If you try to visit a website and see a “500 Internal Server Error” message, it means something has gone wrong with the website. This isn’t a problem with your browser, your computer, or your internet connection. It’s a problem with the site you’re trying to visit.
What This Error Means
This error may appear in a variety of different ways, but they all mean the same thing. Depending on the website, you may see the message “500 Internal Server Error”, “500 Error”, “HTTP Error 500”, “500. That’s an error”, “Temporary Error (500)”, or just the error code “500”. It’s one of many different error messages you might see in your browser.
However you see this displayed, this is an error with HTTP status code 500. The 500 error code is a generic message that appears when something unexpected happened on the web server and the server can’t offer more specific information. Rather than giving you a normal web page, an error occurred on the web server and the server gave your browser a web page with an error message instead of a normal web page.
How to Fix It
This is a problem on the website’s end, so you can’t fix it yourself. Whoever runs the website will have to fix it.
However, there are often ways to quickly get around the problem. This error message is often temporary and the website may quickly fix itself. For example, many people may be connecting to the website at once, causing the problem. You may just need to wait a few minutes—or a few seconds—before trying again, and the website may work properly.
If you experience this problem, try reloading the web page. Click the “Reload” button on your browser’s toolbar or press F5. Your browser will contact the web server and ask for the page again, and this may fix your problem.
Important: You shouldn’t try reloading the page if you were submitting an online payment or initiating some type of transaction when you view this message. This may cause you to submit the same payment twice. Most websites should stop this from occurring, but a problem could occur if the website experiences a problem during a transaction.
If this doesn’t work, you may need to wait a while before coming back to the website later. The website is probably experiencing a problem, and the people who run the website will have to fix it. Try accessing the website again in the future and it may work properly.
If you’re concerned that the people who run the website aren’t aware of the problem, you may want to contact them and inform them of the problem you’re experiencing. If the website is broken for you, it’s probably broken for other people, too—and the website’s owner should want to fix it.
For example, if you experience the error on a business’s website, you may want to dial that business’s phone number. If the business has a customer service email address, you may want to write an email to that address. You can also contact many businesses on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
How to View an Older Copy of the Web Page
If you’re looking for a web page and it isn’t available at the moment—whether it’s due to HTTP error 500 or any other problem—you can view an older snapshot of the web page in several different ways. This won’t work if you’re trying to access a dynamic website or a web page with timely information (like breaking news), but it works very well for accessing older articles and other static pages.
For example, if you’re using Google, use you access a cached copy of the web page in Google Cache. Locate the web page you want to view in Google’s search results, click the arrow to the right of its address, and click “Cached” to view the old copy. You may need to click the “Text-only version” link on the cache page to make the website load properly.
You could also load it up in a tool like the Wayback Machine to see older versions of the page.
If you’re a website owner and you’re experiencing this error on your server, there’s no single easy fix. There’s a problem with something, and it could be many things. Common problems include an error in your website’s .htaccess file, incorrect permissions on files and folders on your server, a software package that your website depends on not being installed, or a timeout when connecting to an external resource.
You’ll need to examine your web server’s log files and do more troubleshooting to determine the specific cause of the problem and its solution.