500 Internal Server Error is a common HTTP status code that indicates an unexpected issue occurred on the server, preventing it from fulfilling a request made by a client.

Here are some reasons why a 500 Internal Server Error HTTP status code may be returned:

  • Application code errors such as infinite loops, exceptions being thrown, or incorrect logic preventing proper execution and generation of a valid response.
  • Overloaded servers that run out of memory, CPU capacity, storage, or other resources causing the application to fail serving requests.
  • Misconfigured servers, applications, or infrastructure like database connectivity issues, invalid file permissions, and routing problems.
  • Failed dependency services the application relies on like databases, DNS, caching layers, payment processors, etc. being unavailable.
  • Security intrusions like DDoS attacks, ransomware infections, or unexpected malicious payloads sent to the application or server resources.
  • Server hardware and software failures from wearing out, bugs, incompatibilities, corrupt data, or component malfunctions making the system unstable or unusable.

If your website is returning a 500 Internal Server Error message, you may need to contact your web host to resolve it.

However, there can be issues on your website that trigger the 500 code. For instance, this can happen on WordPress sites that use poorly coded plugins or themes.

Learn more in How to Fix the 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress.