How to Fix a 500 Internal Server Error

| Coding Tutorials
error page

At OSTraining, we get many questions about internal server errors.

This article will cover what an internal server error is and how to resolve it.

Background information

When visiting a webpage, the host server sends back a response. The response includes a three-digit status code.

The status code lets the requesting browser know if everything is OK or not. It can tell you if there was a redirect, an error, or something else.

For example, you've probably seen a 404 error before. 404 means we tried finding the resource at the URL requested, but we couldn't find it.

The infamous 500 error is one of those status codes that we sometimes see.

So what exactly is a 500 error?

A 500 error is an internal server error. It usually means that there's a misconfiguration of the server with the software.

The message is generic and requires more investigation. Unfortunately, it's not possible to get enough information from the browser.

Since it's at the server level, we'll need to check there. The error gets logged in the server error log with a detailed message. This detailed error message is key to resolving the issue.

How do I find the detailed error message?

The quickest way is to contact your host to ask them to check the server error log for you. It will only take them a few minutes to find the error.

If you use cPanel, you can use the below steps.

How to Fix a 500 Internal Server Error
  • Sign into cPanel
  • Go to the Logs section
  • Click on the Error Log icon
  • The error message is usually the top message
  • Scroll right to see the full details of the message

Finally, how do I resolve the error?

Unfortunately, a million and one things could trigger the error. So it's impossible to give an exact how-to for resolving the issue.

Fortunately, the detailed error message should be enough to pinpoint the issue. It might have been an outdated plugin, a setting change, or something else. The detailed error message will guide you to the appropriate solution.


About the author

Nick is the Director of Support at OSTraining and you can find him in almost every area of the site, from answering support requests and account questions to creating tutorials and software.