If you get a 500 Internal Server Error when you visit your website, there are a few possible causes. Unfortunately, the 500 Internal Server Error is a vague error message, since it is used generically when no other error message is valid.
What is a 500 Internal Server Error?
The three common causes of this error message are:
- Incorrect permissions settings, usually due to having a file as "world" writeable.
- Incorrect permissions settings for use by another script (this is common with manual installs of forums or blogs)
- Incorrect coding in the .htaccess file
How to Fix a 500 Internal Server Error
First, it is important to track down the exact cause of the error. To do this, log into your account's cPanel. Once in your cPanel, under Logs, click on Error Logs.
In this example, I have set a .php file to have permissions of 777 (world write-able), which is one of the causes of a 500 Error. In my Error Log, the following error was given:
[Fri Apr 08 06:08:14 2011] [error] [client 188.8.131.52] SoftException
in Application.cpp:264: File "/home/username/public_html/magento/index.php"
is writeable by others
To correct this error, I would go to the index.php file and change the permissions to 644. Also, here is a link to our guide on Managing Files on Your Server.