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What causes the 500 internal server error?

There are many potential causes for a 500 internal server error, but typically, the error is caused by one of the three following reasons.

  • A low memory limit set by your hosting company
  • Corrupted files and folders
  • Incompatibility between plugins, or a theme and a plugin

Troubleshooting the 500 Internal Server Error

This error can be one of the most difficult to fix, as there is no straightforward, set solution. It requires a lot of troubleshooting, which can be time-consuming and frustrating, but we hope that our guide will help you in navigating WordPress and fixing the 500 internal server error.

Before you begin making any changes, be sure to back up your website in its entirety, and make sure you understand the basics of using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) manager.

Adjust your Memory Limit

Keep in mind that your website’s memory limit may be set by your hosting company, so to complete this step, you may have you contact them.

  • Open your FTP manager, connect to your server, and click QuickConnect. (Your credentials can be found in your host’s admin panel)
  • Find your home-folder, this folder is likely under the names www or public_html.
  • Find the file wp-config.php, right-click and select View/Edit. (Again, make sure you have done a total backup first)
  • Choose the default text editor if necessary.
  • Once open, type the following code after the opening <?php:

define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘128M’);

  • Save the file and check your website to check if it’s working properly.

Check for Incompatible Themes or Plugins

  • Access your WordPress dashboard and navigate to “Plugins” on the left-hand side.
  • Select “Installed Plugins”
  • Click on the “Bulk Actions” and select “Deactivate” from the drop-down.
  • Click “Apply” to deactivate them all.
  • Check if your website is working properly.

If the error has disappeared, you can safely assume an incompatible plugin was the root cause of your 500 internal server error. Slowly, activate each plugin and root out the troublemaker.

If the error has not disappeared, re-activate your plugins.

To read more about viable solutions for the 500 Internal Server Error on your WordPress site, click here.

If you have any concerns regarding your website’s analytics, application, development, or if you find yourself in need of technical/IT troubleshooting services, contact Analytic Design for a free consultation!