What is the 500 Internal Server Error (ISE)?

The 500 Internal Server Error (ISE) message tells you that an internal server error or misconfiguration has occurred on the web server hosting the site you’re visiting. It’s a general error message that requires different troubleshooting steps based on whether the site is yours or belongs to another person/organization.

Since every website can customize the 500 Error page, the exact error message wording varies from site to site. Some typical messages might include:

  • Internal Server Error
  • HTTP 500 – Internal Server Error
  • Temporary Error (500)

Read on to learn how to fix a 500 Error.

How to fix a 500 Error – First steps

When you encounter a 500 Error, reload the page and see whether the message goes away. If you still encounter the 500 Error after reloading, try the following:

  • Clear your browser cache, restart the browser, and see whether the error message still appears. See the instructions for your browser to learn how to clear the cache.
  • Delete the browser cookies stored for the site you’re attempting to visit. After clearing those cookies, restart the browser and try again. See the instructions for your browser on how to clear specific cookies.
  • If the server belongs to someone else, contact support for the site you’re trying to visit. A support email address is often provided as part of the 500 Error message. If the server belongs to you, follow the suggestions under “How to fix a 500 Error on my website” below.
  • Visit the website later, as the problem is likely out of your control.

How to fix a 500 Error on my website

The 500 Error message tells you something is wrong with your web server. The first thing to do is simply reload the site – such an error can be transient. If reloading doesn’t solve the problem, then you’ll need to troubleshoot. Here’s what to do:

  • Check the error logs on your server for details on what’s causing the error. In your HostPapa cPanel, go to the Metrics section and click the Errors icon to view the last 300 errors in the server error log.

cPanel - Access Error Logs

  • A 500 Error can result when permissions on a file or folder on your site aren’t correctly set. This problem is usually caused by a PHP or CGI script on the site.Folder permissions should be set to 0755 (-rwxr-xr-x) and on files to 0644 (-rw-r–r–). Check all scripts for errors.
  • When your PHP code calls resources that live on external networks, timeouts can occur that ultimately cause 500 Errors. Include timeout rules for code that calls external resources or, better yet, implement robust error handling in all scripts.
  • Syntax errors in .htaccess files can interfere with a web page during page load. Check the syntax of your .htaccess files carefully. To isolate a problem to a .htaccess file, temporarily rename the .htaccess file and see whether the error still occurs.

If you need help with your HostPapa account, please open a support ticket from your dashboard.

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