What does HTTP server error 500 mean?

Whilst browsing a website you get a ‘HTTP Server 500 Error’ and the page does not display correctly.

Resolution:

The fact of the matter is 98% of HTTP Server 500 errors can be found in the server log file. There are those rare conditions where the server can’t even write to a log file, so bad is it, but those are rare. Instead go and look for the log file or get an administrator to do it.

The server log file location depends on if you’re using Apache or IIS, and if you are using a shared host or now. Log files have standard location but especially on shared Linux server they can be in different places.

Let’s take the example of Apache and a shared Virtualmin host. In this case you would do something like:

[root@hostname ~]# tail -f /home/sitename/logs/error_log

Note: You don’t have to tail this file as root, you can go in as the user whose website it belongs to.

In the log file you see a more detailed description of the 500 error and in 99% of the times additional diagnostic information will be supplied.

Good luck and contact us if you need our assistance in helping with troubleshooting server 500 errors as we are experts at it.

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