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How To Fix the WordPress Internal Server Error

How To Fix the WordPress Internal Server Error

The 500 status code, also known as WordPress “Internal Server Error,” means that the server cannot process the request for an unknown reason.

If you’ve recently attempted to reach your WordPress website and instead received a message stating “Internal Server Error“, the cause is most often one of the following:

Corrupted .htaccess File

This is the first thing you should check for when troubleshooting an Internal Server Error in WordPress. To check if this is the problem, you can rename your .htaccess file.

Step 1: Login to your cPanel.

Once your cPanel is open, look for the Files section and open the File Manager.

Step 2: Once the file manager opens, navigate to the directory where your WordPress configuration is installed. This is most likely in your public_html folder.

Important Tip:

Be sure to click the icons to the left of the files/folders you wish to open, otherwise their text will turn blue and you will be given the option to rename them. Should this happen, no worries, just click in the whitespace anywhere on the page to exit the edit mode and try again.

Once you’ve opened your public_html folder, look for a file called .htaccess.

Step 3: Next, you’ll need to rename the file to something other than .htaccess. To do this, right click on the file, then select rename.

Step 4: In the rename window which pops up, give the file a new name, such as .htaccess_old, then click Rename File.

Now, try to load your site up in your browser. If it works, congrats, you’ve solved your issue!

Important Note:

If this resolves your issue, go to your wp-admin > Settings > Permalinks and click Save (don’t make any chnages). This will generate a new .htaccess file with default a basic/configuration for you.

If not, not to worry! Keep reading.

Increasing the PHP Memory Limit

Occasionally an Internal Server Error can happen if you’ve used up all of your PHP Memory. This is especially the case if you are seeing an Internal Server Error when you try to login to your wp-admin or upload images in your Media Gallery. Use the following steps to increase your PHP Memory Limit.

Step 1: Locate your site’s configuration file (wp-config.php). It’s usually in your site’s root directory, where your WordPress site is installed.

Step 2: Once you have located the wp-config.php file, you will have to edit it.

Step 3: Add the following lines of code at the bottom of your wp-config.php file.

define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '1024M' ); // increases WP base (front-end) limit
define( 'WP_MAX_MEMORY_LIMIT', '1024M'); // increases WP admin (back-end) limit

The above lines of code will increase the memory limit of your WordPress front and back-end to 1024M.

After changing the memory_limit, return to your WordPress site and check if you are getting the same error.

If your site is working now’, congrats, you’ve solved your problem! It’s possible you have a plugin that needed a little more memory to run and increasing the limit helped.

If you still have the same problem, keep reading!

Deactivate All Plugins

If none of the above solutions worked for you, the chances are really high your site isn’t working because a plugin has gone rogue, or two or more plugins aren’t getting along well and one of them needs to be installed.

Regrettably, WordPress doesn’t have a way to deactivate all plugins with the click of a mouse.  To do this, you’ll need to use the File Manager in your cPanel.

Step 1: Login to your cPanel.

Step 2: Once your cPanel is open, under the Files section, look for and open the File Manager.

Step 3: Once the file manager opens, navigate to the directory where your WordPress configuration is installed. This is most likely in your public_html folder.

Step 4: In your File Manager, open the folder called wp-content:

In your wp-content folder, look for another folder called Plugins.

Right click the folder, then choose Rename.

Step 5: To deactivate all plugins at once, just rename the plugins folder to something like “plugins.deactivated” just without the quotes.

Once you select Rename File, your plugins will be deactivated. Now you can return to your WordPress site and see if you can login to your wp-admin area without issue.

Good To Know:

When you login to your wp-admin area after renaming the Plugins folder, your WordPress site is going to panic a bit. Don’t worry. Your plugins and the way they were configured are still there. You’ve only renamed the folder in which the plugins are installed.

Essentially, WordPress looks for the Plugins folder to run plugins which are installed, and let’s face it, you probably have plugins. When WordPress can’t find the Plugins folder, it deactivates all plugins.

Step 6: Now, you need to return to the File Manager, open your public_html folder, then wp-content folder, just as before, except you need to rename the Plugins folder back to Plugins.

Next, rename the folder ‘plugins’, but without the quotes, and click Rename File.

tep 7: Now, return to your wp-admin and go to Plugins. Then, one by one, enable your Plugins until your site displays the Internal Server Error.

When that happens, you know which plugin is causing the issue. Repeat the process above to deactivate all plugins, then when you are able to get back into your wp-admin, delete that plugin  before re-activating it.

If that solved your problem, congrats!

If not, keep reading!

Reinstall WordPress’ Core Files

The last step is to reinstall the WordPress core files. If you can access your your wp-admin without issue, there’s an easy way to do this!

Step 1: From your wp-admin, click Updates from the left side:

Step 2: Next, click Re-install now under “if you need to reinstall”:

WordPress will reinstall it’s core files and this should resolve your issue.

What if I can’t get into my wp-admin?

If you don’t have access to your wp-admin, you can reinstall WordPress a different way.

Step 1: To do this, click here to open wordpress.org in your browser.

On this page, click the Download WordPress button to save a zip of the latest build of WordPress to your computer:

Once the file has downloaded, you need to login to your cPanel.

Step 2: Login to your cPanel.

Step 3: Once your cPanel is open, under the Files section, look for and open the File Manager.

Step 4: Once the file manager opens, navigate to the directory where your WordPress configuration is installed. This is most likely in your public_html folder.

At the top of the File Manager, click Upload.

A new tab will open in your browser and you will be given the option to upload a file.

Step 5: Click “Select File” and navigate on your computer to where the ZIP file from WordPress.org downloaded earlier.

Once you have found it, upload the file.

Once the file has uploaded, click the link at the bottom “Go back to /” to go back to your File Manager. You will see the ZIP file in the directory listing:

Step 6: File Manager has built in tools to work with ZIP files. To interact with them, first select the file by clicking on it so it’s blue.

Then at the top of File Manager, click the Extract option.

A modal window will appear and ask you where you want to extract this ZIP file. The default selection is fine as it will be a folder that’s inside of the folder in which your WordPress installation resides.

Step 7: Click Extract Files.

The files will be extracted into their own folder called wordpress.

Double click the folder called wordpress to open it.

Step 8: You need to copy the wp-admin and wp-includes folder from this location to the location where your WordPress is installed.

For example, if your WordPress site is installed in /public_html/ , when you unzipped the WordPress.ZIP file, it unzipped to /public_html/wordpress/

You need to copy and paste the folders wp-admin and wp-includes from /public_html/wordpress to /public_html/.

To do this, you can multi-select the files with your keyboard. Just hold control while clicking the folder icon to the left of the folder name and click them one at a time until they are selected:

Step 9: Next, click the Move button at the top of File Manager

A modal will appear and will ask you where you want to move these folders. The default path will be the path in which they reside. You need to move them one folder up which means trimming the folder path from:


See the difference?

The files are originally unzipped to /public_html/wordpress and you need to move them to /public_html/

Step 10: Click “Move Files” to move them to the directory. If your WordPress Core files were corrupted, then this step will fix the internal server error for you.

Try to access your wp-admin area again.

If this didn’t resolve your issue, we suggest you open a ticket with our Happiness Engineers so they can investigate further.

If the steps above didn’t solve your issue, you might need to restore the database and site files from a backup if you have one available.

If you’re a ChemiCloud customer, you can rest easy! All our WordPress hosting plans come with 30 day daily offsite backups allowing to be quickly restored.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, then you’ll love our support! All ChemiCloud’s hosting plans include 24/7 support from our amazing support team. Check out our WordPress hosting plans and have your website migrated today!

Updated on January 6, 2021

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