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Why am I getting a 500 Internal Server Error message?

  • Applies to: All Service Types

  • Difficulty: Medium

  • Time needed: 20 minutes

  • Tools needed: Plain text editor, FTP client

 
  • Applies to: All Service Types
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Time Needed: 20
    • Tools Required: Plain text editor, FTP client

Overview

500 Internal Server Error is a generic error message, given when no more specific message is suitable. There are a number of causes for a 500 Internal Server Error to display in a web browser. Figure 1 is a sample error message.


Figure 1.

This article provides information on the most common causes.

Error with an .htaccess file

If you are using a .htaccess on your site, it may be interfering with the web page you are trying to load into your browser. Please double check the .htaccess configuration. Any syntax errors will cause a 500 Internal Server Error message to be displayed instead of your website.

To confirm whether a misconfiguration .htaccess is the cause of the 500 Internal Server error, either remove or rename the .htaccess file temporarily and then try to reload the page.

See also:

PHP Coding Timing Out

If your PHP script makes external network connections, the connections may time out. If too many connections are attempted and time out, this will cause a "500 Internal Server Error." To prevent these time outs and errors, you'll want to make sure that PHP scripts be coded with some timeout rules. Typically, however, catching a timeout error when connecting to a database or externally to remote resources (example: RSS feeds) are difficult. They, in effect, freeze the script from continuing to run.

Removing any external connections can increase both the performance of your website and decrease the chances of you receiving a "500 Internal Server Error."

Syntax or coding errors in your CGI/Perl script

If it is a web page ending in .cgi or .pl that is producing the error, check your script for errors. For detailed troubleshooting tips, please see: Troubleshooting CGI/PERL scripts.

CGI Script Guidelines

  • When editing your CGI script, use a plain text editor - a program that saves the file as a 'text file' type. DO NOT use Wordpad that comes with Microsoft Windows because it doesn't save files in pure ASCII text format. Use Notepad instead to edit files.
  • Upload your CGI scripts in ASCII mode into the cgi-bin directory.
  • Set the file permissions on the CGI script file and directories to be chmod 755. If you use an FTP program to transfer files, right-click on the file and select change file attributes. See Using FTP and SFTP for more information.
  • Double-check that the Perl modules you require for your script is supported. For a list of the currently supported Perl modules, please click here.
 

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