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      How to Fix the WordPress Not Sending Email Issue

      Dealing with email issues can be a frustrating experience. Whether you’re not receiving important WordPress notifications or your contact form seems to be acting up, these problems can disrupt your day-to-day business.

      Fortunately, there are multiple troubleshooting methods and tools you can use to fix your email issues. Most aren’t overly complicated, and you’ll still be able to decide what email addresses you’ll use to send and receive messages from WordPress.

      In this article, we’ll explain some likely reasons WordPress isn’t sending emails. Then we’ll show you how to fix this issue and configure your contact forms so that they properly deliver emails as well. Let’s go!

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      Why You’re Not Receiving Emails From WordPress

      By default, WordPress uses the PHP mail() function to send emails. Unfortunately, many hosting servers are not configured to use this function, making it impossible to process those emails.

      Another reason emails from your site may not get delivered is unintended side effects from efforts to reduce spam. Most email providers attempt to verify that an email is coming from the address it claims.

      However, the address used to send email from your website likely uses spoofing. Without spoofing, an email sent from your website might look like “”. Spoofing enables you to change that address to a more reasonable one, such as ‘“”.

      Unfortunately, spoofing can also serve nefarious purposes, and email providers can’t tell the difference. Therefore, it can sometimes cause your emails to end up in recipients’ spam folders.

      How to Stop Email From Going to Spam

      In addition to spoofing, there are a lot of other reasons why emails might go to spam. Some of the most common possibilities are:

      • Your IP address is flagged as having been used for spam
      • You’re using trigger words in your email newsletters
      • You’re employing poor emailing practices

      One way to keep your emails out of the spam bin is to use Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) rather than PHP mail(). This protocol is the industry standard and uses proper authentication.

      Put simply, emails sent via SMTP have a higher chance of being delivered than those sent using other protocols. You can use a few different methods to set up your WordPress site to send emails via SMTP.

      How to Set Up WordPress to Send Emails Via SMTP (2 Ways)

      Now that we’ve touched on a few reasons WordPress emails aren’t making it to their intended recipients, let’s look at two ways to fix the problem.

      1. Send Email Using Your Hosting Account Address

      Using your hosting account email is the simplest way to get your WordPress messages moving as expected. We’ll show you how to set this up, using our own DreamHost web hosting as an example.

      Begin by downloading and installing the WP Mail SMTP plugin. From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to WP Mail SMTP > Settings.

      The settings screen of WP Mail SMTP.

      There are several fields you’ll need to fill in on this screen. From Email is the address from which you want your emails sent. You’ll also need to check the Force From Email box. The From Name field is the name you’d like the email to come from. You can check the Force From Name box if you’d like.

      Finally, select Other SMTP as your mailer. Doing this will cause a Return Path section to appear. Be sure to click on the box in that section as well.

      Now you can populate the other SMTP options. We’ll use DreamHost to demonstrate again, but the information should be similar if you use another web host.

      WP Mail SMTP settings for other SMTP mailers.

      First, make sure to toggle on Authentication. For the SMTP Host, use “”. When you select TLS encryption, the plugin should auto-populate the SMTP port as “587”.

      Next, you can enter your DreamHost email address and password. Finally, click on the Save Settings button, and you should be ready to go. You can try sending a test email to be sure that everything is working properly.

      2. Send Email Using Your Gmail Account

      If you prefer, you can use your Gmail address to send mail. Note that while this method also uses the WP Mail SMTP plugin, it’s significantly more complicated. Also, you’ll have to perform these steps again if you ever change your Gmail address.

      First, set up a Gmail account to use, if you don’t already have one. Next, download and install the WP Mail SMTP plugin, and navigate to WP Mail SMTP > Settings. You can fill out the fields as described above.

      However, when it’s time to select your mailer, choose Gmail.

      WP Mail SMTP settings for the Gmail mailer.

      Please keep this tab handy, as we’ll need to return to it later. For now, you can create a set of secure credentials that will provide your WordPress installation with the required authorization to use Gmail’s servers.

      To configure these credentials, head to the Google Developers Console and log in. Create a new project by clicking on Select a project at the top of the screen, followed by New Project in the pop-up that appears.

      Creating a new project in Google Developers Console.

      Give your project whatever name you’d like, and then click on the Create button. Once you do, you’ll be brought to the API Library. Find and click on the Gmail API in the G Suite section.

      Google’s API Library.

      Select the Enable button. On the next screen, click on Create credentials to open the credentials wizard.

      Opening the Gmail API credentials wizard.

      Next, select the Client ID link. You’ll see a pop-up asking you to set up a consent screen. Click on the Set Up Consent Screen button to proceed.

      Here, you’ll select whether the application type is internal or external. If you’re not using a G Suite account, you’ll only be able to choose “external.”

      Setting up an OAuth consent screen.

      You can provide an application name and a contact email address. After you do, scroll down to the Authorized domains section, click on Add domain, and enter your website’s URL.

      Adding an authorized domain.

      Finally, enter your email address again under Developer contact information. Click on the Save and Continue button. You can also hit Save and Continue to advance through the next two screens. Since you’re the only one who will ever see this page, you don’t need to worry about populating that information.

      When you reach the end of this series of prompts, click on the Back to Dashboard button. Select the Credentials tab on the left, followed by Create Credentials > OAuth Client ID from the drop-down menu.

      Creating an OAuth client ID.

      On the next page, select Web Application from the Application type drop-down menu. You’ll need to return to the WP Mail SMTP settings screen. Copy the Authorized Redirect URL, and paste it into the Authorized Redirect URL field on the Client ID for Web Application page.

      Adding an authorized redirect URL.

      When you’re done, click on the Create button. You’ll see a pop-up containing the Client ID and Client Secret. Paste these OAuth credentials into the appropriate fields in the WP Mail SMTP options.

      Adding the client ID and client secret to WP Mail SMTP.

      Once you click on the Save Settings button, the page will refresh. Scroll back down to the bottom and click on Allow plugin to send emails using your Gmail account.

      The grant permission button.

      Enter your Gmail credentials to finalize the connection. Your SMTP status should now be connected, and you can send a test email to make sure everything is working correctly.

      How to Configure Your Contact Forms to Send Email Successfully

      If your server is now sending emails correctly, but you are still having problems with your contact forms, the issue could be with a setting in the WordPress form plugin you use. Below, we’ll show you how to troubleshoot some of the most popular tools.

      Contact Form 7

      If Contact Form 7 isn’t working for you, you likely need to change the address from which emails are sent. Starting from the admin dashboard, navigate to Contact > Contact Forms. Next, click on the contact form you’d like to edit and select the Mail tab.

      The Contact Form 7 settings page.

      Ensure that the From field is using your website’s admin email address. Also, verify that the emails in the To and From fields are different. Once you’ve made the necessary changes, click on the Save button.

      WPForms Lite

      You can change the settings in WPForms Lite by navigating to WP Forms > All Forms. To open the editor, click on Edit under the form you want to change. Next, select Settings in the left-hand menu, followed by Notifications.

      The WPForms settings page.

      Here, you’ll be able to update the Send To Email Address and From Email fields. Click on the Save button when you’ve made your desired changes.


      You’re less likely to run into problems using Jetpack’s contact form, as this plugin doesn’t give you as many configuration options. If there is an issue, it probably stems from having the same email address set as both To and From.

      You can correct this by making one simple change. After you’ve added the form using the block, click on the pencil icon to edit the form options.

      Settings for the Jetpack Form Block.

      You can change the email address your form responses send to on this screen. Note that you won’t be able to change the address that forms are sent from, as Jetpack uses your website’s admin email for this.

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      Ready to Fix the WordPress Not Sending Email Issue?

      There are few things as irritating as having to dig through your spam folder to look for a missing email. However, once you’ve fixed this common WordPress issue, your website’s emails should safely find their way to their intended destinations.

      In this piece, we showed you how to leverage the WP Mail SMTP plugin, and use either your hosting or Gmail account to send emails. Once you’ve handled that task, you can move on to configuring the options in your contact form plugin, to ensure that those emails properly send as well.

      If you’d like to make your experience with WordPress emails easier, you might want to consider checking out DreamPress, our managed hosting plan. You’ll have access to our premium support 24/7 to help you with any problems you may run into on your site!

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      How to Fix Syntax Errors in WordPress

      If you found this article because you’re staring at a WordPress error message where your website used to be, take a deep breath and put on your superhero cape (tights are optional).

      Yes, there’s a problem, but it’s possible to fix it.

      Your site hasn’t disappeared into the ether. It’s still there, behind that error message. The issue may be something as simple as a missing semicolon in a PHP file. WordPress syntax errors aren’t frequent, but they do occur and are relatively simple to correct.

      In this article, we’ll explain what a syntax error is, along with some common causes. Then we’ll walk you through the steps to take to locate and fix the error. Let’s get started!

      What Is a Syntax Error?

      A syntax error occurs when a command is not written correctly.

      A WordPress syntax error message.

      This may include the presence of a grammatical mistake, a misspelled word or missing symbol, or an incorrect punctuation mark in your site’s code. In WordPress, this is usually a PHP error.

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      Common Causes of Syntax Errors in WordPress

      A syntax error may occur when you’ve pasted code incorrectly. Maybe you missed a portion when you copied the code or perhaps there is an extra closing tag at the end of the script.

      This is a PHP open tag: <?php, and this is a closing tag: ?>.

      When you copy and paste a PHP code snippet, it often includes the open tag, causing a syntax error. Since you are probably pasting the snippet into existing code, you don’t need to include the open tag.

      You may also get a syntax error when you are editing your theme in the WordPress Customizer. If this happens, you’ll generally know what the problem is, or at least where in the file it’s occurring. If you aren’t sure, don’t worry. You can locate the error by making a few changes to the wp-config.php file.

      Another reason you might see this message is because of a plugin update or installation. The extension may not be compatible with your WordPress version, or there may be other issues at play. If you were updating or installing a plugin when the error happened, that’s most likely the source of the problem.

      Why Fixing the WordPress Syntax Error Matters

      A syntax error is an indication that something isn’t right within your site’s code. This issue can break your website, leaving you with a blank page or error message.

      If your website is down or inaccessible, it will obviously hamper the User Experience (UX). Besides hurting your traffic and conversion rates, having a blank page where your site should be can also hurt your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings.

      WordPress syntax error messages can be concerning, especially if you aren’t familiar with website code. Fortunately, as you’ll see, most syntax errors have a simple solution.

      How to Fix a Syntax Error in WordPress via SFTP

      When a syntax error occurs, you can fix it by either removing or correcting the code containing the error. Either way, you’ll need access to the file where the problem is occurring. If you’re locked out of your WordPress admin dashboard, you can access this by using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client.

      If you’re a DreamHost customer, this process is especially easy. There’s no need to download a third-party application. You can access your website files using our dedicated WebFTP tool.

      DreamHost’s WebFTP login screen.

      If you aren’t a DreamHost customer or prefer to use an FTP client, FileZilla is a good option. Note that you’ll always want to connect using the more secure Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) rather than FTP. This will ensure the transferred data is encrypted.

      You will need some information to connect to your website via SFTP:

      • Server/Hostname
      • Username
      • Password
      • Port

      You can find this information by logging into your web hosting account. DreamHost users can navigate to Manage Account. If you’re using another hosting provider, they may call this area something different — if you need help, contact your host or visit their knowledge base.

      From the account management area, look for FTP Users (or FTP Accounts, depending on your web host) and select Manage Users to view your Host, Username, and Port settings. If you don’t know your FTP password, you can reset it with the link provided.

      DreamHost FTP user information.

      Next, open your FTP client and enter your login credentials. Once logged in, under your WordPress site’s directory, you will see the wp-adminwp-content, and wp-includes folders, and a list of other files.

      A WordPress site directory via SFTP.

      If your screen looks similar to the above example, you’re in the right place! Now, it’s time to enable debugging to get more information about the syntax error.

      Enable Debugging to View the Syntax Error Location

      If you were working on your website when the error occurred, you should have a good idea of where to look for the issue. However, if you’re unsure, there’s no need to guess. Debugging will show you the exact location of the error.

      To enable debugging, you can add the following snippet of code to your wp-config.php file:

      define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );

      Be sure to put the code before /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */ toward the bottom of the file.

      WordPress debugging code added to the ‘wp-config.php’ file.

      Once you save the file and refresh your website in your browser, you should see a text string indicating the location of the error, including the file, name, and line number.

      A WordPress syntax error message.

      Be sure to disable debugging once you’ve fixed the syntax errors, as leaving this feature on isn’t recommended for live websites.

      You’ve now located the syntax error. After noting the information, it’s time to get to work fixing it. You can use the directions below to address the error according to its location.

      Fix a Syntax Error Caused By a Plugin Update

      If you were installing, updating, or editing a plugin file when the syntax error occurred, the simplest and fastest solution is to disable the plugin. That’s what we’ll do first.

      Access your website via SFTP. Once you’re connected, go to the wp-content/plugins directory, and locate the plugin folder with the error.

      While there, you can either disable the plugin or correct the file that contains the error — if you know what’s causing the issue. If not, you can disable the plugin by renaming its folder in the plugins directory.

      If you go to your website’s URL and refresh the browser, your site should appear normal. However, if you want to continue using the plugin, you’ll need to resolve the error rather than simply disabling it.

      To correct the plugin error, locate the file and line number from the error message. Identify any missing or incorrect code on that line. If you’re unsure what’s causing the error, you can paste the snippet into a code editor to help you identify it.

      You can always disable the plugin as a short-term fix. Then, you can reactivate it later, once the error is corrected. This may be the best approach, especially if the plugin isn’t essential to your website’s operation.

      Fix Syntax Error Caused By Editing a Theme File Improperly

      To fix an error that occurred while editing your theme, access your website via SFTP, and navigate to the wp-content/themes folder. Open the appropriate theme folder and locate the file with the error — usually the functions.php file.

      Edit the file and correct the error. Again, the syntax error code should display the line number. If the problem occurred when you pasted a code snippet into the file, delete your edits to restore the file to its stable version.

      If you don’t see what’s causing the problem, you can use a code editor to help identify the error. Once you correct the problem, open a browser window, and navigate to your URL to verify that your site is up and running again.

      Use a Code Editor to Identify Syntax Errors

      There are several free code editors available online, like Sublime Text and Atom. You can use any of these tools to help diagnose and fix syntax errors.

      In the illustration below, the functions.php file is missing a semicolon on the last line.

      Syntax errors shown in a code editor.

      The editor indicates the syntax error with a yellow bar beside the line number (610). Once we add the semicolon, the error resolves, and the yellow flag disappears. You can practice writing or editing code in an editor before making changes to your website’s files.

      How to Avoid Syntax Errors in the Future

      Using proper syntax can help you avoid errors in the future. PHP is a simple, flexible language. You can invest a little time to learn the basics. Then, when you’re pasting code or making edits to your site’s files, you’ll know how to correct errors as you work.

      As another option, you can keep a code editor handy to check syntax before pasting code into your website. This is a smart practice for ensuring that a code snippet is correct before adding it to files on a live site.

      Another way to prevent issues is to enable debugging when making changes to your site, in order to flag errors before going live. This is the time to make sure everything is compatible with your WordPress core files and works as it should.

      Finally, we suggest deleting any unused plugins and themes. Not only can this help prevent syntax errors, but it is also a good security measure, so it’s a win-win.

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      Ready to Fix That Syntax Error?

      Almost 40% of all websites are built on WordPress, making it the most popular Content Management System (CMS) in the world. It’s a stable and secure platform, but even so, errors can still happen.

      In this article, we explained what syntax errors are and their most common causes. Then we provided a step-by-step guide for fixing syntax errors in your WordPress installation. These are usually simple to resolve, but it’s best to take measures to prevent the problems from appearing in the first place, such as using a code editor to check code before adding it to your site.

      Properly maintaining your website is one of the best ways to avoid issues and keep it running smoothly. DreamPress hosting (with free WordPress migration) is specifically designed for the WordPress environment. Plus, if you ever do encounter a problem, we’ve got you covered with automatic daily backups and a support team of WordPress experts!

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      How to Fix the 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress (10 Tips)

      Seeing a 500 internal server error where your website should be is enough to throw anyone into a panic. When your website goes down, you lose out on potential traffic and sales. If it’s offline for a while, it can also negatively impact your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts.

      Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to go about fixing this error. Many of these solutions are fairly straightforward, and you don’t need a lot of technical know-how to start troubleshooting.

      In this guide, we’ll cover what the 500 internal server error in WordPress is and discuss some potential causes. Then we’ll give you 10 tips to help you get your website back in working order.

      1. Back up your website.
      2. Try reloading the page.
      3. Clear your browser cache.
      4. Access your error logs.
      5. Check for the “Error Establishing a Database Connection.”
      6. Look for permission errors.
      7. Increase your PHP memory limit.
      8. Check for problems with your .htaccess file.
      9. Look for coding or syntax errors in your CGI/Perl script.
      10. Ask your web host about potential server issues.

      Let’s get started!

      Dealing with the WordPress Internal Server Error?

      Avoid troubleshooting when you sign up for DreamPress. Our friendly WordPress experts are available 24/7 to help solve website problems — big or small.

      What Is the 500 Internal Server Error?

      The 500 internal server error is frustratingly nonspecific. When the error occurs, you usually don’t get many details about it. In fact, you might not receive any information at all.

      An example of a 500 internal server error screen.

      The 500 error is a generic issue that isn’t specific to WordPress. Chances are you’ve seen it before during your internet explorations. Despite the name, it doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong with your server. It could be an issue with your website or browser.

      If you do see this error on your site, you’ll want to get it fixed as quickly as possible. A 500 error can impact your SEO if allowed to linger. If your site is crawled while it’s offline, there’s a chance that Google may interpret the error as an issue with your website.

      This error can also hurt your User Experience (UX) and give visitors the impression that you’re unprofessional. Not only can a poor UX affect the way Google ranks your site, but it can cause you to lose customers as well. After all, you can’t do business if your site isn’t accessible.

      A wide variety of situations can result in the 500 error, making it a bit of a chore to sort out. Potential causes of the 500 internal server error in WordPress include:

      • Plugin compatibility issues
      • Exhausted PHP memory limit
      • Corrupted files
      • Coding or syntax errors

      The fact that the error message itself tends to be vague doesn’t help. Fortunately, you can solve many of these issues on your own with a bit of know-how.

      Variations on the 500 Internal Server Error

      Depending on your operating system, browser, and the cause of the error, there are variations in how it will appear. For example, if a database connection can’t be established, you might see something like this:

      An error establishing a database connection message.

      A plain white screen, sometimes referred to as the White Screen of Death (WSoD), can indicate a 500 internal server error.

      A blank browser window due to a 500 error.

      Also, many site owners have the option to customize their 500 error messages. So you might see this error in many different forms.

      How to Fix the 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress (10 Tips)

      Now that you’ve had an introduction to the 500 internal server error, it’s time to discuss how to resolve it. Let’s take a look at ten tips you can use to fix this issue in WordPress.

      1. Back up your website.

      Before tinkering under the hood, it’s always smart to make a backup of your website. If DreamHost hosts your site, you can take advantage of our one-click backup feature. You can also create a manual backup if you prefer.

      To make a complete backup, you’ll need to save copies of your WordPress files as well as your databases. You can back up your site’s files using a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) client such as FileZilla.

      Once you’re connected to your server, navigate to the WordPress files you want to save. These files include the WordPress core installation, plugins, themes, images, and more. To save the files, simply right-click on them and select Download.

      How to download WordPress files via SFTP.

      Now you’ll need to back up your database, which you can do by logging into phpMyAdmin. Select the database you want to download from the left-hand panel, and then click on the Export tab.

      You’ll then need to choose between a “Quick” or a “Custom” export. The Quick export will likely work just fine unless you need to manage more advanced options.

      Options for downloading a WordPress database using phpMyAdmin.

      Click on the Go button, and your download should start. Once your website is safely backed up, you can get to work on fixing that 500 error.

      2. Try reloading the page.

      Let’s start with the best-case scenario. Some situations that cause a 500 internal error clear up on their own within a few minutes. For example, if you’ve just made changes to a plugin or theme, or if your host is experiencing unusually heavy traffic, you may see a server error. If this is true in your case, you’re in luck, as a simple page reload should get things back to normal.

      Therefore, the first thing to try is simply waiting a minute or two, during which the error will hopefully resolve itself. Then you can try reloading the page by pressing F5 or (command + R if you’re using a Mac).

      3. Clear your browser cache.

      Another potential server error fix that’s quick and easy is clearing your browser cache. It’s possible the cache became corrupted, which would cause problems when attempting to access websites.

      First, you might check Down For Everyone Or Just Me. This will determine whether there’s a widespread problem or you’re the only one experiencing difficulties.’s status on Down for Everyone or Just Me.

      If you’re alone in your 500 error frustration, the problem may be your browser. Try accessing your site from a different browser. If an alternative works, it’s a sign that the issue is with your cache.

      In Google Chrome, you can clear your cache by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Delete. Alternatively, you can click on the three vertical dots in the top-right corner, followed by More tools > Clear browsing data.

      Options for clearing the browser cache in Chrome.

      Be sure to check the Cached images and files box. Then click on the Clear data button.

      In Firefox, you can clear the cache using the Ctrl + Shift + Delete keyboard shortcut. This will open the Clear Recent History window. In the Time range to clear drop-down menu, select Everything. Check the Cache box, and then click on OK.

      Options for clearing browser data in Firefox.

      In Safari, you can navigate to the History menu item and choose Clear History. Keep in mind that this will delete everything, including cookies and visited pages.

      How to clear the browser cache in Safari.

      Once you’ve cleared your browser cache, you can attempt to access your website again. If you’re still seeing the 500 internal server error, it’s time to move on to more involved fixes.

      4. Access your error logs.

      Your site’s error logs may provide insight into what’s causing the 500 error. Depending on your host, these logs may be cycled quite often, so you’ll want to take a look as soon as possible.

      You can check your error logs by accessing your site’s files via SFTP and looking for the /logs directory. Next, select the site that’s experiencing the error. You may see several directories at this point. You’ll want to check the one with the most recent date.

      Error and access log files accessed via FileZilla.

      You can view the log by downloading it and opening it with your preferred text editor. Hopefully, your error logs will provide you with some additional context for the 500 error.

      Another option is to enable the WordPress debug log. You can do this by connecting to your site via SFTP and opening your wp-config.php file. Within it, look for the following line:

      define('WP_DEBUG', false);

      Once you find it, replace it with the following:

      define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );
      define( 'WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false );
      define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true );

      This will create a debug.log file, which you can find under the /wp-content/ directory. Just be sure to change the WP_DEBUG value back to “false” when you’re done troubleshooting.

      5. Check for the ‘Error Establishing a Database Connection.’

      If there’s been a problem establishing a database connection, not only will your site be offline for visitors, but you won’t be able to access the WordPress admin dashboard either. There are a few possible causes of this:

      • Incorrect database login credentials
      • A corrupted WordPress database
      • A corrupted WordPress installation file

      Let’s start with incorrect login credentials, as this is a common cause of the database connection error. If you’re a DreamHost user, you can find your database credentials in your panel. However, if you use a different host, you’ll likely follow a similar procedure.

      Navigate to MySQL Databases and find the one that corresponds to your website under the Database(s) on this server section. Here, you’ll find your database name under the Database heading. The username is listed under the Users Access column.

      Alt-text: Where to find your MySQL username in DreamPanel.

      To find the password, click on the username. On the next screen, scroll down and click on the Show button next to the password field.

      How to find your database password in DreamPanel.

      Next, you’ll compare these credentials to those in your wp-config.php file. You can access this file in your site’s main directory via SFTP. Once you have the file downloaded, open it and verify that the information under MySQL Settings matches what you found in your panel.

      Checking MySQL settings in the wpconfig.php file.

      Next, if your database is corrupted, you can quickly repair it through phpMyAdmin. Log in and click on your database in the left panel. Select all of the tables in the database, and then choose the Repair table option from the drop-down menu.

      Repairing a database in phpMyAdmin.

      Finally, let’s look at how to handle a corrupted WordPress installation file. Start by downloading a new copy of WordPress and unzipping the file. You’ll need to delete the wp-content folder and the wp-config-sample.php file.

      Deleting files from a new WordPress installation.

      Upload the rest of the files to your site via SFTP, overwriting any existing ones. You now have a brand new, uncorrupted WordPress installation. You’ll also want to clear your browser cache before checking your website again.

      6. Look for permission errors.

      If any of your files have permissions set incorrectly, you may see the 500 internal server error as a result. Again, you can check and change these permissions using SFTP.

      Right-click on any file and select File permissions to open a new dialogue window. In this window, you can check and, if necessary, set new permissions for the file.

      Checking and updating file permissions using FileZilla.

      Typically, you’ll want to set files to “644” and directories and executables to “755”. However, you may want to check with your host if you’re unsure about the correct values.

      7. Increase your PHP memory limit.

      Another reason you might see the 500 internal server error is if you’ve exceeded your server’s PHP memory limit. There are several ways to increase your limit, and they all involve using SFTP.

      Before you try increasing your memory limit, you may want to start by seeing what it’s currently set to. You can do this through the WordPress admin dashboard. Keep in mind that, with some variations of the 500 error, you won’t be able to access the dashboard. If that’s the case, you may have to skip this step.

      From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Tools > Site Health. Click on Info at the top of the screen, and scroll down to the Server section. You should see your PHP memory limit there.

      How to check your WordPress site’s PHP memory limit.

      To increase the PHP memory limit, there are a few files you can edit. One is your .htaccess file, typically located in your site’s root directory. Open the file and add the following code:

      php_value memory_limit xxxM

      You can replace the “xxx” with your desired amount of memory. Usually, 256M is plenty.

      You can also increase your memory limit by editing your php.ini file. You should be able to find this file in your root directory. If not, you can go ahead and create one. Add or update its code to the following:

      memory_limit = xxxM

      Another option is to add in the following code at the top of your wp-config.php file:

      define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', 'xxxM');

      If this resolves the 500 error, your next task will be to figure out what is causing the memory limit exhaustion. It could be a problematic plugin or theme. You might consider reaching out to your host for help on finding the exact server diagnostics.

      8. Check for problems with your .htaccess file.

      Your .htaccess file is one of the core WordPress files. It contains rules for your server, so it could contribute to a 500 internal server error.

      If your .htaccess file has become corrupted, you’ll want to go ahead and create a fresh one. Start by logging into your site via SFTP and finding your .htaccess file. Rename the file to .htaccess_old.

      Renaming a file in FileZilla.

      Now, create a new .htaccess file in your text editor and paste in the following:

      # BEGIN WordPress
      RewriteEngine On
      RewriteRule .* - [E=HTTP_AUTHORIZATION:%{HTTP:Authorization}]
      RewriteBase /
      RewriteRule ^index.php$ - [L]
      RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
      RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
      RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
      # END WordPress

      Go ahead and upload your newly created .htaccess file. Then refresh your site in your browser, and check to see whether the error message is showing.

      9. Look for coding or syntax errors in your CGI/Perl script.

      If you’re running Common Gateway Interface (CGI) scripts, any coding errors you’ve made could result in a 500 error. To unearth potential issues with your CGI scripts, log into your site using Secure Shell Access (SSH).

      Once you’ve logged in, you can troubleshoot your CGI with this command:

      [server]$ ./cgi_name.cgi

      The terminal should return a general error message and the line number the culprit is located on. From there, you can work your coding magic!

      When working with CGI, there are a few best practices to keep in mind to avoid problems. First, it’s wise to use a plain text editor to ensure that you maintain ASCII format. When you upload scripts, you should also be able to select ASCII mode in your FTP client.

      Changing the transfer type option in FileZilla.

      Finally, if necessary, upload to the cgi-bin directory on your server. Then you can double-check your files’ permissions once you have them uploaded.

      10. Ask your web host about potential server issues.

      If all else fails, there may be a server issue, which only your host can confirm. Unfortunately, if your host’s server is experiencing a problem, you may have to wait out some website downtime.

      If you’re a DreamHost client, you can check the DreamHost Status page. This resource provides you with information on all of our services.

      The DreamHost status page.

      If you run into any problems while trying to repair the 500 internal server error, you can always reach out to our tech support team. They’re ready and waiting to lend you a hand! If you’ve followed the tips in this guide, you’ll have plenty of valuable information for the technician.

      Ready to Dive into Your Error Log?

      Whether you need help with file permission, identifying a hidden file, or dealing with a faulty plugin, we can help! Subscribe to our monthly digest so you never miss an article.

      Let’s Get Your WordPress Website Back on Track

      While having to sort out a 500 internal server error isn’t exactly fun, it’s also not as painful as you might imagine. With a little patience and the tips we’ve provided, you should be able to make some progress on getting your website back online.

      You can start small by refreshing your page and clearing your browser cache. Then you might want to move onto more involved fixes, such as increasing your PHP memory limit. If you’re not able to resolve the error on your own, DreamHost’s award-winning tech support is just a click away.

      When you do run into errors, it’s easier to get back up and running when you have a reliable hosting provider. DreamPress is fast, secure WordPress hosting with powerful features to help make your site a success!

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