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How To Fix The 500 Internal Server Error In WordPress

The 500 internal server error is one of the most frustrating issues you can have with your site. This error is an HTTP status code. All webpages produce them to let you know how your server is running.

Your server will produce a 500 status code when something is wrong but it’s not exactly sure what it is.

Before you attempt the fixes below, try waiting a bit before refreshing your site and clearing your browser’s cache to see if the error was a temporary issue after updating or an issue with your browser.

You should also check your server logs if your host provides them or turn on WordPress’ debug mode as these reports may pinpoint the exact issue.

6 ways to fix the 500 internal server error in WordPress

  • Delete your .htaccess file – Temporarily delete your .htaccess file and generate a new one to fix errors within it.
  • Increase your PHP memory limit – Raise your site’s PHP memory allowance in case a theme or plugin is exhausting its current limit.
  • Deactivate third-party plugins and themes – Rule out issues with plugin and theme files by deactivating both.
  • Correct errors with file permissions – Switch files over to a recommended permissions configuration.
  • Reinstall WordPress core files – Delete and reinstall primary WordPress core files that may have been corrupted.
  • Contact your host – Rule out server issues by consulting with your host.

Fix #1: Regenerate your .htaccess file

For whatever reason, your .htaccess file may become corrupted. You won’t find this file if your host uses Nginx instead of Apache, so go ahead and skip to the next fix if that’s the case.

If your host uses Apache and you don’t see the file in your root folder among your wp-content and wp-admin folders, make sure your FTP client is set to show hidden and/or dot files.

Download this file to your computer, then delete it from your site’s files and reload your site to see if the issue is resolved.

Save your permalink settings in WordPress to generate a new .htaccess file.

Fix #2: Increase your PHP memory limit

Poorly-coded plugins and resource-intensive plugins can cause you to hit the allotted PHP memory limit assigned to your site. The site will go down as a result.

You can move on to Fix #3 to find out which plugin is causing the issue, or you can increase your PHP memory limit to give your site more leeway.

There are a few different ways you can raise this limit. If your host uses cPanel, find the Select PHP Version app under the Software section, then click Switch to PHP Options, and change the value for “memory_limit” to 128M or 264M depending on its current limit.

You can also add a simple line of code to one of the following files:

.htaccess file in root folder:

php_value memory_limit 256M

php.ini file in wp-admin folder:

memory_limit = 256M

Note: This line doesn’t need to be added. Simply find it, and change its value.

wp-config.php file in root folder:

define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’);

Note: Add this snippet before the “happy publishing” line.

wordpress increase php memory limit

Contact your host and request a raise to your PHP memory limit if you’re having trouble.

Fix #3: Deactivate plugin and theme files

If you can’t pinpoint the error, deactivate your plugins and third-party theme in one fell swoop. If your site loads, reactivate each plugin one at a time to pinpoint the error.

If you can access the WordPress dashboard, go to the Plugins page, check the Select All box, and apply the Deactivate action.

deactivate wordpress plugins dashboard

To deactivate your theme, head to the Themes page, and activate a default WordPress theme (Twenty Twenty-One, Twenty Twenty, etc.).

If you don’t have access to the backend of WordPress, deactivate all of your plugins in your FTP client by navigating to wp-content, and renaming the Plugins folder to anything, such as “pluginsz”.

wordpress rename plugins folder

To deactivate your theme, open the Themes folder in wp-content folder, then rename your theme’s folder. This will activate the latest default WordPress theme in your installation by default.

If the issue goes away, activate each plugin and your theme one by one, and keep refreshing your site to see which one generates the error.

Fix #4: Configure correct file permissions

You can change your installation’s permissions via your FTP client. There should be a column labeled Permissions.

Files and folders should be set to the following permissions:

  • Directories (folders): 755, 750 or 775
  • Files: 644, 640 or 664
  • wp-config.php: 440 or 400
wordpress change file permissions

Right click on a file or directory to change its permissions.

Fix #5: Reinstall WordPress core files

If all else fails, it doesn’t hurt to reinstall WordPress’ core folders just to rule out corrupted files.

This needs to be done via FTP. All you need to do is download the latest version of WordPress, and upload the wp-admin and wp-includes folders to your site’s root directory to overwrite your current copies of these folders.

If you’re running into permission issues when you attempt to upload these folders, set the permissions for each directory to 777 temporarily. Set them back to what they were originally (755, 750 or 775) as soon as you’re done as the 777 permission value creates a security risk in your installation.

Fix #6: Contact your host

If you can’t pinpoint the error yourself, contact your host as the issue may be with their servers.

In this case, there’s nothing you can do as your host will need to resolve the issue on their end.

Wrapping it up

As you can see, there are a number of reasons for 500 internal server errors in WordPress. Hopefully one of the methods above will help you fix the error.

And, if you use a managed WordPress host – it is well worth contacting your host regardless.

Web hosts such as WPX Hosting and Kinsta provide excellent support and will often assist with these kinds of errors.

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How To Create A Dropdown Menu In WordPress

What if you could provide an easier way for users to navigate your website?

With WordPress’ built-in menu functionalities, you can build a simple yet effective dropdown menu in mere minutes, giving your visitors several different ways to find what they’re looking for.

In this post, we’re going to show you how to do just that.

What is a dropdown menu?

The default menu used across the web is the standard menu. It’s a simple design where each menu item is displayed alongside one another in a horizontal (sometimes vertical) fashion. The design contains no nested items, giving it a true what-you-see-is-what-you-get appearance.

A dropdown menu is a variation of the standard web menu. It uses the same design, only a few menu items have nested items which “drop down” when the user hovers over the parent item.

polygon dropdown menu

The design offers a simple way to provide more links for the user to access, making it easier for them to navigate your site.

How to create a dropdown menu in WordPress

WordPress adds every new page you create to your menu by default when you have not designated a custom menu for your site. This gets messy fairly quickly.

Furthermore, if your theme came with demo content, it likely gave you a custom menu filled with the pages it created for you when you imported the demo.

All of our menus are bound to look quite different as a result, so we’re going to kick off this tutorial by creating an entirely new menu rather than editing an existing one.

wordpress create new menu

Start by adding your top-level pages to the menu in any order you want. These are your Home, About, Blog and Contact pages. You can drag and drop each item to rearrange them in your preferred order.

Now, let’s say our blog has many different categories. We can add these categories directly to our menu as is, or we can nest them underneath the Blog item. This allows users to browse topics that align with the type of content they’re looking for.

All you need to do is add the categories to your menu, then use the drag-and-drop feature to place them underneath the Blog option but slightly to the right.

wordpress menu sub items

WordPress calls these “sub items,” but you can also refer to them as children. You can even create grandchildren by nesting additional items under the child items.

wordpress menu grandchildren

Here’s an example of this simple menu in action:

wordpress dropdown menu

You’re going to have to assign this menu as your Primary Menu (your theme may label this differently) if you want to preview the dropdown elements.

As a side note, you may have difficulty viewing the dropdown menu if your theme uses a transparent header. Try to play around with your site’s link colors in the Header or Menu sections of the live customizer. Otherwise, contact your theme’s support team as a last resort.

There are several additional pieces of content you can add to your dropdown menu outside of pages and blog categories. You’ll add most of these through the Custom Links feature, but you can also add blog posts to your menu.

If you want to add a parent menu item that acts as a title and not an actual link, insert the pound # symbol in the URL field and your title in the Link Text field. For example, if you sell products in several big box stores, you could create a parent menu item called “Where to Buy,” and link each store as a child item.

wordpress menu custom links

Feel free to add custom links anywhere on your menu.

Editing your menu

One cool thing about WordPress’ menu creator is the fact that you can rename any menu item to whatever you please. Just click the arrow associated with the item you want to rename, and change the text in the Navigation Label field.

wordpress menu edit label

Be sure to save your menu before this next part.

If you want to see the changes you make to your menu in real time, go to the live customizer, open the Menus section, and open your dropdown menu. The interface is similar to the Menu page on the backend of WordPress, so you’ll be able to edit your menu from here just fine.

wordpress menu live customizer

You can even delete your menu from here just as you can on the backend’s Menu page.

Mega menus: an alternative to the dropdown menu

WordPress’ default dropdown menu is great on its own, but in case you’re in search of a menu with a little more flare, allow us to introduce the mega menu.

ubermenu wordpress plugin

Mega menus are another form of dropdown menus, only they use advanced links, images, search fields, maps and more.

They’re incredibly easy to create when you use dedicated mega menu plugins, especially options like UberMenu and Mega Menu Pro.

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