What is a 500 error (Internal Server Error)? Explanation of causes and countermeasures

Explanation of IT Terms

What is a 500 Error (Internal Server Error)?

Internal Server Error, commonly known as a 500 error, is a status code that indicates a problem with the server hosting a website or web application. It typically occurs when the server encounters an unexpected situation that prevents it from fulfilling a request made by a user.

Causes of 500 Error:

1. Software or Script Errors: One of the most common causes of a 500 error is a bug or error in the website’s code or scripts. This could be a syntax error, missing file, or problem with a database connection. Server misconfiguration or incorrect server permissions can also lead to software errors.

2. Server Overload or Resource Exhaustion: When a server gets overloaded with too many simultaneous requests or runs out of essential resources like memory, disk space, or processing power, it can result in a 500 error. High traffic spikes, poorly optimized code, or inadequate server capacity can contribute to server overload.

3. Third-Party Services or Dependencies: If a website relies on external services or dependencies, such as APIs, databases, or payment gateways, any issues with these services can cause a 500 error. This includes connection problems, authentication failures, or service disruptions on the third-party side.

4. Server Configuration Issues: Incorrect server configuration settings, such as incorrect file permissions, misconfigured security modules, or outdated server software versions, can trigger a 500 error. In some cases, server updates or changes made without proper testing or compatibility checks can also lead to configuration-related errors.


1. Check Error Logs: Review the server logs to identify specific errors or error messages. These logs can provide valuable insights into the exact cause of the 500 error and guide the debugging process.

2. Fix Code or Scripts: If the issue lies within the website’s code, carefully review and debug the code to address any syntax errors, missing files, or database connection problems. Consider using code validation tools or seeking assistance from developers, if needed.

3. Optimize Server Resources: If the 500 error occurs due to resource overload, consider optimizing the website’s code, implementing caching mechanisms, or upgrading server resources like memory or processing power. Load balancing and scaling solutions can also help distribute traffic and resources more effectively.

4. Monitor Third-Party Services: Keep an eye on the status and performance of any third-party services or dependencies used by the website. Stay updated with their announcements or notifications regarding maintenance, outages, or security patches.

5. Maintain Server Configuration: Regularly review and update server configurations, ensuring compatibility with the website’s requirements. Implement security best practices, keep software and modules up to date, and conduct regular server maintenance to prevent configuration-related errors.

Remember, solving a 500 error requires technical expertise and knowledge. If you’re unsure about making modifications or resolving the issue on your own, it’s recommended to seek assistance from a skilled web developer or system administrator to ensure a smooth and error-free website experience.

Reference Articles

Reference Articles

Read also

[Google Chrome] The definitive solution for right-click translations that no longer come up.