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There are so many different possible HTTP errors that it can be hard to know what they all are. Particularly, difficult is the 500 Internal Server Error and its meaning.
If you would like to know more about the 500 internal server error, stick around for in this tutorial we will go through everything that you could possibly need to know about it.
We will begin by discussing what this particular error means and it causes, then we will talk about how you can recognize it before, finally, move on to the different ways in which you can fix it.
What Is the HTTP 500 Internal Server Error?
The first thing that can be said is that this error is, unfortunately, quite pervasive. It can happen any time you try to access a website.
It is important to note that the error comes from the website you are attempted to visit. Therefore, you could come across this error whether you are using a particular Internet web browser or another. For example, it is irrelevant whether you are using Safari, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox Mozilla, or any other Internet web browser.
Also, because the problem really lies with the website that you are trying to visit you may experience it no matter what operating system you are using or whether you are visiting the website in question from a computer, a tablet, or even a smartphone.
How Would You Know That You Are Being Affected By This Server Error?
Because this error relates to websites, it will be displayed in your Internet web browser exactly where the website you are attempting to visit should be displayed.
You will recognize this error because instead of getting the landing page of whichever website you are trying to access you will get one of the following error messages:
- HTTP Error 500
- 500 Internal Server Error
- Temporary Error (500)
- Internal Server Error
- 500 Error
- HTTP 500 Internal Error
- That’s an error.
If you get one of these error messages, the rest of this tutorial should help you in understanding its meaning.
“I’m a geek through and through. My last job at Microsoft was leading much of the search engine relevance work on Bing. There we got to play with huge amounts of data, with neural networks and other Al techniques, with massive server farms.” – Ramez Naam
What Causes the HTTP 500 Server Error?
The best way to begin to understand this error is to consider it several potential errors rather that just one error. Because there are several possible errors, there could also be different possible causes.
Once you understand this, you are on your way to getting to understand the error. Very often, this kind of error means that there is something seriously wrong with the website you are trying to visit. For example, there could be something wrong with the whole website or just with the specific page that you are visiting in terms of programming. If that is the case, there is very little you can do unless, of course, you also happen to be the Webmaster of said website.
However, there are other instances in which the problem could be at the user’s end. This is what the rest of this tutorial will be devoted to.
How Can You Fix the HTTP 500 Server Error?
Of course if, as we said in the previous section, this error is being caused by a programming issue there is next to nothing a user can do to fix it. Unfortunately, programming issues are very often what lies behind this kind of error.
If the error happens to be unrelated to a programming error, then you could try to fix it yourself. Of course, there is no real way of knowing whether this error is being caused by a programming issue the Webmaster will need to fix him or herself. So, you might as well try to run through the fixes in this section just even in the small chance that the problem does lay at your end.
The first thing that you should always try whenever you come across this error would be to reload the web page. There are several ways in which you could do this:
- You could click on the refresh or reload button depending on the terminology used by the Internet web browser that you happen to be using.
- You could also try hitting the F5 on your keyboard.
- Some people prefer to just enter the URL (universal resource locator, i.e., the address of the web page you are visiting) and hitting the Enter key again.
You may want to try this several times, either in quick succession or every so often. We say this because even when the error is not at your end, most often that not HTTP 500 internal error is just temporary. So, if you just refresh or reload, or try to visit the website in question a bit later on, you might very well find that the error has gone away and now you can access the website no problem.
You should be careful when you reload a website. If you are buying something online and the error displays right when you are in the middle of checking out, refreshing or reloading the page may result in creating more than one order for whatever you happen to be buying. The good news is that this will generally not happen as most online retailers have extremely effective systems in place in order to prevent this kind of scenario. However, this is something that should be at least aware of as a possibility.
If this first solution does not work for you (bear in mind that you may want to try reloading or refreshing the website later), then you could try to clear your Internet website cache. If you do not know to do so you can follow these steps, depending on the Internet web browser you are using.
If you are using Windows Internet Explorer, follow these steps:
- Click or tap on the tools button.
- Then, click or tap on the Safety option.
- Finally, click or tap on delete browsing history.
There is another option for doing this. You could, for instance, go into the delete browsing history by following this simple shortcut: CTRL + Shift + Del, then select the temporary Internet files and website file, and finally click or tap on the delete button.
If you are using Google Chrome, follow these steps:
- Click or tap on the menu button (the three lines icon).
- Then, click or tap on the more tools options.
- Finally, click or tap on the Clear browsing data option.
Alternatively, you could go to the clear browsing data in your settings by following this simple shortcut: CTRL + Shift + Del, then select the cached images and files, and finally click or tap on the clear browsing data button.
If you are using Safari, follow these steps:
- Click or tap on preferences.
- Go to advanced preferences.
- In the menu bar, choose the following option: show develop menu.
- Then, enable develop so you can access the develop option from your Safari menu bar.
- Click or tap on the develop option from the menu bar.
- Finally, click or tap on empty caches.
You can also use the option + command + E shortcut to get straight to the empty caches option but only if you are using an actual keyboard.
If you are using Mozilla, follow these steps:
- Go into options.
- Access the clear all history options.
- Select the cache option.
- Click or tap on the Clear now button.
It is also possible to do this by following simple shortcut: CRTL + Shift + Del. Alternatively, you can go to options, then clicking or tapping on privacy, and the hitting clear your recent history.
If you are using the Opera Internet web browser:
- Click or tap on the Menu option.
- Then, click or tap on more tools.
- Finally, click or tap on clear browsing data.
The CRTL + Shift + Del is also a viable shortcut. If you have access to a keyboard you can just head to your settings, go to clear browsing data, select cached images and files, and click or tap on the clear browsing data option.
If you used an Internet web browser that we have not covered here, just find out how to clear cache and go ahead and do it.
When you have done this, you should head back to the Internet web browser and try to visit the website that was returning the error.
If this does not work, you could try deleting the Internet browser’s cookies and refresh the website.
If nothing works, and you have tried to access the website several times, you could attempt contacting the Webmaster to make them aware of the issue. Obviously, if the website is down it might be hard for you to contact the Webmaster but if you do some googling about you might just be able to do so.
If nothing else works, head over to social media to report the error. Someone who can do something about it is bound to see it and respond.
We hope we have clarified the meaning of HTTP 500 Internal Server Error. If you have any feedback or would like to share your experience with our readers, please leave us a message in the comments section below!
Ryan is a computer enthusiast who has a knack for fixing difficult and technical software problems. Whether you’re having issues with Windows, Safari, Chrome or even an HP printer, Ryan helps out by figuring out easy solutions to common error codes.