Error case - HTTP Error 500 Internal Server Error

The 500 Internal Server Error is a very general HTTP status code that means something has gone wrong on the web site's server but the server could not be more specific on what the exact problem is. Since the issue is server based, the resolution needs to be server related.

Case 1 : Misconfigured .htaccess file

An .htaccess is a directory-level file that is used primarily for directory management, such as securing folders, redirections, customized error responses, etc. When the 500 error is caused by this file, it means it is trying to perform a server task that is not working out very well.

  • Log onto the server through FTP (or with Panelbox File Manager).
  • Look for the .htaccess file in the /public_html/ directory
  • Rename the .htaccess file to old.htaccess
  • Look at your site!

When you do this, it might not do the redirection or take into account other factors that the .htaccess was performing. But are you still receiving the 500 error? If so, check for the other case scenarios. If not, review your .htaccess file for misconfigurations.

Case 2 : File / Folder permissions

If you just uploaded a new file or folder to your account that is being called by the URL you are trying to access, that is surely the situation you are encountering. It might be a module you just downloaded and added-on to your CMS that has "wrong" permissions. Oftentimes, these files might have 777 permissions, which means that Owner/User/Group have full permission to do what they please with the file/folder because 7 is the highest level. 7 means: Execute, Read and Write.

Permissions for folders should be: 755
Permissions for files should be: 644

Fixing the issue

  • Log onto the server through FTP (or with Panelbox File Manager)
  • Find the file(s) you just uploaded and right-click on it(them).
  • Change the numbers to 755 for a folder or 644 for a file

Doing this through an FTP client is recommended if you have multiple files / folders to modify. It will allow you to change recursively the folder permissions to sub-folders, and the same for all the files at the same time. This means you would save some time and hardship.

Case 3 : If the site loads slowly and you receive this error intermittently

  • This might have been a temporary issue caused by conflicting sessions on your website. You can clear the active sessions from your browser history if you need to.
  • This might be that your website is using a lot of server resource and it is being "throttled" down by the server to use less resources. The website requests would be timing out and conflicting sessions would appear because of this, causing the 500 error you see. Consequently, you would check the following:
    • Check the Error Logs for any trace of the 500 error and its source (Under Panelbox > Stats > Error Log).
    • Check the resource usage in Panelbox (bottom of the page, click on the highlighted link to see what page(s) use more resource).

We hope this puts you on the right track to solve the 500 internal server error!

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