People who develop and maintain web applications usually dread a 500 Internal Server Error. This isn't because these errors are usually hard to fix, however. It's because the error is usually not specific and can occur for a number of different reasons. The best way to debug the error depends upon the server and what's actually running at the time. Consider some debugging tips to help diagnose and fix common causes of this problem.
Is the server running a common software set like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal? Obviously, production versions of well-tested software like this should not cause a 500 Internal Server Error if everything is set correctly. It still happens because of incompatible versions, bad installations, or server permissions that were not set correctly.
These are some common problems that might cause an error like this with a popular and well-used software platform:
When common software scripts and packages generate a 500 Internal Server Error, the best place to look for general answers is on the support sites for these platforms. If this error has happened to one user, it has probably happened to multiple users, has been reported upon, and has generated discussion. Of course, it usually happens because of certain circumstances, so it's important to look for help with an idea of what might have changed or gone wrong since the last time the software ran correctly.
This problem might also occur because of a custom script that is just getting developed and tested. In order to find and debug the issue, consider some common solutions to the dreaded 500 Internal Server Error:
In some cases, developers don't have control over everything in their server's environment. If the script runs on a third-party host, that host might help in a few different ways:
Really, in most cases, very simple problems cause this error. These problems are very easy to fix. The issue is that the error is so general that finding the bug can sometimes seem like looking for a needle in a haystack. It's typically easiest to resolve this error if the software developer or tester can remember what conditions changed to start causing the error.
Keep in mind, that these changes may have been made by someone other than the developer -- like a host administrator. If nothing has truly changed, it's likely that the host itself caused the error because the environment was incompatible with software or there were performance problems.
At the end of the day, the appearance of a
500 Internal Server Error is a strong indication that you may need an error management tool that will automatically detect problems and report them to you and your fellow team members the instant they happen. Airbrake's error monitoring software provides real-time error monitoring and automatic exception reporting for all your development projects. Airbrake's state of the art web dashboard ensures you receive round-the-clock status updates on your application's health and error rates. No matter what you're working on, Airbrake easily integrates with all the most popular languages and frameworks. Plus, Airbrake makes it easy to customize exception parameters, while giving you complete control of the active error filter system, so you only gather the errors that matter most.
Check out Airbrake's error monitoring software today and see for yourself why so many of the world's best engineering teams use Airbrake to revolutionize their exception handling practices!