Troubleshooting WordPress 500 Internal Server Error: Causes and Solutions

Welcome back to my blog, fellow website designers and WordPress enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into a commonly encountered issue that can send shivers down the spine of any website owner: the dreaded WordPress 500 Internal Server Error. Don’t panic though, because in this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the causes of this error and provide you with practical solutions to troubleshoot and fix it. So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s get started!

Understanding the WordPress 500 Internal Server Error

Before we jump into the solutions, it’s important to understand what exactly the WordPress 500 Internal Server Error is and why it occurs. This error is a generic message that indicates something has gone wrong on the server, but the server is unable to specify the exact cause. It’s like a secret code that leaves us scratching our heads, wondering what went awry.

Common Causes of the WordPress 500 Internal Server Error

There are several reasons why you might encounter this error message on your WordPress website. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common causes:

  1. Incompatible or Faulty Plugins: Plugins play a crucial role in extending the functionality of your WordPress site. However, incompatible or faulty plugins can cause conflicts and lead to a 500 Internal Server Error.

  2. Theme Issues: Just like plugins, themes can also be responsible for triggering this error. If there’s a compatibility issue or a problem with the theme’s code, it can result in the Internal Server Error.

  3. Corrupted .htaccess File: The .htaccess file is a powerful configuration file that controls various aspects of your website. If this file gets corrupted or contains incorrect directives, it can cause the 500 error.

  4. Exhausted PHP Memory Limit: PHP, the programming language behind WordPress, has a memory limit that restricts the amount of memory a script can consume. If your website exceeds this limit, it can lead to the Internal Server Error.

Now that we have a better understanding of the potential causes, let’s move on to the solutions!

Solutions to Troubleshoot the WordPress 500 Internal Server Error

The good news is that the WordPress 500 Internal Server Error can usually be resolved with a few simple steps. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to troubleshooting!

Solution 1: Deactivating Incompatible Plugins

As mentioned earlier, incompatible or faulty plugins can be a major culprit behind the Internal Server Error. Here’s how you can identify and deactivate problematic plugins:

  1. Access Your Website’s Files: You can use an FTP client or access your website’s files through cPanel or a file manager.

  2. Locate the Plugins Folder: Navigate to the "/wp-content" directory and find the "plugins" folder.

  3. Rename the Plugins Folder: To deactivate all the plugins at once, simply rename the "plugins" folder to something like "plugins_deactivated".

  4. Check Your Website: Refresh your website, and if the Internal Server Error is gone, you’ve successfully identified a problematic plugin.

  5. Reactivate Plugins: Now, you can reactivate each plugin one by one to determine which one was causing the error. Remember to refresh your website after each reactivation.

Solution 2: Switching to a Default Theme

If the Internal Server Error persists even after deactivating the plugins, it’s time to turn our attention to the theme. Follow these steps to switch to a default theme:

  1. Access Your Website’s Files: Use an FTP client or cPanel to access your website’s files.

  2. Navigate to the Themes Folder: Locate the "wp-content/themes" directory.

  3. Rename the Active Theme Folder: Find the folder corresponding to your active theme and rename it to something like "theme_name_deactivated".

  4. Check Your Website: Refresh your website, and if the error disappears, it means the theme was causing the issue.

  5. Activate a Default Theme: WordPress comes with a few default themes like Twenty Twenty-One. Go to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to "Appearance" > "Themes," and activate one of the default themes.


Q: How can I fix the Internal Server Error if it’s caused by a corrupted .htaccess file?

A: If the .htaccess file is to blame, you can regenerate it by following these steps:

  1. Access your website’s files using an FTP client or cPanel.
  2. Locate the .htaccess file, typically found in the root directory.
  3. Rename the file to something like ".htaccess_backup" to keep it as a backup.
  4. Go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to "Settings" > "Permalinks."
  5. Without making any changes, simply click the "Save Changes" button. This will generate a new .htaccess file with default settings.

Q: What should I do if the Internal Server Error is caused by an exhausted PHP memory limit?

A: If the PHP memory limit is the culprit, you can increase it by modifying the "php.ini" file or adding a line of code to the "wp-config.php" file. Here’s how:

  1. Access your website’s files using an FTP client or cPanel.
  2. Locate the "php.ini" or "wp-config.php" file.
  3. If you found the "php.ini" file, search for the line containing "memory_limit" and increase the value (e.g., memory_limit = 256M).
  4. If you’re modifying the "wp-config.php" file, add the following line just before the line that says "That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging!": define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’);
  5. Save the changes and check if the Internal Server Error is resolved.


Congratulations on making it through this guide! We’ve covered the ins and outs of the WordPress 500 Internal Server Error, from understanding its causes to implementing practical solutions. Remember, troubleshooting can be a process of trial and error, so don’t be discouraged if the first solution doesn’t work. With patience and persistence, you’ll be able to conquer this error and get your website back on track. Happy troubleshooting, and may your WordPress journey be error-free!

And that’s a wrap, folks! I hope you found this guide helpful and insightful. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please drop a comment below. Happy website designing and may your WordPress adventures be 500 Internal Server Error-free! Cheers!