500 Internal Server Error: What It Means & How to Fix It

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500 Internal Server Error

One of the most common errors that occur when browsing the web is the “500 Internal Server Error”. This message indicates that the web server is experiencing technical problems.

This article explains what a 500 error means, why you’re getting an HTTP 500 code, and how to troubleshoot these errors.

What is an HTTP 500 Error

Each time you open a web page, your browser sends a request to the server hosting the site, which returns the requested data and response code. The HTTP response status codes indicate whether or not the request has been successful.

Responses are categorized into five classes. The codes in the 500 to 599 range are indicating a server error.

The HTTP status code 500 is a generic error response that the server returns when no other error code is appropriate. It can be caused by a number of problems that prevent the server from completing the request.

Error 500

If the page you are visiting throws 500 Error, there is nothing much you can do since the error is not caused by your browser or Internet connection. Even though the error is on the server side, you can try some of the following options:

  • Reload your browser or try opening the page with another one. The chances that the page will load when you refresh your browser are low, but still, it’s worth giving it a try.
  • Try to clear your browser cache. If the page that shows a 500 error is cached, the browser will request a new version of the page after the cache is cleared.
  • Come back later. The persons responsible for maintaining the server may fix the issue in the meantime.
  • Contact the website owners. The last remaining option is to contact the person responsible for the website.

Troubleshooting 500 Error

Several different reasons could cause the 500 Internal Server Error. Here are the most common ones:

  • A permission issue. When the web server has no permission to access the site files, it may throw an HTTP 500 error. The solution to this issue is to change the website file’s permissions recursively .
  • .htaccess syntax error. If you use Apache as a web server, you probably have a .htaccess file in your site root directory.Invalid syntax or non-existing module directives can lead to a 500 error.
  • Database related issue. HTTP Error 500 can also be caused by incorrect database server information or a corrupted database.
  • Issues with plugins and themes. If you run WordPress or a similar CMS, the 500 error can appear after updating or modifying a plugin/theme.
  • Server issues. A corrupted filesystem or exhausted memory can lead to HTTP 500 error.
  • Node.js modules. If you have a Node.js based site, updating modules can cause a 500 internal server error.
  • Hacked site. Often, a malicious code injected into your website results in a 500 error.
  • Incompatible module. Loading an incompatible PHP or Apache module throws the 500 error.
  • External Resource Timeout. If the server communicates with an external service and those services are not reachable, the server will show 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 the web server. The most common locations for Apache and Nginx are as follows:


If your application is built on Node.js, check the Node.js logs.

Typically, the server log contains detailed information about the error that can help you identify and fix it.


The 500 Internal Server Error is a general HTTP status code, meaning that something went wrong with the web server hosting the site you’re visiting.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to comment.