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HTTP-Error 500: where does the problem come
HTTP-Error 500: where does the problem come from?

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HTTP-Error 500: where does the problem come from?

HTTP status codes show whether or not a request over the Internet was successful and, if not, the problem. These problem signals, however, are not always apparent. This is especially true with the « 500 Internal Server Error » error message. This error message indicates that there was a problem when connecting to the server, and so the requested page could not be loaded. However, the precise reason remains unknown. Fortunately, there are several approaches for determining the source of such an issue. In this post, we highlight common sources of failures and offer advice on how to handle the HTTP 500 error.

What does the Internal Server Error code mean?

The web server uses this status code to inform a user’s browser (client) if a request (or the loading of a page) was successful or not. If the browser returns a status code of 200, it signifies that everything went smoothly. The user does not see this notification, but instead the requested content displays. This is not the case with the 400 and 500 codes. While faults in the first group (400) are the responsibility of the client, those in the second group (500) are the responsibility of the server. Internal Server Error 500 is a server error status code. As a result, it is impossible to determine the source of the issue at first look. You only come across the following: An unexpected problem has been reported by the server.

If however the Microsoft Information Service (Microsoft IIS) is installed on the server side, the error code is specified. The decimals after the comma indicate in more detail the cause of the error:
•500.0: a module or an ISAPI is missing
• 500.11: an application is currently running on the server
•500.12: an application is restarted on the server
•500.13: the web server is currently fully utilized
• 500.15: a direct request for the (optional) global.asax file is not allowed
•500.19: configuration data is invalid
• 500.22: An HTTP module configuration (in an ASP.NET web application) does not apply to Pipeline mode
• 500.23: An HTTP handler configuration (in an ASP.NET web application) is not applicable in managed Pipeline mode
• 500.24: An Identity Switch configuration (for ASP.NET) cannot be used in Managed Pipeline mode
•500.50: An error occurred while rewriting while processing the RQ_BEGIN_REQUEST notification
• 500.51: An error occurred while rewriting while processing the RQ_PRE_BEGIN_REQUEST notification
• 500.52: An error occurred while rewriting while processing the RQ_SEND_RESPONSE notification
• 500.53: An error occurred while rewriting while processing the RQ_RELEASE _REQUEST_STATE notification
•500.100: An error has occurred in the ASP engine

What causes the 500 error?

When the web server processes the request, the error « Internal Server Error » may occur. This category of status codes contains everything that occurs on the server accidentally and prevents the site from being shown. The server 500 error most likely happens as a result of an error while setting the web server. Here are some examples of common error sources:

•Permission error: Permissions of main files and folders are not set correctly
• PHP-Timeout: the script tries to access an external resource and experiences a timeout
•Incorrect code in .htaccess: the structure in an .htaccess file may be incorrect
•Syntax or code error in CGI/Perl scripts: In some cases, the scripts are incorrect. In particular, the paths can be badly located.
• PHP-Memory-Limit: a process exceeds memory and cannot be executed correctly

With WordPress pages or other content management systems, installing a faulty or incompatible plugin can also be the cause. Plugins and themes, especially from third-party providers, may affect the entire site.

How can Webmasters fix a « 500 Internal Server Error »?

Your website’s users are no longer seeing the content, but only the 500 server error? As a website owner, you should fix the issue directly because it will not only irritate your site users, but Google may decide to punish you in terms of SEO. Before taking any action as Webmaster, be sure your server is still operational. Otherwise, you’ll need to get in touch with your hosting provider right once.

If there is an internal error, look at the log files first: for Linux servers, the error message collection is under /var/log/httpd/error_log. It is therefore useful to reload the website to reproduce the HTTP 500 error, while observing the creation of the Log file. This way you can find the source of the error quite quickly. In many cases, incorrectly programmed or incompatible plugins provide error messages.

The error can also occur if you have not set permissions for important files correctly. There are generally three types of rights:
•Read (r for read)
•Write (w for write)
•Execute (x for execute)

These permissions can be assigned to three different types of users:
•File Owner
•User group
•All the others

The rights are indicated either by the abbreviations r, w and x or by the corresponding numerical values: 4 to read, 2 to write and 1 to execute. They are added for each type of user and are given one after the other: rwxr-xr-x (rwx for owner, r-x for group and r-x for all others) or 755. This configuration (also 755 ) should be the standard setting. If the rights assignment is set differently, the error may occur. You can change this with a command:

chmod 755 nom du fichier

If this change does not change the problem, you can also share all rights for each group for testing purposes:

chmod 755 nom du fichier

Use this parameter only to locate the problem. This allows any user to overwrite the file, which is naturally a security risk.

Then, check to see if your scripts are working properly (unless distributing rights produced the error message). Errors can occur when script files are moved, renamed, or deleted. Check the.htaccess file as well, because any syntax error, no matter how minor, can cause an internal server error. Incorrect formatting of the.htaccess file is another common error. The latter must be created in Unicode rather than ASCII or ANSI format. As a result, instead of using a word processing program like Microsoft Word, write the file in a text editor like Notepad, Notepad++, or Sublime Text. You can temporarily rename and reload the file to see if it is the source of the error. The server will not allow access.htaccess while the site is loading. If the error message no longer occurs, you can repair the file or create a new one.

Finally, a timeout can result in an error message. It is not a web server error in this case, but rather a broken connection to an external source. Are your site’s PHP scripts set up to allow you to access resources on other servers? The resource may be unavailable, or server communication may be interrupted for another reason. Making your page independent of external resources is one way to eliminate this source of error. If this is not possible, you can increase your script’s timeout. It is also important to include efficient error handling so that errors in the PHP script can be detected as soon as possible.

Can the memory be overloaded? The memory limit is used to determine how much memory a process can take. If more RAM is needed, an internal server error may result. You can set the limit as a temporary solution. To do this, add a command to php.ini according to this model:

memory_limit = 512M

In this example, you make 512 MB of memory available. Keep in mind, however, that your hosting provider gives you a specific PHP script limit in the reserved plan. If you enter a higher value, the web server will ignore it. Adjusting the limit can only be a transitional solution: once your page reappears, you should investigate the reason for the high RAM requirement. Most likely the error is in your site’s code.

If among the above methods you are unable to find a solution, it is a good idea to contact your hosting provider. Before you can check server status: Many hosting service providers announce the status of their servers via a status page or notify users via social media if something goes wrong.

If server problems are already known, you must be patient: all you have to do is wait for the host’s IT team to fix the bug. But even if no problems with the servers are known, contacting support can be useful. Let them know what steps you have already taken. You can get help quickly.

How can Internet users react to an HTTP 500 error?

There isn’t much you can do as a website visitor if you encounter an internal server error. The web server on which the targeted website is hosted returns an incorrect configuration. This means that there is no error with your computer’s settings or network connection. As a result, the simplest solution for a web user is to reload the page later. On the one hand, it’s possible that the Webmaster has already fixed the error. This is especially likely when dealing with large suppliers. On the other hand, it is possible that you want to access content at an inconvenient time. When you reach the point where the service is restarting, the error message appears, despite the fact that everything is going as planned.

This issue is mostly resolved within seconds: unless the website is permanently overloaded. If you still see the error message after refreshing the page, you should first clear your browser cache. The browser cannot reload the site, but accesses its internal memory. Once the cache is cleared, try accessing the site again.

If the error message « 500 Internal Server Error » is still displayed, there is nothing you can do but wait for the website operator to correct the problem. With a little trick though, you can still view content on this webpage. If you don’t have the latest version of the page (in use), you can access Google’s cache. If you type the command cache: in the Google search bar, followed by the corresponding URL, you can access the previous version of the page (which may still work). However, you are not actually surfing the page, but moving to a copy that is on Google’s server.

If you need to go back, look at the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. You can find decades of old versions of websites there.

If the website you are visiting is not accessible for a long time, you can also contact the Webmaster. This may not be noticeable at all to other users: that’s why they will be happy about your remark.

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