Fixing The Dreaded ‘Internal Server Error’ in WordPress

Fixing The Dreaded ‘Internal Server Error’ in WordPress (2020)
  • By Colin Newcomer
  • Last updated: September 10, 2020

We’ve all been there — a site which was functioning perfectly well just seconds ago suddenly decides to throw a fit and spits out an internal server error. If you’re lucky, the WordPress admin still works, but, in some cases, even that may refuse to cooperate. In this article, we’ll explain what an internal server error is, and, more importantly, how to fix it.

Important: Always make a complete backup of your site (even if it’s not working as it should be) before making any changes — better safe than sorry!

Let’s get cracking.

What Is an Internal Server Error?

Internal server errors are annoying to users and developers alike because they don’t provide any information about the root of the problem — they just tell you that there is one. Imagine you went to the doctor and said you felt pain, but refused to reveal where that pain was — it’d make it very hard for the doctor to treat it! That’s the difficulty with an internal server error — there’s no indication of where the problem’s coming from.

Internal Server Error

(click to enlarge)

What’s more, the name ‘internal server error’ can be misleading, because, in almost all cases, your host (and/or server) isn’t to blame. If you take a look at the HTTP specifications, you can see that an internal server error means the following:

The server encountered an unexpected condition that prevented it from fulfilling the request.

There’s nothing wrong with the server itself — it’s simply encountered something it can’t figure out.

To figure out what’s going on, you’ll need to do a little troubleshooting and trial and error. By systematically going through the things that could be going wrong, you’ll be able to figure out what’s causing the problem and, more importantly, how to fix it.

How to Fix WordPress 500 Internal Server Error

We recommend you perform these steps in order. That is, start at Step #1 and work your way through the list. In a few situations, we’ll tell you to skip ahead based on the results of one of the steps. But in general, top to bottom!

Beyond that, just a reminder that we always recommend backing up your site before making any of the changes in this list. If you can’t access your WordPress dashboard to use a backup plugin, you should



This article was written by Colin Newcomer and originally published on WinningWP.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the product, We may receive an affiliate commission.

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