One of the most common errors encountered while browsing the web is “500 Internal Server Error”. This message indicates that there is a technical problem with the web server.
This article explains what the 500 error means, why you are getting HTTP 500 code, and how to troubleshoot these errors.
What is Internal Server Error 500
Every time you open a web page, your browser sends a request to the server that hosts the site, which returns the requested data and a response code. The HTTP response status codes indicate whether the request was successful or not.
The answers are divided into five classes. Codes ranging from 500 to 599 indicate a server error.
The HTTP 500 status code is a generic error response that is returned by the server when another error code does not match. This can be caused by a number of issues that prevent the server from fulfilling the request.
If the page you are visiting throws a 500 error, there is nothing you can do because the error is not caused by your browser or internet connection. Even though the error occurs on the server side, you can try some of the following options:
- Restart your browser or try using a different one. The chances of the page loading when you refresh your browser are slim, but it’s worth a try.
- Try clearing your browser cache. If the page showing the 500 error is cached, after clearing the cache, the browser will ask for a new version of the page.
- Come back later. In the meantime, the webmaster can fix the server issue.
- Contact the website owners. The last remaining option is to contact the person in charge of maintaining the website.
Error 500. Troubleshooting
The 500 Internal Server Error can be caused by a number of different reasons. Here are the most common ones:
- Permission problem. When the web server does not have permission to access the site files, it can throw an HTTP 500 error. The solution to this problem is to recursively change the permissions on the site file.
- Htaccess syntax error. If you are using Apache as your web server, then most likely you have a .htaccess file in your site’s root directory. Incorrect syntax or non-existent module directive can result in a 500 error.
- Database issue. HTTP error 500 can also be caused by incorrect database server information or corrupted database.
- Problems with plugins and themes. If you are using WordPress or a similar CMS, the 500 error may appear after updating or changing the plugin / theme.
- Server problems. A corrupted file system or exhausted memory can result in error 500.
- Node.js modules. If you have a Node.js based site, updating modules may cause an internal server error 500.
- Hacked site. Quite often, malicious code injected into your site results in a 500 error.
- Incompatible module. Loading an incompatible PHP or Apache module throws a 500 error.
- External resource timeout. If the server communicates with an external service and if those services are not available, the server will display a 500 error message.
The best way to determine why the 500 error occurred is to check the server log files. The location of the log files depends on your Linux distribution and web server. The most common locations for Apache and Nginx are as follows:
/var/log/apache2/error.log /var/log/httpd/error_log /var/log/nginx/error_log
If your application is built with Node.js check the Node.js logs.
Typically, the server log contains detailed information about the error to help you identify and correct the error.
The 500 Internal Server Error is a generic HTTP status code that means something went wrong with the web server that hosts the site you are visiting.
If you have questions or feedback, feel free to leave comments.