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Troubleshoot a WordPress internal server error

Updated May 6th, 2021 at 15:52 BST

A 500 ISE(internal server error) is a generic error message generated when the website cannot be displayed. This error can occur for many reasons, but often it is WordPress, a plugin, theme, .htaccess or the wp-config.php for your website. Let's look at how you can determine the cause of a 500 ISE.


The following is a list of symptoms:

White screen of death(WSOD) - A blank white page that loads instead of your website.

The site is experiencing technical difficulties - An error message displayed by WordPress instead of loading your website.

Note: You should always make a backup of your site before troubleshooting or making any changes.

Troubleshooting steps:

Go to your TsoHost Client Area account.

Navigate to Services -> My Services -> select the Managed WordPress service -> click on Login to Server

From the Dashboard navigate to Tools -> click on Open next to File Browser.

Temporarily disable the .htaccess by renaming the file

Load your website again to see if the error has disappeared.

If the error is gone, then reset your site's Permalinks. This will recreate your control file. You should review the disabled control file for scripting issues.

If the error is still present, continue to the next step.

If the specific error isn't visible on your website, you'll need to enable debug mode to expose the error.

Note: If you recently made changes to your wp-config.php this is a good time to correct any syntax errors.

If the debug log shows a problem with the theme or plugin folders you can begin fixing the error by disabling your plugins or changing your theme to a default theme.

If you can't locate an error, then you should disable all of your plugins, if you haven't already done so. If that fixes the problem, enable the plugins one at a time until the problem or error occurs. Once the error occurs, you have likely identified the plugin causing the problem, you can then move on to fixing it or finding a replacement.

Next steps: Stay a step ahead by installing a plugin like Debug Bar from WordPress.org.