this article we are going to examine what could cause this error and how you can fix it.

Introduction to HTTP 500 Error

HTTP 500 errors show a problem with the server, not the website, your computer or the Internet. While they do not refer to a specific issue, they potentially show a number of things that might have gone wrong and they are unexplainable issues, which makes it a bit harder to diagnose.
There are two different scenarios where you might face this problem and it depends whether you are trying to access a website or you have this error on your own website. We will explore both cases below and offer solutions.

If It Is Not Your Website

If you are trying to open a particular website and you are getting an HTTP 500 error, then this means the problem isn’t on your end; your internet, computer and browser are working fine. Here, there are a number thing’s you can try to solve the problem.

Refresh the page

Good old turn off turn on tactic still works here. But here you don’t close your browser, instead, you press Ctrl + F5 keys on your keyboard for a hard refresh.   The page might have been down only temporarily and with a hard refresh you might see it working.

Try again later

There is a high possibility that the website admins are already aware of the issue and are working for a fix. So, you might want to try again later when they have potentially solved the issue. You can also speed up the process by reporting it to the website admins if you have the means to do so.

Delete your browser’s cookies

Sometimes the problem is solved by your browser having saved the cookies from the broken page.

The Server Administrator and trekking experts from Bookatrekking specializing in Eagle Walk say that in this situation, you might want to delete your browsing Google Activity history and your browser cookies to see if you can access the page.

See if others have the issue

Paste the URL you cannot access into Down for Everyone or just Me and see if this is only a problem for you or others are experiencing the same thing.

If It Is Your Website

What about you have an HTTP 500 Internal Server error on your own website. Well, there are several potential causes for that. And now we will turn to those and offer you a fix for each.

Corrupted or broken .htaccess file

.htaccess is an important file in your website that contains instructions on how the software functions. There are several causes that can do this, such as installing new plugins, during configuration or when you are working on the server.

Permission error

If this is the reason for HTTP 500 Internal Server error then it might be the case that the user doesn’t have permission to access that specific page.

Faulty theme or plugin

Plugins and themes are essential for your WordPress website to expand its functionalities and features.

Exceeding the PHP memory limit

PHP manages the content, database, session tracking, etc. on your website. Each of these processes uses your website memory. If you go over this limit, then you will get the error.

I want to update a blogpost that was modified but when I try to do that I get a 500 error. I checked the error log and it says PHP Fatal error:  Cannot redeclare my_wpdiscuz_shortcode(). What should I do?

Hello. Yes the error can cause a 500 issue. As it says, the my_wpdiscuz_shortcode function has been declared twice and you cannot have that in PHP. This is most likely because this function is present in more than two files or maybe because two plugins or themes have a conflict.

Check to see what has been recently installed and delete those and see if the problem persists. Once you’ve discovered where the function is repeated, you can change the file and remove the function. But be careful with editing the files and make sure to get a backup first.

Sometimes you don’t need to edit the file and by updating or reinstalling the faulty theme or plugin the issue is resolved.

How to Fix the HTTP 500 Error

Now that we have seen what could be the causes, let’s turn to how we can fix them. There are several solutions you can try, which are explained below.

Deactivate your theme or plugins

As was mentioned before, installing new software can cause this error due to causing issues with important configuration files. Naturally, it is the first step to try after the error occurs when you’ve just installed something new. Try this one by one for every plugin until you find out the culprit. If none of them solved the issue, then you must try one of the other solutions.

Use a debugging plugin

One of the benefits of running a WordPress website is that there is a quick solution for everything. One of the best plugins for debugging WordPress is WP Debugging. You can install that and run it to see what is the issue exactly and get to a fix quicker.

Check your PHP settings

If the issue is related to PHP timeouts, then you can check those and set timeout rules. You can look for php.ini directives on google and see which one can help you.

Check your .htaccess file

Similar to the previous solution, this one is also a bit complicated and must be done only if you know what you are doing. You can go to your server folder and find the .htaccess file (you can use cPanel or FTP), then check its code to see if there is something wrong in it.

Last resort

Not everybody is well versed in the arts of coding, thus, we recommend hiring a professional to take care of it. If you’ve already tried all these fixes before and to no avail, then you can ask a professional to look into the issue and solve it. It might cost money but it will be faster and easier than if you were to do it yourself.

Where to find and modify php memory access?

You should contact your host provider about that. They will be able to resolve the issue.


We hope that this article was enough to help you learn about HTTP 500 Internal Server error and how to fix it. Keep in mind that this is not a clear cut process and will take some time to address. If you are facing this error on some other website, then you don’t need to do anything special because the error is not on your side. But if it is on your own website, then you need to follow the steps described above and see which works for you.


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