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WordPress Internal Server Error

Have you ever encountered the WordPress internal server error? If you have and want to know how to fix it, then you are in the right place. Read on to find out.

Posted: 10 Aug, 21 Updated: 14 Dec, 22 by Antoniy Yushkevych 11 Min

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Wordpress internal server error

While going through any website, you must have come across various errors. The internal server error is one of the commonly occurred errors. There can be various reasons for internal server error to occur. However, with WordPress, you can create amazing and innovative websites but it also tends to fail. If you are a WordPress admin then you can sort or troubleshoot the error and find a perfect solution. For proper functioning of a website, you must know how to fix the issue. 

But before you start working troubleshooting this error, you have to make sure to take the backup of your WordPress website. So that you will be able to roll back the changes if the solution does not work or leads to other problems. In this article, we will learn what the internal server error is, how it will impact your website, and how you can fix it.

The internal server error is one of the hard nightmares of any website owner. Facing such issues over and over again may lose the trust of your customers and they will move to your competitors, losing your business. So it is important that we should understand what the error is, how to fix it, and the concept behind the error. Such errors can be confusing, as you will not get an informational message like what occured this error. 

Below is one of the error messages that you may receive. This error message may differ depending on what browser you are using.


The actual concept behind the error can vary. Whenever you are visiting a website, a request is being sent to the website’s server from your browser. The server will process the incoming request and send back the response to the requested device or browser. That response carries the HTTP header, containing the HTTP status code that specifies that the request has been processed successfully. If the value of that status code is 200 then everything went fine but if the value is 500 then it will result in an internal server error. 

If you have access to check the status code then you may find various status error codes like 500, 501, 502, 503, and many more. Having this error, again and again, will make you loose your brand identity.

Unlike other internal server errors, the error with the status code 500 has a very negative impact on the SEO. This error needs to be fixed at an instant to avoid the downtime of the website. If your website is down for only 10 minutes, it will be crawled consistently numerous times. If the website is not crawled then it will impact your SEO ranking. 

Below we have mentioned various reasons that may result in 500 internal server errors with their fixes. These are very simple fixes that can be done by you or you can take help from the WordPress support for getting the insight of the error and start fixing it.

Fixing WordPress 500 Internal Server Error

Fixing the 500 internal server errors is not very hard, but you need to try various workarounds and may take much of your time and effort. Finding a perfect solution at the first attempt might not be possible as there are various reasons for this error. 

Below are some workarounds that you can try one by one and find the right solution that might have caused the 500 internal server error.

1. Enable debugging mode

It is important that you should enable the debugging mode of your WordPress. The debugging mode will help you to get a better insight into finding the root cause and troubleshooting the error. If the error is not server-related, then it is on your end and you have to fix it before it starts impacting your customers. For this, you need to log in to the website’s server and look for the wp-config.php file under the root directory. Download the file and open it in editing mode to make some changes as mentioned below.

Now, look for the WP_DEBUG. If you find it in the file, set this parameter to true for enabling the debugging mode and upload the changed file to the server. But if such a line does not exist in your code then you can add the following line above the line that says /* That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */:

define( "WP_DEBUG", true );

Once you make the changes, you need to reload the website to see if the error still persists. If there still is an error, you will get a message indicating the probable cause of the error. This lets you do some changes from your end depending on the error message. But if the error goes after reloading a few times then this solution has fixed the issue. It will be smart for you to keep the debugging mode on. 

2. Check if your WordPress dashboard is working.

You can check if your backend WordPress dashboard is accessible and working properly without generating any error. You can go to the link http://yoursite.com/wp-admin/ for your Website admin. If the website page loads properly and allows your access without any issue, then it is obvious that the issue is somehow related to a plugin or theme. 

3. Disabling plugins

Next, you can check if your issue is related to the plugins or themes that you have installed so far. If the plugin is disabled then it might not be the case for your error. So start checking with the activated plugins. It is an easier way that you disable all your plugins using the bulk option. It will make the plugin deactivate for a specific time until you activate them again. All your data is still kept intact during the procedure. After that, you can try reloading the website and check if it is working fine.

Go through the following steps for disabling your plugins via the WordPress dashboard.

  • Navigate to the Plugins option on the left-side pane from the WordPress dashboard.
  • Select plugins that you want to disable.
  • Select the Bulk actions for deactivating them all at once.
  • Then, you can click Apply.

Another way for deactivating your plugins is from the website’s server via FTP. you can search for the plugins folder there and follow the below instructions.

  • First, you should try connecting to your WordPress website’s server via FTP with the right credentials.
  • Search for the wp-content folder.
  • Then rename the plugins folder for deactivating plugins.

After making changes, you need to reload the website. If your website comes up successfully, then the next step will be to look for the plugin that is causing the website to crash. Now, you need to activate all the deactivated plugins one by one and check each one by reloading the website. Once you know the culprit, you can either delete it or you can find its alternative.

Make sure to rename the plugin folder again back to the original before you reactivate them again if you have deactivated the plugins using this method. 

4. Switching to the default theme

If the previous method didn't work, then you can try out this method by switching to the default theme. This method will let you know if the occurred error is due to the themes you have chosen. You can follow the below steps for managing your WordPress themes.

going to Appearance -> Themes. In case if you have already removed the default theme, you can reinstall it from WordPress.org.

If you are not able to switch themes to default via the dashboard, you can log in to the website’s server via FTP and follow the below procedure.

  • First, try logging in to your WordPress site’s server via FTP.
  • Search for the folder named wp-content/themes.
  • Rename the current folder with any other name of your choice.

After renaming the folder, you will automatically move to the default theme. Try reloading your website again, if there is no error, it means the theme was the culprit and you can choose any other required themes for your website.

5. Increasing the memory limit

As the website grows, its data also grows with it. Thus, we need enough memory to run the website properly. It might cause an internal server error if your website is not having enough memory. You can easily fix this issue by increasing the memory limit. 

Every account has some specified memory allocated to it, which can be increased manually. You can follow the below steps for increasing the memory limit.

  • Open the wp-config.php file from the root directory of your website’s server via FTP.
  • Look for the PHP.ini.file.

After opening the file, you can make changes to it by adding the below code to the wp-config.php file. Add the following code snippet above the line that says /* That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */:

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M');

6. Debugging .htaccess file

If you use Apache server for your WordPress website, then you will have a .htaccess file. This is a config file enabling some advanced features. This file allows you to do gzip compression, changing the upload limit for the file, setting up redirects, and others. 

Apart from this, it will also help in managing your website’s permalinks, among other features.

You can follow the below-mentioned simple steps for resolving the error.

  • First, try to establish a connection to your website’s server via FTP and look for the .htaccess file under the root folder.
  • Then, you should take a backup of the existing website’s file.
  • Delete the copy of .htaccess from the server.

After this change, you can try reloading the website, if it runs successfully then it is obvious that the issue was with the .htaccess file. 

7. Reinstalling WordPress

It will be one of the last scenarios that have to be implemented. It is only done when you have corrupted WordPress core files. However, there is nothing complex about this procedure. You can follow the steps shown below to reinstall WordPress.

  • Start with downloading a fresh copy of WordPress from WordPress.org.
  • Then, you can extract the file from its ZIP folder.
  • You can move forward with deleting the wp-content folder and the wp-config-sample.php file. Also, make sure there does not exist any wp-config.php file.
  • Then you can try connecting to your WordPress website’s server via FTP.
  • Then start uploading the remaining website’s files under the root folder.
  • Then select overwrite options for the file.


Well, it is obvious that if you manage your website yourself, you need to maintain and troubleshoot it by yourself. Managing a WordPress website on your own will require a lot of time, effort, creativity, and skills. If you are not able to handle such issues then you should try hosting your website using the managed WordPress hosting as it will manage and maintain your website with skills. 

You will get several managed WordPress hosting platforms that offer you amazing deals. You can choose any of them depending on your business budget and requirement. Every issue that is occurring on your website and impacting its performance will be taken care of without your intervention.

If you own a website, then you know understanding the actual cause of the internal server error is difficult as it does not provide a specific message regarding the error. There are various variations of this error and need to be solved at that instant only to avoid the customers from any downtime. 

Such errors may impact the SEO ranking of your website and you may lose your brand identity, so solving such errors is important. It will take several workaroun to get to a root cause. But if you fix it, you will be able to provide a continuous user experience.

Antoniy Yushkevych

Antoniy Yushkevych

Master of word when it comes to technology, internet and privacy. I'm also your usual guy that always aims for the best result and takes a skateboard to work. If you need me, you will find me at the office's Counter-Strike championships on Fridays or at a.yushkevych@monovm.com