500 Error Messages - What Are They?

Posted by Garen Arnold on January 22, 2013


500 Internal Server Error: Have you ever seen these upon loading a page? Or maybe this one: HTTP 500 ERROR. These messages come up while you are going through a websites, and these error messages can come up customized depending on the website. The messages can show up in any browser or in any type of operating system.

For the most part, we have been aware of the different error messages such as 404 which means the page you're trying to reach doesn't exist anymore, or maybe 403 which means you're not allowed to access the page you're trying to go to. This time, what we will talk about is the 500 error message. What is it exactly? And what does it mean?

In a nutshell, this specific HTML error message means that the problem is within the website server. It wasn't just specifically stated, but it appears that the problem isn't on your end, but on the website owner. What's wrong could be a code or programming on the server, but it wouldn't tell what it is. This type of error is probably not a simple one, as even the server itself couldn't find what's the cause for the error. Often, the culprit is an unfulfilled request of a misconfigured application. So it's quite a tiresome feat to find what it is that's causing the problem.

If you are a visitor, then the best thing you can do would be to contact the administrator and let them know of the problem. Or maybe just come back again at some later time. Maybe it's already fixed. Or try clearing your browser's cache, just to try to see if it works. You can't do anything specifically that will magically fix the problem at your end, because again, it isn't your problem, it's the servers. But then again, sometimes, this error becomes temporary so you refresh it a few more times before reporting to the administrator.

Now, the problem is easy if you're a visitor. You just go on the next website that can supply the same data you need. Or again, as stated above, contact the site administrator. Or if you're a loyal and persistent visitor, you can come back some time after. But what if you're on the other end? What if you're the site owner? What does this mean to you?

Well, here's the catch. You have seen what it means to a visitor, so you probably have an idea already of what to expect once your site's server had some problems and such thing arise on your visitors' browsers. Number one problem would be losing page views. If you have advertisements, then all the visits done during the error would not be counted as page views or clicks. If you're an online merchant, then of course, you lose customers every second. That's why even if it is a long task, you must do your best to find the culprit - that application that is keeping the server from running smoothly.

Haven't experienced this problem for your site yet? Good for you. But since you know the dangers and risks, you might as well check your configurations now to avoid further problems. Have you had any experience with this issue?

About Author: Garen Arnold wrote this post and has written a post on GoDaddy and 500 errors, which they are notorious for having. Personally, I don't see why anyone would want to host with them and have received hundreds of complaints about them over the years.

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