Conquer Those http 500 Internal Server Errors

When a host tells you ‘nah uh – we haven’t changed a thing’ it must be on your end – after your site has been shooting an Internal Server Error 500 for *days* – using the same exact files for *months* without a problem – what the heck do you do đŸ˜•

Sometimes hosting burps happen. There’s no rhyme or reason for them. There are times a host is installing or upgrading or tweaking or whatever – and your site can get bit by it. Short, sweet – Hosting burps happen. I don’t get too excited about it normally.

However. When my exact same website, same pages, same .htaccess, nothing’s been touched for weeks and/or months, and old backups from last week and the week before and 5 months before still shoot the old 500 – and my host basically says: dunno. I didn’t touch nuthin…I get a tad irritated.

Fast Tip o’ The Day: I usually start at the .htaccess file. Make a copy of it, and then toast the sucker. Delete it. See if that brings your site back up. The pages may be wonky, but see if it loads. If it does, the problem is in the .htaccess somewhere.

If the site loads after you delete the .htaccess (*PLEASE* make sure to make a copy of that file before you delete it), you need to work line by line. Delete one line or one command at a time. Upload. See if website loads. No? Then paste back what you cut, and move to the next line or command. Rinse and repeat until you find the problem.

Once you find what’s choking your server, paste the offender into Yahoo! Search and see what you find. You’ll more than likely discover a new way of writing that same command into your .htaccess. Try it. 9/10 times that does the trick for me and website is back up and running.

If you get the dratted Internet Server Error 500 while uploading and installing a new script or software, you probably forgot to change a file’s permissions (read instructions). Or it could be a wonky bug. Delete the script and try again.

Some more resources:

Solving a 500 Internal Server Error

Status Code Definitions

And here’s a new trick for me:

Turn Off Friendly HTTP Error Messages in Internet Explorer


I've been trying to find my way online for more years than I care to admit.