When your website is showing a blank page the web server encountered an issue that prevents it from displaying the page. This is a so-called internal server error, or error 500. It is quite a generic error, which can make it difficult to find the cause.

We can usually quickly see what the error is from the server logs. Unless you know what caused the issue you probably want to submit a support ticket.

What triggers an error 500?

An error 500 may happen when you do work on the website. For instance, if you made changes to a configuration file, such as the .htaccess file or WordPress’s wp-config.php file then that may well be the issue. A small typo in a configuration file can break everything. If you took a backup of the file(s) you changed then restoring the file(s) usually solves the issue. If you didn’t make a backup; don’t worry, we got you covered. We take nightly backups which are retained for seven days.

Another thing you can easily check is if your website’s database needs to be repaired. This is something you can easily do via the Databases interface in cPanel.

It may also be that your website is running out of memory. Each website has a finite amount of resources available, and when the limit is reached the server can no longer handle requests. If you were running a resource intensive script on your website then this could be the reason. Or, if your website just needs a lot of resources, for instance because it is getting lots of visitors, you may need to upgrade the hosting package.

Other possible reasons for an error 500 include updates to Content Management Systems such as WordPress and Joomla, incorrect file permissions and incorrect database login credentials. As said, an internal server error is quite a generic error! Usually, though, we can quickly solve the issue.